Monday, October 3, 2011

DX-ers guide to instantaneous fame

DX-ers guide to instantaneous fame

The Rules
1) CQ calls
1a) Be a phoney
Use phone mode only. It takes up more frequency space and thus provides a much broader presence of your personality. It is not as tedious and old fashioned as telegraphy (CW). Be aware that in the near future CW contacts will not be acknowledged anymore for DXCC and IOTA awards. Only for jamming purposes (see 3j and 3m below) CW might still be appropriate.
1b) Be a broadcaster: the TNWN principle or "In doubt I shout"
Some know-it-alls might tell you that listening is more important than transmitting for radio amateurs. But why would this apply to operators whose declared goal is fame? Can you think of any renowned broadcast station that listens before transmitting? Thus, never delay your transmissions by previous listening.
    Note: The consequent implementation of the "transmit now, worry never" (TNWN) principle is the chief distinctive mark of Dawg X-ray Club members.
1c) Spelling and yelling
CQ-calls can be so boring if you just use the standard version of the phonetic aphabet. Therefore, be creative like:


Please note the pronounciation of DX which is extremely essential: "daaaawg x-ray, daaaawg x-ray" (try it several times, if you are not already familiar with it).
1d) Making sense with vanity call signs
Choose vanity call signs that allow customized spelling. Let's assume your name is Diethelm. By the right choice of call sign your CQ-call could read like:


Another unconventional way of spelling the own call sign:


became the trademark for "Moehringer", a ham who advanced to the most famous radio amateur of his hometown Moehringen, a little village near Stuttgart.
    We should add that Moehringer's spelling habits were only a small part of his contribution to sense making in amateur radio. An invaluable platform for the latter was - and maybe still is - the VHF repeater DB0ST (the former DB0WR, see the history blurb ofDL4TA and follow his link to the "official" DB0WR web site - both sites in german).  Moehringer's fame certainly was unrelated with any other pattern of behavior described on this page and, therefore, he could never be elected as a club member.
1e) Callers to ignore
Never answer to a weak signal or any QRPers. Be warned that "QRP" is a movement of losers who try to interfer with regular amateur radio traffic using inefficient equipment. Dealing with them only takes you time and is almost never worth it.  Therefore, if weak stations are calling you, just resume CQ-ing. By long transmission cycles you increase the chance to attract rare DX-stations. Be goal-oriented.
2) DX-Cluster
The DX-cluster is now becoming the stage to demonstrate excellence for the ambitous expert. Don't miss your opportunities there!
2a) Self-Spots - do it yourself
Proudly announce yourself by DX-spots. If no one besides you spots you, who else than you should spot you? Some people might object that a DX-spot must contain second-order information, i.e., that a station A hears a station B with A different from B. But this is nonsense, made up by people who have not yet reached your status!  Hasn't the cluster been particularly designed for important DX-ers like you? Don't hesitate to spot yourself on a daily basis so people will learn about your schedule of activity. Use spots like those of "Len", the grand seigneur of self-spotting:

    DX de KN6LEN    28600.0  KN6LEN  WEST COAST  listening for dx               1710Z 
Actually, self-spots may be very important second order information, just of another kind: they mark the few moments when the spotter realizes who he is and where he is on his dial at the same time. One should be aware that "spot yourself" is free translation of the famous antique greek motto "gnóthi seautón"  ascribed to Thales of Milet.
2b) BINGO-Spots
Let others know about your successful DX-operations. If the DX-station was already spotted fifty times before, just make your spots unique by personalizing them. An excellent method to make others envy you are the so-called BINGO-spots:

    DX de ID1OT:    3799.0  XY7Z  BIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNGGOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1255Z
    DX de DA7ZLE:   3799.0  XY7Z  my DXCC # 333                                   1256Z
    DX de SW8NK:    3799.0  XY7Z  NEW ONE !!!!!!!                                 1257Z
    DX de M0RON:    3799.0  XY7Z  WKD ON 23 BANDS !!!!                            1257Z
    DX de AL1AR:    3799.0  XY7Z  wkd without antenna !!                          1258Z 

Or even better, make the cluster a show room for all the fabulous qsl cards you have recently received:

