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Author Topic: Hobbies a Bit Like DXing?  (Read 1681 times)

Posts: 3018

« on: September 11, 2009, 08:17:00 AM »

I've always been struck by the similarities between big time "Birding" [bird watching] and ham DXing. Birders travel long distances to collect verified sighting of rare birds. There have been controversies when wealthy "novices" buy into the birder "honor roll" using their travel time and money and not skill. Some people cheat and questions of ethics abound.

Today I read the "North Korea" of birds has been spotted, the Fiji Petrel which is one heck of a rarity... it was last seen 130 years ago!


There's also a DXCC for travelers which I believe uses our ham DXCC list. One guy "worked" north Korea by sneaking a few feet under the famous conference table at Panmunjom while a friend watched to provide confirmation (a risky "contact" indeed)

Any other hobbies that remind you of DXing?

Posts: 805

« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2009, 11:22:20 AM »

The most intense collecting hobbies depend on some significant number of examples being rare and on there being little likelihood of collecting every example. I think most collectors would feel initial elation but would soon be disappointed should they ever collect every example and essentially be through collecting and left to contemplate the collection, rather a dreary prospect. DXing, then, qualifies. And just like some other kinds of collecting, the uninitiated might not appreciate the collection.

Having spent time in the antiques business, I've come to believe that there are collectors of everything that can possibly be collected. I once got hold of two neat patent brass lawn sprinklers from 1900 in nearly perfect condition. Lots of gears, etc. There was real "pile-up" toward the end of the online auction that made it clear lawn sprinkler collectors were deadly serious and prepared to shell out whatever it took for rare ones. It has the virtue of them never knowing if there's not another one no one has documented somewhere, so they're in no danger of ever "finishing." Of course, unlike DXing, you can leave the lawn sprinkler collection worth a bunch of money to your children. I have more than once had people mention they threw out dad's old boxes of "radio cards."

Posts: 3018

« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2009, 01:17:33 PM »

"I have more than once had people mention they threw out dad's old boxes of "radio cards."

Have you seen rare QSLs for sale as collectibles?

I was at a coin show about 12 years ago and one of the paper money dealers had a gorgeous 1930s Chinese QSL for sale in the original near-mint envelope. I think that card had an XU prefix.

Asking price was in the $50-$100 range. I was tempted to buy it. Surely a "museum quality" rarity. Isn't it funny there seems to be zero interest in buying cards. Some like CR8's, FI8, FN8 etc end up thrown away. Maybe a few dozen well preserved examples survive of some of those rare countries from the late 40s and early 50s.

Hams today don't realize how rare some DX was in those days. People lugged HQ-129s and 32V1's to far off places to make 100 Qs.   (each one was a rag chew btw)

« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2009, 03:48:28 PM »

I build fake "art radios" out of old junk and radio parts. I also post my best photo's on flickr and my buddies there comment. Sorta kinda like working new DXCC entities - at least from the "counter" perspective. I watch my daily hit count, and like reading all of the funny comments that people post.

Posts: 805

« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2009, 08:07:13 PM »

"Have you seen rare QSLs for sale as collectibles?"

I see them, but very seldom do they bring much money. And far more are thrown out than are ever offered. Of course, lack of interest in anything as an object until it's very old or the product of a distinct era is what makes things collectible. (Nothing sold new as a "collectible" is ever really collectible.) Age alone doesn't make something valuable. Very old books, unless quite rare AND of some particular interest, are worth almost nothing. Very old furniture is worth little, unless it is a prime example of a well-defined original style or school. Amateur radio isn't sufficiently known in the general population that old and rare cards would bring much, no matter how rare. I've had passing thoughts of buying some boxes of cards. Not that I'd likely do anything with them, except perhaps scan them and start or contribute to a web site display. But it just feels a bit wrong to have someone's evidence of a lifetime of effort tossed out.

Posts: 2527

« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2009, 03:23:52 AM »

SOme MC nuts ride the four corners of the USA within a certain time limit--Iron Buts.

A few knock off 48 plus Alaska.

Next up is the "Worked all dits" award, where you copy every possible English word that has a dit in it.


Posts: 3018

« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2009, 06:13:43 AM »

The CQWW of bird watching is called the World Series of Birding:

"It was an epic rebound, marked by highs and lows. Some disappointing misses (Ruffed Grouse, Cliff Swallow) were offset by bonus birds (American Golden-Plover, American Pipit),"

"Every World Series of Birding competition is timed to the minute, yet filled with unexpected detours. This year was no exception. Fickle weather, shifting migrants, and mechanical meltdowns were all part of the mix as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s teams strained eyes and ears to tally every species possible."

"Team Sapsucker, covering the entire state, tallied 221 species, taking third place in the overall competition and bringing home the Stearns Award. (Our friends and rivals, the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club Lagerhead Shrikes, took first place with 229 species.) Our student team, The Redheads, won the Cape May County division championship with 187 species."

Birders use controversial new techniques like online sighting networks.

They do outlaw their version of DX nets: It doesn't count if you spotted the bird ... in a zoo.

Posts: 363

« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2009, 11:32:02 AM »

As soon as i saw the title of this thread, I thought I'll get in here and mention birding...serious bird listing and rarity chasing.... but the o.p. has done it ;-)

I'm always boring fellow radio amateurs about the amazing similarities between the two pursuits.

In the U.K. we have commercially available paging systems, sms alerts and online real time updates of rare birds spotted around the country... so a rare bird is spotted by someone, he puts it through to one of the rare bird alert companies, and off go thousands of birders to see the rare bird. These events are called 'twitches', and they can often get out of hand with arguements and once in a while a few punches thrown.

All sounding familiar? Oddly enough, in the U.K. the amount of species that could have been seen, we're talking domestic species and birds that may have blown in on a storm, is not much more than 400.

As I say, people will drop whatever they're doing and charge off, hiring planes, helicopters, racing up the roads at 100mph just to see a rare species, that may be a once in a lifetime event... and it's not uncommon for the bird to disappear before most get there, or the biggest laugh when a local bird of prey or predator eats this disorientated bird ;-)

Clearly, the kudos goes to the person who first finds the rarity, sometimes they may not publicise it or keep details of it to a few friends. It's best and far more satisfying to find your own, rather than chase the rare bird pagers.

Another aspect is that you can suddenly find your list of birds grow or shrink when you're sitting in an armchair...simply because the powers that be (Ornitholigical union) decide that a subspecies of a full species is suddenly given full species status, and you have seen both in the past. 'An Armchair Tick'...and they can decide the opposite, so you can lose out.


Keeping order on
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