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Author Topic: So what makes a "great" DXer?  (Read 2642 times)
N3YZ
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« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2013, 05:52:23 PM »

A great listener.
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W2IRT
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« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2013, 07:53:00 PM »

One who understands propagation, paths, when and where to listen (and transmit), has a good enough station to be competitive in the pileups and who doesn't whine when self-imposed limits deny him/her a QSO. Someone who's generous with his/her time in elmering new DXers and contesters, generous with money in supporting DXpeditions as finances allow, doesn't take out his/her frustrations on the air when things aren't going well or play frequency cop. Someone who will lend a hand to help a friend build a better station, fix a broken station or learn tips and techniques. Someone who will help another less-savvy DXer work that rare one, give him a QSX via back-channels, suggest calling patterns or other similar tips. Someone who'll analyze QSLing problems and point out the ways to sure-fire confirmation success.

I've been on the receiving end and the giving end of all of these and while I'll probably never be a Great DXer, at least I like to think I've learned a lot and helped ignite the spark of DXing in the minds of a number of new hams. We can't all be Martti Laine, Gus Browning, Sigi, Apollo or any of the other wealthy, skilled and well-travelled DXpeditioners who put new ones on the air for The Deserving, but we can do our part in making the big (and not-so-big) DXpeditions a success by working 'em, QSLing 'em, supporting them and trying to emulate their best traits.
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Night gathers and now my watch begins. It shall not end until I reach Top of the Honor Roll.
W6GX
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« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2013, 09:42:08 PM »

One who understands propagation, paths, when and where to listen (and transmit), has a good enough station to be competitive in the pileups and who doesn't whine when self-imposed limits deny him/her a QSO. Someone who's generous with his/her time in elmering new DXers and contesters, generous with money in supporting DXpeditions as finances allow, doesn't take out his/her frustrations on the air when things aren't going well or play frequency cop. Someone who will lend a hand to help a friend build a better station, fix a broken station or learn tips and techniques. Someone who will help another less-savvy DXer work that rare one, give him a QSX via back-channels, suggest calling patterns or other similar tips. Someone who'll analyze QSLing problems and point out the ways to sure-fire confirmation success.

I've been on the receiving end and the giving end of all of these and while I'll probably never be a Great DXer, at least I like to think I've learned a lot and helped ignite the spark of DXing in the minds of a number of new hams. We can't all be Martti Laine, Gus Browning, Sigi, Apollo or any of the other wealthy, skilled and well-travelled DXpeditioners who put new ones on the air for The Deserving, but we can do our part in making the big (and not-so-big) DXpeditions a success by working 'em, QSLing 'em, supporting them and trying to emulate their best traits.

Two thumbs up.  Pete, for as short of a time I've known you, I truly consider you a great DX'er.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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KD8MJR
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2013, 10:38:41 PM »

I am not a great Dxer but some things that have really helped me get to 280 in 4 years while working a crazy 10-12 hour day (M-F).

The Basics

1) Learn and follow the DX rules of conduct.  You can quickly be blacklisted by a Dxpedition or DX station if you don’t.  That means you will waste many hours trying to work someone who will never respond.

2) Understand propagation from A-Z

3) Keep a proper Log and make sure to join LoTW.

4) Have a proper printed copy of your LoTW complete dx list right by your radio so you can instantly see what you have and what you need. I write in all the QSL cards I get back on the list and always reference it when I find a station/location I am not sure of.

5) Listen Listen and Listen before Talking.

6) When in doubt if a station is an ATNO don't hesitate just work it.  I let a few slip from my fingers because I was trying to figure out what entity the call was from, by the time I realized what was in front of me a huge pileup had started. I remember the first time that happened it was a VK9 station, I thought it was Australia and hesitated.

7) Make sure you scout through every competition.  That can be a great source during the pre 200 mark for making ATNO’s and a bonus is that most are on LoTW so you get quick confirmation.


