DXer or Sticker Collector
One of the Local QRPers came storming up the hill the other day, this one with a sheet of paper in his hand and a glare in his eye that would stop a rock! He stomped up the steps of the veranda and shoved the paper in our hands. It was a printout from the Internet about the 7O1A DXpedition. "What do you think of this?", he demanded, throwing himself in the nearest chair and waiting for an answer.
We glanced at the paper for a second, and it was clear what the problem was . . . however, this being a rather quiet day on the bands, we decided it best to let the QRPer explain it himself. "What's this all about?", we asked innocently. The QRPer stared at us with his beady little eyes and retorted: "What do you mean? Where have you been? The ARRL has disallowed DXCC credit for the operation in Yemen!! And look at the reason why. They say that while there was documentation supplied, it wasn't from the right branch or division of the licensing authority in 7O! This makes no sense! A lot of us worked mighty hard to get a QSO with that DXpedition and now all our work is worthless. I'm sure I'll get a card, but the ARRL won't accept it. What are we DXers going to do about this?"
We looked at the sheet of paper and then at the QRPer. We took our time and thought about the best way to handle the situation. The QRPer got up and began to pace. QRPers in need of a quick answer pace a lot. Remember that. We walked into the kitchen and got a couple of glasses of ice tea, sat the QRPer down and looked him right in the eye. "What is the problem again?", we asked. The QRPer sputtered a bit and then blurted out, "I just told you! I worked 701A and the DXCC desk won't count it." We looked at the QRPer, then at the sheet of paper and finally we said, "So what?"
Son of a Gun! The QRPer exploded: "What do you mean, 'So what'? This means I've missed one of the rarest countries on the DXCC list!! Maybe you have it worked from some previous operation, Buster, but a lot of us don't . . . and I'm one of them! This is terrible. What's wrong with the folks at Newington? Don't they realize what they've done!"
We took a deep breath and replied, "We're sure they realize what they've done. They have decided not to count this operation in their awards program. So what?" The QRPer was both incredulous and confused at the same time. "So what! So what!!", he bellowed, "how can you be so nonchalant? You, who tell me that I have to believe, that only the Deserving will work the DX . . . that I will understand the true meaning of DX IS! and the Eternal Enigmas and the Mysteries of the Ages if I believe! Well, what should I believe now? The DXCC desk has taken away my QSO with 7O1A, that's what Buster!"
We looked at the QRPer for a moment, then asked, "Were the operators in Yemen?" "Of course they were! No one ever disputed that.", he replied. "And did you work them?", we continued, "and on more than one band?" The QRPer began to pace again, "Yes, yes! Of course I did. We all had a good shot at them. And good clean QSOs too." The QRPer stopped for a moment and looked at us, "But what's any of this got to do with the decision at Newington?"
"Absolutely nothing." we replied, "You worked an amateur radio station in Yemen. You know they were there. You have good, clean QSOs . . . and you will get QSLs from Zorro. Absolutely. Now, what is the problem?"
"The problem is that it won't count for DXCC, that's what!" And there we had him. "And what is DXCC? An awards program sponsored by an amateur radio club. Nothing more, nothing less. You made a two-way QSO with another amateur radio station in Yemen, right?" The QRPer nodded. "You'll soon have a QSL to prove it. Why get upset if a single amateur radio club won't give you a point for it in one of their awards programs? Are you a DXer or not? If you are a DXer, then 'so what?' If you belong to this one radio club just to collect points and stickers, then it matters. Are you a DXer or a sticker collector?"
The QRPer looked at us, looked out over the hills down toward the bay and then back at us. "I never thought of it that way", he replied, "I guess I can be both, but maybe I've been putting more emphasis on collecting stickers than DXing. What do you think?" We simply shrugged and said nothing. The QRPer scratched his head, looked at us with the all too familiar new-found-knowledge smile and sauntered off down the hill.
We watched him go, happy in his enlightenment, and then we walked into the shack. While what we had told the QRPer was true, we couldn't help look on the wall at our 7O QSL from the 1990 operation . . . for while all things are relative, and some more so, a DXCC counter is better than a non-DXCC counter. Even if you are not a "sticker collector!" And with the rise of Cycle 23, 7O will come around again and there will always be DX. As Lord Baden-Powell so often said: "Be prepared!" You might even want to prepare yourself for others that won't count in Newington . . . and while you are preparing, keep track of your stickers! DX IS!
This story is in the public domain and may be reproduced in any format. - VE1DX
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Last updated 14 December 2020