How it all started

Introduction to DXCC In 1930 the amateur radio stations had problems how to measure their results of contacts with other stations all over the world. There need to be some guidance and rules, so that results could be compared to each other. Today we have those rules and guidance. Al is captured in the A.R.R.L. DXCC rules, together with a list of all Entities mentioned in the ARRL Entities List. At this moment, June 27, 2019, this list holds 340 Entities, It is very interesting to know how ARRL came to this Rules and List of Entities (in former days called Countries) The story will be a journey through history, so fasten your seatbelt. Here we go… Hunting DX The first step a ham would do is trying to make a QSO with a ham in any continent. In the period between 1930-1935 this was not as simple as today. If you could show proof of contacts with at least one station from all continents you could apply at ARRL for an award, WAC. Worked All Continents. Hanging this award on the wall of your shack was an indication that you could talk to any one in the world. More and more amateur stations got their licenses, and it became easier to get the WAC award. So the goal had to be bigger and more difficult. Worked countries was the new measurement. Simple but not easy. because what was a country? In 1932 the first countries where listed, and there was already activity from over 150 countries. But there where more countries, so the countries list has to be expanded. The country-hunters such as W8BKP, W1TW, W1BUX G6YL, etc.. did send their worked countries List to ARRL. In 1934, ARRL used a Countries List for credits for the WAC award, with some 150 countries on it. All countries where mainland bounded. The list was not good enough, so the only good tool of what was a continent, was a map of Rand McNally, showing boundaries for any continent. Worked All Continents Did DX depend upon location, competition, accessibility of equipment, lack of YL's, etc., or was it simply a measure of the amateur population, of which a certain fixed percentage will always be the DX hunter? This question had been the subject of many debates in amateur circles and, in an effort to arrive at an answer, the number of WAC certificates awarded to each call area was published by the A.R.R.L. in June 1936.Later that year, they did it also for all foreign countries. Since 1926, when the first WAC certificate was awarded, up to December, 1935, the following CW certificates had been awarded: It was also noted that those G- stations use Low Power. The WAC Phone list was also calculated. This list is very small. In 10 years time only 21 stations could apply the WAC phone award. Six of the WAC phone holders came from Belgium. The CW list is much more complicated. For example, why is there no WAC-CW issued to a W0 station? And why is there, besides ON an extra entry of ON4C in the list? Did the country Slovakia (OM) already exist in 1936? And what country is MX? These questions do make DXCC so very interesting. And of course there must an answer to those questions. The W-Districts Before 1940, the United States had only 9 districts. The territory of each district was as follows: W1. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut. W2 New York (county of New York, Staten Island, Long Island, and counties on the Hudson River to and including Albany, Rensselaer, and Schenectady) and New Jersey (counties of Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union, Middlesex, Monmouth, Hudson, and Ocean) W3.New Jersey (all counties not included in second district), Pennsylvania (counties of Philadelphia, Delaware, all counties south of the Blue Mountains, and Franklin County), Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia. W4. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Porto Rico. W5. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico. W6. California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Arizona. W7. Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. W8. New York (all counties not included in second district), Pennsylvania (all counties not included in third district), West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan (Lower Peninsula) W9. Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan (Upper Peninsula), Minnesota, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota. The prefix OM was before 1940 used by stations from Guam. And ON4C stands for the Belgian Congo. Later they used the prefix OO for this African possession of Belgium. And no, MX was not a typo, but was a real country-prefix, and did belong to the country of Manchukuo. Manchukuo ( "State of Manchuria") was a puppet state in Northeas China and Inner Mongolia, which was governed under a form of constitutional monarchy In 1931, the region was seized by Japan following the Mukden Incident. The "country" did exist from 1932 until 1945.