Thursday, February 21, 2008

CQ 160-Meter Contest, SSB: 0000Z, Feb 23 to 2359Z, Feb 24

Just a reminder that the CQ 160 contest is this weekend.

The rules are located here

The mailing deadline for the CW logs is February 28, 2008 and the SSB logs is March 31st, 2008.

Remember the DX window from 1830kc to 1835kc.

The contest committee will be keeping an eye on the internet chat rooms, see my post here for the problems during the 160 CW contest.

Good luck!


Jack K4SAC


The Ducie Island gang have institued several ways to QSL. You need to pay attention as you may be wasting your QSL if you do not follow the instructions!

Their preferred method is to use their Online QSL Request System (OQRS)

From the VP6DX website:

The QSL's will be sent in this order:
Online DIRECT QSL requests
Direct QSL requests
Online BUREAU QSL requests

There is no way to send your card(s) through the bureau!
We will confirm the online QSL requests for bureau cards at the very last after the direct requests are processed (probably 8-12 month after the expedition).
AGAIN: PLEASE DO NOT send cards via the bureau!

To use the Online QSL Request System:

Online QSL Request
A special service for the VP6DX DXpedition is the Online QSL Request System (OQRS) for bureau and DIRECT QSL cards, based on an online form and the QSL Label Software BV.

This is no E-QSL system. The callsigns and QSO data of the requests are stored in a database and you will automatically receive a real printed QSL card via the bureau or DIRECT to your mailbox without sending your own QSL card if you are in the log!

If you choose the DIRECT option, you will be asked for a minimum donation of USD 5,- (EUR 3,-). This saves you time and reduces the QSL bureau workload.

If you want to use this request please keep in mind:

Enter your QSL request (for all your QSOs with VP6DX) only once

Do not send any further cards via the bureau then! This means extra, unnecessary work for us.

We do not answer E-Mail QSL requests!

Good Hunting and Good DX,

73, Jack K4SAC

[Credit: VP6DX website]

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Internet Chat Room Controversy posted a column about a new controversy that is coming to the attention of contesting officials at CQ Magazine.

During the CQ 160 CW contest some of the operators were using the ON4KST chat room apparently to solicit contacts.

Apparently the CQ 160 rules do not prohibit chat rooms like the CQ WW rules do. The CQ WW rules state that:

The CQWW rules state: "The use by an entrant of any non-amateur means such as telephones, telegrams, internet, or the use of packet to solicit contacts during the contest is unsportsmanlike and the entry is subject to disqualification."

You can download the January 26 log and the January 27th log by clicking on those links, or you can download an Excel spreadsheet of the logs. (Courtesy of

Many operators of the CQ 160 CW contest that used the chatroom have decided to reclassify their logs as checklogs so as to not run afoul of the contest committee.

"Please do not use chat rooms for the CQ WW 160 SSB or ANY contests sponsored by CQ magazine!" said outgoing CQ 160 Contest Director Dave Thompson K4JRB.

"Single operator use puts them in Multi operator just as using packet/Dx Summit spots would do," Thompson added.

Multi Operators should not solicit contacts or ask for spots just as with self spotting on packet/DX summit."

"The chat rooms will be a definite No No," says Andy Blank N2NT, who is taking over the CQ160 contests. "Not allowed for any category."

Hopefully we will be seeing rules changes in place for the 2009 contests.


Jack K4SAC


Saturday, February 16, 2008

BBC to end English SW transmissions to Europe

Radio Frequencies

Shortwave changes for Europe - February 2008
All remaining BBC World Service shortwave transmissions to Europe will close on 18th February 2008.
This will be a loss to some listeners, but there are alternative ways of hearing BBC programmes.
This change is being made in line with listener trends in radio. Increasing numbers of people around the world are choosing to listen to radio on a range of other platforms.
For more information about other ways to listen, please follow the link: Europe
Frequency chart with transmitter details for this region


From To Days Frequency (kHz)
05:00 08:00 Daily 6195
06:00 08:00 Daily 9410
07:00 10:00 Daily 12095
14:00 17:00 Sat. only 9410
16:00 18:00 Daily 9410, 11665*
18:00 20:00 Daily 5875
18:00 22:00 Daily 6195

*West Africa programmes

Ducie info

News #16- 2008 Feb 15
Directly from Ducie Island:

ARRL DX CW contest starts soon. VP6DX will participate in a limited

* On the CW contest bands 160, 80, 40, 20 15 and 10, we probably
will not be at the "normal" frequencies. Operators will pick a
frequency based on band conditions. Each operator will make his own
decisions about split vs simplex operation, depending on the situation
at the time.

