All posts for the month October, 2009

Ham Radio Activities

Lately I’ve been getting more involved with ham radio.  This is due to 1) getting a fancy new radio, Station and 2) Getting my major antennas working once more.Pro57
I split my ham radio time primarily between two activities; DXing, which is trying to contact stations in distant locations, and Contesting, which is, as the name implies, a competitive activity where the object is to contact as many different stations in a predefined period of time as is possible.
I’ll talk about Contesting another time but now I’d like to go into a little more detail about DXing.  The American Radio Relay League offers an award called the DXCC (DX Century Club) which is, at its lowest level, given for making radio contact with stations in 100 different “countries.”  Currently the ARRL defines 338 ‘entities’ as countries for the purpose of the award.
At the present time I have worked and confirmed (via QSL ) cards, 299 of the possible 338.  Below is my map with red map tacks marking the places I’ve worked.

Click for Larger View

There are a number of reasons why I have not contacted all the 338.  For some it is because the political situation makes ham radio there difficult or impossible.  For example North Korea and Palestine.  Others are so remote that there are no ham operators there normally and they only become active when someone mounts a DXpedition to temporarily provide the opportunity of radio contact Examples of these are Swains Is. or Tristan da Cunah.

Some places are so rare that, when one does come up on the air, thousands of radio operators around the world all try to contact them, all at once.  This can sound like bedlam with everyone competing to be heard.  But there is a magical thrill when the DX station picks your call letters out of the “pile-up” and responds to you.  It is not all luck, but a combination of operating skill, station quality and radio propagation conditions.

It’s a crazy hobby but not without its satisfactions.