Discussion in 'The DX Zone' started by WA6MHZ, Oct 28, 2018.
Best advice to DXers old and new:
Learn CW. Get good at it.
You'll be glad you did.
73 de Jim, N2EY
I'm not a big CW user, contests only, but I agree wholeheartedly.
When you know CW, a lot of options open up. If you are a homebrewer, you'll be in 'paradise'.
CW transceivers are not hard to put together, they are simple, affordable, and they still provide excellent results.
I just looked at the VP6D page. More than 56% of their Qs are on CW.
Yes and no.
If you're talking about monoband QRP rigs built from others' designs, yes.
If you want multiple bands and more than a few watts, it takes a bit more. Can be done, though - even though most published designs are for SSB.
What's the 'no' part?
Yes, up to 10W should be no problem. Same with up to 2 bands.
10W and a decent antenna, on the right band in the 11 years cycle, will net a lot of DX.
Yes to all that, but I think sometimes we 'old timers' forget what it's like to be new. Many new DXers don't have money for a linear or a killer beam antenna or a tower and everything that comes with that. They are normally working with 100 watts and a wire. So, with that in mind, I've found the following to be helpful:
Listen, listen, listen. When you think you've got it dialed in, listen some more.
Use the SAME phonetics the DX station is using. Sometines there's a language barrier that makes standard phonetics difficult for him.
Learn how SPLIT works on your radio, but also realize that your RIT control can often do the same thing by moving your transmit frequency.
Learn the DX station's timing. Some take the first station they hear, some take the last, some take the loudest.
Match the speed at which DX station is calling at. Some are just having fun, but some are trying to rack up QSOs. The wrong speed can be seen as an annoyance.
Set a number of calls you will make, and stick to it. For example, call 10 times. If you don't get through, note the frequency, spin the dial and come back later when the big fish have already eaten.
Learn propagation patterns to the part of the world you are trying to work, and use gray line to your advantage. Learn to be at the right place at the right time.
Learn to use the DX Cluster and it's various filters to narrow down your search for "new ones".
Speak with a smile on your face! Nobody wants to talk to a crabby operator with a bad attitude. We've all heard them.
Do not call a station you cannot reliably here. Wait for their signal to come up.
If you hear a DX station announce they are taking a break but will be "back later", stay on frequency and wait. He may just be making a pit stop and grabbing another beer.
Do not get discouraged. You'll break the pileup when you least expect it. Remember, the DX often has a beam, and at any time it could be pointing at you.
ABOVE ALL, never, ever, ever violate the DX Code of Conduct. It always amazes me how many "veteran DXers" can't follow these simple rules.
I've been at it for 26 years, and I've never had anything other than a wire that is relatively low to the ground. When I've used a linear, the most output I've had is about 500 watts. Yet I still have multiple DXCC and WAS awards, it just takes a little longer. If you're new or not-so-new and want to work DX with a modest setup, you can do it. There's more to chasing DX than pointing an antenna and turning up the power. Operating is a skill you must hone, no matter what your on-air activities are. The most important thing is to HAVE FUN.
Yes like the old picture shows, "never give up".
You mentioned timing. For me I have found that to be one of the top things to learn when operating pileups. Over the years I learned how to time my call against the others calling and it has worked very well for me.
If all threads on QRZ were like this one I would be on here more often. There is a bunch of good information in this thread.
Another thing is to be VERSATILE!!!
You need to be up to speed with ALL MODES!! The DX chooses where and what he wants to operate. It might be for his best productivity and antenna situation. He wants to make the contacts as much as you do, or he would be out on the beach getting a suntan with a MAI TAI in hand!
Serious DXpeditions like VP6D try to cover all bases and propagation situations to maximize QSOs. They up to 113 THOUSAND contacts with still a few days to go! So they did it very well!
But the DXer needs to be ready to switch to CW, RTTY or even FT-8 at a moments notice!
Learn the new FT-8 mode even as complicated as it is. I love my MMTTY for RTTY and FLDIGI for confirming digitally what I THOUGHT I heard on CW!
Never know! Maybe some DXpedition will only work stations on SSTV! That will be a tough one!!!
If you want more than QRP and one or two bands, the project becomes.....more involved.
What do you consider "a decent antenna"?
In any event....take a look at this.....
Nothing fancy. A correctly 'cut' half-wave dipole at the proper height, or an inverted V.