* We will answer ALL callers (USA/VE and others), and send our
contest exchange and log the exchanges received from contest participants.

* We won't be chasing multipliers and will not be able to handle
pass requests. If another band is open at all, we should have a signal there.
QSYs to check non-open bands are time-consuming (manual filter and
changes) and not a good use of our time on the island.

Meanwhile, other radios will be on non-contest bands and band
segments; e.g., 20m SSB or 30m RTTY. These non-contest segment
operations will continue as they have the last few days: split
operations, with priority to difficult propagation paths.

We anticipate no 20m RTTY or 40m SSB during the contest.

The contest ends at Feb 17/2359z and it will be late afternoon (4pm) here.
40m will be just opening to Europe, and the low bands will open during the
next three hours.

Kosovo Operation

Kosovo Press Release # 1 February 16, 2008

A multi-national group of Amateur Radio operators is now in Kosovo in an effort to support and help revitalize Amateur Radio locally.

The initial team members will begin activity today. Activity will be on all bands on CW and SSB. Look for YU8/G3TXF, YU8/N7NG, YU8/OH2BH, YU8/OH2PM, YU8/ON8NC and YU8/W3UR.

More details will be released when available. QSL via the operator's home callsign.

PS - The above release may be forward Editor of The Daily DX, The Weekly DX - Editor of How's DX?


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ducie Island Dxpedition

News #14- 2008 Feb 13

I just had a telephone call with Carsten (DL6LAU) on Ducie Island. The reason we did not get any update or online log from the island is that they had no time until now because of a big workload to setup the stations and antennas.
They plan to go "online" in the next 6-12 hours so we expect the first online logs around noon on Thursday. Please be aware that the data connection via Iridium is very sensible so it can last a long time to upload the online logs.

After 1,5 days of operation they have now about 28,000 QSOs in the log (about 17,000 after the first 24 hours!). They already started RTTY operation on 20m with over 700 QSOs at the moment. In some days we expect also RTTY operation on 30m.

Antenna construction is still in progress. Some antennas for 12m and 10m are missing. Today they are at the installation of the Beverage antennas for the low bands.

All team members are in a good shape (except some sunburns) and they have a lot of fun. A problem is the extreme heat during the day which makes it nearly impossible for the night operators to sleep.

Tomorrow we will get some more news from the island. Please stay tuned.

We would be delighted if DX editors would publish this information as widely as possible and DXers bring it to the attention of their clubs and fellow DXers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

CW Skimmer Vs. Contesting

If you are a contester, you have probably heard about this new software package called "CW Skimmer."

There is currently a debate raging about the use of CW SKimmer in contesting.

For those that don't know what CW Skimmer is, the link to it is

According to VE3NEA (who has created some truly outstanding ham radio software), CW Skimmer is a :

1) a very sensitive CW decoding algorithm based on the methods of Bayesian statistics;
simulatneous decoding of ALL cw signals in the receiver passband - up to 700 signals can be decoded in parallel on a 3-GHz P4 if a wideband receiver is used;

2)a fast waterfall display, with a resolution sufficient for reading Morse Code dots and dashes visually; the callsigns are extracted from the decoded messages, and the traces on the waterfall are labeled with stations' callsigns;

3) a DSP processor with a noise blanker, AGC, and a sharp, variable-bandwidth CW filter;
4 ) I/Q Recorder and player

Many contesters are being very vocal about this new software and it has certainly sparked a controversy in the contesting arena about its use.

Pete Smith N4ZR wrote an article about its use (You must have adobe acrobat reader installed to read it)

Whether you are for this type of software or against it, one thing is for certain....The face of contesting and dx'ing is about to be changed. Whether it is for good or bad remains to be seen.

