One of the local QRPers was by the other day, this one with a troubled look on his face. He sat down in the chair and we could tell by the way he was squirming around that something was up. "What's new?", we asked. "Well, look at this", the QRPer said, handing us a QSL card, "should I send this into the league for DXCC credit?" We looked at the card carefully. "Looks good to us", we replied, "15-metres from Kyrgyzstan. Nice catch on CW." The QRPer agreed, but kept shifting back and forth in the chair. "There might be a problem with the QSO", the QRPer said, "and I'm a bit worried." We looked at the card again, "What's the matter?", we asked, "is the date or time wrong?"
"No", the QRPer replied, "no, not at all. I worked Vlad at exactly the time he put on the card . . . it's the mode I'm worried about. This is 125 on CW and I need it for my endorsement sticker. I'm finding the CW countries harder and harder to come by these days and I really need this one." We were becoming confused and this wasn't making any sense. We decided to dig a bit deeper. "What do you think is wrong with the QSO?", we asked in a concerned tone. "Well, Vlad was on 15- metre SSB calling CQ with not many takers", the QRPer replied, "and I answered his call. We exchanged 59 reports and since there wasn't any pileup, I asked him for a CW QSO because that would be a new one on that mode." We nodded in agreement. "Nothing wrong with that", we replied, "and he gave you your CW QSO, right?" The QRPer replied slowly, "Well, I guess so. He said for me to call him so I did and sent my call and a 599 RST. He came back with a 599 too, but his tone sounded terrible. So we went back to voice and I asked him what the problem was."
"Oh, you felt you should have sent 591 or 595CK or the like to indicate his tone was bad." we replied, feeling we understood the situation now. The QRPer shook his head, "No, he told me he didn't have a key. He whistled the CW into the microphone! He sent the callsigns and the report by whistling CW. Now I don't know what to do. Is this a CW QSO or a phone QSO? Will the league accept it? It's the only UM I've ever worked on CW, too"
Son of a Gun! We'd expected almost anything but this! So we hauled the QRPer up the hill to the Old Timer. The QRPer repeated his story, ending with " . . . so I don't know if it's CW or not. It wasn't A1A modulation, but it wasn't voice either. Does this mean it won't count?" The Old Timer thought for a minute, then replied, "Whistling to keep up your courage is easy enough; the difficulty is to get up enough courage to whistle." The QRPer thought this over for a minute, the said, "So what you are saying is it will count?" The Old Timer just smiled and began tuning 20-metres. "Then you are saying it won't count, right?" The Old Timer kept on tuning and it was clear that this was all he was going to say.
We walked down the hill together and all of a sudden the QRPer shouted, "I know! I understand now!" We were curious at this new found knowledge for we had to admit the Old Timer's words were still puzzling to us. "It will count if K5FUV wasn't listening to the QSO! The card says 599, 2-way CW! What do you think the odds are that Bill Kennamer was listening to my QSO? Pretty much zero! It's a good one!" And with that he was off down the hill with his QSL card, ready to send it off to the league. Son of a Gun! What could we say? There are mysteries in this world of DX that defy explanation. We report them as we see them, but don't ask us to explain them!
This story is in the public domain and may be reproduced in any format. - VE1DX
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Last updated 14 December 2020