3Y0I and “Social DXing”

We only pass this way but once – why not take the road less traveled?

I don’t know when it happened – but I know I was living in Newton, NJ, so it was in the first third of my life. I just realized I’ve been in the San Francisco Bay Area twice as long as I had lived on the east coast. But way back then, in those early days – I promised myself that would never live a life of regrets – that I would never say “I wish I would have . . . “. that every experience would be worthy . . .

Sometimes life goes better than planned, sometimes less, but it never goes exactly as planned . . .

The thing that has always kept me happy is when I am learning something new. For me – life is most exciting when that spark of something “new” and “fresh” is happening – and it is always that time when I am learning something new that is a challenge – when I want to conquer some challenge. I know I will prevail, but I think the harder it is initially, the better.

At work – learning a new technology, and especially a new programming language has always been most excellent. It parallels my Ham Radio hobby – I might learn a new technology and build or try some new piece of gear – or antennas – designing and building antennas is the ultimate fun because I get to go outside – and my back yard becomes a new world of wonder. Sometimes old is what is new!

Collin KWS-1 power supply – tubes and point to point wiring – BIG FUN!

Totally and completely to my surprise – late last year I got into olde tyme radio – “Hollow State” or tube radios. I chose two perfect examples, one from 1931 – the National SW-3 and its designer, James Millens seminal February 1931 QST article – the best explanation of how a receiver works and which rings relevant even today – after all these years – and with such old technology. The other, the Collins Gold Dust Twins are from about 1955, and they were a true watershed moment in ham radio – the revolutionary features really defined the modern era of ham radio equipment and advanced technological features. I feel like a time traveler when I “go back” in time and know what transpired from then until now.

The Red Hot 40 QRP Transceiver

On another shelf – waiting for me to play with – are two fantastic QRP rigs – the NorCal 40A and its successor, the Red Hot 40. These are 1990’s vintage – so they are olde tyme QRP radios. When I make a QSO with these – its an experience unto itself – quite unique. And its funny to think that the 90’s were “olde tyme” – but heck – these radios were unveiled as new when my younger son Trevor was born – and he is graduating from UC Santa Cruz soon. Tyme sure does fly!

New Old concept – a bug, but with a twist

Having just gone through quite a few months trying to get excited about DXing felt like work. However, I did do something that was a blast – I visited my neighbor, Oliver, W6NV and used his station preparing for one of my “last two” that I need – Bouvet and Glorioso. His station is so much better than mine – way up a hill – with tower and big antennas. The radio gear is the same as what I used to have, but I made one call to easily bust a massive pileup – and I was totally hooked. You see, I have struggled and toiled all these years at my present QTH to make it all the way to 2 shy from Top of Honor Roll, and now that has gotten so old and stale that its not new, its not challenging – its just no fun any more. HOWEVER, not only did I have fun at Oliver’s station – we had a great time just chatting about DXing, gear, old times on the air – so it was a fun social visit more than anything – two friends sharing a common pursuit and hobby. In fact, it was so much fun – I will commit my station to just having fun from now on – and will work the last two from a friends station. No more “Mr. DXCC Purist” for me.

So – onward – a new chapter at KY6R is upon me – and I don’t feel “shackled” to DXCC like I used to. I can just do whatever I want whenever I want to, and when Bouvet and Glorioso come on the air – I will make it more of a social event than just toiling by myself in my own shack. They no longer feel like something I feel obliged to do just to “finish up” – but something new and fresh. Its a huge relief actually – more than I would have expected.

That’s what I learned with 3Y0I . . . and I am sure they will try again – my guess is this coming Fall, but we shall see . . . I also expect that Glorioso will happen in the next few years too – and both will be a new experience for me: “social DXing” . . .

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