The up’s and downs of working DXpeditions.


Now you see them now, you don't.... the fun of active solar conditions

Earlier this week and last week the solar conditions have been great, and I have been able to make some nice CW DXpedition contacts. The whole DXpedition thing is new to me, as in the past I have seen the pileups and just passed them by. With the increasing flux number and with the blog reading I have been doing, it occurred to me that the times are a changin!  I did some reading up on my Icom 7610 and operating split with it. Low and behold, I have been able to make contact with some nice DXpeditions. 

Being new to this expedition thing, I have in the past read of those who indulge in this slice of our hobby. I have now come to see firsthand the mayhem of a pileup situation. I don't want to make this post about grinding my axe.....BUT......and you know what they say about a sentence that begins with a "BUT". In my very very short time of hunting out a DXpedition contacts I have come across some odd....... Let's say behaviour. 

1. As you are listening on the DXpeditions transmit frequency they vary between S4 to S8 at my end, and I am trying to get the flow of their operating........... When someone for some reason is tuning up their amp on top of the DXpedition?  To be honest I have never owned an amplifier and am not sure how the whole tune-up thing works........BUT....... I assume it does not have to be done on the DX transmit frequency. Please correct me if I am wrong? 

2. Ahh, then those who I guess who do not do their research with understand the idea of split frequency operation or don't care.......BUT..... they transmit on the DXpeditions frequency. So what happens here is stations like me can't hear who the DXpedition is coming back to as this station just keeps dropping their call on the WRONG frequency. Ok, I get it, and we all screw up thinking our rig is in split when it's not.....BUT..... with my limited time trying to work split this happens a lot. With polite op's from a DXpedition they send "up up up up" hoping the offending station will get the idea. Oh, but wait then there are the clusters such as DX summit and in the comment section, other ops are not so polite about things. 

3. Often I have heard the DXpedition station sending "VE3?" meaning he wants the VE3 to come back to him as he needs the rest of the call.  As they listen for the VE3 there are also a few op's sending their call that is not even close to "VE3". It really messes things up for both the VE3 station the DXpedition. 

Now, there is some other behaviour that I come across that make DXpeditions a pleasure.

1. While the op is calling on the DXpeditions calling frequency they politely answer them with a 599 and TU. 

2.  Operators who, while sending out their call, can hear the DXpedition station answering someone other than them, and they stop calling right away. They can achieve this as they have their radio set to full break-in mode. This will allow you to hear  between your own dits and dahs, I will admit it takes some getting used to, but it's a great operating skill. 

3. Operators who politely post on the cluster the operators call sign and leave a message that they have to transmit up and not on the calling frequency.  Having said that, I have also seen some messages that are not polite at all. I understand folks get frustrated, but there is no reason to be rude, after all it is a hobby. 

Well, we are going away on vacation this week, so the DXpeditions will have to wait for another week. But I sure have been having fun working them. 

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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