    DX de N1NNY:   21225.0  P5/4L4FN  rcvd QSL, my #345, nice color card! Tnx Ed! 2048Z 
Such spots will easily elicit the attention you need and deserve. For example, an impressed fellow-DXer might respond:

    DX de DO0FUS:  21225.0  P5/4L4FN  congrats N1NNY, you are a great op!!        2050Z 
Further reading: Wilhelm Busch: "Das tapfere Schneiderlein" (The brave little taylor)
2c) Digg the cluster not the bands
Look for DX-stations on the cluster. Never waste time by searching the bands yourself.
2d) Attracting DX-stations through spotting
A clever strategy of cluster-aided DX-ing is to seek the attention of the DX-station by placing cluster spots and anouncements. Since landline access and plenty of computer equipment is obligatory at DX-locations, you can expect any DX-station to monitor the cluster permanently. Invite the DX-station to your frequency by anouncements like:

    08Feb2002@08:55:24 YT1ZFW -> ALL: To LU1ZA Pse luck for YT7ZDX & YT1ZFW on 14095 73 Tnx!
    11Feb2002@19:40:48 YT1ZFW -> ALL: To JX7DFA Per Please QSO rtty,I need JX for rtty dxcc!Tnx 

Or simply tell others to make the DX-station come to your favored band:

    21Jun2001@15:40:18 DL1QSL -> ALL: Pse ask VU7DX for QSY to 20, need VU7 on 20!!!!!!Tnx 
2e) Global players without antennas
Not owning shortwave equipment does not mean you should renounce to become a global player in the DX-community. Just put fantasy DX-spots on the cluster or retype cluster spots you see. Start discussions by full anouncements. Being a so-called cluster crab will make your life more colorful and make your call famous within a few weeks. Find more about DX-ing, the optimal use of the DX-cluster, and how to apply for becoming crab of the month (crab nomination has been discontinued). 
2f) DX-peditions rely on YOUR opinion
DX-peditioners are people enjoying life and traveling around sponsored and pampered by generous DX-organizations. Usually they have no idea (and they don't care) whats going on on the bands. Therefore, it is important that you share your opinions and complaints about DX-peditioners with the whole community. The best place is on the DX-frequency itself, but you should also consider to state comments as DX spots or AN/FULL anouncements in the cluster. You may use fantasy calls for postings. Examples:

    DawgX     14200.0 TI9M        have no mike for SSB?      TI91304 21 Feb 2002
    DawgX     21000.0 TI9M        Very bad operation ...     TI91811 21 Feb 2002 

In the course of a major DX-pedition one can discern two typical phases that the opinion of our club members passes through:
   I) whining and complaining phase: "poor operators"
   II) dazzling phase: "great guys, got them on 20 bands"
3) On DX-frequencies
3a) Tune in and stay tuned
Tune your transmitter directly on the DX-frequency to make sure that full output power is available on the target frequency. Transmit for longer periods to test whether your equipment is ready for heavy duty cycles.
3b) Who is the DX?
Ask who the DX-station is. Often DX-spots are set by people who cannot tell A from B. Ask for DXCC region or IOTA number and don't waste time by looking up this information yourself.  Enough people just hang around on DX-frequencies and don't know what to do with their time.
3c) Where is he listening?
Ask for the split frequency. Getting this information on the DX-frequency makes your life much easier. You will also win new friends because usually many people just wait to tell you. In rare cases some crumblers might complain. Then just appeal on HAM spirit.
    Hints: Mention your call several times on the DX-frequency - many ears are listing and it is a unique opportunity to introduce yourself on an international podium. Be social, say hello to friends and discuss latest local news. There should always be time for a little chat, shouldn't it?
3d) The "coup"
Once you located the split frequency, put the mike gain to the maximum and start calling. Keep on calling until many people on the DX-frequency tell you to shut up because you are already five times in the log of the DX-station. As you will notice, efficient behavior on the split frequency of the DX-station will also provoke broad feedback on the cluster by people who envy your operation skills. For instance:

      7003.0  F9BBL       20-Jan-2002 2340Z  qrm-ing vp8                  
     10100.0  F9BBL       17-Jan-2002 2216Z  you calmed down and got your 
     10100.0  F9BBL       17-Jan-2002 2201Z  Is continous calling Ham spi 
     10100.0  F9BBL       17-Jan-2002 2158Z  d10100 My tx is off your is 
     10100.0  F9BBL       17-Jan-2002 2156Z  no but you qrm all the time  
     10100.0  F9BBL       17-Jan-2002 2154Z  Are you OZ 9BBL?              

