Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Complete DXer

Odds are that, if you're reading this, you're probably familiar with two other jewels from the ARRL bookstore: Solid State Design For The Radio Amateur and Emperical Methods of RF Design.  An equally important (and still available!) publication is Bob Locher's The Complete DXer.  In a nutshell, TCD is to operating as SSDRA and EMRFD are to homebrewing - essential reading, and a bargain at $19.95.

So, what got me on this topic?  Well, dialing around during this pandemic, it's obvious that some of you could use a little elmering. Since we're not supposed to be around each other, I can't come over and teach you what was taught to me, but reading OM Bob's book can! Read it, learn it, live it and you'll come to love it.

If you can't, for whatever reason, read TCD, I'll let you in on a little secret:  There's an old adage that goes "Can't work 'em if you can't hear 'em".  Most assume that refers to using a decent antenna or well designed receiver, but there's a non-hardware component as well: You can't hear 'em while you're transmitting. 

Here's an exercise: Next time you hear a pile-up, listen to it critically.  Who's he working? Why? Is he following a pattern, eg: listening a bit up or down with every QSO? Is he giving instructions?  Once you develop that sort of awareness, then you'll know where to call and when to do it.  Practice that, and not as many of us old QRP guys will be cracking the pile before you get your turn, certainly before the lids calling "Who's the DX?" get theirs.

Enough of the lecture.  Go get the book and start working to become a better operator.

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