DX’ing Tools – March 2015 Featured DXpeditions
2015 has been quite a year for DX’ing and working new DXCCs for us. This month is the most productive I have experienced, with more than 20 interesting DXpeditions. We’ve been fortunate to have the chance to work the DXpedition on Navassa Island (#2 on ClubLog’s most wanted list), which took place in February of this year. In addition to those shown above, there are also quite a few small operations, including E51UFF on North Cook Island and VP8DOZ on South Georgia Island (#9 on ClubLog’s most-wanted list) being on. Also, Eritrea, E30FB, which is operating right now, is #20 on ClubLog’s most wanted list. All of this makes for a great opportunity to work all-time new ones and add new DXCC Band-Points. We extensively used DX’ing tools as part of working new DXCCs this year.
Anita, AB1QB has worked 13 all-time new DXCC’s and I’ve worked 5 all-time new DXCCs since the beginning of 2015. Anita has broken the 250 DXCC barrier, and I’m just 2 away from breaking 300. There have also been quite a few new IOTAs for us. Anita has added 11 IOTAs this year, and I’ve added 14. We also added more than 85 DXCC Band-Points each toward our DXCC Challenge Award totals. I have set a goal to work at least one new DXCC Challenge Band-Point each day in 2015 in hopes of getting to the 2,000 DXCC Band-Point level before the end of the year (I am currently at 1,785 worked).
Shack Board – Upcoming Operations and Contests
We use a number of different sources to find out about these operations. Our favorite ones are The Weekly DX, DX-World.net (the source of the graphic above), and DX Publishing’s QRZ DX. These are all excellent sources for finding out about upcoming DXpeditions, small DX operations, and IOTA activations. Working DX contests such as CQ WW DX, the ARRL DX Contests, and CQ WW WPX are also excellent ways to work new DXCCs and new Band-Points. We have a whiteboard in our shack where we record upcoming operations that we need and contests that we want to participate in. This helps us keep track of what is coming up that we need.
We also use the SpotCollector component of the DXLab Suite to help us identify new DXCCs, Band-Points, IOTAs, and WAZ Band-Zones that we need in real time when they come on. We have also used SpotCollector to alert us when stations we need for the Yearly CQ DX Marathon are on the air.
Spot Sources Configuration In SpotCollector
We have configured SpotCollector (the spotting component of DXLab) to aggregate spots from various sources. Our logs are kept in DXLab, and we program the SpotCollector to filter all incoming cluster spots and CW/RTTY Skimmer data to tell us about high-priority stations we want to work with when they are on the air. The key to this approach is carefully filtering incoming cluster and skimmer spots to only display and forward the most important opportunities.
Award Setup in DXKeeper
The first step in the filtering is to configure DXLab’s DXKeeper component for the types of contacts we are interested in. This is done in the Award configuration section of DXKeeper.
SpotCollector SQL Filter
We then use the powerful SQL script capability of SpotCollector to only tell us about stations that we are willing to “head for the shack to work.” SpotCollector is configured to send the appropriate spots as text messages via email to our mobile phones so that we know immediately when something we need comes on. The filter above selects all-time new DXCCs, new DXCC Band-Points, new IOTA’s, and new WAZ Band-Zones which are spotted in the Eastern or Central United States. The filter also picks up new Band-States for the ARRL Worked All States Award.
We hope our readers interested in working DX and IOTAs will be able to find some time to work so of the operations on the air right now. This time period is certainly one that has a lot of potential to put “new ones” in the log. If you use the DXLab Suite, you might try some of the more advanced features of SpotCollector to help you better find stations that you want to work when they are on.
– Fred, AB1OC