Sell Low and Buy High

One of the Local QRPers came around the bend the other day and made his way up the hill.  As usual we were unsure what to do.  The fight or flight instinct is hard to control when confronted with a QRPer, especially this one who had been by fairly often in the last year.  Usually he brought more bad news that good.  Instead of heading for the back door, we decided to stay on the front porch and see what was up.

The QRPer was a bit out of breath, but seemed more trim and less winded than usual, “LA Weight Loss”, he offered before we asked, as he sat down and let out a long sigh.  “Want to buy my 204BA?” he asked, “and the 5-element Long John I have for 10-metres?”  We were confused, but before we could ask what was going on, he held up his hand and said, “The Old Timer has already spoken for the 60-foot tower, the 1.5K amp and the 15-metre monobander.  Too late for them ‘cuz they are already sold.”

We asked the obvious question, “Why are you selling all that gear?  You only need 11 more and you’ll have them all worked!  You’ve spent over 20 years DXing.  Why quit now?”

“Why?  Why!!”, he stood up and glared at us.  “Where have you been?  There haven’t been any sunspots for months.  The flux is stuck at 65 and 66.  Once a month it skyrockets to 67!  Everyone gets excited and the next day it’s back to 66.  There is no propagation and there won’t be for years!  Probably 50-100 years or more.  This is worse than the Maunder Minimum and the Dalton Minimum combined.  You and I will never see 15, 12 or 10 metres open again!  Now is the time to sell before everyone else figures this out.  Unlike the stock market, a DXer has to sell low and buy high!”

“Wait a minute!”, we said, staring right back into his beady little eyes, “you’ve been through a couple of cycle bottoms and you know the sunspots always come back.  That always have and they always will.  Hang on to your gear and work the low bands.  Paint your tower.  Grease your thrust bearings.  Do all the maintenance work you had to put off when the bands were rocking and rolling!  Remember the advice of Lord Baden Powell, the Hero of Mafeking, and ‘Be prepared!’”

“I’m prepared!”, he snorted, “I’m freeing up the cash I have tied up waiting for the flux to come back, and I’m going to do some travelling.  I’ve spent too many months listening to band noise.  It was a good run, but it’s over!  I’m going to travel the world instead of sitting around getting fat waiting for sunspots.  This trough is different!”  The QRPer leaned forward and bellowed, “It’s all over, Buster!  The fat lady has sung.  The Palos Verdes Sundancers have quit and DX ISN’T!  DX ISN’T! DX ISN’T!”  We lunged at him and got our hands around his throat before he could get it out again!  We were shaking with anger and fear at these words of DX blasphemy.  Such heresy brings out the adrenaline, and we were able to hold him with one arm and get the duct tape out of the drawer with the other.  He managed to get another “DX ISN’tmmppttth” out before we slapped a good wrap over his mouth.

Son of a Gun!  Never in our decades of DXing had we heard such words!  We did a triple wrap of duct tape and hauled him up by one ear into the chair.  He was swinging his head back and forth but thankfully no sound was forthcoming!  We glared at him and tried to settle our self down.  It wasn’t easy.  After about a minute we asked in a stern voice that demanded a truthful answer, “Have you said that before?”  His beady eyes widened and he shook his head in the affirmative.  “HOW MANY TIMES??!!” we roared!  He raised his hands and held up 4 fingers. 

“That’s why!  That’s why there are no sunspots!  You are the cause.  No true blue DXer ever says that phrase!  We always expound DX IS!  Always.  And when there is little to no DX, DX still IS!  Understand?”  We jabbed our finger at him to drive home the point.  “That is one of the Eternal Enigmas of DXing and the Mysteries of the Ages!  DX IS!  You have to be a Believer.  Only the Deserving will work the DX, and there will only be DX if you believe!  Never, ever, utter that phrase again.  That is why there have been no sunspots for such a long time.  You might want to quit and sell all of your gear, but don’t sink the ship with the rest of us on it!  Go ahead and buy high and sell low if you want, but don’t destroy the propagation in the process.  Understand?” 

The QRPer shook his head “Yes”, and we continued, “If we take the tape off, do you promise to never say that again?”  Again he shook his head “Yes” so we ripped off the tape, taking a bit of his moustache with it.  He let out a yelp but said nothing else.  We helped him off the porch with a good kick to his backside, and he took off down the hill, not daring to look back.

We sat down and watched him disappear around the bend at the bottom of the hill.  It took us at least a half hour to understand what had just happened.  And then it hit us!  We had found the cause of the lack of sunspots, and moreover, we had fixed it!  This QRPer was the cause and effect!  We were convinced that we had cured the cause, so it would only be a matter of time before the effect followed it.  The Great Days of DXing are near!  Be a Believer!  The Palos Verdes Sundancers will dust off the big bass bongo and there will be sunspots again.  DX IS!  DX IS!  Although for some more than others.

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

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Last updated 15 December 2020