Don’t cross over to the DARK SIDE
So, here I sit at the radio pos’ again. It’s been a long time since I’ve logged a new entity, and it looks like I’ll be sitting longer if the behavior taking place on the low end of 20M continues. The DX is sort of audible. He’s an honest S-4 on an fairly quiet, atmospherically speaking, band. But the QRM makes him R-2 at best. I’m waiting for the cacophony to subside. The frustration builds and as it does my mind begins construction of wicked torture devices. I’d subject some humiliation and pain on these no good varmints causing rain to fall on my “radio parade.” I ask myself that important question, “Am I having fun?” No! Back to reality. The grass outside the shack is not at hay baling length yet, but I’m not feeling the DX buzz either. Perhaps “VEGI-CIDE” is the clear conscious choice for the discriminating DX’er. Behind four and half horses of grass decapitation power, I’m thinking what has been written in an attempt to improve behavior. I think of the question posed in the announcement box of the DX cluster asking, “What I wonder leads someone to make our hobby impossible?”
Perhaps frustration after spending kilo-bucks on gear only to find some serious skills and patience lacking. Maybe just antisocial behavior. I try to think of where I’ve seen this before. A Ha yes, fishing! I’ve seen grown men throw rocks, shoot their pistols into the water, and even give the Tarzan jungle yell. I guess we might be glad they are not hams, home on the radio. What if you took a picture of these fools in the act of mischief and posted them in the shop windows of the sporting goods stores around town? Surely, it would draw some attention, even if the individuals were not recognized. The behavior recognizable.
How would one capture and display bad radio operating practice? Audio recording and playback comes to mind. Those with dual receiver capability can capture both sides of the exchange. U-Tube is now a very popular forum for instruction of all sorts. That, said it is important to note, only some interference is malicious, the remainder a lack of skill and an over abundance of zeal.
It would require some forethought to produce an audio-video presentation that would be instructional, while allowing those not being malicious to “save face.” Equally valuable would be the good practices showcased, as some of the DX-peditions already are, with the DX-pedition operator running a fast clip and every ones timing following suit.
More appreciation of just listening to how good operators get through and catching the rhythm of the QSO process is valuable information. Only occasionally does the DX-pedition go silent after only a day of two, why not let the big guns fight it out the first night? Tricks like listening to the bands several days before for the area of the world that will be your focus later will give you confidence and allow you to construct a plan to snare that “new one.” It will make the minutes or hours you have available more productive, reduce frustration, and keep you in the game of DX for years to come. The sage advice of my friend Stig, W2JWF is; “That every time you work a new one you have ruined a little bit of your own fun, for it no longer is a new one.” Stig, a ham since 1936 has wisely saved a few for his old age!
For myself, I hope to time it just right.