In conjunction with the recent spate of DX operations, yet again it has been brought to my attention that quite a number of TBDXC members engage more or less extensively in FT8 activity. This poses a very serious, I would say “existential” problem to the Club. If one takes a pessimistic view, there would be ground for just ceasing operations. What is the point of keeping a Club alive when many members do not stand up for the Club’s very reason for existing? A pessimist would say, “Nice try. We thought we could do something, and essentially failed. FT8 has won. We’ve lost. Let’s pack up, dry our tears and go fishing from now on.”

Although I am very tempted to be that pessimist, this would go against the values I want to live my life by. Also, I am comforted in seeing that there are many, many members who are behind the principles and ethos of the TBDXC. I don’t want to disappoint them. I want to see the Marathon continuing and expanding next year. So, let’s keep going.

Which poses a problem. How to respond to the problem that’s been raised? What to do with the members who do not live their ham lives by the principles and ethos of the TBDXC? Fortunately, there are some simple, practical considerations that can guide our actions.

1. The TBDXC was created to promote CW and SSB activity, NOT to prohibit or eliminate FT8. Making efforts to eliminate FT8 would be futile, stupid and morally wrong. Every radio enthusiast has all the rights to live his/her passion the way he or she wants. People sign up to the Club because they agree with the statement “I love CW and SSB and I am a True Blue DXer”. They don’t agree to never, ever engage in FT8 operations. There is therefore no ground in principle to terminate membership for those who are active on FT8.

2. Policing in a fair and consistent way the activity carried out by over 1,700 active DXers is quite simply impossible. Without entering into details which – I hope – are clear to everybody, there is therefore no ground in practice to terminate membership for those who are active on FT8.

3. HOWEVER, and this is absolutely essential, if you have signed up to the TBDXC and are more than occasionally active on FT8, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG CLUB. If you have signed up to a club that stands against animal cruelty and go hunting with your friends at the weekend, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG CLUB. Excuses like “I have high noise levels” or “there is nothing else on the bands” DO NOT JUSTIFY RESORTING TO FT8. Likewise, excuses like “I have nothing else to do” do not justify going hunting if you are a member of an animal rights group. A True Blue DXer who understands and stands by the values and ethos of the Club tries to fight the band noise, and if there is nothing on CW and SSB he or she tries and tries, as many of us do. Such a member tolerates disappointment and frustration, FOR THE LOVE OF CW AND SSB. And if there is still too much noise, or really nothing to be worked, he or she TURNS THE RADIO OFF, as so many of us sadly do. THAT is a True Blue DXer. It’s not a matter of being “better” or “worse”. It’s a matter of liking something and not something else. It means finding meaning in something which you find beautiful even if it is difficult, and not in something else which is easy but you don’t find beautiful. Therefore, for a True Blue DXer, working a rare station through noise, HOA limitations, age limitations, activity limitations and all sorts of other obstacles HAS VALUE AND MEANING. Working the same station through a mouse click DOES NOT. “Because it’s difficult. Not because it’s easy”.

4. In consideration of all the above, we will sadly accept resignations from current members who do not completely recognise themselves in what said in paragraph 3 above. If this is the case, please write to [email protected].

TBDXC Founder and CEO