Dxing.Today Issue 11, 4th January 2018
Editor: Nick VK2DX Co-Editor: Dragan 4O4A

*** Past Week on 80m FT8

The Christmas / New Year week is probably the most challenging week of the year: you try to do it all, please everyone around you, be nice, take day trips, socialize, do 6 barbecues, clean your garden, garage and shack- and then you realize that 10 days of work are GONE. So what happened to your long planned 3 nights of non-stop DXing? Let me guess: you can't wait to get back to work so you can be 'normal again' in your comfortable routine.

If you haven't had time to play radios then here is the good news: you didn't miss much on 80m. There were no major DXpeditions, the band was rather average and overall activity was low. Probably the only highlight was VP8LP - the Falkland's Beacon. Bob was busy working US stations almost every night. By the way: his QRZ page counter ticked over 764,000 hits.

Europeans were busy chasing 3V8SS and quite a few worked 9L/KW4XJ. In the middle of week, for 2 days, North Europe was hit by winds blasting up to 110 Km/h, so urban DXers were much more worried about their antennas than chasing DX. The activity from down-under was modest: the first week in January is the bottom of the DXing hole. Apart from obvious- non-stop QRN - the openings to US are almost non-existent with only the strongest stations making their way to Australia. Likewise, there were hardly any sunrise openings to Europe either. The only DX to chase in the middle of summer are Japanese, South East Asian stations and Scandinavian which appear around 1-2 am local time. For more details, check WAZ zone reports, below.

We are eagerly looking forward to the equinox when 80m will flare up again. Name of the game: to survive January!

With its pristine white plumage and striking, bright yellow crest, the sulphur-crested cockatoo is one of Australasia's most recognisable parrot species. An average bird weights over 1 kg and has a wing span of over 1 meter- and it is urban DXer's worst nightmare! It only takes 5 or 6 birds to snap the lightweight 80m antenna. Even worse, cockatoo will do anything to detach and clip off antenna wire rendering antenna useless. To say that they drive me nuts would be an understatement.

*** Have we created a monster? YES - and we are proud of it!

DXing is a funny game. And trying to somehow measure and reward our own 'achievements' could be tricky. What do we really want to reward? Hard work? Investment in monster antenna systems? Persistence? Operating skills? Probably all of that and much more! This is why we chase DXCC, Zones and US States, IOTA activation - and who knows what else. A DX chaser is really a well organized junk collector and a hoarder. Many years ago I asked a known DXer what he prefers to chase? His answer: "I chase them all!" So what should I chase, I asked - I am only a student with a single 100W radio and a douband vertical antenna? "You chase them all" - he said. And that was it.

2018 gave has given us a perfect excuse to level the playing-field. At DXingToday, we've decided to add 33 Chinese provinces to our list of 'things to chase'. But why China you may rightly ask? As my dx mentor would say - why not? The amateur activity from China continues to grow so there are plenty of stations to log on all bands. But beyond that, China simply deserves our attention. It is so big, so bold, so young and so enthusiastic that it can no longer be ignored. It is still a very foreign place for Westerners. It is mysterious, controversial, ancient, traditional- and it spends 500 billion dollars per year on research and development! And quite frankly we know so little about this hugely populated country.

When we announced the addition of China to our chaser's rank list to Facebook users, we were surprised with amount of interest. Many commented that working China from East Coast of US is next to impossible; others even said than in 20 years of ham radio they only have one or two contacts with BY. One fellow amateur asked if Chinese stations are even legally on air? Our goal this year is to crash prejudices and open our mind; learn, meet new friends and have fun.

I also believe that those who are serious about DXing will have no problem working many of the 33 provinces by the end of this year, regardless of their location. Yes it is going to be tough for East Coast of NA, but hey - DXing IS not meant to be easy. Give it a go. Check out our log sample page DXing.Today/China with the list of provinces. Also, for your convenience, we have worked out which postal code corresponds with which province, so identifying individual stations is going to be piece of cake. The next step: download our China xls sheet logbook and start logging! At this stage, we collect data for 80m contacts and all band contacts. Keep those two separately. You can report your totals (wkd / cfmd) via email to mail@DXing.Today and your rank list standing will be updated by the number of provinces worked. REMEMBER: JT mode QSOs ONLY!

