Last week one of the Local QRPers was up the hill to try some questions on us. This one was upset not because of countries worked, or of countries missed, but of deeper things. "When will I be considered a True Blue DXer? I've been licensed for almost a dozen years now, and I've worked a lot of DX. And still, I don't feel I get the respect of the Big Guns. Those guys who've been around for two or three cycles . . . and one is even on his fourth cycle. They don't pay much attention to my ideas or even listen to some suggestions I have. How long will it be before I become a Big Gun DXer?"
This was not the first time we'd heard this question, and it probably wouldn't be the last. We tried the usual answer: "You don't measure a DXer's prowess in years", we said, looking him straight in the eye. "Your measure of DX stature is a measure of your understanding of the Mysteries of the Ages and being able to grasp the meaning of the Eternal Enigmas of DXing. And most of all, accepting that DX IS!"
"I've heard all that a dozen times!" he spouted, looking back at us and glaring with his beady little eyes. "That's how you always answer my questions. With this philosophical stuff that no one understands. Never mind Eternal Enigmas or that sort of double talk. Why can't you give me some concrete answers to a simple question? When will I be considered a True Blue DXer?"
We thought about this for a moment. How does one explain such things to one who is not ready to understand? We took a deep breath and gave it a shot. "To become a True Blue DXer, you have to believe. You have to believe that DXers are smarter, taller, better looking and generally a cut above the average amateur. You have to believe that the Mysteries of the Ages and the Eternal Enigmas of DXing are what they appear, and not question them. Once you are a believer, you will become one of the Deserving, and only the Deserving are True Blue DXers. Surely you can understand this. Just be a believer!"
The QRPer didn't understand. He stared at us for a moment and then asked with a puzzled look on his face: "Believe what? I don't even know what any of those things are. How can I believe something when I don't even know what it is? What is an Eternal Enigma? I need examples!"
It was clear that the QRPer wasn't going to accept our explanation, so we decided to give him the details he wanted. "Do you know what long path is? And do you know what short path is?" we asked. "Of course I do!" the QRPer retorted. "That's one of the first things you learn when you get a directional antenna." We looked him squarely in the eye and said, "Remember when Romeo activated Burma? Back in 1991? Did you work him long path or short path?" The QRPer looked at us with a confused face and then answered, "How should I know? That was ten years ago. What difference does it make? I have two XY0RR QSLs, and the DXCC desk counted them. So what difference does it make if I worked him long path or short path?"
We looked at him with a satisfied smile. "The Big Guns you say do not give you much credibility; they worked him too. We all did. We worked him beaming 270 degrees. And we believed he was there. So did the DXCC desk. The difference is we remembered the beam heading. But we didn't question it because we were believers."
"How could he be in Burma if you worked him beaming 270?" the QRPer asked? We just smiled and replied, "Because he was. We are believers. The unusual path was one of the Eternal Enigmas of DXing."
The QRPer scratched his head and looked at us with even more confusion than before. "Look" he said, "all I asked was when will I become a True Blue DXer and you are telling me I have to remember and believe a beam heading that was ten years ago, and that it was 90 degrees off of where it should have been. What does that have to do with gaining the respect of the Big Guns?"
It was obvious we'd missed our pitch, so we tried a different angle. "If you called directional CQ DX for a rare one, something that you really needed, say a P5, and you got an answer, would you believe it was the real thing. Let's say you called for a half an hour and finally a P5AAA responded with a '5NN QSL VIA BOX 2653 PYONGYANG' when you let off the keyer. Would you believe you had nailed a real P5?"
"Of course not! No True Blue DXer calls CQ anyhow. And if I did, I sure wouldn't send off for a card to some Slim like that! What has this got to do with my question?"
We continued on. "But suppose that you did send for the card, and you really did get one back. And assume even further that you sent it in to the ARRL and they counted it. Would you then believe you had worked a P5?"
The QRPer looked at us for a moment, deep in thought. "Well, if all that happened, I guess I would believe it. If the league said it was a good one, then who would I be to question it. But that never would happen, would it?" He thought for a moment longer and then said, "But maybe it could happen", he said slowly, answering his own question. "So what you are telling me is that as long as I believe the DX is real, then I will become a True Blue DXer and the Big Guns will respect me. That the true meaning of DX IS! is believing everything I work on the bands is legitimate?"
We decided this was a lost cause, so we simply said, "Something like that, although not quite so simplistic. Maybe you need to work on it for a little longer."
The QRPer started down the hill and then turned and said, "No, I don't think I do. I am starting to understand. All I needed was a couple of examples. I was making the assumption that DX IS! only when there is ironclad proof. The answer is quite simple when I think about it. Simply put, it can be expressed mathematically as DX MAYBE! + BELIEVING = DX IS! And once you understand DX IS!, you are a True Blue DXer!" His face brightened, and he picked up the pace toward the village.
We watched him go and slowly shook our head. Enlightenment comes to some quicker than others, and even Albert never figured it all out. This particular QRPer had potential, but today he was beaming into solid rock! Son of a Gun! What he didn't understand was the enlightenment would come only when he would stop worrying about whether or not other DXers appreciated his sterling qualities.
DX IS! Believe this without the MAYBE and you will become one of the Deserving. When that day comes, you'll know it. All the Deserving remember their day of DX enlightenment. And only the Deserving will work the DX. Even if it is a single P5AAA QSO from Pyongyang. Listen to the advice of Lord Baden-Powell and be prepared, for North Korea is coming. The question is when!
73/DX Paul VE1DX (EX: VE1PMD, VE1UK, VE0UK, CJ1UK, etc.)
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