Friday, February 18, 2011

Worthless ?????

An interesting discussion is evolving on QRP-L.  Hopefully it won't devolve and become a  QRP-L embarrassment.  Anyway, it all began a few days ago when a fellow QRPer happily announced that he had worked PJ6/K4UEE,  his 100th DXCC entity at QRP power levels.  QRPers, being who and what they are, immediately started offering their congratulations, but also encouraged this fellow Ham to apply for "the wallpaper".

In this case, "the wallpaper" would be the QRP DXCC certificate, which is pictured above.  Things got a bit sticky when one Ham opined that it is a "useless award".  And even though I have the award and am VERY proud to have it, I can understand his point (which he is entitled to).  QRP DXCC does not require the applicant to mail in his QSL cards; or LOTW credits as the regular award does.  All you are required to do is send in a list of the 100 DXCC entities that you worked, providing call sign, date and band information. Therefore, in the opinion of this Ham, the QRP DXCC is useless because it lacks credibility. In his opinion, this is a simple case of, "I earned it 'cuz I said I did what I said I did,"

If this were a court case or a matter of law, I would agree wholeheartedly.  But this is not that, this is something totally different.  This boils down to being a matter of honor and faith, as it were.  The same Ham who proclaimed the QRP DXCC certificate "useless", also claimed in his post that he has worked over 120 DXCC entities via QRP and that he has the cards to prove it.  I never met the man face to face; and probably never will, yet I believe him.  I don't need to see his cards.  If I cannot take him at his word, then what's the point?  Furthermore, what's the point of just dreaming up 100 DX QRP contacts, taking the time to fabricate the details, put them down on paper and then send in $10 for the certificate?  It just doesn't make sense that anyone would do something like that; but I guess someone could.  And that would be very sad, indeed, if they needed to live a lie like that.

He went on to make the point that perhaps instead of offering a separate QRP DXCC award that the League (oops, sorry ..... the ARRL - they don't want to be called "The League" anymore) should just offer a CW endorsement on the regular DXCC award.  I see the point in this and would normally agree.  However, when I re-did WAS for the second time - all 50 via QRP and CW, all I got for my efforts and $10 were the words "QRP" and "CW" in rather small 12 point type, in an innocuous position towards the bottom right hand corner of the award.  Hardly what I would call a significant recognition of the added difficulty.

So here we have several issues coming into play in one topic:

1) What is credibility?  Does "honor" and "my word" count anymore; or have we become so jaded that we must always have the "cold hard proof".

2) In the end, do we really even need the certificates?  When it comes right down to it, isn't "I earned it 'cuz I said I did what I said I did" enough?

Maybe it's just human nature to want tangible recognition for a rather difficult achievement.  Maybe that's what drives us to strive to reach beyond the mundane, everyday things.

You have to be a Ham to dissect things like this!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. I agree with the guy. I don't need a certificate to prove to myself that I worked what I did. And if anyone else is interested in my achievement they will either believe it if I tell them I did it or they won't.

  2. Larry,
    The point you miss is that the QRP DXCC Award is so prestigous that it can be leveraged into serious money. With the right publicity agent, a QRP DXCC recipient can land a lucrative endorsement contract with the likes of, dare we say, Nike? Oh, wait, I am confused...the award only has value to the person receiving it.
    So I do agree with you, this is about those old-fashioned values of honor and credibility.

    I think the award has value as a tangible artifact that can be hung on the wall of the recipient. In the end, only the recipient will know whether it is genuine or not. That's good enough for me.

    Bob K0NR

  3. Anonymous7:51 AM

    I saw that comment on QRP-L and almost jumped in. I agree with you. It doesn't matter if you have to provide QSLs or not, you made the accomplishment and that's all that matters. Furthermore, it's fairly trivial to counterfeit QSLs of most DX contacts, or game the DX QSL manager system. Anyone who thinks QSL cards are indisputable proof of a contact is a fool.


  4. Your comments to the list were very well thought out and I happen to agree with you 100%, I was one of the 1st to offer congrats. to the proud OP and quite honestly didn't know verification wasnt required for the award (uh, certificate) I have 80+ right now with 33 confirmed, when I reach my 100th worked I will certainly apply for the certificate but continue on working until I have them confirmed. Not because it is necessary but because "I" want it!
    As was stated there is no way to prove all contacts were made at QRP power levels anyway so whether cards are physically verified or not it is still just a word of honor...

    Jim WA2OQJ

  5. I guess I don't have an opinion... I have 172 confirmed with QRP CW but have never applied for the paper. Not only are no QSLs required, but how could anyone prove they used 5 watts or less?

    Because of that, I guess I have never considered it a valuable accomplishment but I take no issue with those who do...

    73 Jeff KE9V