73, Jack K4SAC


KR2Q on the Elecraft list serv posted this which pretty much sums up all the arguments you will see against this new software. I won't try to paraphrase Doug, but will copy his post here for you to read.

Feb 06, 2008; 08:05pm it is in a nutshell.
1. CW Skimmer will profoundly change serious-level contesting forever

2. Serious contesters use two radios at once (called SO2R or single op, 2 radios). While they CQ on one band (using a memory keyer...voice or cw), they TUNE a 2nd band, looking for additional contacts, using their 2nd radio. This is very intense contesting and require super-human concentration and skill to be really successful. It means that you are constantly switching focus from the Radio A to Radio B (the switching is automatic, controlled by the contest software).

3. Currently, tuning the 2nd band is a manual process, requiring one to (a) find stations between CQs on the other band, and (b) copy who it is and (c) then decide if you need it or not and if you do, (d) work it while not "losing" your "RUN" frequency (the first radio frequency where you are CQing and working guys who answer your CQs).

4. With CW Skimmer, one no longer has to use their skill to (a) tune the 2nd band and (b) figure out who it is. The computer does this for you....and all at once for the whole band.

5. The entire basis for CONTESTING is competition...a competition of who has the best set of HUMAN skills...skills at using their equipment, but mostly skills at copying callsigns and working guys and tuning a second radio and doing the same. With CW Skimmer, the "second radio" skill is effectively eliminated. The computer does it for you. This is VERY FAR from DSP, or a yagi, or an amp, or an electronic keyer because. Those things made CHORES easier. This thing makes the only human element left (tuning the band and finding callsign) meaningless. It eliminates the HUMAN element. All you need now is a clerk to "point and shoot" or "point and click" whatever you want to call it.

6. With this "tool," a single op can now be SO6R and have a CW SKimmer on every band. Someone will write a script so that multipliers bubble up as found...and even non-mults, but new Q's, will be easily flagged (and worked). YOu wont have to "waste" time tuning and copying the callsign of stuff that you already worked.

7. CW decoders (such as included on Elecraft K3) only copy one signal, which YOU tuned to. This thing does the whole band at once.

8. Yes, it is like an "automatic" packet/internet band-mapping tool, except that use of those places one in the "Assisted" or "unlimited" category, separate and apart from "single op all band." Under the current rules for all contest, the addition of CW Skimmer will NOT cause a change in category away from Single Op All Band to the Assisted or Unlimited category. How could it? Nobody else is helping you get the callsigns.

9. For many, especially those who feel that "packet ruined contesting" or that "packet ruined DXing," this may turn out to be the "packet ruined contesting" of the 21st century. As many have pointed out (if you want to read A LOT on this, go to the CQ-Contest Reflector: ), with this "tool," there is currently no way to tell if the guy has a 2nd op in the shack, is using packet, or is using CW SKimmer. It makes adjudication a nightmare (probably, impossible).

10. Serious SOAB contesters have long done everything possible to keep their category separate and apart from packet/internet users. They want to keep the category "pure." This will make that job very, very difficult. Why keep it "out?" The same reason sailboat races do not allow engines/motors. The same reason why the Daytona 500 does not allow jet engines to be used. The same reason why people climb mountains instead of taking a helicopter. The same reason why some folks only Bow-Hunt.

Sorry for the bandwidth, but there seems to be a fair about of interest in this topic. Hope this helps paint a clearer picture. de Doug KR2Q

3Y0E info

From the 3Y0E website:

Bouvet-3Y0E went QRTon February 9th, 2008at 19:15 z

Note: all contacts after this date will stand for fakes which means somebody pirated the call cheating you.

All log issues will be double checked once Petrus returns to RSA - all operators concerned will be informed of their log status then.

Now, the 3Y0E team transforms into ZS8 team and more news regarding this expedition will be published soon in a new press release by Rhy, ZS6DXB.


Dxpeditions are posted in the weekly dx newsletters.

Sometimes it is a challenge to keep up with who is where. I have been using a whiteboard to write down dxpeditions that I am interested in, times, freqs, etc.

A new web feature has been made by N0HR that plots all of the current dxpeditions on a google like world map.

