DX Code For DXpeditions

Additional information

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Do your Homework

Before traveling readDXpeditioning Basics by N7NG. It’s free and loaded with info you need ! Of particular interest are the pileup tips on pages 11 through 16.  

Work with your radio friends (especially your ‘pilots’ if you have any) to plan the trip and prepare yourself like an athlete.

Let's have a frank word about operating experience. Everyone went on his first DXpedition once. Until you made your first trip, you didn't know what to expect. Most of today's DXpeditioners are excellent operators because they have been on many trips. But every year their ranks are reduced by age and infirmities.  Over the coming years, they will all be replaced by newer, younger hams who have less experience. How do you make sure that these newer guys operate like veterans? That's easy! You do it by training.

Training of CW operators is easy if you use use Morserunner to simulate hectic operating conditions. Other programs are listed at http://www.ac6v.com/morseprograms.htm
Listen carefully to other DXpeditions to identify good and bad practices. Enter some contests to get your rate up, and sort out your logging and rig control software before you hop on the plane or boat. Print out this DXpeditioners’ Code to read and discuss on the way and put up in the shack if you like!

For DXpeditions that are in the planning stage, we suggest that these following sites are worth including in your planning process.

A comprehensive list of tips to DXpedition operators is in Ethics and Operating Practices for the Radio Amateur mentioned elsewhere. Download it here and go to page 59 for a thorough 4 page discussion. 

There are some wonderful pileup tips on page 17 of ON4WW's Operating Practices. Check them out here.

N4AA has some succinct ideas at the DX Publishing website.

Gary, ZL2IFB, has some more good ideas at his website.  



Smart Dxpeditioners study propagation and develop a band plan so as to maximize the opportunity to contact every area on the globe, not just North America, Europe, and Japan.   Some openings are short, but short can be short and sweet if you plan properly. Every DXer will tell you about bizarre openings like one I experienced recently between The Bahamas and Chagos Island on 12 meters.

Know the greyline propagation but study propagation to other areas too. Understand propagation at the DX location to understand when and where to hunt for exotic paths and rare openings. Develop an operating band plan and publicize it on a website Prioritize the rarest of the three main geographic areas, pick out weaker signals

You cannot really develop an operating plan until you study the propagation. Remember that it will be different than from home. Ideally, the team will develop some target areas to which openings will be likely. At those times, it is entirely appropriate for the operator on that band to ask other operators to stand by in hopes of hearing weak signal from the target area.

A good place to start is at the excellent Review of HF propagation analysis & prediction programs,


A more complete list but without analysis is at The DX Zone.

One of the easiest propagation programs for a novice to use is W6EL's program 

Ideally you can come up with a interactive propagation map like the one at the website of the 5V7TT DXpedition. This will give both you and the guys who want a QSO an idea of the ideal times to be on which band.

Develop an Operating Plan

Once you understand the propagation, you can begin to develop a operating plan, which bands to be on at which times and where to have directional antennas pointed. That will allow you to advise the world of approximate schedules for bands and areas to be worked. The three major population centers are North America, Europe, and Asia.  This is the QSO count from the Midway Island Dxpedition, K4M.

QSOs by Continent
Africa 171
Antarctica 1
Asia 17,449
Europe 12,677
North America     28,251
Oceania 1,348
South America 833

No matter where you are in the world, your chart will look like this too, although the balance between the three major areas would shift. Two will be easy and one will be the weakest. That should be your :"Target" area. Develop a plan that when some band is open to that area, that's the one you will work.

Another important thing here is that this DXpedition would have been immeasurably poorer without the contacts to Africa, Oceania, South America, and the one lone QSO with Antarctica.  You want to have QSOs with the world, not just the three big areas. K4M also had contacts with 152 entities, but a third of those were represented by one 1 or 2 or a just a few QSOs. See more statistics here.

The point is that if you want to work those areas, you need to plan. Therefore you ought to understand when openings are likely to occur to that target area and plan accordingly. Don't fight propagation, go with the flow.


For a thorough discussion, see DXpedition Basics, page 9. 

