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Author Topic: At what point does DXing become "hard"  (Read 5365 times)
AD9DX
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Posts: 1477




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« on: January 23, 2013, 01:19:56 PM »

I am sitting at 203/198 at the moment.  Things are starting to slow down a bit, but things are not really hard.  There are some that I just can't hear with my antennas and I am slowly experimenting with different antennas and having some success with new designs.

My question is what is the magic number where new ones become really tough? I suspect it is somewhere around the 250 mark.  But I am curious where that brick wall came for all of you guys. 
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
IK0OZD
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 01:48:38 PM »

340 is the magic number
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AD9DX
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Posts: 1477




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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 02:12:59 PM »

340 is the magic number


I know...

I just want to know when ATNO's become a rare.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
KY6R
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 02:21:09 PM »

320

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W7NUW
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Posts: 35




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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 02:49:25 PM »

I've been back at it for 5 years after 48 years QRT. I am using wire antennas, and like you, have made some progress improving them. I got DXCC in about 2 years, and then added a 600 watt amp. That and the marginally better antennas has taken my confirmed total up to 233. With 600 watts I can usually work what I can hear.

I rarely get ATNOs now except from DXpeditions, and even those have often been tough -- hundreds, even thousands, of calls, and luck and great ops on the other end, to get through (PT0S and ZL9HR, for example). I've got the great bulk of "easy" fixed stations in the log -- that's to say almost all EU, Asia, and SA entities. Occasionally missing ones, SV9COL Crete, for example, show up and I work him and add to my total -- about 25 new ones in 2012.

I would never hear most of them on SSB, much less complete a contact. CW is the ONLY way to go for modest stations. And of course, EXTRA privileges (as you have) since you can't count on the tough ones being above the bottom of the band.

Being retired, I can stay with it at any time of the day for as much time as I like. But unlike you, I am 69 and don't have many sunspot cycles left to exploit. Stay with it, keep enhancing your CW skills, and you will surely make the honor roll. After quite awhile!

Ken W7NUW
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K3STX
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Posts: 973




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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 03:22:58 PM »

I am at 312, and they are getting a bit harder to find. It is very hard to "stumble" onto one of my "easy" new ATNOs, like AP, EP, JD/m, and SV/A. The rest are only activated by DXpeditions. And that is no fun because the "thrill" is pretty minimal. Getting ZL9HR was kind of fun for an ATNO, I guess, but it was pretty easy. Much more fun was me getting my first BV last year by hearing someone call CQ and getting them.

I am building a K1 and plan to start my DXCC quest all over QRP using a rig that I can NOT turn up to 100 watts. My QRP will be 7 watts, period.

paul
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KB3LIX
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 03:54:23 PM »

I am at 263 and most of them recently have been
DXpeditions.

However, the last two I have snagged were not DXpeditions, just
someone working the bands that I happened to run across.

New Caledonia
Palau

With the SFI above 100 and occasionally venturing
up to 150, keep an ear open, you may just find some goodies.
I never expected to hear New Cale & Palau, but SURPRIZE !

Both were DIGI modes.
New Caledonia was PSK-31
Palau was on JT-65

I HATE (ok, greatly DISLIKE) PSK-31, but I keep a watch out
JUST IN CASE someone pops up.
There was a Mariana Islands station on either 15 or 20m PSK-31
this afternoon that I called, but he didn't hear me.

You just never know who is going to pop out of the noise floor.
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WD4ELG
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Posts: 869




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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 03:58:56 PM »

It depends upon your station.  With my TS520S and low dipole and 100 watts, it got hard about 125...especially in pileups that were greater than the split cabability of my RIT.  Or pileups that were on the WARC bands (since I did not have that coverage).

Then I added DX cluster spotting software and electronic logging.  That helped me get to 150.  Then I added digital capabilities and an all-band off-center-fed dipole.  And I added a TS570D with WARC bands and a CW keyer and a vertical for the low bands, and I subscribed to the Daily DX; and that got me to about 170.  Then I added a directional antenna for 20 (a 2 element hex beam), and that got me to about 200 (all new DX on 20).

And then I got REALLY SERIOUS about DXing.  I knew that 200 was a magical number of sorts.  If I was going to go above that, I needed to either "fish or cut bait."  Get serious about the chase or move on to something else in the hobby (or a different hobby).

It was too late to back out, and I was already addicted to the DX bug.

I added a Flex 3000 in 2009, and that REALLY made a difference in busting pileups, especially on CW.  This made a BIG difference for me, and got me up to around 230 and facilitated additional climbing ass I added more capability to follow.

I soon after moved to a quieter QTH and put up an inverted L for the low bands.  Then I put up a 5 hand 2 element hex beam.  Even though the sunspots were in the doldrums in 2009, I clawed for every advantage I could get.  This got me to 260. I finally added an amplifier in December 2010, and raied the hex beam between two oak trees at 45 feet.  That has gotten me to my current count of 307.

At this point, I am thinking that I will need something else to get me to Honor Roll.  I never heard BS7 or 9M0 or XX9 stations, and anything else polar is really tough at this height for my antennas.  If P5 or XZ comes on the air next week, will I even have a chance?  Unless it's an op by a crew led by YT1AD or N6PSE or OH2BH that lasts for several weeks, then I seriously doubt it.  Therefore, I need to look at maybe setting up a station in an industrial area where I don't have antenna restrictions.  If I can get up a tower at 100 feet and a multiple element yagi, then I might have a chance.  But this i going to be a very significant financial investment, probably more than I am willing to make.

