Some of our Best Friends…
by Wayne Mills, N7NG
Listening to the huge pileups during the 7O6T operation last week was encouraging and disheartening. Most of the operators were excellent, doing all the right things and rattling off Qs at a furious pace. In some respects, they were contesters being contesters, but…. that’s OK.
They did this despite the fact that some of the most experienced and knowledgeable operators were calling aggressively out of turn. Even as the DX operator was very clearly standing by for a particular station: ONLY DL5A PSE” having found the station in question, these guys were pounding away in a most outrageous manner. Every time: “ONLY DL5A,” …K6…N6…N7…W1…Some of these guys were very familiar to us – some of our best friends – a few of whom I had seen in Visalia two weeks earlier. While these folks weren’t greatly affecting the rate, it was at least a “cosmetic disaster.” Wouldn’t it be better if these DXers would QRX, allowing the QSO to take place quickly and the pileup to move on? Yes, it would, and they know it. So what’s going on?
Why all of this counterproductive aggressiveness? Many of them don’t even need 7O on the bands in question. I know many of these guys. Why such a frenetic, competitive approach? Have we reached the point where anarchy reigns? Is there absolutely no discipline in big pileup situations these days? Or are there other factors?
There have always been different levels of “need.” We all define our needs differently, but in general, the greater the need, the greater will be the effort to get the DX in the log. For some, Yemen is just one of 150 to 200 more that we need on the list. No big deal. For those high on the DXCC Challenge list, a new band is not all that important, either. For others though, it might be the last one on the current list or it might be the last one they need to make the Honor Roll. In that case, it’s very important. Does any of this need justify some of the overly aggressive behavior we are seeing in the latest version of the pileup? Not really.
A new one you need for the Top of the Honor Roll is one thing, but it might be worth considering something new – a new element of competition that has been introduced into DXing. That new element is ClubLog and its associated Leaderboards. Let me emphasize at the outset that I am not in any way against the competition encouraged by ClubLog. ClubLog has inserted a fresh, new approach to DXing that is popular and fun.
The fresh-start race to get to the top of the Leaderboards with each new DXpedition is undeniable. Many old-timers, have preached for decades that if one has worked a country on at least one band, no further attempts should be made to work that one in deference to “more deserving DXers.” For many, this alone is a questionable proposition, but the challenge of ClubLog is bringing more rabid DXer behavior to the fore. It offers a new chance to be “at the top” each and every time there is a big DXpedition.
So, it’s possible that with each new challenge, the competitive juices flow, and the biggest of the big guns get “overly exuberant.” Maybe for these more experienced DXers, a bit of self control might be in order. Maybe they should sit back a while and try a different, more efficient approach. Maybe they could see how few calls it could take to work a really rare one. In another sport – fly fishing – there is a “one fly” competition in which the winner catches the most or biggest fish with only one fly. (Well, maybe notone call, but…) It’s simple and elegant. In contrast, the DXer bashing his/her way through a mega-pileup is not exactly elegant.
What do you think? Why do some of the world’s most accomplished DXers operate in this manner – not even anonymously? Is ClubLog a factor? Send me your thoughts – email@example.com
P.S. Just this morning, in response to a note on the 7O6T Website, aspects of Club are being discussed on the Chiltern DX Club (CDXC) reflector in the U.K, and Michael Wells, G7VJR, author of ClubLog responds. More next week…
(c) 2012, Wayne Mills, N7NG