Here the spotted station has already reached an exceptional level of excellence. The spots indicate that he skillfully applies our master rule 1b) and also some of  the following rules,  3f), and presumably also 3e). Wow!!
Also watch for feedback by anouncements mentioning your call. For instance, they could look like:

    09Feb2002@17:25:06 K2CXW -> ALL: IK9SAW QRMing: Well done, DX-stn gone QRT: Tnx!!
    12Feb2002@09:06:29 F9NZD -> ALL: IK9SAW TKS FOR BIG QRM HAVE YOU A RECEIVER ??? 
3e) Tail riding
If the pile-up is big, an economic, elegant and time-saving technique to get in the DX-station's log is tail riding. Let's assume your call is DM3LIB and the DX-station asks for SQ3XYZ: Then it is clearly your turn - basically he asks for your call and just got problems with some of the letters.
3f) Instructions from a DX-station?
There is a quite general rule how to handle instructions from a DX-station: If you hear the DX-station at all (experts don't need to hear the DX-station),  ignore any instructions from this side. Commonly, DX operators are guys hanging out on a sunny island and drinking Baccardi. Mostly they are occupied with other things and have no clue at all what they are doing with their radios.  Their instructions, if sensible at all, are for newcomers, not for experts like you.
    Here an example: The DX-station asks for AS while you are sitting in the middle of EU: You should take your chance NOW and call. This is the time when all the other EUs shut up and the DX station can hear your signal loud and clear. Always keep in mind our chief guideline (1b): In doubt YOU shout!
3g) Tell the DX-station about yorself
Once you attracted the attention of the DX-station, don't be too brief. Even if the DX-station doesn't want to know, tell him or her all about your equipment and your antenna system. Don't forget a detailed weather report and some personal information, such as about your past DX-successes, your club memberships (like your DIG number), the name of your dog, etc. Repeat your call and the call of the DX-station several times to make sure that all listeners will learn about your close association with the DX-station.
3h) Celebrate successes, you deserve it
After getting in the log of the DX-station, go back to the DX-frequency and ask for QSL information. Ask several times because people sometimes spread wrong QSL-information. Finally you should put BINGO-spots in the cluster (for details, see 2b above). Explain in full anouncements how you achieved your DX contact and why this is impossible for other people. Further references: The song "Bobby Brown" by Frank Zappa.
3i) Dupes are fun for everyone
Make sure to work DX-stations repeatedly on the same band.  Every dupe QSO is another demonstration of your value as a DX-er and the quality of your equipment. Also you keep the frequency busy and prevent that too much unqualified people get a chance.
    It is a very fulfilling experience to work a DX-station ten times ore more on one band. If you have achieved this you should look up the Happy Duper Award (HDA) program maintained by the Dawg X-ray Club. Recommended references for passionate dupers: H. Boell:."Nicht nur zur Weihnachtszeit" (Not only at christmas time). The movie "Groundhog Day".
3j) Turn frustration into action
After calling the DX-station incessantly you might become frustrated. Some DX-stations are just bad operators, incapable to put your call in their logs.You should then go back to the DX-frequency and express your frustration by deliberate jamming. Yes, be an asshole! Your QRM serves four very important purposes: I) Your psychological relief. II) It is a clear statement of what you think about the DX-station (but see also 2f, above). III) It prevents other less skilled DX-ers from working a station that is not in your log. IV) It chases incapable DX-stations off the band. Often, DX-stations are chickens - after a bit of QRM action by people like you they go QRT voluntarily.
3k) International Amateur Police Department (IAPD)
Unskilled DX-ers tend to misbehave on DX-frequencies. In such moments your intervention is required: It is up to excellent operators like yourself to give education by lengthy explanations and instructions on the DX-frequency.
    Education on DX-frequencies is favored by the Dawg X-ray Club because of its multiplier effect: People will learn about your excellence and at the same time many ignorant people will receive the lecture, even those not actually misbehaving. (Join the IAPD task force and receive your personalized IAPD plaque. Apply at the Dawg X-ray Club headquarters.)
3l) The split/up rap: Join it and feel the togetherness
Every skilled Dawg X-ray Club member starts to call the DX-station simplex to find out about the split frequency. If you hear your club collegue you should not only tell him "split" or "up" if there is good short-skip condition to him. Make a "split" or "up" call on every ocassion. You will be rewarded by the fulfilling experience of togetherness, if not only a few stations, but an immense choir of "splits" and "ups" forms the refrain of every simplex call. Participating in this chain reaction of radio excellence will make you feel truly connected with all the other Dawg X-ray Club members. Yes - you are not alone!
3m) QRM-ing for the shy 
If you feel somehow confused about a CW-pile-up you happen to come across, the noblest and most discrete strategy the Dawg X-ray Club recommends is to simply send questionmarks. Even our shyest members should feel comfortable with this strategy and its impact is nevertheless tremendous: First, such genuine confession of deep confusion is an important first step to your perfection as DX-operator. Second, spicing the air with questionmarks will subconsciously cause the DX-station to question his or her behavior. Third, this strategy adds to senseless QRM, just as any of the more vocal behaviors recommended for our members.

