Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

donate to eham
   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Newbie's question about DX clusters? Spots?  (Read 2607 times)
KC0ODY
Member

Posts: 78




Ignore
« on: January 28, 2003, 02:54:55 PM »

Hi there,

I'm a new General class operator and I just picked up an HF rig. I want to try my hand at some DX in the near future.

I have been trying to figure out something though. What exactly is a "DX cluster" or "DX spot"? When I read these clusters, they appear to be entries from someone's personal log. I can figure out what some of the things in the entries are... i.e. callsigns, frequencies, time/date etc., but I'm curious about some of the commentary that accompanies the entries (such as S2 on, monk apollo deaf as an angel, just jesting). They are cryptic to me and I wonder what these comments mean?

Thanks! Jackie
Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2939




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2003, 05:43:34 PM »

Jacky,
DX clusters are digital communications networks (via Internet or VHF/UHF packet radio) that link DX chasers like myself together in order to share information.  "DX spots" are notations made by DX'ers announcing callsigns/frequencies/times of DX stations heard or worked.  For receiving such spots, I use the "DX Summit" web site of OH2AQ.  This gives information world-wide, and is updated every several minutes.  If you want to transmit as well as receive DX spots you will need a software package that does this.  I use DXBase by Scientific Solutions for all my logging and DX cluster activity.  The accuracy and quality of the DX information on the clusters varies of course, and a few operators use/abuse the clusters for whining and complaining about signal quality and operating ability of others.  Although you can certainly pursue DX without the Clusters, they can help you assess propagation conditions, and otherwise gather information useful in the pursuit of DX.

73 de Chuck  NI0C
Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2939




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2003, 05:48:31 PM »

Jacky,
I should have added to my previous note that "Monk Apollo" is the name of a famous DX operator SV2ASP/A on Mount Athos.  This is, by far, the rarest and most elusive DX "country" in Europe, so anytime Monk Apollo is on the air you will see lots of "spots" and comments!  I still am pursuing Monk Apollo, and hope to have him in my log someday!
   
Logged
KC0ODY
Member

Posts: 78




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2003, 07:48:55 PM »

Thanks for explaining that! I get it now... I suppose I'll have to get some of this software when I start really getting into DX chasing. That is, if I can ever get the antenna hooked up to my new IC-718...

Good luck and hope you get the "Monk" soon!

Jackie
Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2939




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2003, 12:16:45 PM »

Jackie,
Good luck with the new HF rig and antenna.  Another really good source of online information about DXing is the "DX Notebook" website maintained by W5KNE.  It has been aptly called the "Swiss Army Knife" of DX websites.  If you check it out, you will note that Mount Athos is the featured "DXCC Country of the month" for January.  
73 de Chuck  NI0C
Logged
W2IRT
Member

Posts: 3613


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2003, 12:50:29 AM »

There's no special software that you need to install or buy. You can easily log into any one of a zillion clusters using your computer and Internet connection. The one I use most often can be accessed by simply doing the following (if you're using Windows, that is):

Go to Start and select RUN. In the box that appears enter the following line verbaitm

telnet dxc-us.ab5k.net

Then press OK. A window will come up, and with any luck, you'll be connected to the cluster.

(if you're on a Mac, you will need to get a Telnet application such as NCSA Telnet among others, and if you're on Linux, you sure as hell don't need me telling you about it <grin>).

Enter your callsign when asked (and I think it will ask for your name and location as well). After you're signed on, you don't have to do anything other than sit back and watch the spots fly by!

Of course, this is the very simplest of actions, and the cluster can do a lot more. It's command-line driven, so if you've got any DOS or *NIX savvy, you'll be up to speed in no time. If you don't, it will take some experimentation but it's not hard.

For example, let's say you've just logged in and want to see the last few spots that were made. At the prompt just type sh/dx and bingo, you'll see about 10 recent posts. Let's say you just want to see what's happening on 15 metres. Type sh/dx 15 and you'll see a bunch of recent 15 meter spots. Let's say you want to see more 15 metre spots...just type sh/dx/30 15 and you'll get the 30 most recent 15-metre spots. It's extremely powerful if you know how to use it, but even if you just want to be passive and watch the spots roll in, you'll get a very good idea of what's hot and where to go.

Note, too, that you can tell it to only receive spots from US/Canadian stations (do you really care if a station in East Timor can hear Mongolia on 80 Metres if it's 2 in the afternoon and you're in New Jersey?!?!), only see spots on certain bands/modes and all sorts of nifty other filters.

You can also post a DX spot to the cluster. Let's say you're spinning the dial on a lazy Saturday afternoon way up in the General portion, and through the QRM you hear a CQ DX CQ DX from 5Z4XYZ. You call him, you work him and you want to tell the Entire Known Universe (tm) to descend upon his frequency and make the poor blodger's receiver glow red. Just type
DX 5Z4XYZ 21320.0 <Enter>
and poof! You've helped start a KillerPileup!

Oh, by the way, CONGRATS on getting your General, happy hunting and Good DX!! Welcome to HF!!

73,
Peter
Logged

www.facebook.com/W2IRT
Night gathers and now my watch begins. It shall not end until I reach Top of the Honor Roll.
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2939




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2003, 12:43:30 PM »

Thanks to W2IRT for correcting me concerning DX telnet connections.  I've only done it through my logging program (which helps facilitate the connection and provides a handy button to read my transceiver VFO's and read the DX callsign from my log).  
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!