The Tales of Flashover House – The Great DXer

Matron put down the ‘phone and came out of her little office looking thoughtful. “You’ll never believe this” she said addressing her remarks to all and sundry. But Head Office thinks they have found a prospective tenant for our spare room, but this is the funny bit, he is coming to stay for a few days so that he can decide if we are suitable!”

He sounds like a radio ham” laughed Angus.

“Oh yes” said Matron He is a radio ham alright. Not only that but he has persuaded Head Office that he is the greatest radio ham on earth. Apparently he has a monthly column in the magazine Superior Radio under the pen name DX. Master.”

“When do we meet this living legend?’ enquired Rees Morgan “First thing tomorrow morning” said Matron, “But try not to get too excited.”

Sure enough, at 10 o’clock the next morning, a tall figure wearing dark glasses stepped out of a taxi. Matron greeted him and showed him into the lounge.

“I won’t bother you with introductions” he said “I am sure that you have all heard or me and please don’t ask for my autograph it is so time consuming, and forgive the dark glasses, I do so hate being recognised in the street. By the way, what sort of rigs do you chaps use?”

“Most of us use the Super Galaxy.” said G2.

“Ah yes” said the DX Master “A nice cheap and cheerful rig for the beginner but no use at all for serious DX. When my equipment arrives it will be a real eye opener to you. I regularly work countries that most people have never even heard of. Why, only last week, returned from a visit to Pongo Pongo Island”.

“The supreme ruler His Divine Magnificence the Nabob, asked me to drop in and give his rig a bit of a tweak. He says that no one does it like I do. It is a Knack I have. He was so pleased with the result that he bestowed upon me his country’s greatest honour. I am the only European who is allowed to call him Cyril”.

“It goes without saying that I will require the sore use of your main HF antenna until my multi-band array arrives in a few days’ time. Getting Motorway clearance for the low loader is proving a bit of a problem. I trust go with Matron to give her a list of my requirements Perhaps one of you will be kind enough to take my bags to my room”.

The hams were quite taken aback by this exhibition of modesty and Angus was the first to speak. “It looks as if we have got ourselves a monster and there isn’t anything we can do about it.”

0h. I wouldn’t say that.” said a voice from somewhere at the back. They turned to see that it come torn a usually quiet G4 “Tell us more” said G2 “we me all agog. The G4 unwrapped his master plan.

“We will, this newcomer will be in the room directly under mine and the HF feeder goes right past my window. If we cut the coax and bring the two ends into my ,room then insert a coax switch and a dummy load so that in one switch position his receiver is connected to the antenna and, in the other position he will be transmitting into the dummy load arid no one will hear him. I have a switch and a dummy load that will do the job, all we need is for Matron to take the great DX Master out for a couple of hours so that we can carry out the modifications”.

“We will, of course have to take it in turns to sit in my room with a monitor set and tones to make sure that the changeover is spot on. My guess is that when he hears DX and they don’t come back to him he will probably go mad. We can only hope!”

For once fate was on the side of the hams. DX Master had a phone call to say that his transceiver was in the parcel office awaiting collection. Matron offered to take him in the mini bus to pick it lip. With a wink to the lads, she said that as ii was such a nice day she would take him on a little tour of the local countryside.

All went according to plan and couple of hours later, the DX Master staggered in from the mini bus carrying his pride and joy. He plonked it on the table in his room, then invited the hams to come and adore it. It was, he led them, to believe, built to his own design by a team of Japanese craftsmen working around the clock in a secret workshop.

Never mind all that “said Weasel “switch the darn thing on,” The DX Master winced slightly. “With equipment of this calibre, one doesn’t just flick the switch. One fondles the controls and feels the exquisite throb of awakening life.”

“I knew a woman in Catford who was a bit like that.’ muttered Weasel.

As the great DXer applied power he turned to assembled hams and said, “This is a moment you will remember all your lives.” By this time of course the G4 had taken up his position “Right,’ said the DX master, “Let’s start with something simple”.

“I will call CQ VK”. He selected a quiet spot on the band and sent out his call.

‘Now,’ he said turning to the hams, “This is where you find out what it is like to be on the end of a pile-up”. He released the PTT on the microphone and – nothing!  “I can’t understand that’ he said. “There are usually dozens of VKs tuning the band in the hope of working me. It is a sort of status symbol with them.” In fairness to the man, he didn’t give up. He called CQ India, CQ China, CQ Japan, CQ Malaya and CQ Pacific, But the result was just the same. The little group of spectators gradually faded away.

The following morning, when the hams filed into the breakfast room, they were surprised to see that the DX Master was already seated at the table wearing what could easily have passed for a smile. When all were seated, he turned towards G2 OK, I know you chaps stitched me up last night and I certainly had it coming but please tell me how you did it.”

So they told him.

The CO Master roared with laughter. “I will write that up in my next magazine article. It will ruin my reputation but what the heck. When I first came to Flashover House, I stupidly said it was to see if you were suitable for me, but I would now like to rephrase the question. Do you think that if I work at it, I might be suitable for you?”

There was a ripple of applause as the residents gave their approval. “I will go to ‘phone Head Office and give them the good pews.” said Matron.

She paused in the doorway for just a moment. “I don’t know what it is about this place but there is a magic here which turns bad guys into good guys and that is why I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

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