The Unfortunate Ones

     From the 1969 ARRL "The Radio Amateur's Operating Manual"

(Adapted from QST for May 1960)

  The man to feel sorry for in amateur radio is the non-DXer.  There is 
nothing that will bring a clutch to the throat or dew to the eye as 
quickly as to see him quietly rag-chewing on 80 meters on a cold, clear 
winter's night, or relaxing in front of the TV during the DX contest.  
Hamming is ashes to him.  There's nothing but more time for experimenting, 
more money to spend on fishing and a lot less north and south paths to 
sweat over.

  The poor non-DXers go along on the air, discussing gardening with a ham 
in the next state, handling traffic and liking ham radio.  It's a pretty 
pathetic picture.

  Every ham should chase DX.  The real fulfillment comes as his DX stature 
grows like a little acorn and he becomes a full-fledged nut.  Oh! the 
wonder of watching your tri-band beam, $100 rotator and the bulk of your 
80-foot tower create a graceful arc as it settles through your living room 
roof during a windstorm; that feeling of "togetherness" as you and your 
wife are at opposite ends of a 300-foot length of No. 10 Copper-weld 
you're uncoiling for your new V-beam and she lets go; the ecstasy as she 
extricates you from the wire by cutting its entire length into three-foot 
chunks with lineman's pliers.

  Ah!  The unique feeling of reward which comes as you spend two hours 
and 34 minutes stalking a VS9, only to lose him to "old buddy" who moves 
him to a local phone band for a long rag chew!

  Oh, the bliss, when that DXpedition finally comes back to you just as 
your son turns on the electric drill in the basement!  What non-DXer ever 
shared such stark drama?  Aren't you a better ham for having lived so 
richly, so fully, and for acquiring that peptic ulcer?

  The non-DXer lives in an electronic vacuum.  There is a wearisome 
emptiness to hamming without DX - and the non-DXer is too tranquil and 
unruffled to know it.  You only have to look at him to see what the 
years have done.  He looks youthful, unlined, rested.  He has an easy 
laugh and a faultless digestion.  It isn't natural.  If he only knew 
the delights of chasing DX, he would look like the rest of us - tired 
and sagging, grey, deeply lined and haggard - in other words - NORMAL!

                      -Paul Amis, W7RGL