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Author Topic: Your favorite DXing technique/tip?  (Read 3871 times)
VE3YF
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« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2013, 05:44:14 AM »

My tried and proven is to also listen on your tx freq. How many times have you thought you might be alone calling, only to find a station or stations on your freq or you on theirs. It will take forever to work the DX if multiple stations on the same freq are TXing. From my experience DX will listen for stronger stations and ones in the clear. Avoid trying to all gang up on one freq...

Follow the pattern of the DX station and you will soon realize where he is listening etc.

Go get em...


73 De Mike
VE3YF
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N2RJ
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Posts: 1184




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« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2013, 07:26:33 AM »

My tips:

Listen
Work first worry later
Listen
Do what the DX says, he/she is in charge
Try to get a rhythm before you transmit
Did I say listen?
Work the contests if you want to up your numbers quickly
DXpeditions are almost always working split. Learn to use split effectively.
Tune up your antenna/rig/amp properly. Make sure you do it off the DX's frequency though. That extra bit of "oomph" can make all the difference in the world.
Use ClubLog to determine and track what you need.

And finally, the cluster can be your friend and your enemy. Listen first before transmit. A busted call can result in an invalid QSO and when you go to QSL you won't be wondering why you are NIL.

Don't rely on the cluster for split frequencies. The cluster is delayed information. By the time it shows up in the cluster the DX may have moved on. Also, once a split frequency is listed in the cluster you can be guaranteed that everyone is on it. Unless you have a really loud signal it is best to just transmit somewhere else within the DX's listening range.

As far as following the DX, YMMV. Sometimes they stay on a frequency and other times they move around. You have to LISTEN to determine what they are doing.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 07:30:18 AM by N2RJ » Logged
K1ZJH
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Posts: 974




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« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2013, 07:35:41 AM »

1: learn how to spot the last QSOs on the split, and note the pattern.
2: work them as early as possible!
3: retire, and take advantage of the best propagation conditions Smiley
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KB3LIX
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Posts: 1107




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« Reply #33 on: March 04, 2013, 07:47:11 AM »

If a DX station is working simplex (I HATE when they do that, but it happens)
or in a contest pileup, when the other guy says "QRZ"
I count 1-2-3 THEN transmit my call.

I OFTEN get, who is the INDIA-XRAY ?  or "ending XRAY"

No FLAME THROWER or LIGHTNING BOLT
station here, so I must use gimmicks.

Works for me.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 07:51:03 AM by KB3LIX » Logged
KE8G
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Posts: 151




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« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2013, 07:49:04 AM »

1: learn how to spot the last QSOs on the split, and note the pattern.
2: work them as early as possible!
3: retire, and take advantage of the best propagation conditions Smiley

Peter/K1ZJH,
Your#3 is the best one.  Hi Hi!!

I retired at the end of last year and I'm having a ball.  I get to play radio anytime I want now!  One of the best things I have ever done!!

73 de Jim - KE8G
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W1VT
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Posts: 826




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« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2013, 05:40:49 AM »


Here is mine. Lets say that some rare DX is on and I have been callling for sometime without success. I go and do something else for a while and try again later once (I HOPE!) that the pileup has toned down.

Zack N8FNR

In sports, the coach takes a time out and discusses what the team should be doing.

This also works in ham radio--I can't focus on a pileup and look a the "big picture" at the same time.

Is this the best time for me to work him, or should I wait for another band/mode? Do I really know how the operator is picking out calls?  Who is he working? Is he only working strong stations?  Do I really need to work him? 

For most of us, if we can't get a QSL, either via LoTW, or paper, it doesn't count.  A couple of Internet searches will give you a good idea on the possibility of getting that QSL.

Zack W1VT

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WS3N
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Posts: 692




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« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2013, 09:57:17 AM »

3: retire, and take advantage of the best propagation conditions Smiley

LOL. Sometimes I feel like I'm one of the three hams who are still working.
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AD9DX
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Posts: 1480




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« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2013, 10:02:07 AM »

3: retire, and take advantage of the best propagation conditions Smiley

LOL. Sometimes I feel like I'm one of the three hams who are still working.

Nope 50-60 hours of work a week here.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
W5DQ
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Posts: 1209


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« Reply #38 on: March 05, 2013, 11:04:28 AM »

3: retire, and take advantage of the best propagation conditions Smiley

LOL. Sometimes I feel like I'm one of the three hams who are still working.

Nope 50-60 hours of work a week here.

