A better expression than “DX IS!”
I think the phrase “DX IS!” was coined by “Cass”, WA6AUD and you can read all about it at the NCDXC web site – https://ncdxc.org/west-coast-dx-bulletin/ When we have noisy conditions at the bottom of the solar cycle, we “wander” like we are lost – so reading through the archive of old “West Coast DX Bulletins” is a lot of fun. We can make fun of ourselves getting too concerned about “lack of sunspots” . . . .
But one thing that is as sure as a day with bad conditions is that the next “new one” is just around the corner. “New one” is relative – you can make up what that means – set your own “DXpectations”.
I grew up in the Northeast where the weather would do what it would do. Since moving to the SF Bay Area (my family in 1979 and me in 1982), the weather is much more predictable here. Back in Newton, NJ, Lock Haven, PA or Rochester, NY, we would say the summer was either rainy and no good – or it was good. And lightning – we had lightning. Rochester by far was the worst weather I have ever experienced – it was grey and miserable most of the time – year round. I only lasted one year there. We don’t have lightning or ice or snow storms here in Orinda. Back then, we also would gripe about the humidity – there were days where it was hard not to sweat unless you were in air conditioning. Then, in Winter, they could be mild and relatively short – or long where you ended up with “cabin fever”. I don’t miss any of that.
Like the weather in the SF Bay Area – the sunspot cycle is also more predictable than the weather in the Northeast. The big difference is that the sunspot cycle can produce good or bad conditions that last weeks, months or even years.
What I am learning is that even with only 5 watts – I can work DX. Changing my expectations was key to my latest DX-ing pursuit of happiness – my expectations were set about as low as I could set them. This is the opposite of how I set my expectations when chasing Top of DXCC Honor Roll – there, you build up your station and clamor for the next “ATNO” (All Time New One). The problem is, it can be years between ATNOs – my last ATNO was 2016, three and a half years ago. Its easy to get tired of that pursuit and call it a day, In fact, I can understand why some make Top of Honor Roll and then get out of the hobby – if you put all of your eggs in that basket – that sort of thing is highly likely.
I had fancied trying something DX wise with QRP – but since you can’t prove to anyone what power level you are using – it seems silly to bother with any QRP DX award – and in my case, “inventing” my own has turned out to be a lot more fun and is a lot more logical than anything else. I also have always had great respect for the IOTA people – and now mixing that in with the DXCC list just makes crazy good sense.
The biggest deal DXpedition that I am looking forward to is in just 2 weeks or so – and its Tillamook Rock lighthouse, IOTA NA-211:
Tillamook Lighthouse – along the gorgeous Oregon Coast
I need to send them a donation – here is their web site – https://k7tri.weebly.com/
They are going when the weather is about as good as it gets along the West Coast – September is probably the most predictable month – it will either be foggy and windy or clear. I lived 2 blocks from the beach in San Francisco – at 47th and Irving for years, and it was a very foggy place – however – September and October were the two months where I really loved living there. September by far was the calmest and sunniest out of the year.
I find it pretty surprising that DX in Oregon “IS!”, but that is the case, and its a fun thought for sure.