Friday, May 01, 2015


I am a member of GMDX, the scottish DX group. Recently they held their annual meeting, where several DXpeditions gave presentations. One of them was the K1N expedition to Navassa Island. A transcript of the presentation was then published last week in the GMDX digest and I thought it would be of interest to copy the last part of the presentation, FEEDBACK AND LESSONS, food for thought for all of us:
"Feedback and Lessons

I learn a lot from every DXpedition I’ve ever been on. I’ve put together a summary of my two weeks of operation from Navassa. I’m sure all of my team mates will concur with what I’ve observed and learned.

European stations complained a lot for the “short time” we worked Europe. QUITE THE CONTRARY!!!!

This is a MOST interesting point of discussion! If you look at the times in our logs, we spent MORE
time working Europe than working North America. Our ClubLog statistics, however, show that North
America had 58% of the contacts, Europe 32% and Asia 6%. WHY, then, if MORE time was spent
working Europe, was Europe about half the number of North American contacts???

Simple answer: RATE. Period.

When you listened to us working North America, we could cruise right along at 300-350 Q’s/hour or
more! I have seen the “rate meter” hanging around 500-600 Q’s/hour for some times. (I heard that
someone on the team was clocked at 1200 Q/hour…..on 160M!!!!) When working Europe, we would be extremely lucky to see rates of 100 Q’s/hour. European signals are as strong, if not stronger than North American signals, in the Caribbean. The west coast U.S. is much harder to work than Europe. South American signals were among the strongest!

Here is a note I received after I returned home. It is from a well-known DXer in Europe:

“I listened to XXX working US pile-up on 80m. Fantastic, at least 10 QSO's minute and when he
turned to listen for Europe, the rate was only 10 % of that. Same on the other bands and modes.”
The problem is THROUGHPUT. Rate. Efficiency. Cooperation. Whatever you want to call it.

For the time we spent working Europe, we should have MORE contacts than with North America, but that did not happen. It COULD have happened!

No one more than me would like to have seen the European Q’s outnumber North American Q’s. For
the “next one” I have some helpful suggestions to help DXers, including myself, and particularly DXers in Europe, to be more successful.

Here is what I see are the issues:

1. Not listening to the DX operator

2. LISTEN to and LEARN the rate and rhythm of the operator

3. LISTEN to WHERE the operator is listening and his PATTERN of moving his VFO. You
MUST KNOW where he will listen next if you expect him to hear you! How simple is that? It
is part of the hunt…and the fun of DXing….and getting rewarded!

4. Learn to use your radio (split/simplex, etc)

5. Do NOT jump to and call on the frequency of the last station worked. The DX station will
NOT hear you because the din is total unintelligible chaos. Move UP or DOWN from that
frequency, as we on our end were continuously tuning up or down after each Q, so if one jumps
onto the last-worked frequency, we will not hear you, even if you were the only one there, as we
have already tuned off that frequency.

ALC. There is a night and day difference in listening to NA/AS and EU pileups. The horrible
distortion makes it impossible to copy many, if not most European callsigns. I don’t know what
it is, but I would bet that mike gain and compression controls are “firewall forward,” all the way
clockwise. There were MANY loud stations that we did not work, COULD NOT WORK, simply
because we could NOT understand their terribly distorted callsign. Have you ever listened to
yourself in a pileup? We gave many stations a “19” signal report. Very loud, but extremely
unintelligible! You want to have INTELLIGABILITY, not distortion!

7. Give your callsign ONCE and ONLY ONCE! DO NOT KEEP CALLING! Call. Listen.
Call again if needed. Listen. Listen. We would tune on by those who did not stop calling.
We are looking for RATE and getting stations into the log. You should be, too!!!

8. If the DX station comes back with your callsign, DO NOT REPEAT YOUR CALLSIGN, AS
WE ALREADY KNOW IT or we would not have answered you. Many stations (in all modes)
would repeat their callsign two, three and even four times or more! This was so frustrating at
times that we would just move on to the next station. We ONLY want to hear “5NN” or “59”
from you. Anything else is a total waste of time. Let me repeat, if we come back with YOUR
callsign, DO NOT REPEAT it back to us! (Did I repeat myself?.....forgive me!) It CHEATS
others out of a chance to get into the log. Only repeat your callsign if it needs correction, and
then let us know it is a correction. Anything else is cheating others out of a contact. Others are
cheating YOU out of a contact! Our propagation windows and time on the island are limited
and we need to maximize the opportunity for everyone. SPEED and EFFICIENCY ARE OF

9. LISTEN to the DX station come back to someone. IF THERE IS NOTHING CLOSE TO OR
RESEMBLING YOUR CALLSIGN……SHUT UP! SHUT UP!!!!! This needless interference
slows things up and lessens YOUR chance of getting into the log! We are focused on the
callsign we heard and do not hear you, only your QRM’

10. Take some time to listen to the next DXpedition working North America and listen to the rate
and rhythm of the operator. It is fast, quick and efficient, and more people get into the log!
Then listen to him work Europe. The wise operator will catch on quickly to what it takes to get
into the log!

11. SPREAD OUT! Our highest rates (for any continent) were working the center and far edges
of the pileup where there was less QRM. Weak stations were much easier to work than loud
stations in the middle of the pileup. If we say, “Listening 200 – 210,” 70% of the pileup sits
exactly on 200 in an unintelligible din, 25% of the pileup sits on 210 and is almost as bad. 5% of
the pileup will be spread out somewhere between 201 and 209, making them very quickly put
into the log. S P R E A D O U T ! ! ! ! Dare to be different! Dare to be heard!

12. LOUD is NOT better! MORE AUDIO/COMPRESSION is NOT better! Finding the spot to
be HEARD is the MOST important thing you can do to get into the log. My biggest thrill (and
I’m sure on both ends) is finding the lone weak station and getting him into the log quickly.

13. LISTEN to the DX operator INSTRUCTIONS! As we would constantly tune our VFO, if
we find a clear spot, we would often say, “33” (meaning for YOU to transmit on 14033, 28433,
etc). A few would listen and get into the log very quickly. You cannot hear these hints if you
keep calling calling calling calling……… Many times I would say, “listening 200-210” and
after a while would say, “listening 240-250”. Often 30-45 minutes, even and HOUR later, I
would find MANY still calling on the original “200-210”…..of course, they would never show up
in our log, as I was not listening there. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN and LISTEN SOME MORE.
The less you transmit, the better chance you have of getting into the log. You must know where
I am listening if you really want to get into the log.

14. LISTEN to the “good” guys to make it into the log. Study how they do it! It is not easy to
find the “good” guys, as they are quick and efficient and are in the log and gone, long before
anyone can find them. They don’t transmit much. They are listening.

15. LISTEN to the “bad” guys. It won’t take you long to find them. They keep calling and
calling. They aren’t listening to find out where to transmit or they wouldn’t be calling. How
simple is that? Being LOUD helps, but not if the DX is not hearing you!

16. If you don’t want to get into the DX log, just ignore the above suggestions, and keep calling,
calling, calling….. I wish you the best of luck. You’ll need it."