I hope this helps answer your question.
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WD4ELG
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 04:03:44 PM »

I forgot to mention; before 200 count was attained, I was spending about an average of 2 hours a week on the air.  After I crossed 200 and got the Flex, and started adding additional capabilities, it increased to an average of an hour a DAY.  And I travel 4 days a week on average, so I am either working my ham station remotely form the hotel...or I am spending about 8-12 hours on the weekend...exclusively chasing DX.
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NU1O
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Posts: 2644




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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 04:15:10 PM »

KY6R writes 320 and K3STX writes 312. Well, I am at 317 and I believe it is right in the ballpark between 312 and 320 but I can't give you an exact number.  I have two within sight for 2013, ZK3 and ZS8, and I heard the 4W operation weakly but could not work them. I also have a few which I need that were activated when I was QRT that would be easy to work if QRV. They were Banaba, Chesterfield, and Ducie.

I will stay with 317 but it also depends upon your equipment - mostly your antenna - and your location. It is easier to be on either coast than the interior of the USA.

73,

Chris/NU1O





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AF3Y
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Posts: 3724




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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2013, 04:46:03 PM »

312. Actually, it is pretty tough prior to my 312, Its just that we had a full table of choice DX last year. Now we are on a DIET.   ::)Damn...... we NEED some DX!! Roll Eyes

I honestly think DX gets "hard" around the 300 mark.

73, Gene AF3y

 
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EI2GLB
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Posts: 490




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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2013, 04:49:17 PM »

I really think it all depends on how long you are at it.

If you are new maybe 5 years or less, there is an awful lot of entities that are not active and wont be for a long time.

All the KH and KP's are a big example.

I am at 296 there is maybe 10-15 or so easy one left but after that I'm awaiting for once in 10 year expeditions for new ones.

SV/A, XX9, 9M0, ZK3 are not hard to work you just need to be on when they are which is at least a few times a year. and if you can't its your stations faults as these guys work the world when they are on.

These ones are rare more so if you are new to DX

1.   KP1   NAVASSA I.   
2.   P5   NORTH KOREA   
3.   3Y/B   BOUVET   
4.   VP8S   SOUTH SANDWICH
5.   FT8W   CROZET   
6.   FT8Z   AMSTERDAM & ST. PAUL
7.   VK0H   HEARD I.   
8.   KH5K   KINGMAN REEF
9.   FT/T   TROMELIN   
10.   FT/J   JUAN DE NOVA & EUROPA   
11.   VP8G   SOUTH GEORGIA   
12.   KH5   PALMYRA & JARVIS IS.
13.   KH1   BAKER & HOWLAND IS.   
14.   ZS8   MARION I.
15.   KH9   WAKE I.   
16.   CE0X   SAN FELIX I.   
17.   BV9P   PRATAS ISLAND   
18.   VK0M   MACQUARIE I.   
19.   KH3   JOHNSTON I.   
20.   E3   ERITREA

Trevor
EI2GLB
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W2IRT
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2013, 05:06:30 PM »

Sitting at 327, I don't think my DXCC quest is all that hard at all....any more. The remaining ones I need will all require DXpeditions, and with the station I currently have, shouldn't be all that difficult to get on at least one band. The toughest will be Heard, Crozet, Amsterdam/St. Paul, Myanmar and Pratas. The rest should be chip shots. Now, what IS hard are the last 4 Zones I need for my 5B-WAZ, and so far I'm not seeing any real chance with my current station. Zones 18, 23, 24 & 26 are all I need; Z27 just came in today for #196. Getting from 2600 to 3000 in the Challenge is also an insanely difficult task to contemplate.
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Night gathers and now my watch begins. It shall not end until I reach Top of the Honor Roll.
AD9DX
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Posts: 1477




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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2013, 05:12:40 PM »

I got to 150 in about a year with a Icom IC-7000 and a windom at 20'.  Then I got a better radio and an amp... That helped tremendously.  Dabbling with antennas has really helped.  I am working on Fernando de Noro as I type.  But my best antenna on 40 at the moment is still my homebrew windom.  So QSOs still take a while.  I just need more butt in the chair time  Sad
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
AF3Y
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Posts: 3724




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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2013, 05:25:07 PM »

I really think it all depends on how long you are at it.

If you are new maybe 5 years or less, there is an awful lot of entities that are not active and wont be for a long time.

All the KH and KP's are a big example.

I am at 296 there is maybe 10-15 or so easy one left but after that I'm awaiting for once in 10 year expeditions for new ones.

SV/A, XX9, 9M0, ZK3 are not hard to work you just need to be on when they are which is at least a few times a year. and if you can't its your stations faults as these guys work the world when they are on.

These ones are rare more so if you are new to DX

1.   KP1   NAVASSA I.   
2.   P5   NORTH KOREA   
3.   3Y/B   BOUVET   
4.   VP8S   SOUTH SANDWICH
5.   FT8W   CROZET   
6.   FT8Z   AMSTERDAM & ST. PAUL
7.   VK0H   HEARD I.   
8.   KH5K   KINGMAN REEF
9.   FT/T   TROMELIN   
10.   FT/J   JUAN DE NOVA & EUROPA   
11.   VP8G   SOUTH GEORGIA   
12.   KH5   PALMYRA & JARVIS IS.
13.   KH1   BAKER & HOWLAND IS.   
14.   ZS8   MARION I.
15.   KH9   WAKE I.   
16.   CE0X   SAN FELIX I.   
17.   BV9P   PRATAS ISLAND   
18.   VK0M   MACQUARIE I.   
19.   KH3   JOHNSTON I.   
20.   E3   ERITREA

Trevor
EI2GLB

Trevor, you and I are basically "Paddling the same canoe". Of the 28 I need to work em all, 19 Of them are listed above. I only have Macquarie out of that group.  Since starting chasing DX in 2006, most of these have not been QRV, at least not often.

73, Gene AF3Y
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