Win4K3Suite showing spots on my KX-3’s waterfall
The ultimate DXing in my book is with QRP CW and the best antennas you can muster. There simply is no better challenge in my book. I have no interest in FT8 or any other digital mode – and now that I can work as much DX as I need or want to – with only 5 watts – more power seems like excess and simply not nearly as much fun. SSB on QRP isn’t of interest either – I don’t own a mic for the KX-3.
There are many DXers who are selling their gear so they can buy an Elecraft K4 and possibly an amp to go with that. I am moving in the opposite direction. Its part of my DXevolution – or De-evolution I guess. Less is more and All That Jazz.
I guess being a “serious” DXer from 2001 until 2016 was just enough QRO for me. I started out thinking I could make DXCC Honor Roll with 100 watts and wire antennas, then 200 watts and better antennas, and then all QRO hell broke loose. OK – that was fine then, but just continuing to turn that crank and repeating myself just finally wore out.
I suppose once you are all “geared up” – you get this weird idea that more is more. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I haven’t once had the urge to crank the KX-3 all the way up – heh heh. Its 5 watts – QSO or no QSO. Its funny how QRO just keeps you spending more an accumulating more. Its funny how QRP has you going in the opposite direction.
I’m very pleased that I didn’t just hang up my DX Hat. It could have gone that way – and I wouldn’t be the first to do that – just fade totally into the ether ham radio wise. Earn Honor Roll or HR #1 and then turn off the ham radio lights.
I’m glad that I also tried vintage gear. I use the National SW-3 almost daily – and just love it. The Collins Gold Dust Twins are superb – but I just haven’t had the urge to use them much – so they will be the next things I sell. I do like “having them around” – but if I find a buyer who will pick them up – I guess I’d rather have them being used by someone – or even “collected” by someone. I typically don’t keep things around if I don’t use them. I did learn how to use an oscilloscope and signal generator and has a lot of fun bringing the old gear to life. Getting the KWS-1 working was really a momentous moment this year. I suppose that was what that “accidental” falling onto the Collins gear was all about.
But getting the UrbanBeam up 55′ and running the KX-3 into it really brought me back into DXing, and I am glad it did so. I had tried QRP back in the 90’s and had built several QRP rigs to try to get back into ham radio – but really had been mostly off the air from 1977 – 2001.
QRP CW DXing is keeping me in the game, and I am having every bit as much fun – without the “gnashing of teeth” that was part of QRO DXing and my HR pursuit. These days if its any kind of “OCD” – its just to see if I can bag one “new one” of any kind – whether it be a DXCC entity half way across the world – or a lighthouse where they had to use a helicopter to land on just one state away – to me – its all “GUD DX”.
I am finding great comfort in this.