An Introduction by Paul Dunphy, VE1DX © by LU5DX
Cass's reminiscences of Don Miller tell it through the eyes of a true blue DXer who lived during the period . . . through the eyes of an Old Timer who worked Don Miller from those exotic DX worlds. Through the eyes of a member of the ARRL executive who saw the entire saga unfold from all sides. No one can do it better than Cass . . . he was there and he had the insight, knowledge and interest.
When K2CD asked me to put together something of an introduction on Don Miller, I was at a loss. It seemed everything had been said, and better than I could say it. Then I began to think about my own interest in W9WNV. I had no direct experience with Don Miller. Don went QRT 10- 15 years before I got my HAM ticket and got bit by the DX bug. Yet I can rattle off tales of Don's DXpeditions, his triumphs and failures, and even a few of the details of how he obtained his lodging from 1981 until the present day. Why could I do this? More to the point, why is it that most DXers can do the same after they've been on the air only a few years? Good questions.
And when we ask what happened to Don, the answers are vague. There are hints that he ran into serious legal problems in the late seventies and early eighties. However, not everyone tells quite the same story and usually only part of it is known. Since it is not really amateur related, I will not discuss it here . . . other than to say Don Miller is currently serving time in a California prison and rumor has it he will soon be eligible for parole. There are those, myself included, who hope this is true and that we too may get a chance to work Don from some rare and exotic DX location.
All activities have their heroes and villains. Don Miller was one or the other, or both, in the eyes of the Old Timers. Whatever the truth is, the stories of W9WNV and his exploits add to the lure of DXing. Even though most of us weren't there, in a way many identify in some way with Don. Can the entire story of Don Miller ever be told? No. Too many years have passed. Many of the players of the day are no longer around. Stories with opposing viewpoints are told by those who were. Some of them are presented here. There are a couple of DX Bulletins of the day written by Don Miller himself. There are the articles by Hugh Cassidy and in another section on the web page, there is a West Coast DX Bulletin with the ARRL's position on the topic. Combine these with the stories told at your local DX club, and you will slowly see that Don Miller was, and still is, one of the Eternal Enigmas of DXing. One of the Mysteries of the Ages that contribute to the understanding of DX IS!
(Don is now AE6IY)