After about 240 entities it starts getting harder and with current propagation you may need more equipment.

1) A Better Antenna!  The best you can obtain given your QTH and situation.  A good Yagi will help more than anything else and will make just about anything possible.

2) A better radio that has really good receive sensitivity and if possible a bandscope.

3) An Amp of at least 500 Watts will be needed to bust through pileups.

4) Proper grounding helped me a lot.  It can reduce the noise floor and make life safer and easier.

5) Have as many Digital modes available in your shack and be proficient at them.  You may get many new ones via those modes (I know you have them already but I am including it as a general rule) BTW listen to the mp3s that are on the net that contain samples of how different digital modes sound. That can make life a lot easier.

After 270 it starts to become a waiting game so you need to really pay attention to the following.

1) Make sure you keep current on all the DX news.  I take a look at it every day.

2) Make sure to write down the times when the propagation will be best to the Target DX from your QTH and try to be ready and waiting at those times.

3) If you don’t hear them but see them listed on the cluster just keep listening.  I browse the net or reply to emails for an hour or so while I just listen.  I think I have at least 10 ATNO in the Log that just came in suddenly for a few minutes and went away just after I worked them!  QSB is a strange beast; it will sometimes work in your favor and make a station pop out of the ether.

4) CW will really be needed to keep the numbers growing and would be a good thing to know from day one but if you’re unwilling you can try your hand at CW Decoder and one of the software/hardware methods of sending CW via the PC.  Yes a lot of people will disagree with this but I can tell you from first hand experience that a rank amateur CW guy like myself will never make it through to a rare one without some form of aid.  I can’t decipher 25WPM and even if I could you got to be a dedicated CWer to make out what’s going on through the Nut Jobs and Lids that plague the rare ones.

From what I have read from the really great guys on this forum is that it would seem that after about 310 what you need is all of the above plus a Long Life, lots of patience and good luck to get the rest.

I am sure others will point out any mistakes in what I have written and you would be wise to follow their advice.

73’s
Robert

« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 10:57:43 PM by KD8MJR » Logged
WA8UEG
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« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2013, 06:12:40 AM »

One who listens first, confirms call and operating parameters of the station then thinks and plans prior to ever pressing the mic button or key.
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N2RJ
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« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2013, 06:28:43 AM »

I like N6PSE's explanation best. A great DXer doesn't have to be at the top of the honor roll.
Quite honestly, getting there is a matter of time because DXing is mostly a game of waiting it out. If you notice, most of the guys on honor roll have been in the game a long time. They have been in it long enough to see many rare entities activated including P5 and KP1. But if you have any sort of station you can achieve DXCC and other DX awards. DX is a marathon for most people, not a sprint.

But passion for DXing and the DX chase is all that you need to be a great DXer.

There is also style. It's easy to just be a cluster crab and pick off spots from the cluster. But the thrill of the chase is often finding the DX by tuning across the bands or simply calling CQ. Some of my best catches have been out of the blue - ZD8I is the most memorable, with him having responded to my CQ on PSK31. But I don't begrudge anyone from using the cluster as I do it myself. But I do admire people who are able to do it the old fashioned way.

Peter mentioned Martti Laine. He is the complete package. Knowledgeable, technical, a good operator, a great teacher and mentor and also a great DX ambassador, quite literally. Also has the means to get entities on the air and convince people and Governments to grant permission to land and operate.  THAT to me is what makes a great DXer.
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KY6R
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2013, 11:01:26 AM »

Vlad UA4WHX

I agree. I think Vlad is the epitome of a great DX-er. He travels the globe Microlite Penguin style and has the best ears. He has given out more different and rare counters than anyone. He has the best QSL cards.

And he has never tried to coerce the ARRL into changing the DXCC rules to have a new entity added..

He just goes out there and kicks butt.
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IK0OZD
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« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2013, 12:11:51 PM »

g3txf g3sxw ua4whx and others like them ,
This kind of people is very nice
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