The Electric Bill

Some of you 'not so old timers" may have never heard of Hugh Cassidy, WA6AUD. Cass, as he was referred to, wrote humorous stories about DXing for the West Coast DX Bulletin that featured the QRP'er who went "up the hill" to discuss and get counsel on the Mysteries of the Ages and the Eternal Enigmas of DXing. If  you haven't read any of Cass's work, you really should read a couple before you read my story below. His stories can be found on the this website,
So in the vein of Cass, I submit another story of the DXer and the QRP'er

The Electric Bill

The DX’er came up the hill the other day with a stern look on his face. “What’s wrong with you” we said, just trying to start a conversation. “I just received my electric bill and I’m going to have to tell my XYL that we just can’t keep the house as warm as she wants it”. We were very careful not to get too involved in a domestic squabble, but we thought we should explore the situation a little further. “How warm does she want it?” we asked. He ranted, “Not only does it cost a lot of money to keep the house warm, but I break into a sweat when I’m in the shack trying to work a little DX, I don’t know why the thermostat has to be so high” The situation was starting to become clear to us now because we knew that the DX’er had a least one Alpha in his shack plus a mysterious black switch on the wall that he clicked “on” when he didn’t work the DX on the first call.
“Did you ever think that it’s all the tubes in your shack that keep you warm and that maybe it’s cooler in other parts of the house, perhaps where your XYL sits in the living room”, we suggested. He stopped to think for a minute, we knew that the situation was getting clearer for him. He then got an indignant look on his face, “You QRP’ers are always picking on me because I run a little power, I think that you are just jealous”. “Run a little power”, we said, “Last week the power company had 5 complaints in your neighborhood of dimming lights and a loud hum. Wasn’t Bouvet on last week?” “I don’t know what you are talking about” he said, looking away, “but yes Bouvet was on and I bet none of you QRP’ers worked him” he said with an arrogant grin. “On the contrary” we replied, “we all worked them”. “That’s impossible, none of you run more than 5 watts and the pile-ups were huge, I had to fire up both….I mean I had to use my amp or I would have never gotten through on the first day”. We let him have his fun as he bragged of nabbing Bouvet on 6 bands and then we reminded him that it was a three week expedition and that the pileups on the last days were much more manageable and that each of the QRP’ers had contacts on multiple bands with just 5 watts. He was speechless, as he confronted one of the eternal enigmas of ham radio. He was a little deflated and it seemed to us that in his own eyes his accomplishments had been diminished. “You mean each of you guys worked Bouvet?” he said quietly. “Yes” we said in unison “and our electric bills are much less than yours because we don’t need to run two, I mean we don’t need to run an amplifier”. The DX’er was humbled as he headed back down the hill, electric bill in hand, much slower than he came up. He was heard to say, “They worked Bouvet and have a lower electric bill”. Working rare DX with QRP; truly one of the Mysteries of the Ages.
Mike Crownover, AD5A, is a regular contributor to and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: