- Do your Homework
- Keep the DX community informed
- Check TX frequency AND the RX range before starting up
- You are the Boss and You are in Charge
- Announce Your Callsign Frequently
- Use Split Operation
- Establish and Maintain a Rhythm
- Work and log dupes, it’s quicker
- Give QSY/QRT information before leaving the pile-up
- Establish a “Friendship” with the Pileup
- Avoid working by numbers, continents are OK
- Repeat corrected callsigns so everyone is sure of being safely logged
- Be a role model
Good operators at the DX end and courteous behavior at the other end of the QSO can greatly increase the total number of QSOs logged. It has been demonstrated that pileups can be kept reasonably under control if the DX operator follows certain ‘rules’. Luckily, some top operators have given us the benefit of their experience. Please peruse these suggestions.
It’s important to ask those who want a QSO to operate ethically in accordance with the DX Code of Conduct. If your DXpedition has a website or just a page at QRZ.com, please consider posting a notice to that effect on your website.
As a starter, consider posting our logo with a link to this site. You may be as creative as you like. You might consider posting the Code itself on your website, just copy and paste. Whatever suits you. For further assistance, click here. For an example of how this might look, click here.
We also hope that you will tell us that you have linked to us so and we can publish your DXpedition and website at this site. More important, we hope that this initiative will play a positive role in making sure that you enjoy your trip.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While this section is devoted to making your trip more enjoyable, please spend some time learning about our Code for the DXchasers. CLICK HERE to see that section.
NOTE: This page is organized as a Table of Contents. Click on each topic to go to a section of the document that explains it further. Some sections have links to a third page with even more details and links to various resources we think may help. Enjoy!
Edison famously said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. In DXpeditioning, success is ninety percent preparation.
Before traveling, read "DXpeditioning Basics ” by N7NG.This freely available publication is a must read for every DXpeditioner. Another good resource is "DX-peditioning Behind the Scenes" by Neville Cheadle, G3NUG & Steve Telenius-Lowe, G4JVG. You can order directly from the author by clicking on the title.
Study the propagation before you travel. There are three important population centers in the world: Europe, North America and Asia . From wherever you are, two are likely to be easy. The third one is the most difficult to work from your destination location so it becomes your “target area.” Make sure that you work the target area any time any band is open to that area.
Practice your QSO technique. Pick out the weaker stations. Provide training to your less-experienced operators in the finer points of both SSB and CW operating.
In order to maintain control of the pileup you must operate in such a manner as to make control possible. It is easy to lose control of a pileup, and if you do, it may be your fault. Maintain good QSO mechanics. Use the same general pattern for every QSO. Select a callsign from the pile and stay with it until a satisfactory QSO results. If it is not possible to finish a QSO, solicit QSOs again. NEVER select another callsign without soliciting QSOs – QRZ, CQ, etc. See special discussion of "partials" here.
Issue clear instructions to the pileup and stick to them – always. For example, if you catch only part of someone’s call and give the partial out, do not work anyone else until you have completed with that station. If you call “NO EU,” DO NOT work any European callers. Ignore rude callers. Breaking your own rules just creates chaos. Stay in charge, but never shout to nor lecture the crowd.
Regarding speed of operation, a high momentary rate may not produce the best overall results. Read More Haste, Less Speed by G3SXW for some great observations and hints that will help you maximize your productivity.
You should give you callsign often enough so that no one has to ask. If you don't give your call often enough, some callers will just log whatever callsign was last spotted on a DXcluster (right or wrong) and some will ask for your call. That wastes time, interrupts your flow, and energizes the ever present frequency cops. Once per QSO is not too often.
If you are blessed with a real long callsign such as SV9/ON4ZZZZ/P, that's a lot to mention after every QSO so just be alert.
You should listen to your own transmit frequency occassionally to check for QRM and comments. That is easier if you have a DUAL WATCH capability. If the "police" are saying, "Up! Up!." it is because YOU aren't saying it frequently enough. QRM on your transmit frequency makes it harder for the station you call to know that he has been called. That means you need to do a repeat, a waste of time. It also destroys the rhythm that is so important.
Believe it or not, we have heard - and so have you - some DXpeditions go five minutes without identifying themselves. That leads to chaos and they should know better. It is not the way to develop the reputation as a great operator.
Assuming that you have gone to some relatively rare entity, you can start out by assuming that you will be dealing with a pileup. Don't wait until you have a large number of callers. Start out by operating split immediately. As soon as you are spotted on a DX cluster, the whole world will descend on you and you might as well be ready.
As responsible operators, be considerate of other users. It's their band too. The more rare the DXPedition's QTH, the larger the likely pileup and this can produce pileups that spread out beyond what is reasonable. A 5 to 8 KHz spread for CW and 10 to 15 KHz spread for SSB are considered by many DXpedition operators to be reasonable. It is your obligation to announce the spread to the pileup. Saying, "Up" or "Up 2" on CW or "Listening from 14200 to 14210" on SSB gets the message across.
Then make sure you tune up and down just in the announced range. You should listen periodically behond that so as to learn where the pileup really is. If it is beyond where you want it to be, take steps to bring it under YOUR control. Don't reward those outside that spread with a contact because that will just encourage the pileup to spread out even more.
Standardize your transmitted messages as much as possible. For instance send a QSL or TU message at the end of every QSO and maintain a consistent pattern to help callers synchronize with you. That reduces the amount of out-of-turn calling. This is a well established technique for controlling a pileup. It gives the callers solid guidance in determining when and when not to call.
See special discussion of "partials" here.
if you don’t know how long you will be, it is better to say, “QRT,” but then come back on later when you are ready. When you get tired, slow down and take extra care over accuracy. If you start making too many mistakes, take a break and maybe a short sleep, whatever suits your body’s natural rhythm.
Also remember the many operators who are not regular CW operators. They want a QSO too but may be able to copy code at, say, 20 wpm. DXpedition operators are sometimes whizzing along at 40 wpm. So keep an ear out for the guy who is calling at 20 wpm and respond to him at a speed he can copy easily. You will make another grateful friend.
Also remember that many operators have 100 watts and wire antennas. After the big guns all have their QSOs, work these guys because they are the backbone of the amateur radio community.
Don't break your own rule by working your pals in NA if you are asking for "Eu."
So when you respond to a call with a partial as “ABC 5nn” and W5ABC responds, “W5ABC W5ABC 5nn TU,” it is proper that you respond “W5ABC QSL TU” That way W5ABC knows he is in the log and does not have to call again later to make sure.
If you made a mistake with someone’s call, he may keep calling you. Repeat his call or work them again, using “TU”, “QSL”, “CFM” or “You’re in the log” to let them know for sure that they are safely logged. This is even more important if you do not have an online log with daily updates.
ConclusionA number of people contributed to this document. It is thus a compendium of the work of others, here presented in a format that hopefully has included the best of what experienced DXpeditioners have had to say about this topic.
In the end, if DXpeditioners are better prepared, insist on good operating behavior from those calling them, and if those at the other end adhere to the DX Code of Conduct, everyone will have more fun. And that’s what it’s about.
If you wish to have your DXpedition added to our list, please send us an e-mail.
If you would like to incorporate the Code into your DXpedition's website, we have some help for you. Click here for assistance.