DX Stories by Paul, VE1DX

Written in the style of my friend, Hugh Cassidy, WA6AUD (SK)

      The stories below are based on the characters and writing style developed by Hugh Cassidy, WA6AUD (SK) , the editor of the West Coast DX Bulletin from 1968 until 1979.   I never met Hugh Cassidy in person, but we spoke many times on the telephone and exchanged numerous letters.  In November 1996, Hugh Cassidy sent me his entire collection of WCDXB files, all original copies totalling about 550 issues.  For that, I am eternally grateful and I thank WA6AUD for allowing me to be the custodian of over a decade of his contributions to DXing and amateur radio.

    While I’m no Hugh Cassidy, I found it easy to copy the writing style and use the characters he’d invented in the WCDXB to get my message across.  Now and then, an interesting, controversial, or just plain funny topic surfaces in the DX world.  If I have the time and inclination, I write about it

      Hugh Cassidy, or “Cass” as he was commonly referred to, began the West Coast DX Bulletin 1968.  It has been reported that he did this, in part, as an effort to explain Don Miller, W9WNV, to the DX community.  While this may be partially true, Hugh told me “Our arrival on the scene was more coincident than an attempt to jump into the Don Miller dispute.”  Nonetheless, Hugh was a straight shooter on that topic.  In the late sixties, the WCDXB reported the Miller saga in a neutral manner.  Unlike other publications of the day, Hugh made no attempt to editorialize the issue or give it any spin.  In later years, he did make his feelings known on W9WNV in true Cass style.

     WA6AUD published the WCDXB for 11 years, every week, without missing one . . . and he and his XYL Virginia did it alone!  That’s right, a two person publishing team who used the cover “The Marin County DX Group.”  At its peak, the WCDXB had a circulation of 3200 . . . 2600 in the US, Canada and Mexico and 600 overseas.  This was all done by hand by these two people!  Their equipment in the shack consisted of a MULTILITH 1250 offset printing press, a big camera and a processor for making the paper printing plates.

     The WCDXB had the usual DXpedition information and propagation forecasts, etc.  However, what made it unique was Cass’s editorial every week where he put a humorous spin on the DX events of the day.  He did this by inventing a unique writing style, along with a number of fictitious characters that argued about DXing, DXpeditions and almost anything else that was controversial at the time.  In the limelight were the Local QRPers.  They were not QRP operators in the true sense . . . in fact many of them had respectable linears and a few even had monobanders to go with the extra power.  They were deemed to be DXers with country totals somewhere between 100 and 150.  They had enough experience to ask the right questions, but never really understanding the answers.  The Locals had the interest, energy and motivation.  They wanted to know everything about DXing, and they were the ones who were always seeking the true meaning of DX IS, trying to understand the Mysteries of the Ages, the Inevitable Truths and the Eternal Enigmas of DXing.

     The Old Timer knew everything about DX and DXing.  He had everything worked, and had grown up with amateur radio.  It was rumored he was there when the first DXCC QSO was made in 1945.  He never tired of DXing and was always ready for the next new one.  The old Timer had all the answers, but it was difficult to get him to share them with the QRPers.  The Old Timer was both patient and impatient at the same time, realizing that in many cases if you had to ask the question, you wouldn’t understand the answer!  Sunspot Louie watched the solar flux and the Ap index.  His cousin, Red-Eyed Louie, was forever spending long days and nights tuning the bands . . . he always knew where the DX was, when it was on, etc.  His legendary red eyes came from scanning the dials looking for DX to report, and, more recently, from watching DX Cluster screens.  There was the Legion of Handwringers, the malcontents who were forever finding something to worry and complain about.  The Hero of Mafeking, a relative of Baden Powell, was always around prior to DXpeditions warning the Deserving DXers to “Be prepared!”

     The Palos Verdes Sundancers were the ones who brought on the solar cycles . . . they first appeared near the bottom of Cycle 20 when QST was reporting the possibility of another Maunder Minimum.   There was historical evidence that there was a time some hundreds of years ago when there were no sunspots for a period of about seventy years.  This fact was discovered by someone named Maunder, hence the name.   In order to prevent such a dire reoccurrence, the Palos Verdes Sundancers got out their grass skirts and the big bass bongo, Big DX, and danced up the sunspots every 11 years or so.  The problem with the Sundancers was that after they got the flux up, they lost interest and stopped dancing  This plunged us into another cycle minimum and they had to be coaxed into doing it all over again.