Being a Gov't employee, thanks to the 'O'-man, I just earned every Friday off via the Sequestration that kicked in March 1st. Starting in mid April, I'll be at home on the radio, from late Thursday night thru Sunday evening for 22 weeks, as I was forced to take a 20% paycut to "earn" my Fridays off and now CANNOT afford to do much else.

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
AD9DX
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Posts: 1480




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« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2013, 11:44:35 AM »

3: retire, and take advantage of the best propagation conditions Smiley

LOL. Sometimes I feel like I'm one of the three hams who are still working.

Nope 50-60 hours of work a week here.

Being a Gov't employee, thanks to the 'O'-man, I just earned every Friday off via the Sequestration that kicked in March 1st. Starting in mid April, I'll be at home on the radio, from late Thursday night thru Sunday evening for 22 weeks, as I was forced to take a 20% paycut to "earn" my Fridays off and now CANNOT afford to do much else.

Gene W5DQ

I am sorry Gene. At least you have all of your equipment squared away and have a great hobby to pass the time with.

Keep your hopes up.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
K7KB
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Posts: 607




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« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2013, 12:20:36 PM »



And guess what, my favorite tip is NOT to tune up on the DX when he is working split!



Zack
N8FNR

Oh man, I feel terrible.. I did this by accident on top of the clipperton dxpedition last night along with transmitting my call! As a first time father with a less than three week old newborn I am finding out that sleep deprivation and radio don't mix too well. I received several emails.. Some friendly and some not so friendly late last night. My apologies to all! I definitely do know better not to ever do that.

Not to worry Jim, mistakes happen, and we have all made them. The fact that you were man enough to come up here and admit your mistake shows what kind of character you really have.

John K7KB
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WS3N
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Posts: 692




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« Reply #41 on: March 05, 2013, 06:04:19 PM »

3: retire, and take advantage of the best propagation conditions Smiley

LOL. Sometimes I feel like I'm one of the three hams who are still working.

Nope 50-60 hours of work a week here.


Being a Gov't employee, thanks to the 'O'-man, I just earned every Friday off via the Sequestration that kicked in March 1st. Starting in mid April, I'll be at home on the radio, from late Thursday night thru Sunday evening for 22 weeks, as I was forced to take a 20% paycut to "earn" my Fridays off and now CANNOT afford to do much else.

Gene W5DQ

I'll be there with you. Mine will be either a Monday or Friday. They want to be open all 5 days, so half will be assigned to each. At least I can hope for some morning LP. I get to work at 1100Z so I always miss that. I'm glad I just completed some antenna work. No more big changes planned in the near future.

Not sure why it's "thanks to the 'O'-man" more than anyone else. They all voted for it and thought it was a good idea at the time, because it put off any real decisions. Now the only thing they have to do is point fingers and repeat talking points about how it's the fault of the other side, still avoiding responsibility. And adding insult to injury, none of that congressional slime gets a cut in pay.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 06:18:49 PM by WS3N » Logged
WA2VUY
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Posts: 136




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« Reply #42 on: March 05, 2013, 08:43:16 PM »

Here is a tip that has not been mentioned: on SSB learn your call in different languages and how to carry out an exchange, learning to saying it perfectly. I can do that in Spanish, Italian, Russian (and English, of course). I need to work on my French.

As many of you know sometimes a dxpedition is solely made up of operators whose natural language are those, or a dxpedition will have ops from Spain, Italy, etc. Believe me, their ears are tuned to their language and/or they'll give preference to someone calling in their language.

Other tips as have already been touched on:
1) unless you have a super station at the other end the signals sound alot like they are same strength; good dx audio is what stands out.

2) work on spotting the last station called and figuring out the pattern.  You have to be adept at spinning the dial on vfo b (or sub receiver) if the spread is large. Practice. If the station is listening split & spread 95% of the time they are working their way up, or down, or looking for holes in the pileup. In my opinion, when a really rare country comes and the pileups are enormous staying on one frequency is not as productive as anticipating where the op will listen.

3) do not wait for a dxpedition to start to wind down the pileups before starting to call. There have been numerous dxpeditions that have been cut short for one reason or another. As an example a French FR/Tromelin (as I recall) was cut short after one day despite having the proper license; the French Navy vessel that visited threw them off. might not com

4) try to work every dxpedition. Things change in the world and what you might think you can work the next time might not come on again for a very long time. Who could have thought that Navassa would be so rare now?

