Here you can find some thoughts DXers and DXpedtioners wrote down at the DX-University. It is their opinion, not mine. I would like to suggest that another "Best Practice" would be to continue to use the call districts when asking for US stations so as to minimize some of the chaos. Bill, NJ1X We believe that much of the chaos on the bands during DXpeditions is caused by the operating tactics of the DXpedition operator – this leads to poor operating by DX-Chasers, and therefore to chaos. At a meeting of RSGB, CDXC and GM-DX on October 13th we agreed to strengthen the 'DX Code of Conduct' and to prioritise the DXpedition side. This has now been completed, thanks to Wayne N7NG and 'DX University', and has been renamed 'Best Practices for DXpedition Operating'. Please see: DX University or go to click on DXpeditioning Tools, then Basic Practices. Each of the 13 points is hyper-linked to some explanatory text. We would hope that DX organisations will adopt it as a condition of funding. This would hopefully spread to become the normal requirement for all DXpedition funding: DXpeditions would not only 'support' it, but would also implement it on-air. In this way we expect that chaos on DX bands can be reduced somewhat whenever a DXpedition is under way. Roger/G3SXW Looking at this situation when you are on the other side(DX Station),its not easy to help everyone with a new one, and there are some hams that have your countryon the log and they try to stablish some rag chew when you are calling dx !,pile up went crazy ,so you must try to be pollite and keep on going specially when there are just 3 persons doing Dx from your country. HR2WW, Dan The United States is a big place too....too often it's "East Coast" and "West Coast".... forgetting everything in between. The other problem is that most DX stations always start with "1's". Living in the 9th district....... A month or so ago there was a DX station on from Africa. He was quite loud in W9. He was also loud in EU. He probably had propagation to EU for two or three times the number of hours than to NA. Both the Midwest and East Coast were calling but couldn't break through the EU pile-up. After quite a while a few East Coast stations made it through. Then the DX station switched to US call districts...1s,2s,3s,4s. Of course this made EU ops angry...and the cluster comments started right away. He didn't work just 5 or 10 per district....he worked each district until there were no stations left in that district. "Any more 1s......any more 1s? Please any more 1s?" He worked 1s for 35 minutes.... By this time the West Coast was hearing him quite was over 90 minutes later. Of course a few West Coast stations called out of turn. Then it was "standing by for West Coast only". Another hour elapsed, the pile-up got nasty and by the time he got to 9's and 0's propagation was gone. Good thing I didn't need him and was occupied doing other things in the shack. And of course he never stood by for SA, Caribbean...all of which were copying him too. Call districts is a bad idea the propagation not the numbers. Gary, K9GS Try to imagine our senses here in zones 17-18 when DXped op start to call EU just after JA (or JA just after EU )... But UA9-UA0 is not too small territory with a big numbers of DXers! Europeans shocking! When DX OP start to call "outside of EU" they usually coming to the DX freq with comments, carriers and so on. Several years ago I got back to the HAM-radio after some years of my "radio silence" and I was just shocked by behavior of DX-ers in a pile-ups! Even JA-s are not like some Years before. Seems all World is changed. And not into a better shape. Why the HAM-radio must stay the same? Mike, R9AB In my opinion, the Leading Band/Slot Stations, leader board feature on Club Log, is a serious problem with DXing. It just promotes multiple QSOs and QRM, mostly from stations who do not need the contact anyway. Most don't need the contact and will not QSL or contribute to the expedition. Just a chance to get their call highlighted on another bulletin board, with a "Hey look at me"... A'int I great. Jess, KR4OJ My opinion on this is pretty simple, and I've stated it repeatedly. For something in high demand (top- 25 entity, for example) there have to be some clearly communicated goals from the outset. Establish those goals, do what you can to communicate them loudly and clearly to The Deserving and don't deviate from your plan unless your pilots convey critical information or your rates show a need to change. Be LOUD, work the areas with the best rates for as long as you can. Focus on the hardest-to- work region as propagation opens. Here's how I'd do it. 1) Priority is as many unique as possible for all time new ones 2) Once per mode and/or 3) At most once per band This means either no clublog greenies or work with the Clublog developer to come up with a module that shows bands and modes worked, but not a full band-mode matrix. The Plan: Planners must fully understand that there are three major centres of ham populations. NA, EU and JA. Within each major center is East Coast NA, West coast, central; Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe (and western Asia); JA stands by itself. NOT to marginalize SA, VK/ZL, OC and AF, but the highest rates will be had with the three major continents. NOW, with that said and understood: 1) One of the three areas of the world will be extremely difficult to work due to a polar path (Eastern NA to South-east Asia; south Pacific to Southern Europe, Caribbean to JA, etc). 