I went looking online for KY6R yesterday only to discover that he’s gone. No, Rich didn’t shuffle off this mortal coil, but he has forsaken ham radio. He was a high-energy fellow with a laser focus on specific goals and having achieved what he set out to do, he simply walked away from the hobby and now his QRZ bio says:
I went off the air for good as of 08/2020. I have sold all of my ham gear.
This kind of thing can be unsettling for those of us who consider amateur radio to be a lifetime project, but it’s not particularly unique, especially among those who chase DX.
I recall being equally numbed when I read the same from VE1DX. Paul is perhaps best known for his stories based on the characters and writing style developed by Hugh Cassidy, WA6AUD (SK), the editor of the West Coast DX Bulletin from 1968 until 1979.
He announced his exit on his QRZ bio as well:
QRT on HF. As the saying goes, it’s the journey, not the destination. I was a DXer and achieved #1 Honor Roll plus DXCC on 10 bands and 3 modes. There is little left to chase. I dismantled my HF station and my logs are closed.
Examples of this behavior aren’t rare.
Consider my best friend. We were neighbors and co-workers back in the early 90s. He knew of my ham radio activities but seemingly had no interest. A few years later, after I had moved to another state, I got a call from him asking about how he could get started in the hobby.
Assuming he would take the path of Technician first I sent him a beginners training manual and recommended a dual-band handheld. A few days later he had his license and the handheld. Two months later he called and said he now had an Extra class ticket and was assembling an HF station because he had set DXCC as his goal.
Sixty days from zero to Extra (and that was before the 20wpm code requirement was lifted) and just thirteen months later his DXCC certificate arrived. With that, he closed station and sold all his equipment. For him ham radio was a technical challenge. Having mastered it, he moved on.
It’s not for me to say if these high-achievers abandonment of the radio hobby is right or wrong. Perhaps it’s just different. Who knows, maybe those of us who keep hanging around are doing it all wrong?