5) be willing to get up/stay up all kinds of crazy hours

 

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NU1O
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« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2013, 12:36:46 AM »

In my opinion, there are too many tips advising the operator to find the last QSO. On many bands, 10 meters being a very good example, that is not often possible due to the way the band propagates signals, and in most cases a station running a pileup may only take one call on a given frequency so zero-beating may not work anyway. It may put you in the ballpark but then again the DX station could be just cherry-picking the strongest stations. What do you do in that case? I think the OP needs to be flexible. If the DX is listening from 5 to 10 up, I first try exactly 5 up, then exactly 10 up, and if both of those strike out I just plank myself in the middle of the range and I stay there. Once you've tried the bottom of the split and the top, I don't think it makes any sense to keep moving your frequency. I do have one caveat which I'll save for later.

I also am reading of lot of tips that advise the operator to determine the pattern of the DX station. Often, the only pattern is the DX station is taking the loudest stations he is hearing. After you get some on-air experience in the hobby you should be able to determine a rough idea of how long a pileup should take to break. Naturally, if you are running a modest antenna and 100 Watts you are going to spend a lot more time in pileups than the fellow running a big beam and 1500 watts. If you've reached your time limit and have not broken through the pileup there is nothing wrong with waiting until the pileup thins out. My limit in a pileup is 1 hour. That's my patience limit and my physical limit but on 10, 15, and 20 meters where I have a 10 element tribander and an Alpha amplifier there are few pileups I don't break in that time period. So, my second tip is to know your station and it's capabilities and if you reach your time limit try again on another day. Most big expeditions are active for two weeks and typically by the end of the expedition they are seeking out contacts.

This tip has to do with when you are answering a CQ DX CW call operating simplex. On CW I run my K3 with the filter narrow, usually at about 200 Hertz wide.  I find many stations don't know how to properly zero-beat my signal and they are sometimes 1 or 2 Khz away so unless I use the RIT I simply don't hear them.  So, this tip is to properly learn how to zero-beat the station you are trying to work.  You can practice that at night on 10 meters when the band is dead using a local friend. Have your friend transmit on CW with his filter very narrow. Now, transmit and try to get in his bandwidth and hopefully hit his exact frequency. With some practice it's not very hard but it is very important if you want to work a station calling CQ DX CW simplex on the first few calls, and hopefully on your first call.

Nothing breaks a pileup like power. Put up as big as an antenna as you can afford and the same applies to an amplifier.  Unless you are running QRP for the challenge the goal is to direct as much power at a given location as possible. With QRZ it's no longer necessary to have a chart of beam heading with 340 directions but you should still have all the major population centers memorized. For somebody in the North East USA that would mean memorizing the beam headings to Europe and the Middle East, West and East Africa, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and the countries in South East Asia that are right over the pole.

Also, learn which bands have frequent long path openings and learn the normal long path heading and the skew path.

In my first paragraph I wrote I had a caveat about where to operate when a station is giving a split range. For stations who aren't running legal-limit and don't have a good sized antenna, I would use a baseball analogy: "hit 'em where they ain't."  When a left-handed pull hitter comes up to bat teams usually move three infielders to the right side of the diamond and they shift the 3rd baseman to where the shortstop used to be. If you are being paid $15 million a year to hit home runs your team isn't going to want you dropping bunts down the 3rd baseline unless it's a tied ballgame in the late innings, but in ham radio the strategy can work. That simply means if the DX is transmitting 5 to 10 up and you aren't breaking through there is nothing to lose by going a little low or a little high in frequency.

Those would be my major tips but when nothing is working you have nothing to lose by experimenting with new things. If you can't overpower the pileup you'll need to use ingenuity or wait until the pileup hopefully thins out.

Good luck and see you in the pileups!

73,

Chris/NU1O
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W1VT
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« Reply #44 on: March 06, 2013, 03:04:14 AM »

In my opinion, there are too many tips advising the operator to find the last QSO. On many bands, 10 meters being a very good example, that is not often possible due to the way the band propagates signals, and in most cases a station running a pileup may only take one call on a given frequency so zero-beating may not work anyway. It may put you in the ballpark but then again the DX station could be just cherry-picking the strongest stations. What do you do in that case? I think the OP needs to be flexible. If the DX is listening from 5 to 10 up, I first try exactly 5 up, then exactly 10 up, and if both of those strike out I just plank myself in the middle of the range and I stay there. Once you've tried the bottom of the split and the top, I don't think it makes any sense to keep moving your frequency. I do have one caveat which I'll save for later.

73,

Chris/NU1O

Here is where the DX cluster can be very helpful--it helps to make sure you aren't calling on top of another DX-pedition!  Make sure there isn't a big DX operation  up 5 if you are going to blindly call there! Of course, accidents do happen, not much you can do if a rare DX station shows up 1 kHz below another!

Zack W1VT
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