In Amateur Radio a Country is something rather different than what we usually think of – in the words of Clinton DeSoto W1CBD back in 1935 as the idea of DX awards was developing: “The basic rule is simple and direct: Each discrete geographical or political entity is considered to be a country.”
So from the start a DX Country was considered a distinct geographic or political entity, and a Radio Amateur interested in DX tries to contact as many of these geographic & political entities as they can, confirming contacts with exchanged QSL Cards.
About a year ago I set off in pursuit of the first award the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) has for DX, the DXCC.
Just a few weeks ago ARRL has made it official, after a year of trying in earnest K9ZW has finished a mixed DXCC (DX Century Club) award, issued in Dec. 2006. Of the 110 countries the field card inspector checked for me, the ARRL approved 107 for credit. Three cards were rejected by their computer, a Country of Georgia operator who apparently isn’t officially licensed, North Cook Island as the new callsign prefix was in use a couple days before the official notice to the ITU and one case of my poor handwriting in filling in the form.
My first submission was a real mixture – phone, PSK, RTTY and a lone CW contact (I’m working on bringing my code up so I might be described as having a readable “Fist” rather than the present situation where I could well be accused of “abuse of a Morse Code sending key.”) It also contained 80m to 10m band operations.
Unfortunately my 160m cards will have to wait, and I simply need to develop a better system to track my QSL cards, as I would have enough countries for a DXCC 20m phone if I had sorted better.
A 2007 goal will be to get my system up to scratch and to get the last 350 outgoing QSL cards I’ve mostly written on their way.
It is a long way to Honor Roll (with 337 current “countries” I’d need 328 to make honor roll – I’m at best a bit over half-way there.) or any of the other DXCC awards.
I did look and I’ve only 71 countries credited to date on the eQSL system. I do have certificates for my old call sign on Log Book of the World, and have a handful of additional countries confirmed on LoTW with a lot of additional band fill-ins as well. So far I have not sorted out submissions for K9ZW. I’ll save that story for another posting.