And one final tip: B*0G block is reserved for Tibet. So far and in recent times, there was only one activity from Tibet ( BY1WDX/0, September 2012 on CW) so at this stage Tibet is not on air. B*0A Xinjiang province is probably the most difficult one to work, but there are at least 5 or more stations being reported on JT modes. For the rest: good luck to all, and stay tuned for more details!

*** Hold your horses!

So you have decided to work 100 DXCC on FT8. Great stuff!
You work hard and in a few months time the count down starts: 96, 97, 98, then two to go - and bang! You've got your 100th DXCC in the log. Mission accomplished? Unfortunately not! In order to claim your share of glory, you still need that piece of wallpaper from ARRL called DXCC Award. And for that to happen, you need to CONFIRM your contacts - or more precisely, you need all 100 of your correspondents to provide evidence that they too have worked you: either in the form of a real physical paper QSL card or LoTW electronic confirmation.

Of course, you already know this. What we don't know: what percentage of 100 DXCC 'worked' would be confirmed by LoTW? Obviously you don't want the hassle of paper cards, so the more LoTW, the better. Yet not everyone is on LoTW so no matter what, you would still need to mail out (and wait for a reply) a few paper cards.

Well according to my research, you should consider yourself lucky if you get 70 LoTW confirmed automatically. You now have two options: to work 40 more DXCC (which could be very difficult and time consuming) or to press on hard and confirm the 30 remaining QSOs.

Brace yourself with patience! In many cases, it is much easier to work someone than to obtain a QSL or LoTW confirmation. However, the persistence and systematic approach will maximize your chances.

1. Send a polite non-demanding request to the other party asking for LoTW confirmation. Some LoTW users only upload contacts a few times per year, others rarely or never. With a bit of luck, you can expect to confirm 5 additional contacts.

2. Before you start to mail out paper cards, do your research! There is nothing worse than 'blind' mailing. If your guy does OQRS (Online QSL request Service) then you should consider yourself lucky! A few clicks later your paypal payment will be on its way and you have an extremely high chance of receiving your QSL card in no time.

3. Manager? The second best option: QSL via QSL manager! Almost all DXpedtitons and high-volume operators have QSL managers. Managers are professionals who handle cards promptly. Generally speaking, US managers are far more customer friendly and don't expect any more of a contribution than to cover return postage. Europeans on the other hand tend to be more focused on the money side of QSLing, and in some cases will go to the extreme of demanding up to 5 Euros per card. Yes, this is daylight robbery, but you must be philosophical about it: pay the ransom, get the card, and forget about it.

4. No OQRS, no manager, but QRZ.com says "paper cards still OK". Tip: write a nice letter, add extra $ and throw in a few used stamps. You should be fine.

5. No OQRS, no manager, no email address, no QRZ bio? Welcome to the dark corner of QSL Web! Your chances of ever receiving that 'special card' are very slim. You need plenty of luck.

6. And finally, no matter how hard you try - some DXCC contacts are simply unconfirmable. This is why you should not and can not stop at 100 DXCC worked! The magic of confirming them all will happen around 110 so this is your magic number to chase.

Have fun, don't stress out but continue chase them vigorously.

*** WAZ Activity report (all 80M FT8)

Zone CALL
1 AL4Y, WL7SJ
2
3 VA7RY
4 VE6BBP, VE6RST
5
6 XE2CQ
7
8 FG5BZ
9
10
11 CX2ACB
12
13 LU8HGI, VP8LP
14 CU2AP, EC6AAE
15 4O4A, RN2F
16 ER1PB
17 UN2E, UK8LCK, UN9FF, UN9GGH,
18 RW9HSB
19 UA0NL, RW0LT, RN0JT
20 SV5DKL
21 EK1KE
22 VU2NKS
23
24 BG2AUE, BG3ATI, BA1PK, BG4DRL, BG6SNJ, BV2FB, BV1EK
25 HL3IB
26 HS0ZEE, HS0ZGV, E20FSF
27 DU7EYG
28 YB0COU, YC2YIZ, YC4CHP, YC6JRT, YC9CT, YC2VOC
29 VK6HZ
30 VK7AP, VK7RB
31 WH7W, WH6HI
32 3D2AG, 3D2TS, ZL2RJ, ZL2DD, ZL4OL
33 3V8SS
34
35 9L/KW4XJ
36
37 C93PA
38
39
40

