The Good Old Days

    One of the local QRPers was up the hill last week. We talked of things important. Such as the conditions of the bands, the price of gas, and the unusually warm winter in some parts of the world, although lately it seemed the deep freeze had returned to many.

    “In another couple of years,” the QRPer said, “I guess we'll be seeing a lot more rare DX like the XT2C and VU7RG operations. The flux will come roaring back, and yet I can't seem to get too excited about it. Things aren't like they were in the good old days.” We had to think this over for we did remember when this QRPer, back in the mid-90’s, insisted on listening to dead bands at the bottom of cycle 22. “You never know when I might hear something I need,” was always the explanation.

    We reminded the QRPer of those days of a decade ago and he chuckled. “I was hungry,” he said, “I was always tuning and looking for DX. I remember how excited I got when I worked my first EA. It was a real thrill! And then there was the day I worked Germany, Portugal and Norway all on the same Saturday morning. And all of them were new ones. Those sure were the good old days.”

    We had to ponder those words for often we hear DXers talk of those happy memories of other days. We thought about it carefully before we spoke, and finally said, “Wouldn't it be great to only have about fifty or sixty confirmed again? And to be struggling to get one hundred confirmed so we could get our DXCC certificate? Wouldn't it? And just think of the fun it would be to start all over again? To wipe our DXCC credits clean! To delete them all from the ARRL’s records and start everything over from scratch?”

    Son of a Gun! You would have thought we had our hand on his wallet. The QRPer was on his feet, excitedly waving his arms and there was a sweat breaking out on his forehead. “Like old heck it would!” he bellowed, “no one is going to take my hard earned DX countries away from me without a fight. No one!” We were sure that this was but an initial reaction and that the QRPer would see the logic and reason in our position. “But everyone would be starting over on an even playing field,” we argued, “and think of the fun and joy of having all that DX to chase again. You'd have 335 or 340 or so, depending on the way the winds were blowing in Newington, rather than the ten or twelve that you need now. Wouldn't that be wonderful?”

I    It didn't sell. For though many like to talk of the good old days, the days when the mornings started earlier, the sun was warmer and brighter and the winds gentler, few really want to go back.” And while many an established DXer will sometimes be heard to say, “Wouldn't it be great to be sixteen again . . . and chasing all those girls!” few will get enthusiastic about having 325 countries to work again.

    For as Albert would say: “All things are relative and some more than others.” And Tom himself would often say: “You can't go home again!” These are the things that old DXers and new DXers have forgotten. All a DXer can do during the Low Days of DXing is to realise that the sunspots will return, and with them so will the propagation to the far and distant lands beyond the horizon. But the good old days will not return. They will not return because the good old days are just around the corner. Be a Believer! Follow the advice of Lord Baden-Powell, the Hero of Mafeking, and “Be Prepared!” Listen to what Sunspot Louie is saying about the current cycle. The ones you need will come around again. They always do. Although it may be a few more years, or even a lot more years! DX IS!

This story is in the public domain and may be reproduced in any format. - VE1DX

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Last updated 15 December 2020