4) DX-operations
You should not go on DX-peditions since it costs you money, it is work, and it opens opportunities to your competitors only. Therefore, the Dawg X-ray club does not recommend DX-operations to its members. However, if you happen to operate as a DX-station here some rules:
4a) Long lists - rare birds
To take up very long lists can increase your importance dramatically.  It documents how wanted you are and it keeps a lot of people listening to you for a long time. Since the propagation changes over time, you also get rid of QRPers.
4b) Become a net celebrity
For maximum public exposure, join DX-nets. With the upcoming of the DX-cluster, DX-nets lost their original meaning. But they still provide an excellent opportunity to work few people with maximum overhead of senseless communication and under the admiration of big audience. For more information about DX-nets, see the very instructive No List Lizards, Inc. page, in particular, the article Sitting Ducks (article unfortunately no longer online).
4c) Call by countries not by numbers
Calling by countries can never be just (think of all the 335 DXCC prefixes). Therefore, it gives you the natural opportunity to set preferences.  For instance, it is nice to work all your buddies at home (switch to your native language then). Although driving most other people crazy, it will substantially increase your local status.
4d) The two favorable split strategies: gluing and spilling 
As a DX-station you shape your pile-up like when you have played in the sandpit. You can either squeeze the callers like lemmings or spread them all over the band. Both is fun. Therefore, Dawg X-ray Club members adher to the extreme strategies of split operation:
    1) Gluing: Never change your listening frequency, or even better, just stay simplex. This naturally fades out QRP-ers and other little pistols.
    2) Spilling: Skip successively over the whole band. It is a rewarding experience when an entire band becomes yours. Try it!
4e) Secret service operation
A fascinating way to pile up pile-ups, even as a not so much wanted DX-country, like DL or W, is the so-called secret service or undercover operation. Use a fluent DX-operation style but strictly avoid to give the own call for long periods of time - let's say longer than half an hour. In many DX-ers this will trigger the wfwl (work first worry later) reflex and big pile ups will be guaranteed. Also for major DX-peditions secret service operation can be droll: Imagine the confusion you can cause in the DX-community, and think of all the poor guys taking a pirate's 599 for the confirmation of their DX-contact.
4f) Dawg X-ray Club parties - How DX-stations recruit new club members
Some Dawg X-ray Club members are just natural talents, may they suck up our rules by nutrition or acquire them in early childhood, who knows. But can a DX-station help to recruit new club members?
   Definitely so, simply by rewarding those who carefully apply the club rules. Give a Dawg X-ray Club party: Accept callers that you didn't call upon (see 3f). Put tail riders (see 3e) in your log. Be a gluer (see 4d) and work only the yellers that completely cover up the DX-frequency. Encourage tattletales who unbid tell you their whole life story although lots of stations are waiting (see 3g). A few rewards will break the ice and bring almost everyone in party mood...

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