A message for new DXers.

Posted: December 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


New Dxers are vital to our hobby. As we get older, we need younger people to fill the ranks of Dxers and to not only keep the traditions of DXing alive but to grow and further the hobby.

DXing or “chasing” DX is a lot of fun. It builds on your knowledge of geography and propagation. It can enable you to meet and make friends all over the world.

I started in ham radio in 1982 but I didn’t become a serious Dxer until about 1992. At that time, solar conditions were extremely good and I worked the world daily on 10 meters with ten watts. DXing has provided me with immense pleasure and satisfaction in the following years.

I would like to offer some tips to new Dxers to help you enjoy the hobby as much as I have.

Here are my tips:

Use the Grey Line: Learn about the “Grey Line” and how it changes with the seasons. Understand the concept of chasing DX in the grey line periods. I find my best DX at sunrise and sunset.

Know your rig. Today’s rigs are full of features and it’s easy to embarrass yourself if you don’t understand the complexity of your rig. Most importantly understand how to operate “Split” which means transmitting on a frequency different that the receiving frequency.


Written Resources: There are good books available about how to hone and improve your DXing skills. I like AC6V’s DXing 101. You can buy it online at Amazon.com or at most Ham Radio stores.

Don’t be timid: Don’t be afraid or timid. Jump into the fray and make some contacts. Listen closely to what the DX station is saying and follow his instructions. Use common courtesy and obey the rules and band plans.

Embrace CW: CW is a fantastic mode of operation. CW signals propagate better than SSB or RTTY signals. You can find better DX on CW than any other mode. Don’t be afraid to learn CW. There are good methods that can make it easier. The CWops Club (www.cwops.org) provides CW training to anyone that wants to learn. It is a fantastic program.

Avoid the herd mentality: When you find yourself in a pileup and chasing DX, listen to the DX and you can often recognize a pattern of where or how he is listening. Try to avoid the herd mentality and go Up 5 or Up 10. Consider calling the DX up 7.3 or 8.6 anywhere in between is probably a good place. Many guys are using panadapters and are calling where the last Dxer worked.  From the DX end, this often complicates things and often the DX will move around looking for signals “in the clear” That might be you!


DX University: Consider one of the DX University sessions held in your area. They are a great resource for new and experienced Dxer. You can find out about upcoming sessions at http://www.DXuniversity.com

Your antenna: The antenna is one of the most important elements of successful DXing. Its more important than a high quality receiver and certainly more important than an Amplifier. I like many, started out with a vertical, then a dipole and later a Yagi and finally a big Yagi with a long boom. Focus on your antenna  as a means to become a successful Dxer.

Find an Elmer: An “Elmer” is a mentor who helps you understand and improve your skills. An Elmer can show you how to be more successful and can increase your enjoyment of the hobby. You might ask some local Dxers for advice or attend a DX Club meeting or a ham radio event. If you identify a potential Elmer, ask if you can visit his shack and see how he operates. Often enthusiasm is contagious and a good Elmer can inspire you. This relationship can be quite beneficial if both are compatible as such.

Web Resources: There is a lot of good information on the Web. This is a good place to start: http://nu8z.net/dx-tutorial/

Have Fun!  DXing is fun. Yes it can be frustrating at times, but overall it should be fun and enjoyable. If you are not having fun, there must be something wrong. When you find yourself pulling your hair out or shutting down in frustration, talk to your friends or your Elmer. Examine what you might do to improve the situation. Don’t let other people spoil your fun!

What do you think?

  1. Robert H. Pusch WD8NVN says:

    To me, DXing holds the essence of amateur radio…. If working DX were not possible or not allowed, I would not involve myself with ham radio…. I try to inspire non-ham people I know, and the members in my club, (Madison County Amateur Radio Club, in Ohio) by consistently communicating the excitement, the problems, and technical challenges QSOing those rare and, not so rare stations…. All new radio amateur licensees need to know the many benefits and the great results by using a DX Cluster. The DX Cluster will keep the realm of DXing very relevant in the future.

  2. n6pse says:

    I love DXing too. I’ve tried contesting and that did not take. I’m not a rag chewer but I just love chasing DX. Yes the clusters can be a great help, particularly when starting out. However, I think the best DX is found the “old fashioned” way by “spinning the dial”. I love to find a DX station that is tuning up and starting to call CQ. Its fun to catch them before a huge and difficult pileup develops. More and more the DX gets spotted right away, but from a thrill stand point I love to catch the DX before they are posted on the Clusters.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s