I was listening to a conversation on the local 2 meter repeater the other day. I heard an old timer telling another HAM that he needed a beam antenna and an amplifier if he really wanted to chase DX. The flow of the conversation lead me to believe that the old timer was letting the other HAM know that if he didn’t have a beam and an amplifier he might as well not even try.
Now I have been licensed for about 20 years and have never owned an HF amplifier. I have had a couple of commercially manufactured antennas for HF but they were verticals and they were crap. I run wire antennas here at the shack now and have had great success with them.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not an avid Dxer. But over the years I have accumulated a pretty impressive collection of QSL cards. I feel that Dxing is kind of like deer hunting. You have the guys that goes out and gets the most powerful rifle they can find and the best scope they can find so they can sit in a tree ¼ of a mile away and murder Bambi. On the other hand you have the guys that go into the woods with a knife and a bow. I feel the bow hunter must have more skill.
It is the same way with DX. The operator that is working with 100 watts and a wire has to be far more skilled than the guy with the Yagi antenna that is running legal limit. Knowing when to make the call to bust the pile up. Knowing when to dial the vfo a couple of kilohertz off to one side and all the other techniques that will allow a 100 watt station to jump in, make the contact, and get out while the big guns are sitting there scratching their heads.
The only time I can remember ever thinking that I needed and amplifier was during hurricane Katrina. That was only because conditions were so bad.
Today some folks are starting to call Dxing and contesting “Radio Sport”. OK, The way most folks go about it is more like fishing with dynamite. I don’t call that a sport.
Of course this is just my opinion.