Posts Tagged ‘From The W6SL DX Desk’

From The W6SL DX Desk | Dummy Load

It’s time. It’s really way past time. Tuning up transmitters and amplifiers on the DX station’s frequency has got to stop. Although I truly believe that it’s callous rudeness and selfishness I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say it could be lid behavior from those who don’t know how to work those fancy rigs with dual VFOs.

But probably not.

Thousands and thousands of dollars are spent on fancy rigs, amplifiers, antennas, towers, rotators, keyers, QSLing, etc. yet most hams are too cheap, yes too darn cheap, to spend a few bucks to build or buy a dummy load.

Over the years QST has published articles on easy-to-build dummy loads. In fact, QST recently published a dummy load project article in the February 2011 issue. Old Heathkit Cantenna dummy loads are often found at ham swap meets or advertised on internet sites such as in the classified section of

You can buy new dummy loads made by MFJ, Vectronics, Bird, and Yaesu. Palstar makes a high-quality dummy load that handles 2000 watts for a full minute, Alpha sells one that will take SIX KILOWATTS! DX Engineering handles most of these brands.

I know. I’m whistling Dixie and preaching to the choir. Most wouldn’t bother to use a dummy load if it were available for free. So what’s next?

There is a simple solution that doesn’t cost a cent: Have the IARU members establish load-up frequencies on each band where any ham can sit on a frequency as long as he/she wishes and load the big amps until their tubes glow white and burn out. It would take the sacrifice of one or two kilohertz per band, one KHz for CW, one KHz for the SSB portion. If you wanted to try a QSO on those frequencies you’d certainly be welcome but you would have to be aware that you could be clobbered with QRM. But it would get the QRM off the DX stations. Isn’t it worth that small sacrifice? Two kilohertz per band? 

It’s such an easy solution to a problem that has existed for so many years but one that seems to have become much worse in the last few years.

I did a lot of listening to the recent DXpeditions—Yemen, Swains, Mauritania, Lesotho, Campbell, Cambodia and others. Every two minutes or so the whole DXing world would have to standby while some selfish jerk would load up a big amplifier right on top of the DX station. And then we’d have to lose another minute while the frequency cops called the jerk all sorts of names from “lid” to tail-end-of-a-donkey. (That’s a euphemism, son.) By the end of that diatribe it would be time for another selfish jerk to come along and load up. Isn’t it time we made some effort to stop this craziness?


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