Friday, January 15, 2016

K5P: It Should Not Be Easy

There is a great deal of interest in the ongoing K5P DXpedition to Palmyra Atoll. In these first few days of the 2 week operation there is a pervasive din of complaint. They are too weak or they are only working the other guys. There is something wrong, but not with K5P. The problem is us.

Who ever said that working DX was meant to be easy? If it were easy what would be the value of DXCC and achieving DXCC Honor Roll? None, that's what.

Accomplishments easily achieved are the ones we least remember and cherish. Working K1N Navassa Island was not noteworthy for me since it is almost in my backyard and I used 100 watts. Well, except for perhaps 80 meters. Working FT5ZM Amsterdam Island with 10 watts, including 40 meters with an inverted vee, I can justifiably be proud of. It required a serious effort.

I, too, have yet to work K5P. That's okay. There is yet time for propagation and luck to perform their magic. Even if I fail to work them that is acceptable to me. It is one more country I can anticipate for the future, perhaps at least 10 years hence. I expect to work hard for it, not have it come easy.

In any important objective in ham radio, as in life, it is the pursuit rather than the catching that is the most fulfilling. For me, QRP with small antennas was like that: making contacts, working DX and winning contests. It added spice to my renewed interest in ham radio after being QRT for 20 years.

The funny thing is that working rare DX is easier today than ever before. One big driver is money: people around the world are more affluent than ever before. Towers are higher, antennas are bigger and rigs are better and more powerful. There is also the ease of travel and the wealth to mount DXpeditions to remote areas of the planet. Spotting networks relieve us from most of the tedious effort of finding the DX.

The sense of entitlement exhibited by some is disappointing. I do hope that those who endlessly complain about K5P learn to adjust their expectations and enjoy the chase. That the K5P operation is restricted to small antennas only enhances the challenge and excitement. Adding a counter to a DXCC total is not what it ought to be about. Consider it an incentive to improve one's skills and to build bigger, better antennas.

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