It’s taken a while, but when I finished tallying up my countries, there were 102 countries in the DXCC logbook a few nights ago. I had just sent in my WAS (worked all 50 states) data in February, and received my certificate for that award, just a few weeks ago.

It’s taken me about three years to achieve both these awards, with never more than 5 watts of power, and indoor “stealth” antennas. My immediate neighbors still don’t know I’m a ham radio operator, and since I live in a historic area, where outside antennas are prohibited, I consider that a good thing. lol

I worked nearly all of my WAS contacts (48) with my Isotron antennas on either 40 meters or 20 meters. Alaska and Hawaii were my two most difficult states; I worked those with a 50 ft length of “Radio Shack” speaker wire which I strung around the perimeter of a spare room in the house. The wire runs from my tuner, across the windows, which have wooden curtain rods, across the hallway, over the top of an “open” wooden door, and is tied off the the “downstairs” wooden stair railing. It’s a tough way to do it, and it’s a true “random wire“, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of the challenge it took to work those 102 countries.

How did I work DXCC (100 different countries) with such simple antennas, and such a simple station? I attribute my DXCC award to two specific things. Number one was the ability to get my code speed into the 20+ wpm range. Number two was being able to string that “random wire antenna” which allowed me to use “all bands” through my small tuner. 

The process accelerated a little before September of 2012 when I started using “dedicated band dipoles” for my DX contacts. My indoor “upstairs” space is very limited but I’m able to stretch out a dipole for 10 meters and 15 meters. Those two dipoles barely hang between the wooden curtain rod, on one side of the house, and the bathroom window sill, on the opposite side of the house. This picture below shows my “end fed” 10 meter antenna. The 15 meter dipole antenna requires an “open door” and an extended length to the bathroom window frame.

Those two antennas work well on those bands (even indoors) but the 50 foot random wire, which allows me easy access to the 17, 12, and especially the 30 meter band, were the true deciding factors in my DXCC award.

What are my immediate goals now?

There’s DXCC on a “single” band, working the “capitol cities” of every country and state, or perhaps working DXCC with “outside antennas” while operating in the field. I’m not sure what it will be now that I have the QRP DXCC award but I’m sure something will soon grab my attention.

The North American QRP CW Club has always been my favorite organization. I hope my addition of the NAQCC DXCC QRP Award will be an inspiration to those of our members who think working over a 100 different countries with five watts, or less, of power and “simple wire antennas” is impossible.

Those 17, 12, and 30 meter contacts were actually done with about 3 watts of power. Never say the word “never” when I comes to QRP. I’ve been an optimist when it comes to my QRP operations. I’m looking forward to the next challenge, whatever it might be.

John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “DXCC QRP”

  • Rob - KC6ZTT:

    Wow, great job! Consider me inspired! Were all your contacts cw?

  • Steve VA7KH:

    Congratulations! Not too far behind you, currently on 80 entities, all 5W cw with a 44ft doublet in the attic. Need to pass the ton before sunspots disappear! Good luck with your next challenge. 73.

  • Al - ON4LDU:

    Congrats,that’s a real nice challenge. CW is the key !
    Good luck for the next. cu on the air 73s

  • Rob Joseph KC2SLJ:

    Recently had to take down my HF vertical Antenna.
    I live a tall building and am looking forward to trying a capacitive feed antenna.
    Glad to hear your Isotron works for you.

    I will build something similar to permanantly mount outside of building/


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