*** WAS 80M FT8, some of the most reported stations

US State CALL
AK AL4Y, WL7SJ, NL7S
AL
AR
AZ K7NN, WB7VYN, W7WRJ
CA NU6O, WA5VGI, W6RR
CO
CT
DE
FL KD4BEE, KA1DJ, WA6POZ
GA N4HU, K4OY, KA4DOC
HI WH6HI
IA AA0N
ID KG7CW
IL K3WA, N2BJ
IN K9RU
KS
KY K4WLG
LA NA5Q
MA
MD W3/NH7C
ME
MI W8VS, KB8U
MN WB0N
MO KD0NEO, KN4JX, K0DEQ
MS AC5Q, AG5CC
MT
NC WD4HAM, KN4LOL, W4HHN
ND
NE
NH K1OR
NJ N2RJ, AG2J
NM K5TA
NV
NY W2WGK, AG2AA
OH KV8P, N9RC
OK
OR W7NT, N7FN
PA KE3JP, N3YEA
RI N1HRK
SC K4YYM, K4XP
SD W7UT
TN WS4S, W4TO
TX K5CD, KD5QAQ
UT K7UA
VA W4NGR, K3VAT
VT W1SJ, KA1LT
WA KZ1W, KE7W, N7DED
WI W9JLF, NQ9RP, W9JN
WV WV8SW, N8KDX
WY WR8O

*** DX Reports

by Branko, YU1FW

DXCC

Top Ten most wonted DXCCs (10 of 339) according to the latest ClubLog list are:
1. P5 - North Korea
2. 3Y - Bouvet isl.
3. FT5W - Crozet isl.
4. KH1 - Baker isl
5. BS7H - Scaroborugh reef
6. CE0X - San Felix isl.
7. BV9P - Pratas isl.
8. KH3 - Johnston isl.
9. VK0M - Macquarie isl.
10. KH7 - Kure isl.

In this year, there will be changes on the list, for sure. So far, announced DX-peditions are:
1. 03 JAN - 16 JAN - 6O6O Somalia
2. 14 JAN - 23 JAN - E31A Eritrea
3. 25 JAN - 14 FEB - 3Y0Z Bouvet isl.
4. 23 FEB - 17 MAR - 3D2EU Rotuma isl.
5. 01 MAR - 15 MAR - 4B4B Revilagigedo isl.
6. 02 MAR - 15 MAR - XR0YD Easter isl.
7. 09 MAR - 17 MAR - XX9B Macao
8. 10 MAR - 20 MAR - 9M0W Spratly isl.
9. 21 MAR - 03 APR - 7Q7EI Malawi
10. 10 APR - 24 APR - 3B7A Agalega isl.
11. 17 JUN - 23 JUN - KH1/KH7Z Baker isl.
12. 01 AUG - 09 AUG - CY9C St Paul isl.
13. 20 OCT - 03 NOV - VP6D Ducie isl.

There were rummors about VK0M activation, so far there is no official announcement. 

A52PD,Bhutan

Pat, N2IEN will be active from Buthan as A52D from 02 JAN till 14 JAN 2018. He carries FT-991A and buddipole antenna, and will be active mostly CW and DIGI. Depending on his location, there is possibility to be active on 80M, too.
QSL via NR6M

HH70A, Haiti

Few operators from Haiti will use special call HH70A celebrating 70th anniversary of the Radio Club d' Haiti, from 01 JAN to 30 JUN.
QSL via W3HNK.

A7/F6BFH, Quatar

Alan, F6BFH expects to get his licence for operations from Quatar, during his visit 01 JAN - 12 JAN. Also, he plans to spend a couple of days with A70X team who started with operations from Al-Safliayah isl (AS-088) which is located close to the capital Doha.

