Burma Road

    One of the Local QRPers came by the other day, this one with an obvious problem. "It's the Burma operation.", he began, "I had it and now I'm not so sure." We were properly sympathetic, for we knew conditions were not that great and a lot of true blue DXers had missed XZ1A. "You didn't get a clean QSO with Bill or Martti?", we asked. "No", the QRPer replied, "I heard them a few times but they were dishwater weak and I didn't have a chance with all the Big Guns calling. I tried a couple of times, but it was clear that I couldn't compete with the monobanders and Alphas. I decided it really didn't matter since I had a QSO confirmed anyhow."

    "You mean the XY0RR DXpedition in 1991?", we asked. "Yes", the QRPer replied, "when Romeo was there. Got him confirmed on CW and phone and already have credit from the ARRL. But now there's talk the league might discredit XY0RR because K5FUV found evidence that Romeo's entry papers into Burma were fake. There's talk there hasn't been a license issued to any amateur in Burma since 1962! There was a lot of discussion at the DX club about that. If the top dog at the DXCC desk is shown first hand the operation was illegal, how can the league count it? Especially if he was there and part of the team of a truly credible operation?"

    We decided that one of the Legion of Hand Wringers had been quite active at this DX meeting. "Don't worry about it", we said in a consoling voice, "The league never takes credit away from an operation once it's been accepted. Besides, look at the logistics of doing so. With the flux being so low, a lot of guys didn't work XZ1A. These guys were on Honor Roll, some of them on Number One DXCC Honor Roll. What would the league do? Ask them to send their certificates and plaques back? Not to worry, your XY0RR QSL will stand." The QRPer was not to be consoled. "That's not what the guys at the club said. No, not at all. They said the league has it all computerized now and that they can discredit the operation with the press of a key and deduct it from everyone's total." We thought about this for a moment then replied, "But what about all the certificates and plaques", we asked, "they can't take them back, computers or not! Don't worry. It'll never happen." We heaved a sigh of relief, confident we had averted another crises.

    "The guys at the club got that figured out too", he replied sadly. "They say the league probably wouldn't ask for any certificates or plaques back. They say they'll just put an asterisk beside your call in QST in the DXCC listings. Then they are going to put a footnote saying: 'The stations indicated with (*) have totals that include one or more discredited operations.' And one of the Big Guns said he heard it from a pretty reliable source, too! Now I'm going to see my call listed like that in QST! I'll be the laughing stock of the DX community." And with that he was off, down to the club station to see how many others had worked XY0RR and missed XZ1A. "Misery loves company", he muttered as he disappeared down the hill.

    It sounded like the QRPer had himself painted into a corner, so we took a walk over to see the Old Timer. We explained the QRPer's predicament. The Old Timer thought for a minute or so and asked us, "When was that date the QRPer said the Burmese government last issued a valid licence?" We were surprised at the Old Timer's concern. "1962, according to the rumour mill", we replied, "but why do you ask? You know the Hand Wringers were pulling the QRPer's leg. The league never disallows anything after they give it accreditation." The Old Timer was unusually quiet, then he replied slowly, "You are probably right. But you never know, with all these computers they have today, anything is possible. Since Bill Kennamer was right there in Rangoon, he might really do it. I might have missed XZ1A, but at least I didn't put all my eggs in the XY0RR basket." And that was all he would say as he turned back to his rig and began tuning 20- metres. Something was bothering the Old Timer and we couldn't quite put our finger on it. So we headed for the door, with thoughts of taking a stroll down to Palos Verdes country to see what the Sundancers were up to. When we got near the door we noticed the Old Timer's Burma QSL on the wall. Don Miller and Chuck Swain's World Radio Propagation Experiment, Burma, 1965, confirmed by W4ECI.

    Son of a Gun! We'd forgotten all about W9WNV's operations! And we knew the Old Timer hadn't topped the 350 mark without a few of Don's QSLs. This was time to make a quick exit, for although the QRPer was a bit upset, we weren't ready for the nuclear blast when the Old Timer thought through the ramifications of the discreditation rumour! DX IS, but not in the Old Timer's shack today!


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