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How I wish I were a rare DX station in a contest

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If I were operating from a rare DX location in a contest, the first thing I would do is make sure my exchanges are nice and wordy… I’d personalize things a bit more than the typical contester. I’d have the software automatically look up the name of the station I’m working and the macro would send them a greeting, give them my name, tell them about the weather at my DX location, and then repeat the required exchange ingredients twice. I’d also make an extra effort to respond to the weakest signal that I could reliably copy. The stations with stacked antennae and 1.5 KW wouldn’t be guaranteed priority service. Doesn’t matter though. Everybody wants to work the rare DX mult.

Why would I do this? Because I could. Let’s face it, when you’re rare DX in a contest, everybody’s ears [and eyes, in RTTY] are on you. You could seriously ruin the rate of a contester in about 30 seconds. So many contesters are so concerned about improving their rate, because improving rate will typically improve score. I can’t fault them for that. We all want to see our callsigns in the top ten [or better] on the 3830 reflector. But, in the quest for the best rate some contesters give up contest ethics and common decency, becoming rude and omitting crucial exchange information.

Unlike typical DX, who shorten things up by not providing their call very frequently because they are in a pileup and need to maintain efficiency, I’d be sure and ID after every Q. Imagine, actually giving the people who are trying to work you a fighting chance by giving them your callsign before they work you. Heck, it’d also save me some trouble because once somebody spotted my call incorrectly on the cluster, the station just tuning in as a result of that spot could quickly determine what my true call was and wouldn’t waste everyone’s collective time making an invalid contact with the wrong callsign in the log.

I’d also make sure I’d work only the last 5% of the contest period. All the contesters who have a chance at a top 10 spot would be frothing at the mouth looking for just one more elusive multiplier. And, a Q with me could easily increase their score by thousands of points.

Just the thought of being able to throw off the rate of the fanatics makes me giddy like a schoolgirl. I could actually be the difference between somebody getting the #1 slot and the #2 slot.

Written by Mike

March 23rd, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Contesting,DX

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DXing – An enjoyable pastime

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To be honest, I’m not technically a DXer. I don’t have beams or amps. I don’t plan my schedule around when DXpeditions are operating or when the band might be open to AF or AS.

As time goes on, the idea of adding DX stations to my log is appealing. I run only low wires and 90w or so. I typically am free to operate the radio at times when only 160/80m are useful [i.e. at night]. My work schedule is and has been one where I am awake half the night or more, sleep past sunrise, and go back to work shortly after the higher bands open to the into the US.

This morning I managed to go to sleep early and wake up early, and by 8 AM I was already logging SA, EU, and Carribean stations. I was hearing many places weak but copyable, including Greece and the Ukraine. Contacts were made on SSB and CW on 10/12/15m, including another PJ contact before they tore down and departed for home.

Certainly if I had multielement beams @100 ft and 1.5Kw it would be fun, but it’s also fun with low wires, a weak signal out, and a weak signal in. In fact, there is something mysterious about copying stations at or just above the noise level. I enjoy it.

No doubt there is DX to be had, no matter if you have limited space/abilities for antennas. You just have to use some tricks to work DX at times when the DXers with elaborate stations may do it nearly effortlessly.

Incidentally, yesterday afternoon/early evening a KH6 was booming into East Ohio on 10m. Beautiful sig. I didn’t have the patience to work him since he was ragchewing rather than keeping it simple and short. No problem there… his choice. But I had other fish [DX] to fry [work]. It was great to hear some non-NA stations on 10/12m.

15/12/10m are becoming more and more active now. Tune around, and even if you do not hear anyone or you aren’t seeing anyone spotted, throw out a few CQs and you may be surprised at who returns your call.

Written by Mike

October 20th, 2010 at 11:27 am

Posted in DX

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For some reason I’ve actually started to seek out DX. I’m not sure why. It must have something to do with the FT-950. I find it so much more pleasurable to listen to CW on the FT-950 and find it so much easier to establish an SSB contact on the FT-950. Purchasing this radio has opened up a whole new world for me.

I find myself reading more about greylines and being more interested in propogation in general. I have been turning on the radio and tuning around in the evenings about an hour before sunset to an hour after sunset and then tuning around again, if I’m awake, during EU sunrise.

I also check DXSummit and ReverseBeacon.Net to see what DX is out there. Oftentimes you’ll see DX listed on one that isn’t on the other. And, just because it isn’t spotted on the packet cluster doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Many times I’ve just tuned around and heard DX and spotted it for others.

Some recent catches that are significant for me are:

9X0TL – Rwanda
5N50K – Nigeria
JW/OZ1AA – Svalbard

I’m sure that back in the 90s sometime I made contacts with Africa, but I have no logs or QSL confirmations to back that up. And since I’ve been back in the hobby I hadn’t been hearing anything from Africa. I figured I just don’t have much of a chance. As it turns out, it’s doable even on my mediocre station. You just have to pay attention for when the stations are active and try to listen for them. You’ve got to know what times of the day or night you are most likely to hear Africa, what band they would be on, etc.

Svalbard is just cool… it isn’t in Africa, but check it out on Google Maps.

I’m amazed at some of the operators that end up responding to my call. I may be hearing them S0 [under the noise] but if i hear them I try to reach them. And since I’m using a simple low wire, I know I’m not putting out a big signal. So obviously the DX is skilled at picking stations out of the mud [and the pileup]. There is no reason for me to expect that my signal is going to make it when 30 stations from various parts of the world with a kilowatt and multielement yagis are part of the pileup. But sure enough, even I can often get through with perseverence and an idea of how to garner the attention of the DX when other stronger stations are calling them.

Written by Mike

July 28th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Posted in DX

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