Every day is like a contest!

Posted: January 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
Doesn’t it seem like every day on the bands is now a contest?
I’m a DXer, I’m not a Contester. I enjoy working DX on the bands and often times I will have a brief conversation with the DX when possible. This is what I enjoy most in the hobby.
DXing seems to be changing. I think DXing has been impacted negatively by several new awards that were created a few years ago.
Since DXCC Challenge and CQ Marathon, doesn’t it seem like every day is a contest?  Every pileup is a wild snarly beast!
Even common DX is pounced upon like it is a wild beast that must be slayed. For example, I was recently working a ZS3 via the long path on 20 meters.I found him the old fashioned way, by “spinning the dial”. He had not been posted on any of the DX clusters yet. We were having a nice brief QSO and the ZS3 was telling me about his visit to San Francisco when suddenly the masses descended upon us and continuing the QSO became impossible!
At that same time, I saw that the ZS3 was posted on the DX cluster. This was no coincidence.
DXing is not as gentlemanly as it used to be. Gone are the days of finding the rare DX and getting to exchange anything more than “you are 5-9 bye”. My theory is that these on going awards such as DXCC Challenge and CQ Marathon are causing these changes. I’m not a fan of either of these awards for these reasons.
I’d like to see these awards suspend themselves for a year to see if the behavior on the bands will return to normal (or better than it is now) I’m realistic to realize that these awards are not going to suspend themselves. The result is that the decorum on the bands may be lost forever.
What do you think?
  1. KY6R says:

    From 1973 – 1977 I was a rag chewer and a “CW Traffic Man”. Then inactive until 2001.

    I became addicted to the DXCC program in 2001. The main goal is DXCC. Honor Roll was my all time #1 “thing”. 10BDXCC interested me because it forced me to learn about antennas and propagation on each band.

    When I got higher in the DXCC chase, there were times in between ATNO’s where I became bored. The solution was two part – try 160M for my 9th DXCC band – which is slow but a blast, and try DXCC Challenge.

    DXCC Challenge is not really that special for me at all – it just seems like “more”. If it never existed, I wouldn’t care at all. I do it so half heartedly and if the pileups are too much – I don’t even bother.

    I think there are way too many awards that overlap so badly – that they are redundant. IOTA, DXCC, CQ Grid Square, etc already overlapped before, and now – to make things much worse – there are at least 2 “Marathons” – which further overlap.

    I am sure that all of this overlap has muddied up DX-ing and made the pileups more like 100 car crashes . . .

    If the awards didn’t overlap so much things would be better. In the end you have to ask “how much is enough?”. Now when I get bored I go and ride my bike 20 miles. I need to lose weight more than snag a band slot . . . hi hi

    I have resorted to working stateside on 40 and 30M during the day, and especially love how 40M is a great DX band during the dark hours, and how it still supports Q’s covering the entire West during the day. I also check into old traffic nets at night and look for DX in the highest portions of the bands. Some mornings I check into a daily sked of sorts with some “regulars” on 40 SSB who look for South Africa mostly. I love that LP path – and join in occasionally. 40M SSB DX-ing is really pretty cool – now that the SW stations went away.

    160M is a GREAT band to have a rag chew – the SSB protion especially – plenty of room for fun. I’ve never been a big 75M fan . . .

    But I listen much more than transmit anyway . . . and always have – in fact, I’m probably more an SWL than ham – hi hi.

  2. Robert WD8NVN says:

    I have special disdain for the The DX MARATHON. I don’t like contesting in any form on the hambands. I cancelled my subsciption to CQ MAGAZINE, because of their sponsorship of the DX MARATHON; a contest that the average ham has no chance to win or even rank in the the top ten….. For someone to win the DX MARATHON in any catagory, I seriously question that operator’s sanity.
    Why spend 365 days on something like that?? Yes, the hundreds of regular contests on the weekends can be a nuisaince, but they are usually only 24 to 48 hours, I respect that.

    Strange but true: I noticed contest operators are much friendlier that DX operators—…nuff said.

  3. N7SMI says:

    Leaderboards for rare DXpeditions are also a major contributor. Not only does this and Marathon encourage contacts on every band and mode, but they also encourage the DX station to try and give contacts on every band and mode. Less time per band/mode with more people in the fray = chaos. And ultimately, I believe it results in less people (especially the little pistols out there) actually working the entity once for an all time new one.

    A simple comparison of number of unique call signs worked vs. total QSOs for DXpeditions in the last decade clearly shows that they are working more QSOs, but fewer stations proportionally.

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