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PostHeaderIcon DXpeditioning Basics

How to Work Us DX Basics

by: Wayne Mills, N7NG

Poor pileup operating has become a major impediment to most DXpeditions. Poor operating on both sides of the pile can cause dissatisfaction among the callers, and poorer-than-expected results.

"How to Work Us" is a text that can be used on a DXpedition's Web page to encouraage DXers to call in a way that is acceptable to the DXpedition operation. It can be edited to meet the needs of the DXpedition. Contact n7ng(at) for information.

DXers who follow these guidelines, will be several steps ahead of the masses..

How to Work Us

• Our Goal is to provide every station in the World the opportunity to make at least one QSO, and to enable top DXers to put our callsign in their log on as many bands and modes as possible.

• Let's get started. First, make sure you can copy us well enough for a good QSO. If signals are poor, would it be better to wait a while for better propagation? It can be very embarrassing to you for us to call you when you can't hear us.

• Unless otherwise noted, we will utilise split operation only. This means you cannot succeed by calling on our frequency. We aren't listening there. Be very careful to set up your transceiver so that you do not call on our transmit frequency. You must find where we are listening and then pick your next transmitting frequency accordingly.

• Our operators will try hard to work everyone in the world. Some areas will require more effort than others. Listen carefully to determine if we are trying to work a particular geographical area. Call if you are in that area. We will not respond to callers who are not in that area. If you are not in the desired area, spend the waiting time studying the pileup procedure of the operators.

• Call only if we are calling your exact callsign, if we are calling a very similar callsign or if we are asking for anyone to call. One matching letter in your callsign is NOT enough! Listen to the pileup again, and wait for the next opportunity to call. We will not respond to calls from stations other than those we are addressing. Keep in mind that many DXpedition operators may be hearing you even if they don't respond. You could earn a bad reputation in this way.

• If you do not hear who has been called, listen for a short time as the operator will probably call again. You don't want to miss his second call. When in doubt, DO NOT call, but rather try to determine the correct procedure. You will be far more successful by listening more and transmitting less.

• Be sure you have made a good QSO. If you aren't sure, make another QSO. It is best not to send a report until the operator sends your callsign correctly. If the operator does not send your callsign correctly, make another QSO. He may have actually worked someone else.

• Reiterating, we will not work stations who are:

•o Calling out of turn - when we are trying to work someone else

•o Calling out of the called area - study the pileup and wait for your turn

•o Calling with an obviously wrong partial callsign - use the time to study the pileup.

• These simple guidelines are intended to help you to get into our log quickly. They are consistent with our intended operating procedure. If you call the way we expect you to call, it makes sense that you will be in the log more easily and more often.

• Comments on our operating procedures, choice of bands, etc. should be made via email. We will not be appointing conventional pilots. We have established a special e-mail address to which anyone can send messages to us. We will publicise this address widely in the press releases, on the web site etc. We will review all comments, but we will not reply to anyone individually. Any general responses will appear on our web site and, if appropriate, we will circulate them to the amateur radio press.

• We understand that no one is perfect, and that everyone will make mistakes. Keep your own house in order; make sure to minimize your own mistakes. Don't get frustrated. Our operators are some of the best in the World. Summon your greatest self control, and let us deal with the others. Soon, you will be in the log.

• Copyright (c) 2011 by Wayne Mills, N7NG

DXpeditioning Basics

by Wayne Mills, N7NG

DXpeditioner Vince Thompson, K5VT (SK) -- One of the Best

I wrote DXpeditioning Basics in 1993-1994. It was originally published jointly by ARRL and INDEXA in 1994. It was printed by W4MPY for INDEXA and available in book form for a nominal fee. The book is no longer in print, but it is available free, on-line at the link above.

In addition to DXpeditioning Basics, I have written a text for DXpedition Web sites that is intended to convey to DXers how the DXpedition operators would like to be called. This text can be found at The text can be edited to meet DXpedition needs.

DXpeditioning Basics was written for several reasons. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was a perception that DX operating was degenerating. While this wasn’t a particularly new concept, it had become a matter of concern. It was always clear to me that the operating on both sides of the pileup could be most easily controlled by the DXpedition operator. It followed that it should always be easier to guide one DXpedition operator than the hundreds or thousands of operators in the pileups.

In preparation for the ZA1A DXpedition to Albania in 1991, and at the suggestion of Martti Laine, OH2BH, I wrote the ZA1A DXpedition Operating Manual. This short piece wasn’t so much a tutorial for the ZA1A operators, who were all quite well qualified, but rather it was written to help establish operating consistency among our group, which in turn would help in establishing a well-run operating environment.

In the next couple of years, several short lists were prepared by various authors, directing DXers and DXpeditioners how to get the most out of pileups and how to behave in such a way as to prevent pileups from degenerating. These lists gave DXers and DXpeditioners guidance in bullet point form. I felt that these lists fell short, because there was little elaboration. For some of the points there was little or no explanation of why certain methods were effective or even acceptable. For this reason, I decided to write DXpeditioning Basics. It contains a more complete discussion of many of the important concepts in DXpeditioning. By discussing the various points, I hoped to make a better case for the “rules” that had been presented.

In the years since DB was written, DXing has changed in a number of ways. Technology in particular has changed. More bands are involved, and we now have the Internet. We have Web-Logs and LoTW. Because of these changes and many more, I will be expanding and updating DXpeditioning Basics in the next few months. The results will be presented here first. In the interim, I am making the original version available through the links below.

WAM - September, 2010

Download here DX-basics.pdf