Working DX on 20

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KC0KM

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I have been a ham for a few now, but have been slow in getting into "new" things. I do not know why, but perhaps it is either I am a little hesitant, scared, or just plain lazy. I have an Icom 718, and have an inverted V off the roof of the house. I took me awhile, but I started to make US QSO's, and a few weeks ago started using VOX with a headphone/mic. Two weeks ago I finally got a foot switch (so I could take it off VOX -- a funny thing about that, depending on how sensitive it is, even a deep breath will set it off...). Anyway, last week I made my first two DX -- Bulgaria and France, both where on 20. I have also worked several W1AW/whatever stations as well. It is starting to get fun at times. Although I do look a little funny, since right now I am using two headphones -- at the same time. I have my old 35db scanner headphones, then the ones with the mic. I am planning to get a new set -- Yamaha CM500 Headset with Built In Microphone (Amazon.com: Yamaha CM500 Headset with Built In Microphone: Musical Instruments). From what I have read it looks like a good set to use. But I have to admit -- DXing is a little fun -- unless you have a pileup that you cannot get through on -- any advice, or do I sit for a couple of hours trying to break through?
 

davenlr

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Timing. When the DX station says QRZ, delay your call sign by about the amount of time it takes to say it, then say it. Hopefully, all the others will be a pile of noise, and your call sign will pop out after all the others unkey at the same time.

That is how I did it when I was DX. Just waited for the noise to settle and pick a call sign out of the end of it all.

Think of some cute phonetics for the last letters of your callsign, and just repeat the area (0 thru 9) and your cute phonetic.... Like FIVE TRIPLE G, in my case.

If the DX station is not blasting through, and seems to be answering all stations from the same geographic area, and you are not in that area, memorize the frequency and move on for a while until the skip favors your area better, unless its a must have :)

Pay attention to what the DX station is saying. Lots of them actually listen higher or lower than the frequency they are transmitting on. In that case, try to find a quiet spot in the area they are listening, and follow the same procedure above.
 

AgentCOPP1

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A lot of it is just timing like the first poster said and luck. You need to have the propagation in your favor and even so, you're competing for the attention of the station with maybe dozens of other people so it's really just luck and some good timing. I've noticed that a lot of times, DX stations won't hear be but they will hear other stations near me (~500 miles). This is likely because they are outside of your skip zone, so it's a great practice in wasting time trying to contact them if this is the case.

Bottom line: if you can't get through in the course of a half hour (which is still more time I'd spend), give up. If you're sending your call near the end of the QRZ clutter over and over and the station just isn't getting you, there's probably a reason for that.
 

wbswetnam

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I run just 100W into a dipole antenna, so there's no way I can compete with the big boys and their 1500W linears and beam antennas at 120 feet in the air. Even so, I have managed to get my way through pile-ups many times... as the others say, a lot of it has to do with timing and persistence. And, sometimes, I can't break through and I have to give it up and spin the dial! I've discovered that DXing is a lot like fishing... sometimes you get 'em and sometimes you don't.

What I find more frustrating than pile-ups is calling out my own CQ 10 - 15X on a band that I know (or at least I think I know) is open, and no one ever answers.
 

k9rzz

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If you're thinking about giving in, then others are too. STAY ON IT. Just as you're about to loose your voice, THATs when you'll get the call. HAVE FUN!
 

wbswetnam

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After 20 - 30 minutes of trying to work your way through a pile-up, it's kind of cool when you hear that DX station in Chile or where ever say back your call sign.... !!
 

AK9R

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A couple of thoughts about DX contacts and the upcoming weekend:

The IARU HF Championship is this weekend, so there should be lots of stations on the air making contacts in quick, contest fashion. You will need to know your ITU zone number for the exchange. Even if you don't plan to compete in the contest, you can still keep a log of your contacts and submit it as a check log.

Also, the World Radiosport Team Championship is this weekend. All of the teams will be operating temporary stations located in the Boston area. This will also be a contest-style operation with your ITU zone number as the exchange. Listen for 1x1 callsigns with a "1" as the number. Again, submitting a check log will be of use to the organizers.
 

Roodog2k

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First, I would make sure that you're tweaked-out your audio settings. This can be tricky. There are a lot of UGLY phone signals out there, and you don't want to be that guy splattering all over the place. I was recently lucky enough to get a signal report from someone with a P3 Panadapter. Said my signal was "beautiful and narrow." Good deal there. I would join a yahoo group for your rig's make/model to see how best to do this. It's a lot of trial an error.

Second, have you tried the digimodes? A computer with a soundcard, an interface, free software, and your rig is all you need to work PSK, RTTY (AFSK), JT65, JT9. It makes getting WAS, WAC, DXCC quite a bit easier.
 

KC0KM

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I am getting better. I do not know why but I tend to take my time in gettng to learn to do things. Just a few weeks ago, I learned to do split, it all seemed simple once I figured it out. On one I got in on my first call. I am still learning slowly, but I do not always want to get on the air after work, and do not always think about it. 73!
 

elk2370bruce

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I am getting better. I do not know why but I tend to take my time in gettng to learn to do things. Just a few weeks ago, I learned to do split, it all seemed simple once I figured it out. On one I got in on my first call. I am still learning slowly, but I do not always want to get on the air after work, and do not always think about it. 73!
We all keep learning each time we turn on the rig. Just for fun, you might like trying PSK. Yoyu need very little power due to the tight bandwidth. 20 has seemed a bit down for a week or so but I get on the low end of 20 and 17 and get great contacts or get your speed up and try cw.
 

KG4NEL

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After 20 - 30 minutes of trying to work your way through a pile-up, it's kind of cool when you hear that DX station in Chile or where ever say back your call sign.... !!
30 minutes is about my limit in any kind of pileup. It's just not for me, there are more enjoyable ways to work DX. :cool:
 

AC2OY

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I realize this thread is about a year old but as far as DX is concerned, in my limited experience, the gentleman who said its like fishing is right! I had a club member stop over to set my AC logger straight to link to LOTW and as we watched the DX cluster start to fill up we fired up the 2000 and he showed me a few tricks!! Before I know it we got there countries I needed!! It's all about timing,when the DXer says QRZ and when to pounce on him! Some piles are very thick but if I really want the QSL I WAIT,! My lord I'm addicted to ham radio and am meeting so very many nice people welcoming me to their log. This is such a cool hobby I can't wait for field day but I will try to work as many people as I can when I can. To the op keep at it man and hey if you need New Jersey for your worked all states find me on 20,or 40 or maybe even on 17!!! Good luck man and good DX!!!
 
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