Although Sunspot Louie was predicting a bit more doom and gloom before the sunspots returned, we were sitting in the autumn sun musing about the Great Days of DXing that were not far around the corner. We thought of the days a few years ago when 10- metres was wide open well after dark and we were confident that it wouldn't be too long before we would be adding to our 28 MHz total again.
About this time, one of the Local QRPers came strolling by, looking somewhat confused. "Why do we have these solar cycles?", he asked, "Why isn't the flux 200-250 all the time?" We stopped the rocking chair and looked at the QRPer carefully. "Well," we replied slowly, "we've never considered why. We've read about the historical data and we can confirm that they occur at about 11-year intervals, but we never asked why . . . that's just the way it is. Like the seasons of the year, or the phases of the moon. It's a natural phenomena." The QRPer wasn't listening to the philosophical answer. "No, no", he replied, "I mean what's the scientific reason? Why is it 11-years? Why not 3 or 6? Or, better yet, why doesn't it stay up all the time. Can't NASA or the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasedena do something about it?"
It took us about two seconds to realize we were out of our league, so we hauled the QRPer up the hill to the Old Timer. "Why do we have 11-year sunspot cycles?", the QRPer repeated, looking directly at the Old Timer with his beady little eyes. The Old Timer glanced right back at the QRPer and spoke without missing a beat, "To separate the DXers from the rest of the amateur population. To create the two types of amateurs, DXers and those who want to be." The QRPer stared at the Old Timer with a baffled look. "But why 11 years?", he asked again. "If you have to ask, you won't understand the answer.", the Old Timer replied, and that was all that he would say. The QRPer shrugged, puzzled and not sure what he was missing. So he wandered down the hill, still pondering this most important Eternal Enigma and muttering about writing off to NASA to get a "straight answer."
We turned to the Old Timer and smiled. "You sure can pick them out, can't you?", we said. The Old Timer was silent for a moment, then replied: "As Albert so well put it: 'God does not play dice with the universe.' And even Albert would concede that someone rolled a seven with that particular QRPer!" Son of a Gun! The Old Timer had discovered the Unified Field Theory! It was one of the components of DX IS! These sure are exciting times in the world of DX, and maybe even nuclear physics!
Best Regards, Paul
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