One of the Local QRPers came by the other day, this one with a look of new found knowledge on his face. He beat his way up the hill and joined us on the veranda to watch the bees foraging and returning to the hives. He was silent for a moment, then he said, "You know, all these people who are on Number One Honor Roll . . . all 18 of them? The ones who made the P5 list?" We weren't sure the P5 operation was a list, but we nodded anyhow.
"Well," the QRPer continued, "there's been a lot of discussion about this being an unfair operation and only a select few being on Number One Honor Roll, right?" We had to agree that this had stirred up a bit of controversy. "I think I have a solution that will satisfy everyone", the QRPer replied. "I've been watching the Pathfinder news on TV closely and all the pictures that NASA's been receiving from Mars. And that's what gave me the idea."
"Mars!" we jumped to our feet and roared, looking at the QRPer in awe, "Don't tell us you want the ARRL to count that as a DXCC country. Don't waste our time with silly ideas like that. There's no one there to work, there never has been and there never will be in the foreseeable future. And even if there were, it's another planet! Where do you come up with these things?" We stared the QRPer straight in his beady little eyes and waited for an answer . . . although this was so preposterous we didn't really care what he might say.
The QRPer held up his hand and replied quickly, "Of course it's silly. And I never said that. All I said was that it gave me an idea. And my idea has merit, too."
We sat back down and said, "OK, then how does a robot on Mars solve the 18 people on Number One Honor Roll problem?" The QRPer looked at us with those same beady little eyes for a moment and then said two words: "The moon!" We took a deep breath and leaned back in the chair. It was clear to us that this QRPer had simply moved from one ridiculous idea to another. Rather than argue, we decided to let him continue on. Later on, we weren't sure we had made the right decision.
"You see," the QRPer continued, "while on the surface it may seem like an absurd idea, I've read the DXCC rules and I feel the moon meets all the rules. And I'm going to see if I can generate enough interest to have a proposal submitted to the DXAC asking that it be added to the DXCC countries list." We looked at the QRPer but we were lost for words so we let him continue. "There's nothing in the rules that mention 'terrestrial'" he continued on, "and when I compare it to other counters, like Antarctica, I see a lot of similarities. Antarctica is not "owned" by any specific country, but by international agreement, it is neutral territory and accessible to people of all nations for scientific research. And there are no permanent settlements there, either. Antarctica is not a member of the UN, does not have currency, does not have any formal government, issue stamps or passports or the like. Yet it's a bona fide DXCC country. And the moon fits all these same categories, right?"
We thought about this for a few seconds and then we had him: "The ability to sustain human life rule.", we replied confidently, "The moon fails on that point." The QRPer never missed a blink: "Got it covered", he continued, "How many astronauts visited the moon from 1969 until 1975?" We weren't sure, so we replied, "Probably a dozen, maybe more." And with that the QRPer jumped to his feet triumphantly, "And they all came back alive, some after spending a number of days on the lunar surface. If the moon didn't sustain life, they never would have returned, would they? And just because they didn't take any HAM radio gear with them doesn't mean they couldn't have." Before we had a chance to reply, the QRPer continued, "And if NASA or the Russians really wanted too, they could put another crew on the moon. And is there any reason they couldn't take a HF rig and a beam along? They're not likely to go at all because they are diverting their energy to space stations and Mars probes, but they could do it if they wanted to. And since they probably won't, adding the moon to the DXCC list will put everyone back on an even playing field . . . with no DXer on Number One Honor Roll and no hope of getting there anytime soon. Sort of like all the DXers except the 18 who worked the P5 operation!"
And with that he was off down the hill, sure in his stride and confident that he had taken care of the P5 matter. Son of a Gun! We scratched our head and looked over at the bees who were returning to the hives. What could we say? Nothing. We simply report them as we hear them. DX IS!
73/DX Paul VE1DX
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