Well, if you can wait, first until September, then until your site moves up to z/OS 2.1, then it will be easy :-)
In z/OS V2.1 DFSORT, several usability enhancements are planned. DFSORT will be designed to support new alphanumeric tests for both compare fields and parse fields, including combinations of alphanumeric character sets (uppercase and lowercase, and numeric). This support is intended to allow you to specify various sets of characters using a single compare condition or PARSE keyword rather than using compare conditions or PARSE keywords. Also, enhancements are planned for symbol processing, allowing symbols to be used for more DFSORT operands, and the number of parse fields supported is planned to be increased from the prior limit of 100 fields to 1,000 fields. Finally, new support is planned to allow you to specify that a string up to 50 characters in length be appended to variable-length output records.
Until that time, can you describe your records a bit more?
Do they have a "fixed" part and then a "variable" part? Or are they entirely variable? Do they contain just "character" data, or do you have any non-character fields (binary, packed-decimal)?