Category Archives: DX Interests

May 2015 Operation from Washington Island WI-001L – Trying for DXCC in one session

For a good part of last week I was on Washington Island, Wisconsin – US Island WI-001L – operating from my friend George W9EVT’s shack.

I had informally set myself a DXCC in a visit goal.  Despite poor weather I didn’t come too far short.

The first 16 QSOs I used George W9EVT’s Icom IC-7800 and then for the remaining 174 QSOs moved over to the Hilberling PT-8000A Transceiver.

Here is the country list for the visit:

  1. Aruba
  2. Andorra
  3. Austria
  4. Azores
  5. Argentina
  6. Algeria
  7. Balearic Islands
  8. Bahamas
  9. Bahrain
  10. Bonaire
  11. Brazil
  12. Belarus
  13. Belgium
  14. Bulgaria
  15. Bosnia-Herzegovina
  16. Croatia
  17. Chile
  18. Cuba
  19. Canada
  20. Canary Islands
  21. Cayman Islands
  22. Crete
  23. Denmark
  24. England
  25. Estonia
  26. Falkland Islands
  27. France
  28. Georgia
  29. Greece
  30. Germany
  31. Guinea
  32. Guayana
  33. Grenada
  34. Hawaii
  35. Hungary
  36. India
  37. Iceland
  38. Israel
  39. Ireland
  40. Italy
  41. Kyrgyzstan
  42. Kuwait
  43. Kenya
  44. Latvia
  45. Liberia
  46. Lithuania
  47. Lebanon
  48. Luxembourg
  49. Macedonia
  50. Malta
  51. Netherlands
  52. New Zealand
  53. Norway
  54. Northern Ireland
  55. Oman
  56. Portugal
  57. Panama
  58. Paraguay
  59. Philippines
  60. Poland
  61. Qatar
  62. Romania
  63. Russia – Asiatic
  64. Russia – European
  65. Sardinia
  66. Saudi Arabia
  67. Spain
  68. South Cook Islands
  69. St. Martin
  70. St. Barthelemy
  71. St. Lucia
  72. San Marino
  73. Slovenia
  74. Slovak Republic
  75. Switzerland
  76. Svalbard
  77. Scotland
  78. Sweden
  79. Turkey
  80. United Arab Emirates
  81. Uruguay
  82. Ukraine
  83. USA
  84. Wales

I’m rather sure that without the storms and lightening, that 100 DXCC entities wouldn’t have been much more work.

In addition to the DX, I also worked a “Clean Sweep” on the Ham Nation special event and a handful of special event stations that caught my interest.

I did fudge and organize one sked – I had called and arranged to work my good friend Paul AE5JU as my final QSO for the visit.  Nothing finer to “close the logs” with working a good friend about 1000 miles away!

While I only added two DXCC entities to my all time list, the exercise was a lot of fun for both myself and George W9EVT.



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W9DXCC Convention & Banquet

Have made plans to attend “The 61st W9DXCC DX CONVENTION & BANQUET – September 20 & 21, 2013″ in Elk Grove IL.

Good friend George W9EVT is coming down, and will be joined by Bill KC9YBL for part of the event.  Unfortunately school/work commitments will leave two of my licensed sons at home – hope they keep off my Flex-6700 [Grin].




Looks to be an excellent schedule again this year – details at the Website:



Society of Midwest Contesters

We will join the SMC (Society of Midwest Contesters) for Pizza Friday night – Website:

Let me know if you will be there, and perhaps we can chat in person!



VOA Radiogram — More Digital PSK Mode Trials

Again I received fairly late notice that this weekend Voice of America is trial broadcasting several PSK mode broadcasts.

VoA Radiogram

VOA Radiogram — “Soft launch” of VOA Radiogram this weekend.

  • Modes menu for VOA Radiogram, March 23/24, 2013

    VOA Radiogram for March 23/24 will be similar to the past weekend’s program in that it features the PSK modes. Much of Kim’s script will be the same. In this weekend’s broadcast, however, only one mode at a time will be transmitted. This should improve the signal-to-noise ratio and ability to decode each mode.

    Each will be centered on 1500 Hz:

    1. BPSK31 (1:00)
    2. PSK63F (1:00)
    3. BPSK63 (1:00)
    4. PSKR125 (1:00)
    5. PSKR250 (1:00)
    6. PSKR500 (1:00)
    7. PSKR1000 (1:00)
    8. PSKR125 (3:45) Plain text
    9. PSKR250 (2:40) Flmsg* formatted (with html)
    10. MFSK32 (0:55) Image

    *Install Flmsg. Then, in Fldigi: Configure > Misc >  NBEMS > under Reception of flmsg files click Open with flmsg and Open in browser, and below that state where your Flmsg file is located.

