It is certainly easy to grow lazy. I didn’t realize how easy until I cut the cord to my Packet Cluster. For a very long time now something seemed amiss with my enjoyment of radio. Nothing had materially changed and I began to think that it was simply becoming old hat. Could it be that after almost 50 years I was bored? However, if that was true I would no longer enjoy my daily rag chew on CW with friends and I probably would have just shut the radio off or worse, sold it as I have in the past. But not this time. I still enjoy my schedules and I always enjoy snooping around the low end of 40 at sunset. What then is the source of my dissatisfaction?
After a lot of consideration I have come to the conclusion it is drift net DX’ing. Drift Net DX’ing is the act of doing nothing and ending up at the top of the Honor Roll. Now do not get me wrong. I’m not at the top of the Honor Role- heck I haven’t even submitted all or any of my cards. The only time I had my cards examined was to insure my membership into the Northern California DX Club. Perhaps I am giving short shrift to DXers everywhere but for me Drifting DX is taking the sport away. These days technology is so pervasive that you can hook up a computer to thousands of other DXers around the world and have your computer dial a pager or cell phone to let you know what band, frequency and split is happening live in real time for a station that you may need a confirmation. Call it Drift Netting or call it Long Lining but don’t call it DXing. At least not for me. You see there are two parts to DX’ing. The discovery piece and the working the station piece.
The use of clusters is more insidious in other ways as well. I alluded to them earlier in my “Lazy” comment. I had become lazy in that if I happened across a pileup it was a simple matter to scan the cluster and see who it was, what the split was and what part of the world or what district they were working . So not only did I surrender my “Hunting” piece of the game, I deferred my accuracy and listening ability to someone else because I simply could read it on my screen. Warts and all (other folks mistakes).
So it is with no small degree of regret, I am today cutting my umbilical to the DX’ing community. I will miss the easy to find WWV and Propagation reports and to some degree some of the announcements. However, I get the “Hunt” back, and I hope-some of the adventure.