Each dxpedition is a point on the map and you can hold your cussor over the point and you will get information about that dxpedition, such as home call, qsl info, and other interesting info.

Go to (You must Flash installed in your browser for it to work)

Contest University

Contest University will be held on Thursday May 15, 2008, from 8:30am to 5:30pm, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dayton, Ohio.

This is the day before the Dayton Hamvention officially opens. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to gain knowledge that may take you years of practice, trial and error or lost time to learn otherwise. Get the edge to improve your scores and put your station in the winners circle today!

NEW for 2008: We will have Graduate level classes for all returning 2007 attendees. You must have attended CTU 2007 to be eligible for CTU 2008 Graduate School.

Topics are still being confirmed, but here is a list of the topics in 2007, to give you an idea of what to expect:

Two sessions will run for most of the time -- Beginners topics and an Advanced topic. Some topics may change at the last moment depending on Professor issues.

QSO Parties - Strategy
SO Unassisted - Maximizing your CW and SSB skill set
Antennas for USA contests - Using wire antennas for best performance
RTTY contesting
Mobile contesting
Single Operator Assisted - WIth hints on part time efforts
Antennas for DX contests
Hints and Kinks to help you win - Maximizing a station on a budget
Chokes and Filters - Multi Operator considerations
Starting out in Contesting - What works
Software Logging Programs
DXpedition Contesting - Setting goals and total concentration on winning
LUNCH - Extreme Shack Makeover
Logging and Accuracy + Contest history and Records
SO2R - What the future of contesting could look like
Basic Contesting - How I got started - tracking improvements + getting better
Station Layout and Design
VHF Contesting
HFTA - How to use it and what you will learn from it
Sourcing your station needs on the Web
Propagation - Sunspots and what we have to look forward to
What your signal sounds like in Europe
Answers to Questions

CTU 2008 Registration Fee:
$75.00 early bird sign up --until 1/31/08
$80.00 2/1/08 until 2/28/08
$85.00 3/1/08 until 4/30/08 (last day to sign up)
No sign ups at the door!
Sorry, no refunds.

Scholarships available for those 25 years old or younger - contact us for info.

Click Here to Sign up Now!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Operation approved for DXCC Credit

E4/OM2DX – Palestine
2007 Operation

J5C – Guinea-Bissau
2008 Operation

If you've had any cards rejected for these operations send a note to to have your DXCC record updated

courtesy NC1L

Sunday, February 03, 2008


3Y, BOUVET ISLAND (Update). Petrus, 3Y0E, continues to be active daily on 14260 kHz usually between 1600-2030z. The 3Y0E operation is quickly coming to an end. The team is scheduled to be picked up from Bouvet Island on February 12th. This date may change however due to weather conditions and the speed of the ship or any other urgent matter beyond their control.
Feel free to follow the movements of the ship at the following website:
Petrus, 3Y0E, also did an exclusive radio interview with a commercial radio station in the Falken Islands. The interview can be found on the following Web site. Look for updates and announcements on the official
3Y0E operation Web page at:
Emil, LZ3HI, states that he will start confirming all incoming direct cards. Please look carefully on the online log and find your callsign logged correctly before sending him your QSL card. The 3Y0E log is now
available online at:

Credit: Ohio/Pa DX bulletin #844

Friday, February 01, 2008

ARRL International DX Contest

Just a reminder that the ARRL International DX Contest is coming up February 16-17th starts 0000 UTC Saturday; ends 2400 UTC Sunday.

Rules for the contest can be found at

Entries for the CW competition must be emailed or postmarked by 2359 UTC March 17, 2008.

CQ 160 contest

I hope that you had fun in the CQ 160 contest. Conditions seemed to be good here in KY, fairly low noise and strong signals.

One thing I have noticed, with us at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, we are getting a lot of people on 160 for the contests that don't usually inhabit the "Top Band."

These people may not be aware of the "DX Window" or its purpose.

Tuning the band, I heard several rude exchanges concerning the dx window. Let's use that opportunity to be positive and instructive rather than be negative and argumentative and calling the op a "LID". The op genunely may not have been aware of the dx window or its existance.


Jack K4SAC

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