    If decoding performance is still not satisfactory, VOA Radiogram in future weekends will feature more robust modes, such as MFSK, MT63, and Olivia.

    See VOA Radiogram: how to decode the modes.

    VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
    (all days and times UTC)
    Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
    Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
    Sun 1300-1330 6095 kHz
    Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
    All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

    Please send reception reports, audio samples, screenshots, etc.,  to

This is a neat extension of both the use of the PSK digital modes more popular in Amateur Radio and VoA broadcast mission.



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VOA Radiogram — Digital PSK Mode Trials

I received fairly late notice that this weekend Voice of America is trial broadcasting several PSK mode broadcasts.

VoA Radiogram

This is a neat adventure, as the technology could allow some significant upgrades to the VoA system.

List is:

VOA Radiogram — “Soft launch” of VOA Radiogram this weekend.

Transmission schedule (all days and times are UTC) from the Transmitting Station in North Carolina.:

Saturday 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sunday 0230-0300 5745 kHz (Saturday evening in North America)
Sunday 1300-1330 6095 kHz
Sunday 1930-2000 15670 kHz

Instructions on using PSK to decode the modes is at:

This is a neat extension of both the use of the PSK digital modes more popular in Amateur Radio and VoA broadcast mission.




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Thank you to our Incoming QSL Bureau Teams

I think we all often forget to say “Thank You!” to the excellent service the Incoming QSL Bureaus provide.

In my case I use the Ninth District QSL Bureau run by the Northern Illinois DX Association (link: ) and they are an excellent group. Thank you!!

Here is a few out of the latest batch received:

DX Cards Just Received 29Nov12

A few of yesterday’s inbound DX QSL Cards

Countries in this mini-batch were:

  • Bulgaria
  • Poland
  • Japan
  • Russia – Asian
  • Russia – European
  • Moldova
  • Chile
  • Namibia (V5) – New QSL Country Confirmation for me
  • Mexico
  • Finland
  • Slovenia

NIDXA has all the information on how things work, what they cost, and “Do & Don’t Do Items.”

BTW your bureau is based on your call sign number.  There are also various interest groups that have their own bureaus for their members’ use (OMISS and 3905cc come to mind).

Again a thank you to the volunteers!



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Risk vs. Reward – Returning to Common Sense in DXpeditions

When is the risk worth the reward of mounting a DXpedition to a rare entity?

Over the last several years some amazing efforts have been made to activate places like Scarborough Reef (BS7H), Rockall Island ( MM0RAI/p and upcoming MS0INT and other hazardous locals.

These operations put radio amateurs and their support crews at considerable risk.

Bluntly, they are not worth the level of risk being undertaken, much less are they worthwhile in an economic sense.

One cannot think of any non-emergency radio QSO (contact) that is worth putting another radio amateur in danger, much less worth losing a life to make that QSO.

These ultra-rugged DXpeditions certainly cross both those lines.

It is one thing if duty takes a person to a risky remote dangerous location, and they happen to be able to work QSOs as a radio amateur. It is quite another to foolishly egg on our fellow hams to undertake these risks for purely hobby reasons.

Could you forgive yourself if you were at the other end of the QSO when disaster struck down the DXpeditioneer you were in QSO with? Even one step removed making the connection less personal, could you look an DXpeditioneer’s XYL widow and family in the eye? Could you tell them “and it was worth it?”

Every task we undertake a certain element of risk – even typing for this blog is riskier than some alternative activities and safer than some other possible activities. We quantify perceived risk with “common sense.” It is a temporary set-aside of that “common sense” that leads us to encourage DXpeitions with off-skew Risk vs. Reward benefits.

What to do about it?

Some fellow hams simply won’t work risk crazy DXpeditions, to distance themselves from the problem.

Others use their checkbooks and sponsor only DXpeitions that are sensible.

Some call for the award bodies (ARRL, CQ, IOTA and such…) to simply disallow any DXpedition that is high peril.

I’m thinking as a community we need to do all three, and add a fourth item – get our “DX Drive” back in check.

There is no place to work that someone else hasn’t already worked. They might not be hams, but a radio contact of some sort has happened before.

DXing is often claimed to be a personal journey of self-challenge. Perhaps if we held that more important than encouraging high risk DXpeditions for personal vanity and brief peer recognition, we would be better off.




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