On Strike!

    We were sitting in the shack, staring out at the base of the tower that was standing in about a foot of new snow. We noticed a couple of the local QRPers wading through the snow on the path leading up to the house. One was carrying a sign, and the other had what appeared to be a sandwich board draped over him. It was times like this when our dislike of winter was at its peak, for there was no escaping out the back door. Even if we could get our coat and boots on in time, they’d track us!

    They made their way up to the door and came right in, snow covered boots and all. It was hard to believe our eyes, and we looked at the signs a second time. “What is this all about?” we asked. “We’re on strike!” the chubby one proclaimed! “Yes!” the sleek-headed one said, “we’re on strike and we are not working any DX until we get a decent contract!”

    “Strike! Strike??” we bellowed. “What are you talking about?” The sleek-headed QRPer started to answer, and the chubby one cut him off: “I’m the shop steward and the strike captain. Let me do the talking” he said, and turned and stared at us with his beady little eyes. “Yes, we are on strike. We formed the DXer’s Union and we have some serious issues that need to be worked out before we go back to working DX.” Son of a Gun! We were regretting not bailing out when we first saw them, snow or no snow, and now we were trapped. “How can DXer’s go on strike? “ we asked incredulously, “and what are you all upset about anyhow? There are two major DXpeditions on right now, and there is plenty of DX for everyone. Where do you fellows dream up this nonsense!!??”

    The chubby QRPer glared at us and said, “Listen Buster, this is serious business. Our negotiating team is huddled up with the pilot stations right now trying to hammer out a contract, and we need your support. We have some extra picket signs and we want you to come and give us a hand. Get on the line with the rest of us!” We held up our hand to cut him off, “First of all, we have no idea what you are talking about”, we replied, “and secondly, why would we want to walk around with a picket sign when the VU7 station is on 14.205 getting ready to listen for North America?”

    “Don’t do it!” the QRPer barked, “Don’t work him! Don’t be a scab! We heard rumours that they would try to bring in replacement DXers to take our place. It won’t work. If you call any DX station, your tower might fall over during the night. You know the drill if you cross the line!” We jumped to our feet and glared right back at the QRPer, “Is that right?” we roared, “who are you to tell us what DX we can work and when?”

    “It’s a closed shop”, the QRPer replied, “and if you are not on a DXpedition, you are not ‘management’ and if you are not management you are a member of the DXer’s Union. So you can’t work the VU7 or anyone else until this is settled. Simple as that!” And he sat down and started right back at us.

    We had to know more at this point, for it made no sense at all. So we just stared back at him and finally he started to explain things a bit more. “You see,” he said, “all these DXpeditions come and go, and we keep hearing that we can’t work them unless we do it on CW, or that we can’t work them unless it is on phone. And there are some who say we shouldn’t use linears, and that we should just do it with 100 watts. And some say we should check in to DX nets to work them, and others say we should avoid DX lists like the plague. It got so confusing and so contradictory that we called a special meeting at the DX club. And we formed the DXer’s Union, Local 3021, right on the spot! Then we took a strike vote and it was 100% in favour of a walkout! And we did. Last night at midnight we shut off our rigs, turned our antennas into the wind and no one is working DX until this gets settled!”

    We sat back down, shoved our baseball cap back a few inches and took a deep breath. We were starting to see the light, although it was still not very bright. “How many of you were at the meeting?” we asked. “Six!” was the quick reply. Things were falling into place. “And all six of you formed the union, and all six of you set up the bylaws and all six of you voted to strike, right?” “Right, Buster! It was unanimous!”

    “But what about the thirty-seven other members of the club who weren’t at the meeting?” we asked, “and besides, DXers are spread all over the continent. Did they have a say? And even if every DXer in North America agreed and went on strike with you, what good would that do other than make it easier for Europe? As for your demands, how do you suppose the fellows on VU7 or XT2 or anywhere else are going to solve you problems? And who are they to sign contracts?” We jumped to our feet and bellowed, “And furthermore, what gives you six the right to tell the rest of us we can’t work any DX?” We leaped over to the door and yanked it open, “Out! OUT!” we roared, pointing toward the path that lead down the hill.

    The glared at us as they stomped out the door and down to the path, “You better not work that VU7 or we’ll . . . “ WHOMP! He stopped in mid-sentence as our snowball caught him right between the eyes! These are trying times in this world of DX, and sometimes desperate acts call for desperate responses! We slammed the door and sat back down at the rig, watching the QRPers wade down the hill, arms waving and signs swinging back and forth. What could we say? Only that this might not be a bad thing after all, for there would be six less calling in the pileups! 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