Twiddling

    One of the local QRPers was but the other day, and we talked of important things like global warming and climatic change, but mostly we talked about DX.  For while the weather and the causes of its variability are good conversation starters, true blue DXers always work their way around to DX.

    “Tell me”, the QRPer said, “What am I going to do now that I have VU7 worked?  I waited for almost twenty years for that one, and now I have it.  And although the XT2C wasn’t as rare as the VU7, it still got my adrenaline flowing!  There was a solid month of good DX.  But what am I going to do now?”

    We thought for a minute and then asked, “What did you do after you got your 300-country sticker, and you were waiting for things like the VU7 and the XT2 to come on?”  The QRPer looked at us for a minute and then replied, “Not very much.  I watched the DX Cluster and I worked the odd band country, but mostly I just sat around and waited for the new ones I needed.  For the most part I just sat there and twiddled my thumbs.”

    “How long did you twiddle?” we asked, putting forward our best poker face.  “Oh, I don’t know,” the QRPer replied, “maybe off and on for a couple of years.  I missed the VU4 and the KH8SI operations.  We didn’t have any propagation, so there wasn’t any point in me calling.  You can’t work them if you can’t hear them.”  We had to agree with this.  “That’s true,” we replied, “and that’s a lot of twiddling.  There are rumours that Swains will be activated again in the spring.  And that they will have a lot more operators and bigger beams and amps that the first crew that went there.  You’ll likely be able to work them.”

    The QRPer was not satisfied, “That is months away!  And we are at the bottom of the cycle, so there isn’t a lot else to work, either.  What am I supposed to do?” he asked, staring at us with a forlorn face.

    “Remember that these are the Low Days of DXing”, we replied, “and the DX will not be as plentiful as it was in years past.  And now that you are beyond the 300-country mark, even when the Great Days of DXing return, there still will be long waits for new ones.”

    “I know that!” the QRPer answered, with apparent frustration setting in, “but what am I going to do in the meantime?”  We could have tried to explain that this was one of the Inevitable Truths that every DXer must face, or that it could just be one of the Eternal Enigmas of DXing.  Instead we simply replied, “Twiddle.  Learn to twiddle better.”

    “A lot of help you are!”, he barked at us as he got up and started down the hill, “What good will that do.”  We didn’t say a thing, for the answer was obvious – not a lot of good, but twiddling was better than doing nothing.  And the Great Days of DXing are near.  The signs were everywhere.  Even the few sunspots visible are reversing their magnetic polarity!  Maybe they were twiddling too, waiting for the right moment to spring into action.  Be prepared!  DX IS!


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

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Last updated on Thursday, 25 January 2007