     Terms such as The Great Days of DXing, Only The Deserving, Be a Believer, and of course DX IS! all came from the wit and wisdom of Hugh Cassidy and the WCDXB.  We still hear these phrases today being used by seasoned DXers and newcomers alike, some perhaps not even aware of their origin.  Nevertheless, they have become part of the DX experience, jargon exchanged by true-blue DXers in their quest for just one more new one!

     In 1979, Hugh Cassidy decided to cease publication of the WCDXB.  In his own words, “In simple truth, the bulletin was taking all our time every day of the week.  There were times when I would work until two or three in the morning on the bulletin and then go right back to work when we arose in the morning.”  When Hugh ceased publication, there were other editors who claimed they were the successor to Cass.  This is not entirely true.  Again, in Hugh Cassidy’s own words: “On the WCDXB, I was the only editor.  I ran its course and knocked it on the head when I got to the point where I had to end it.  If some say they are the successor, it is not quite true.  One group wanted to buy the mailing list, I sold that.  I never did sell the bulletin.”

     Finally, I will mention that, to my knowledge, WA6AUD is the only person ever elected to the CQ Magazine DX Hall of Fame who was not a DXpeditioner.  He was so honored because of his literary contributions to DXing.  And this honor was well deserved.  Absolutely.

     We miss the WCDXB.  WA6AUD’s legacy lives on in the minds of the Deserving True-Blue DXers, who, for the most part, have come to understand the true meaning of DX IS!  Cass made us laugh at ourselves.  He made us think about DXers and DXing!  He showed us our strengths and weaknesses, and most of all, he made us better DXers.

73/DX Paul, VE1DX

DX Stories

Dash-LQRPer and The NetSounds Like Fun!QSL Questions6-Metre Radials
Old and the NewWho's on CW?Generally SpeakingPast The EquinoxCW a Digital Mode?
DX MaybeCQ HamsterVote Carefully!Full Calls OnlyDXCC Uncertainty
5NN TUThe Pot-StirrerQSL RulesQRZ EuropeDXers are Different
Knowledge/DangerFour is Enough!A Long TimeDXing's Golden DaysSlip of the Tongue
Have and Have NotThe DX CatBusted Calls

About Nothing?

CQ Contest
QRZ de M0ON?Delete Them All! My Way!Five and NineDX Advice
Third-Party TrafficThe Gambler Wannabes Understanding QSLs

Beacon DXing

Sticker CollectorA Moveable FeastPlate VoltagePerspectiveProgress!
Where is Cycle 23?Closer to the DXBe PreparedCognitive DXing!Burma Everywhere!
Maltese ManagerTop Band SpotsTo Delete or NotThe Fall ClassicThe Old Refrain
What a DifferenceThe ComputerExcuse Number 9!A Rare Country68 Feet!
The Early DaysPoint of ReferenceEinstein KnewThe Flux is 65!WPX IS!
SPAMThe QRPer's CousinCluster SecretsWinners and LosersWhistling Dixie
Where is That Call?Where's the P5?We Lost It!UP UP UPSpare Time!
Unified Field TheoryBirthdayOld Timer Loses It!Top Band DXingDX IS! (Maybe)
The DXNDD!The Cost of QSLing!Slim's QSL ManagerPropagationThe BS7H QSL
The Rocky RoadRTTY DX IS!Romeo in P5The SundancersQRZ on 6-Metres?
Packet ClustersNew PropagationMissed It!Only the DeservingLBA DXers' Guild
Lists and QSLsWorking 5A1AScarboroughHigh VoltageF-18 Hornets
Computer Logging!Exclusive ClubEast Coast BobIf You Worked ItDX Was!
DXCC Rules!That Last One!Burma RoadMinimum BluesBS7H Scarborough
Be Prepared!Another DXCC? Ask the Old Timer!5A1A Counts!The Eternal Enigmas
It Doesn't Sink InI Remember Don**How Don Did It **VU4 is hardInformation Overload
Not in the LogThe State of DXing**The Good Old DaysThe Young and the RestlessOn Strike!
TwiddlingQRX - Never!A New AwardHard To The Right!Sell Low and Buy High
Feedback Loops    

  ** Written by Hugh Cassidy, WA6AUD

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Last updated on Friday, 11 September 2009