Finally, you certainly know band privileges in your country, but you also ought to carry a reference of bands around the world. See a good compilation at DX Zone

Keep the DX community informed

Whether you have your own website or develop a page at QRZ.com, state the UTC dates and ideally the times you anticipate starting and ending the DXpedition (to reduce the possibility of pirates). Pre-announce your priority modes, bands, areas etc. This is a chart from the Swain's Island DXpedition

160 1.822 1.835 1.835 - 1.835
80 3.503 3.795 3.582 3.723 3.582
60 - 5.4035 - - -
40 7.005 7.082 7.035 7.035 7.035
30 10105 - 10.145 - 10.145
20 14.025 14.19 14.081 14230 14.081
17 18.075 18.15 18.1 - 18.1
15 21.025 21.295 21.081 21335 21.081
12 24.895 24.95 24.92 - 24.92
10 28.025 28.495 28.081 28.68 28.081

Confirm your QSL route (e.g. will you be using an on-line log, updated every day or two while you are on DXpedition? Will you upload your log to LoTW – and if so, how soon.) We encourage all DXpeditions to reproduce and/or link to the DX Code of Conduct at www.DX-code.org as a means of telling others how you expect them to conduct themselves.

Keep the community advised of the goals and methods to be employed by the expedition. Tell the public what to expect. This is crucial. Are you emphasizing the low bands? Will you operate RTTY? When will you begin? When will you QRT? Advise of changes in your schedule.

There are a number of places where you can announce your trip. These include DX World, 425 DX News, Ohio/Penn DX Bulletin, DX Watch, Daily DX, QRZ.COM, DX News, and Announced DX Operations

Use Split Operation

Announce the SPLIT window regularly, perhaps not after every QSO, but regularly. “Up” is OK, but being more specific as in, “Up 3” on CW or “Up 5 to 10” on SSB is preferable. Down is OK also. Whatever you do, announce it frequently. Be sure to listen where you say you will listen. If you say “spread out,” and you continue to listen on only one frequency, the pile will tell you that you have failed.  

If you say “Up 5”, callers will out spread around 5 kHz high, gradually moving with you as you listen up or down from the 5 kHz point, so don’t move too far away. If you say “Up 5 to 10”, try to stay within that range.


Establish and Maintain a Rhythm

If you are having trouble establishing a rhythm because of difficulty selecting calls, using partials is a possibility. Operators who are particularly good at picking calls out of a pileup may tell you that it is better to wait another round of calling in order find a complete callsign. They feel that waiting will actually improve their rate, even if they have to wait a little longer for a complete callsign. See what works best for you, but be consistent and keep the rate up. A good rate is the best way to minimize frustration in the pile.

Tune through the pileup in a consistent way, for example work someone then listen for higher-frequency callers, working people and moving gradually up to the top edge of your RX range before jumping back to the bottom edge to announce your RX frequency and restart the sequence. If you jump about all over the place, callers get frustrated and start calling out of turn.


Avoid working by numbers, continents are OK 

The most effective procedure is usually to work by continent. Exactly what you do depends on the situation. Try not to work against the propagation – go with it. Be clear, and repeat your instructions with every QSO. Always select the target area first if propagation permits. Always work the target area on any and all bands that are available. (You will never work too many stations in the target area.) Never work by country.

Whatever you do, please be considerate to those who are waiting patiently, for instance tell them when you will work them (e.g. “EU AT 10Z”), and, of course, stick to your plan.

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It is also important that you tell the thousands of hams who want a QSO that you expect them to operate ethically in accordance with the DX Code of Conduct.  Even if your DXpedition only has a a page at QRZ.com, please consider posting a notice there. As a starter, you can post our mascot with a link to this site. See how here.

If you have your website you can be post even more.   Remember that hams from around the world, perhaps 50,000 of them, will want a QSO and you can use our site to tell them how to work you in 27 different languages.

You may be as creative as you like. You might consider posting the Code itself on your website in one or two languages. You may also change the title from "DX Code of Conduct" to "How to Work Us." That's perfectly OK. Whatever suits you.

We also hope that you will tell us that you have linked to us so and we can publish news of your DXpedition and a link to your website at this page.  Check the sites on that page to see how they did it.

More important, we hope that this initiative will play a positive role in making sure that  you enjoy your trip and want to go give us another gift.

If you wish to have your DXpedition's website listed here, please send us an e-mail