One of the Local QRPers was along the other day, wearing a raincoat and carrying a plastic bag under his arm. "Sure has been wet lately", he said, shaking the water off and hanging up his raincoat. "Yes, it's been raining for over a week straight", we replied. We were pretty sure the QRPer wasn't here to talk about the weather . . . and we were right. He asked for a paper towel and wiped off the plastic bag. Then he sat down at the table and dumped out the contents. We were a bit confused at this point. The QRPer had a pile of QSLs. "New countries?", we asked, jumping to the conclusion that every DXer wants to show off their new ones.
"No", the QRPer said slowly, "not exactly. There're all from the same country. Burma. Now, what I need to know is which one to send to the DXCC desk for credit." We'd heard a lot of discussion about Burma lately, perhaps a bit more than we needed. Now we had a confused QRPer on our hands. "What's the problem?", we asked innocently. "Well", the QRPer continued slowly, "It's pretty confusing. The first one I have is XZ2TZ, from 1965. The operation by W9WNV and K7LMU. My uncle left me that one when he became a Silent Key. I guess that I won't be using that, but can I get in trouble for just having it? Rumor has it Don and Chuck weren't really there in 1965." This one was easy. "Not to worry!", we replied, "because it doesn't have your call on it, and more to the point, the DXCC desk still counts that operation. Save it as a souvenir, just don't send it to the league."
"OK", the QRPer replied, pushing the card aside and moving on. "Now, when W7PHO was running the Family Hour net, I worked a few Burma stations. Look, I got 1Z9A and 1Z9X from the Karen region in Burma. Some of the guys say those are no good because they weren't licensed by the Burmese government. But, I hear CQ Magazine counts them for Zone 26 and for WPX. I guess one of these would be OK, right?" We knew the DXCC desk had been rejecting these cards for years, but we decided to plead ignorance. "We've never sent one in.", we replied slowly. The QRPer glared at us with his beady little eyes and shoved the 1Z cards over to the other pile. It was clear he wanted an answer. "OK", he said rather curtly, "how about these ones? Five from XY0RR. They're counters, right? I heard the league said they were suspicious of the operation, but they were still counting it. I can send that in, can't I?" We nodded, simply saying, "Yes, you can send them in."
The QRPer was starting to get frustrated with our lack of a definitive answer. "Here's two that were approved by the DXCC desk while they were still on the air!", he said rather loudly, "XZ1A and XY1HT. Anything controversial or wrong with them?" We shrugged our shoulders and remained quiet. QRPers hate silence! Remember that.
"OK, Buster", he said, "I just worked XZ1N on two bands and they have a stateside manager. That'll be two more Burma cards! They'll count, won't they? I'll have 19 cards from Burma for five or six operations. Which ones do I send in? I got one QSL from 3Y0PI from one operation! No one lives on Peter 1st! That sure counted and I didn't have to worry about what card to send in. What's wrong with Burma?" By now he had drawn himself up to his full five and a half feet and there was sweat on his forehead. This QRPer had worked himself into a frenzy and we did the only thing we could. We got him dressed back up in his raincoat, got the QSLs back in the plastic bag and grabbed our own raincoat. We made our way up the hill to see the Old Timer.
The QRPer explained the whole thing again, ending with the predictable question, "So which one of these cards do I send in?" The Old Timer looked at the QRPer for a moment and then said, "You believe in the DXCC program, right?" The QRPer nodded emphatically. "Any you trust the decisions made by them, right?" Again the QRPer indicated this was so. "Then send all 19 in and include a note asking them to count and return the ones they feel are good. Ask them to destroy the rest. That way you won't have any bogus Burma cards, and you will have evidence from the highest authority in the DX world that you are right. You'll be able to argue the Eternal Enigmas of DXing and the Mysteries of the Ages with the Big Guns! You may even be one of the Deserving!"
The QRPer jumped to his feet in excitement. "That's what I'll do!" he shouted. He grabbed his cards and was off in the rain, heading for the shack to get his mailing off to Newington. Son of a Gun! We looked at the Old Timer. "How many cards do you think they'll send back?", we asked. The Old Timer wasn't long in answering, "Somewhere between none and 19." We had to think about this for a moment. "Why do you say that?", we asked. The Old Timer stared at us for a moment, then replied, "Remember what Winston said: They are decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant to drift, solid for fluidity and all powerful for impotence."
We walked slowly down the hill, being careful not to step in the puddles. We pondered the words of the Old Timer and the Burma QSLs. While he was right about Winston, we too our share of Burma QSLs. We decided to wait and see which cards the QRPer got back before our next submission!
This story is in the public domain and may be reproduced in any format. - VE1DX
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Last updated on Thursday, 12 April 2007