(source: Wikipedia). The proposal of Clinton B DeSoto. The next try to get a real DXCC Countries List came from Clinton B DeSoto, W1CBD, DeSoto wrote his ideas on paper and it was published in a 1935, QST "How to Count Countries Worked, A New DX Scoring System". The idea of W1CBD was this: "Each discrete geographical or political entity is considered to be a country". Watch the word Entity. These words are stiil the base of the DXCC Countries List of today. But this simple line of text however is not as clear as it seems. How to turn this line into a list of countries. Counting prefixes, as used in international contests was a start to create such list. But too many places on earth had the same prefix. And what if a country changed his prefix? Then we would have to count the same place as two different countries. So, the line was changed a bit. A DXCC country is defined as the smallest independent geographical or political entity Now a Countries-List could be produced. And a big list could make the measurement between hams much better and easier. Following the rule above, Alaska and The United States would be two different countries. They where separated geographically by Canada. The same did go for Australia and Tasmania, separated by the sea, the Bass Strait. The same was true for Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Celebes and New Guinea. And the country of Mexico and the U.S.A. had a political border. The island problem was also solved by Clinton, DeSoto, W1CBD. He counted Island groups, such as the Hawaii Islands, the Tonga Islands, the Sandwich Islands etc, also as a DXCC country, because each island group had their own government. And if there was an Island group with different governments then each of those islands would be counted as a separate DXCC country. Simple isn’t it !. Thank you mister DeSoto. The DX-Score of W4EG. The DeSoto system is unfair said N.M.Patterson, W4EG. It’s unfair to count a QSO with each of the eight Australian districts VK1 to VK8 , the same, s to count a QSO with only one of the eight districts. The Europeans had the same argument. It’s unfair to count a QSO with each of the nine U.S.A. districts W1 to W9 as to count a QSO with only one of the nine districts.(the U.S.A system of ten districts (W0 to W9) is of later date). Mister Patterson, W4EG proposed to change to country-rule : "The DX-Score will be computed by taking the number of districts worked in each country, and adding it all up into a grand total". Some countries did use a district prefix system, such as the U.S.A (W)., Australia (VK), Spain (EA) etc. But other countries did not use the prefix to identify districts, such as Algeria (FA), Great Britain (G), Argentina (LU), Norway (LA) etc. Other prefixes like VE6 and VE9 did produce problems, they where not bound to districts. Ships at sea, it would seem, could not logically be counted, because no country was involved. And countries like South Africa, with prefixes like ZS, ZT, ZU made other problems, the figure (1,2,3) was the indication of the district, not the prefix (ZS1, ZT1, ZU1 where all the same district). And abnormal prefixes like NY1, NY2 did indicate a station from Canal Zone, the same as the prefix K5. The idea of W4EG was not accepted, but had some influence on the DeSoto system. However the districts idea of W4EG can be found in some modern contest multipliers (like the PACC contest). There was also some reaction from Europeans on the idea of DeSoto., like the comment of Barbara Dunn, G6YL. A definite ruling about how to count countries worked was much needed and I have just read your article in October QST with great interest. Incidentally, I have been able to add another country to my list of those worked, as previously I had counted PK1 and PK4 as one! I note you say "The Federated Malay States are one country." That is VS2. How about the non-Federated States (VS3), and the Straits Settlements (VS8)? As regards W4EG's suggestion of a "DX Score," counting the number of districts worked in each country, I think this would cause some confusion. For instance, people would count G2, G5 and G6 as three districts, whereas the figures do not indicate any districts in Great Britain. For example: G2XY, G5QY and G6LR all live quite near each other in and around Newcastle-on- Tyne! There are probably other countries where figures in the call signs do not indicate different Districts. Of course, W4EG's suggestion would be OK for W, VE, VK, etc ARRL started to work on the idea of W1CBD and all comments given on that idea. The first thing was to produce a Countries- List DXCC was in the making. And the competition could start soon ..
W8BKP GEORGE W. MORROW was born July 22, 1908----At the age of 12, while on a trip to Chicago with his father, George spotted a QST magazine at Union Station. His father purchased it for him and George was into radio--- When he was 13 he had already been listening to amateurs 100 miles away using Morse code, but he was startled one night when he heard voices and music, He had his mother listen on his headphones, "Oh My God " she cried, You’re right. Please don’t tell anyone about this, George they’ll put us both in Massillon (State mental hospital)." The townspeople had already been talking and accusing George of fibbing about hearing people on Morse code over 100 miles away.
Clinton. B. DeSoto, W1CBD, "Inventor"of the DXCC programm
Prewar DXCC
On June 27 1967, 10 day after the birth of our daugther Martie, I got this famous award. Hiram Percy Maxim 1925. QSL on request Art Collins, founder of Collins Radio 8ZO, Windom, inventor of the Windom antenne Before 1940 the OM prefix was used by some staion from Guam WAC-Phone issued by the end of 1935 WAC certificates issued by the end of 1935