2) Two of those three will have propagation on all bands and modes, and will have an opening 24/7 somewhere. I. As such, they MUST focus "tightly" on those in the first category. Like Martti on Scarborough Reef dedicating 3 hours to North America only. No exceptions. Following the terminator is an absolute must. If you're going to an ultra-rare place, you need someone good with propagation, who can read and understand the charts and formulate a concrete plan to use as a base. With the morning terminator an hour away from the Canadian maritimes, if you're in darkness, that's the time to start calling NA East Coast, for example. If you're on 3B9, as you go into dawn start calling NA West Coast (you'd have had all night to work NA East coast in this example). And so on. II. Keep one station on 20m SSB 24/7 if you have a large setup. If not, have one station alternating between 15, 20 and 40 SSB. Be as loud as possible! That's where you'll rack up the uniques. Better to go begging on 20 phone than have an international bitchfest that the weak guys can't get through cuz you're always trying for the margins. III. Make sure you have a skilled operator for CW and SSB who speaks fluent Italian and/or Spanish and/or Russian…and knows how to keep the howling wolves at bay. a. If necessary, make an example of a couple of egregiously bad ops and publicly NIL them, but only as a last resort b. Make it plain that if you're asked to stand by, if you don't, you will not be logged. Period. IV. When you first start, and when propagation is open wide, don't restrict callers. Loudest wins. Concentrate on rate, rate, rate and did I say RATE. Work the big guns. Work'em down as fast as you possibly can. V. When you have two wide open areas (NA and EU working Africa, for example), alternate EU only/NA only for reasonable times or if you have the stations to do it, EU on SSB, NA on CW, then switch after an hour or two. Or 10CW/12SSB to one continent, then the opposite. Something like that, so you don't p!$$ off entire continents. VI. Understand that QRM will generally start getting bad in areas where frustrated ops who haven't worked you yet start getting into the 807s and 813s after supper their-time. 2100- 0100z,then 0400z to 0700z being the worst, in my experience. VII. When that slim window opens to the region (1) mentioned above, they get unconditional priority. Follow the terminator, but be aware of latecomers if possible. i.e. as the terminator moves into the US Midwest there may be some guys in Vermont or Georgia who are just getting fluke good propagation. VIII. Keep your rates high even as the operation wears down and don't worry about the 100W/wire guys for a few days, assuming you're going to be there for 10-14 days! The more big guns you get up front, the less effort to work the weak guys later on. Meaning less QRM. IX. In the second week, or last few days if a short trip, whittle it down to regions (NA East, NA Central, etc) and spend more time going after secondary targets (SA, Africa, VK/ZL, for example). Work split for US Generals. Pause at the top of the hour for QRP, mobile, or 'need- for-an-ATNO' callers when things slow down. Use these guidelines and anything from a top-5 to a top-100 will have as much success as possible. The threat to a good operation comes from two fronts. (1) Southern/Eastern Europen lids (and their U.S. counterparts) who cannot or will not be quiet and who ignore operators' instructions; (2) DX Hogs who'll be after you on 22-25 slots if you let 'em. If you have a major operation and want to work the band/mode hunters that's wonderful. As a hunter myself I truly welcome those 22-25 slots. But if you're a smaller operation, there for limited time or whatever, make your intentions in this regard crystal clear and don't let the Clublog charts overwhelm your operation. Here's an idea for those good at programming. How 'bout this. Hard-core DXers pre-register on your Website with an email address and callsign. When that call works the DX and the log is uploaded at some point, the Website generates an email to the DXer saying "you're in the log. Please do not call again on this band." Positive confirmation delivered as quickly as possible after each upload, so the DXer knows he doesn't have to dupe you for insurance, but also no public leaderboard for the global circlejerk that it can start. In short, I believe the single biggest challenge that inexperienced DXpedition teams face is not knowing who to look for when/where. Propagation will drive rates but at the same time, if you're a highly in- demand location in a difficult part of the world, you have to be prepared to sacrafice slightly higher rates in favour of working rare areas over harder paths. And finally, if your operation plans to heavily rely on QSL funding, don't neglect that part of the globe who pays the best! Just sayin'! Peter, W2IRT One other thing ... *don't short change RTTY/Digital* Plan as much for RTTY as for any other mode or 160/6M. don't wait until the last few days when all of your operators are tired, not thinking clearly, and the rest of the world is getting frustrated at the lack of RTTY operation. Include skilled RTTY operators on the trip and see that the best propagation times and bands for each of the major areas are split equitably among all three modes. Limit bands on RTTY if necessary but provide