P29DA, Papua New Guinea

Darren, VK4FEDX is currently in Papua New Guinea and he will be active as P29DA using FT-950 and 4L home-made Moxon beam / dipoles for 80-40m. He operates mostly SSB on 40, 20, 15 and 10M (7175, 14210, 21288, 28490 kHz). Darrel's occupation is rather colorful: he is teacher in secondary school, higher rugby coach, coast guard radio-communication employee, former writer for CB Action, ESR and Radio & Communications magazines. As he says, he likes travels, adventures and radio-communications. He was active as C21DA, H40DA and H44DX from numerous of IOTAs. During his stay on PNG he plans to activate Coastal isl (OC-240).

From 01 FEB - 07 FEB JA1XGI will be active as P29VXG, from New Britain island.

VI70HI,Australia

Celebrating 70th anniversary of the first ANARE expedition to Heard isl on December 29147, VI70HI will be active on all HF bands 160-10M, all modes, till 28 FEB 2018.
A very interesting story about first visit and first QSOs from Heard isl can be found on their QRZ.com page.
Please note that this is activity from Australia mainland, not Heard isl itself.
QSL via M0OXO.

YJ0CA, Vanuatu

Chris, VK2YUS will be again active from Port Vila as YJ0CA, from 09 JAN - 17 JAN. Mostly 40 and 20M SSB.
QSL via home call.

3W9FB, Vietnam

John, KB4FB will visit Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand early this year. He will be active as follows:
- 01 JAN - 09 JAN - 3W9FB
- 09 JAN - 22 JAN - XW4FB
- 23 JAN - beginning of FEB - HS0ZEG
- FEB - again 3W9FB
QSL via LoTW by the beginning of MAR 2018.

*** One cool DXpedetioner: Vladimir M. Bykov, UA4WHX

Rumors are that Vladimir will be QRV soon again- from .... yet to be announced location!

I look forward to a new QSO, but knowing Vladimir, I can say that he rarely announces his operations, his plans for trip, travel, stay, etc. Before every trip he carefully analyses each particular country to see which mode or band is the most demanding. After he arrives, the most important thing is to find a good location, preferably wide open to all directions. Then, to find affordable accommodation, modest, but with Internet connection. He always carries a radio with a built-in antenna tuner (this time it's FT-890AT) and lots of dipoles. When he operates, he's running no more than 100W, which is the reason for his weak signal from time to time. Sometimes he announces frequency changes on cluster. He likes photography and mostly all the images on his QSL cards he took himself. He has a strict but fair QSL policy, please check his QRZ.com page.

UA4WHX ex: A25VB, A35VB, C50VB, C91VB, CN2VB, CP4WHX, D20VB, D44TVB, D60VB, E40VB, ER0VB, ES0VB/5, FW/AC4LN, H40VB, H44VB, HC8ART, J20VB, JT1FDC, JY9VB, O19VB, ON9VB, P29VVB, R00QVB, RI0BV, RI0KV, RI0POL, RI0QV/P, R11PVB, RI44ANT, ST2VB, SU9VB, PZ5VB, T20VB, T10VB, T30VB, T88VB, AC4LN/TI2, V31BV, V51VV, V63MB, V73VV, VK8VB, ZK2VB, YJ0VB, YU9VB, Z38VB3D2VB, 3DA0VB, 4L0B, 4K0VB, 4O7VB, 4S7VBG, 4W0VB, 5H3VMB, 5R8VB, 5T9VB, 5X1VB, 7P8VB, 7Q7VB, 7V7V, 8Q7VB, 9A8VB, 9H3WHX, 9J2VB, 9U0VB, 9X0VB
also: BW/CE0Y/CE0Z/CE7/CE8/CE9/CP/CT8/CT9/CX/E7/EA8/EA9/EX/EY8/FO/HC2/HK0/HL4/LU/LY/OA4/OA7/OD5/OH0/OJ0/PY/PY0F/UA2/UK/UN/UT/V85/YL/YV5/Z2/ZA/ZP9/5Z4/
6W/UA4WHX

