Originally published in the December 1981 C&E.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The famed Q.R. Zedd, Oklahoma’s greatest DXer, is scheduled to give the speech at the annual SCARS Christmas dinner next week. For those unable to attend, we present here the prepared text of Zedd’s sensational remarks.)
BY Q.R. ZEDD
Thank you, thank you, thank you. This ovation is wonderful but only I guess what I deserve. Now if you will just be quiet a few minutes I will share with you some of my secrets of chasing DX. Please remember that all this is copyrighted 1981 by Q.R. Zedd Enterprises, Inc., Box 73, Norman, Oklahoma.
Well, a funny thing happened to me on the way here tonight, ha ha. I worked seven exotic countries on my tuna tin special, running fifty milliwatts to a pipe cleaner in the glovebox. But that was because called CQ DX and those rare ones naturally recognized my call right away and were clamoring to have the honor of getting a card from me, which is something you peons can’t count on, being famous like I am, I mean. So you need more technique and that is what I am here to tell you about, a few simple rules that ought to get you on the Honor Roll by Christmas if you try.
RULE #1 — NEVER RUN MORE POWER THAN YOU NEED. I believe that 2 KW PEP should be sufficient for casual ragchews if you have a decent antenna farm, and if you follow this rule, you will only run big power when trying to snag a new one in a pileup.
RULE #2 — NEVER TUNE UP ON THE AIR. If you tune up on the air, in a place where you can’t hear nobody talking, you are likely to QRM somebody you can’t hear. Therefore, don’t tune up on the air; tune up zero-beat on top of the DX station; sometimes you will make some of the competition so mad they will quit. And you can often get some good tips of where the propagation is going by listening to who complains and where they are.
RULE #3 — ANY TIME YOU HEAR A PILEUP, JUMP IN. If you wait to learn who the DX station is, he may go QRT on you. The best thing to do is jump in and start yelling with all your power on, and then when you get through, you ask him for his call. This will make an impression on him and increase your chances of getting a card.
RULE #4 — WITH DXPEDITIONS, ALWAYS GET AT LEAST SIX INSURANCE CONTACTS. This is only good common sense, to make sure you’re in the log. Also, look at it this way: every contact you make is one contact somebody else doesn’t make; that makes the DX rarer and you a bigger stud for having his card, right?
RULE #5 — IN A PILEUP, NEVER CALL LESS THAN 26 TIMES. Scientific studies have shown that most DXers have to stop and breathe some time between their first and 25th call. It stands to reason that if you give your call 26 times, you will probably outshout most of the others. Also, if the DX station can hear you at all, he may work you just to get you off the frequency.
RULE #6 — IF YOU HEAR ANYBODY CALLING OUT OF THE BAND, BE SURE AND GET DOWN THERE AND TELL THEM THEY ARE OUT OF THE BAND. It has a whole lot more impact if you call the offending station by his call and tell him he is a lid and an idiot and stuff like that there. Never give your call. Make them guess!
RULE #7 — NEVER IGNORE MALICIOUS INTERFERENCE. If them guys running keyers and telephone busy signals and all don’t get screamed and cursed at by true-blue DXers, how are they ever going to learn that what they are doing is BAD?
RULE #8 — IF YOU HAVE WORKED A REAL RARE ONE IN THE MORNING, AND HEAR HIM AGAIN THAT AFTERNOON WITH A HUGE PILEUP, BE SURE TO BUST THROUGH AGAIN AND GIVE HIM A COMPARATIVE SIGNAL REPORT. Everybody really appreciates this.
RULE #9 — NEVER SEND YOUR CW LESS THAN 40 WPM. It also helps if you splatter in a few extra dits, which is fairly easy at this speed. It provides a true test of the DX op at the other end; if he is any good, he will figure out what you are saying and appreciate the confidence you are showing in his CW ability. In case he is a lid, send your call a whole lot of times to make sure you are in the log.
RULE #10 — NEVER ADMIT A CONTACT WAS HARD. Your image will suffer if you do. Let me give you an example. The other night I heard a UL7 and I hadn’t worked one for almost a day, so I got in there and called, but I was horse mobile at the time with a handle talkie, so I was at somewhat of a disadvantage. I called that sucker for five hours before I got through. But at the Norman Tuesday coffee-drinking the next day, do you think I was going to tell anybody that contact was hard? Bad for my image. I just said something like, “Oh, yeah, last night I worked a UL7, ho hum,” and changed the subject. I could tell some of the fellers really thought I was a stud because of that.
RULE #11 — ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO MENTION YOUR DX TOTAL. Like I think most of you noticed this flashing diode callsign badge I’ve got glued to my forehead which also gives my DX total, flashing red for SSB and green for CW, alternately. For something like this here party where I can’t talk to everyone personally, a visual like that is the best. Usually you can be more subtle like you walk up to a man and say, “Howdy, H.O., how’s everything going with you? I heard your antenna fell down. By the way, my DX total today stands at four hundred and fifty six.” Or: “Hello, Archibald, I was sure sorry to hear your Mom died last night. Incidentally, if I should die before I wake, my DX total would stand at four hundred and fifty six.”
RULE #12 — IF YOU WORK A RARE ONE, ALWAYS GET RIGHT ON THE LOCAL REPEATER AND LET EVERYBODY ELSE KNOW ABOUT IT AS SOON AS THE DX HAS GONE QRT. This will assure your reputation locally as not only a DX stud, but a really nice guy always trying to help others. (A variation of this trick is to tell folks about the rare DX the next day, and pretend you didn’t know they even needed a BY.)
Well, folks, there are a lot of other things I could talk about, like how to tail-end, how to give signal reports and pretend you heard your call called by the DX station when you really didn’t, how to get on lists by making long-distance telephone calls to the MC, and other good stuff like that. But I am sure you will learn all that for your own selfs.
Let me just leave you with these parting ideas:
ONE — ALL DXERS ARE NICE GUYS, AND HUMBLE.
TWO — IT’S NOT WHO YOU WORKED, OR HOW MANY, BUT HOW MANY KNOW WHO YOU WORKED, AND HOW MANY.
THREE — I FORGOT TO TELL YOU THERE WAS A VIETNAM’ STATION ON EARLIER TONIGHT, BUT OH, GOSH, BY MY WATCH I SEE HE JUST WENT QRT.
Merry Christmas! I hope it has brightened your holidays to get to rub elbows with me!