some opportunity on all bands for those where high or low bands offer particularly favorable propagation. Absolutely work with ClubLog to see that 9, 10 or 11 slots - 9 bands, (10 if you work 6), plus a maximum of one QSO on each of the other modes - count equally. The committed "deserving" should be able to cover all of the award requirements in just 9 (or 10 with 6) QSOs. Avoiding all of the "every band, every mode" QSOs should help cut the pile-up (and QRM) significantly. Publicly identify those who insist on racking up 15, 20, 25 "slots" as "DX Hogs". Joe, W4TV In my opinion I think DXing is fine the way it is. We don't need any once per mode or once per band rules. If we do need those rules, perhaps ARRL should restructure the Challenge Award and only permit once per mode or once per band to count for each DX callsign. There are many facets to ham radio. Making rules to ensure the 100W/dipole weekend DXer gets a contact shouldn't be a priority to a DXpedition. DXing is a competitive sport. Be polite when you're on the air – all bands, all modes. Bert,N8NN Sorry Bert, I'll have to respectfully disagree. While DXing is a competitive sport, it shouldn't be based on who can afford a 30 meter tower with stacked beams and a 1500W amp. Sure, those gentlemen will be making the first contacts with the DX stations - it's only logical. However, there are many more ops that have the 100W with a dipole and have worked hard just to get that. They deserve a fighting chance, not a give-a-way, just a chance. It's hard for a new ham to get excited about DXing if all they get to do is listen to stations making "insurance" contacts. Robert,N9EF From those whom I have spoken to, they absolutely do NOT just work "the big guns." In fact, having a variable split makes a big station less useful than it could be. They absolutely do listen to the little pistol guys. The biggest challenge I've had was finding a good split frequency and often the one that nobody is calling on is the one that gets me in the log. Watch some of those DXpedition videos and you'll see how they do it. Some DXpeditions use set split patterns, but others spin the knob, sort of like they were S&Ping. Just be patient and they'll find you. Of course, don't expect that you'll win versus the guy with a kilowatt and a tower. Head to head he's going to crush you. But you can get in the log if you think outside the box a little. I worked DXCC mobile, so I know all about being at a distinct disadvantage... I won't lie, I make more than one QSO and try to fill up band/mode combos as much as I can. If I plan to pursue CW/Phone awards in the future it will be useful. I'm doing less of that now, but still trying to get as many challenge points as I can. But I don't spend hours in a pileup, so I don't see how I'm setting anyone back. Usually I am in the log in a few minutes. Ryan, N2RJ To a certain extent, I agree with the limits, but I think each situation is different...I can only look at my 1996 CY0AA experience as a basis. CY0 was #4 in Asia in general. JA's were ALL OVER us when we went there, wanting dedicated times. I had been approached at Dayton by a German, and Swedish ham about our plan for 160, since it was high on the list there. VE9AA was large into 6, and there was a pent up demand there also. (We actually had the first CY0 to EU QSO while there on 6) We ran props for the time we were going to be there band by band, hour by hour, for our estimated stay. We tried to be where we should, and I think we did well considering about 20% or so Asian Q's, several hundred 6 meter Q's, and quite a few 160 contacts. With 3 ops, we were covering a lot of spectrum with little rest. It got bad when I fell asleep at the keyer on 40 at 4AM and got a QLF sent to me. We advised everyone ahead of time , no dupes, same mode/band and 3 strikes you were NIL. Only had one hit that edge as I recall. Finally, a solar flare also assisted in our planning while we were on island, so we had to go wherever we could get prop, if anywhere. We worked hard on getting amps, antennas, and op positions set up correctly the first time. This kept us from "space" interference and let us freestyle as we each needed to, on whatever band we were assigned to go to. The contributions drove some of our efforts. We had guys from all over the world send in $100 donations, with no guarantees or separate call frequencies. I knew most of the calls ahead of time as well experienced DX'ers, as did my fellow ops. EVERY ONE got through because they knew how....and that went from the watery echoes of 20 cw in the early AM, to the late 10+ SSB sigs on 20/40. They just knew how... No expedition is faultless. "Why didn't we go here or there?" MAN...did I get sick of that question. If you can do it better, YOU go there and show me. When you start getting through to the QRP's that tells you something also. Sometimes we worked a band out until that point because we didn't have prop anywhere else just then. I can truly say, if our prop forecast said there was prop, we tried it. If a no go, we just went to where we could give out the most Q's until our next window to try. Our situation wasn't NEARLY as difficult as these recent undertakings. I still listen and learn so if I do it again, it'll be better. My deepest thanks and respects to all those who make that trip for all of us. Ken, WA8JOC

Best Practices for DXpedition Operating

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