Friday, October 14, 2011

Conditions improving!

I was looking at my logbook for 2011, and I have added ten new DXCC countries this year. Some have never even been heard at my QTH before!

XV (Vietnam) - I remember during and after the Vietnam war, I got my novice ticket in 1977 (age 13). I never thought the day would come when I would work Vietnam! Lots of activity in recent years, but over-the-pole is always a challenge.

AP (Pakistan), T6 (Afghanistan) - ahh South Asia. The most intriguing DX there is for me. The Steppes and mountains of Asia from Kazakhstant to Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, nothing is more exciting than hearing these countries. Working both of these in the fall of 2011 was a highlight of the year.

XU (Cambodia) - another mind-blowing DX contact, who ever thought Cambodia would be on the air? Another over-the-pole DX contact, always a challenge from here.

SU (Egypt) - right before Mubarak fell. Should be fairly easy, but I always seem to miss this one (until now).

P29 (Papau New- Guinea) - first time I have ever heard this one also. Big time luck to catch him alone on SSB.

Other good ones: C2, JD1/O, T31, VP8/O.

Here's a snapshot of progress of countries worked to date. Currently at 286. I really became serious in 2004 and started computer logging (DX4WIN softwware).

One thing I have observed....each time I reach a plateau, I have to step it up a notch.

  • It was fairly easy getting to 100 DXCC with 100 watts and wires on 15, 20, and 40.Getting to 150 required me to step it up a notch, and get on all available bands including WARC. I also started studying propagation and learning about predictions and patterns. Finally, I bought DX4Win software to help me track my progress.

  • Getting to 200 was another challenge, so I started participating in DX contests, reading bulletins, and learning the tricks of the trade. I also got a 2 element hex beam for 20 meters which helped.

  • Getting to 225 was another challenge, which I tackled by putting in even more time on the air listening and learning about propagation. I also started using software (DX Monitor, SpotCollector) to monitor DX station patterns and operating times.

  • The 250 point was another hurdle, and I tackled it by getting a 5 band 2 element hex beam for 20-10.

  • Getting to 275 and higher required me to add another arsenal...I finally broke down and purchased a Tokyo High Power 750 watt amp.

  • The next factor in my favor to (hopefully) get me over 300 is the improving sunspot cycle. Once I get past 300, it's all luck and depends upon somebody going to those rare, uninhabited archipelagos and isolated rocks...or daring to go into a war zone (Yemen) or a totalitarian police state (North Korea) and activate it.

According to the graph, I should hit 300 in the next 18 months. From there onward the chase is littered with the ruined dreams of thousands of DXers who pursued the Honor Roll but languished between 300 and 310 and finally gave up from despair, old age, boredom, or death. I don't plan to be one of those who fails to reach the summit...I intend to achieve Honor Roll status! Why? Because DX IS!

73 and good DX!

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