A New Award

    One of the Local QRPers was by yesterday.  He beat his way up the hill and pulled up a chair on the veranda.  The spring weather was here, and the temperatures were warming up.  This particular QRPer looked like he’d had a few extra helpings at the dinner table during the cold months, for he was puffing and sweating a bit more than usual.  He had the knowing look of someone who had just discovered a secret.

    He looked around a bit, and then he began in a soft voice, “I’ve got two more”, he said quietly, holding up his hand with two fingers raised to emphasise his point, “the two I’ve been waiting for.”  He was starting to smile, and he had the look of one who had just found out he’d won something.

    We patted him on the back and said, “Congratulations!  Once you get past the 200 mark, new ones are hard to come by.  What ones were they? Did you work them in the contest?”  The QRPer looked around for a moment and then said, “No, no!  Not two new ones.  Two more that don’t count.  Remember that operation from the Pacific last fall?  The DXCC desk is sending back the cards indicating there is no documentation.  As it stands now, they don’t count for DXCC!”

    We were confused, for in past years when this QRPer had cards rejected, he was particularly upset, often threatening to not renew his membership in the ARRL.  “And why is this a good thing?”, we asked, “a lot of Dxers worked those islands, and if they don’t count, everyone will be disappointed.” 

    “That’s because they do not know about the new award!”, he said quickly, jumping up and then catching himself quickly, and sitting down again.  “Shhh!”, he whispered, putting his finger over his lips.  “We have to be careful or word will get out, and we want to be the first few to get it.  Imagine!  Being in among the first few serial numbers!  A lot of the fellows tear up their QSLs when they find out they don’t count.  I kept all of mine, and I had almost 100 since I began in 1985.  I just needed two more, and these ones do it!”

    “Huh?” we asked, “what award?  If they are not counters, they are no good.  No one is going to give you an award for that.  Where did you hear that nonsense?”  “After the DX Club meeting last night!”, he whispered, “I got it directly from one of the fellows who used to be a field checker for the DXCC program, and he got it from the guy who used to live next door to the guy who was the ARRL section manager until a couple of years ago.  And he said that it came directly from NC1L.  It doesn’t get any better than that!”

    We were starting to think that this was a lot more than hearsay . . . it was hearsay times three!  But we put forth our poker face and said, “Tell us more.”  He looked around again and said, “OK, but this is just between you and me.  Apparently the DXCC is trying to drum up a bit more activity, and they are getting ready to announce the new award come the first of the month.  It’s the DCNG award!  It stands for Doesn’t Count, No Good.  And like the DXCC, you need 100 bad ones to get a certificate.” 

    “I saved all my no-counters.  I have all of the ones Romeo sent out, and all of the ones from those African and Middle East countries that the DXCC rejected.  Most DXers only have P5RS7 ‘cuz that was the most famous one.  But I have all the ones from the false starts when Eritrea became a new country. The ones before Carl and Martha activated it for the first counter.  I even have a few from those South African Homelands that everyone thought would be good ones!  And one from a 5R station who had no license.  I have a card from Bougainville.  I even have the first KH8SI QSL from 2005.  My last ones were the Montenegro QSLs dated before 4 July 2006.  I have 7 of those!  And these two make an even 100!”

    “That’s ridiculous!” we replied, not taking the care to keep our voice down, “why do you believe all of this stuff?  The ARRL isn’t going to give you a certificate for QSLs that are no good.”

    “Don’t talk so loud!”, he snapped, waving his finger back and forth.  “If you don’t want to send in for it, fine.  If you don’t have enough bad cards, too bad.  I’m sending mine in by registered mail and as soon as the arrival date is logged into the DXCC computer, I’ll have a low serial number.  Maybe even #1”

    “When did you say this became effective?, we asked.  “April 1st” was the quick reply.  “That’s interesting”, we said, “and why do you suppose the fellow at the DX Club told you that date?”

    The QRPer stared at us with a knowing look, “Everyone can figure that one out”, he said with a condescending smirk, “it’s the start of the new fiscal year.  All big organizations, even governments, run from the end of March one year until the end of March next year.  It’s the start of the 2007-2008 fiscal year.  That’s the main reason why I know it’s for real!”

    And with that he was off down the hill, ready to take his package of useless cards to the post office.  We watched him clear the end of the lane and make his way around the turn.  Some times it is best to let nature take its course, and this was one of them.  We were starting to wonder how Bill would react when he got 100 bad QSLs with the package dated April 1st.  Son of a Gun!  These are trying times when the flux is at the bottom and the Low Days of DXing are upon us.  The QRPers are uneasy, and it doesn’t take a lot to get them stirred up.  DX IS!


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

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Last updated on Monday, 26 March 2007