DXing was a potent stepping stone into amateur radio for me. SW DXing, that is – as a mere listener. It converted “magic” and “radio” into synonymous terms in my psyche and I consider it a very fortuitous way of becoming a ham radio DXer.
As I read various DX forums, magazine articles and other media, I’m sometimes left feeling like I’m the only DXer on the planet who chases DX for the sheer joy of it. The bulk of what I read (and of what’s out there to be read) has to do with activating a far-flung island, getting a rare QSL/LoTW confirmation, making the Honor Roll or achieving some other goal prescribed, described and sanctified by an Entity.
I used to be among them, thinking that having the ARRL confer DXCC upon me would be a pinnacle of my ham career – a way to mark my progress and accomplishments as a DXer. Ditto for CQ Magazine’s “Worked All Zones” award.
But I accomplished those things and suddenly something happened – the award for which I now qualified no longer held its appeal.
The accomplishment felt great – I just didn’t see the need to have someone else tell me what I already knew. I have QSLs from 100 countries – why do I need the ARRL to tell me that? The motivation to work those 100 countries didn’t come from the DXCC award – it just sort of happened along the way as I chased DX.
I do set goals for myself but they have nothing to do with external awards.
I think official awards dilute DXing and frustrate DXers because, for many of them, the chase becomes about the award rather than the joy along the way. This is driven home to me almost weekly by what I read of/from other DXers.
I’ve pondered why we need recognition from a higher authority to make our accomplishments bona fide. It’s not just that way in ham radio but in other areas of life as well. Other hobbies, the job, etc.
It’s an interesting aspect of life and human psychology that I’d like to learn more about, but for now, I’m happy to be (once again) on the outside looking in; and enjoying DXing for the pure sake of DXing.
No additives required.