Chatam island - ZL7

"New Year has already arrived to the small Pacific island of Chatam..." is a typical European January 1 headline.Which is hardly a news to any avid DX-er or IOTA chaser. Chatam archipelago is part of New Zealand, located about 800 km eastern of South island. It comprises of two bigger islands: Chatam and Pitt, and eight smaller islets. Out of 600 inhabitants, three of them are licensed: ZL7DX, ZL7BJE (YL) and ZL7TKI. Easily reachable by air-plane, ZL7 is a popular ham destination and claimed by 46.7% of IOTA Chasers. Still, always a 'good catch', on any band.

*** IOTA Action

By Peca, YT7DX and Dragan, K0AP

Once again, our IOTA gurus have crunched the numbers and have done the hard work for you by separating activities into 3 distinctive categories: A - ones which simply cannot be missed because they are rarely activated islands, B - 'do your best to get them' but it's not the end of the world if you don't work them this time and C - frequently activated, well within the reach of urban DXers like ourselves. GL !

A

SA-072 ZX8TI & ZX8NO Paulino island (Claimed by: 22.4% of participants)
Daniel, PT7BI and Roberto, PT2GTI visited Paulino isl, and they were active till 30 DEC 2017, all modes. Expedition was organized in memory of Tino PT7AA (SK 2017) who was member of the first expedition ZW8CI in 2000. In the same year, Tino was active as PT7AA/PR8.

B

OC-210 YB8RBI Sangihe island (Claimed by: 25.4% of participants)
Icha is resident, and often active on 20M FT8. Besides, from this island very active are YB8: ROP, SI, SX, SPD, TDK, ZQP, YD8UXV

C

AS-031 JD1BMH Chichijima island (Claimed by: 46.2% of participants)
Harry, JG7PSJ, visits this island since 2007 and so far he made more than 90,000 contacts. He is active on all bands 160-10M, CW/SSB/RTTY. He will be active till 02 JAN 2018. This was a nice opportunity for chasers to improve their score.

EU-128 DR8M Fehmarn island (Claimed by: 40.1% of participants).
DR8M will be active till 02 JAN, QRP/FT8. To this group also belongs Warder isl. Only one resident on islands - DJ0CU.

OC-028 V73NS Roi - Namur island (Claimed by: 40.6% of participants)
Roi is the only active operator from this group, he works only CW.

AF-020 J5/SP7VC Bubaque island (Claimed by: 32.8% of participants).
OM Mek is active from this group SSB/DIGI, together with his XYL CQ7OYL. This is a chance for those who missed two earlier activities by EA3WL and I2YSB teams.

*** Who is Who on 80M, JT modes

Not much to say except CONGRATS and keep up the good work! Remember: this listing is "WORKED ONLY" so no confirmation is required at this stage. Whether you're competitive or not, it makes no difference: do let us know your 80m totals and we'll list you. Submissions: mail@DXing.Today


*** Who is Who ALL BANDS LISTING, JT modes

Talk is cheap. Urban or rural DXer, show the world what you're made of. Submissions: mail@DXing.Today


*** Fields and Grids: Mega Chaser's delight!

Last week we talked about Australian grid squares. The question was how many of 16 fields have you worked and confirmed? (To refresh your memory see Issue 10 ) Hats off to Frank, VK7BC who kindly provided his feedback. Not only has Frank worked all of them but he went out of his way to fill in the questionnaire by hand. Well done SIR. We wish you many years of happy chasing and we thank you for your kind reply. The best European score came from HA5WA. George worked 15, missing only OC field (Casey and Wilkes bases on Antarctica). Well done to all who gave it a go. This week, we are smoking out New Zealand fields. There are 6 of them in total: RF North Island, RE South Island, AF Kermadec Island, AE Chatam, RD with bunch of Subarctic Islands and RB Scott Base on Antarctica. It goes without saying that RB field is the most challenging one with ZL5CP being the only activity in recent memory. Same question as last week: how many have you worked / confirmed?

Over to you!


Best 73,

Nick VK2DX

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