DX spots are real time reports of distant radio contacts made on various frequencies by various stations, which aggregated show propagation conditions into these areas.
Basically they are reports by amateurs of the DX they just worked, share to help others understand what propagation is at the moment and to encourage other stations to work the DX station.
The exact formats vary, but the components are DX Callsign, Time, Frequency, Reporting Station Callsign and Comments
These reports are shared by telnet, internet and packet radio.
An example is this screen shot of a quiet DX moment:
Some sample links to internet DX Spots are:
Pay particular notice to comments that say things like:
Up 1 – (means the DX is working Split and is listening 1 up from his transmission frequency)
QSX – also means the DX is working Split
200-210 – means the DX is listening to stations calling between those frequencies (Split again)
QRT – the station just stopped transmitting
QSY – the station moved frequencies or bands
CQing or cqn – the DX station is calling CQ
CQ NA – the DX station is calling CQ for specific areas, countries or numbers
6,7’s – the DX station is taking QSOs from US stations by callsign number, and is currently taking 6’s and 7’s
List – the DX station periodically asks for stations to call, forms what is heard into a list and works the QSOs in list order
Net - the DX station is participating in a DX net, and the net periodically takes calls for a list
WWDX, Sprint, BARC – the reported stations is working a contest – the name could be any one of hundreds of contests
test – the reported station is in a contest
via callsign – the QSL route is through the callsign in the comments
simplex – the DX is now transmitting & receiving on the same frequency (usually after working split for a period)
RTTY, Hell, PSK31 – the DX is working in that digital mode
There are many more, watch spots for a while and you will get the feel.
Unfortunately the comments section is sometimes used to editorialize or complain about other stations.
So how does one use Spots?
Check back for “Checking for Spots – Effective use of DX Clusters – Part II”