Is there no honor left among DXers?

Posted: January 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


Is there no honor left among DXers?

This morning, I was listening to 1A0C operating at 18.145 and listening up 5. The operator was clearly asking for only West Coast stations of North America. He repeated this command over and over. Anyone just tuning in was certain to hear the operator’s frequent commands for West Coast only. The 1A0C was quite clear and there was no jamming or excessive police action going on. Anyone but a fool would know that he was seeking contacts with the West Coast.

Now there is always some debate about what is considered the West Coast. I have friends in Denver that consider themselves West Coast. My own feelings about what constitutes the West Coast are BC, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona.

I was listening closely to the pileup and I was not surprised to hear a variety of calls such as a VE1, K8, W0 etc. I started looking up these many callers to see where they might be from. I was surprised to see that the VE5 was in Saskatchewan, Canada. The K8 was in Saginaw Michigan. There was one persistent W9 who is in Wisconsin. This W9’s QRZ page shows states that he has “reached the top of the honor roll in 1993 and again in 2007”.

Why do they call it the Honor Roll?   Do these hams have particularly more honor than the rest of us. Is this a display of one’s honor to call over and over again from Wisconsin when the DX is asking for the West Coast?

The QRZ photo of this W9 ham shows that he has earned just about every award in ham radio. I wonder how the little gun W6 stations feel to hear guys like this W9 calling and calling when they are looking for their first and only contact with 1A0C.

Look, we have all made mistakes with split or we may have failed to catch “up JA” in a CW pileup. Those are common mistakes that happen. What happened this morning was a clear disregard for the clear and certain commands of the DX Station.

Maybe the ARRL should rename the Honor Roll to the “Persistent List” because that seems to be what it represents. Those on the Honor Roll are most persistent. They have to be to make the top and stay on top. I am sure that most of them follow the DX Code of Conduct, but clearly from what I heard today, some do not.

What do you think?

  1. Mike W2LO says:

    Over the years I’ve been to many DX gatherings and presenters as well as those attending will talk about the innumerable examples of bad behavior in pileups and urge everyone to adhere to the rules. I’ll then go home and subsequently hear quite a few of these same ops in a pileup calling out of turn, interrupting a QSO in progress, and so forth. I speak here not of the occasional ill-timed call, or calling on the DX station’s frequency by mistake (is there anyone NOT guilty of that??) but rather persistently calling out of turn, etc.

    This just slows the whole thing down. How many more stations could be worked with just a modicum of cooperation! The whole thing is out of control nowadays.

  2. Larry WO7R says:

    I think we have to be very careful. We’ve discussed this on eham and there seems to be so many HR types (some are supposedly even book authors) doing this that I now wonder if some of this is a peculiar form of mischief maker.

    If you want to be a massive jammer, just sit on the DX’ frequency. But, another more subtle way to make trouble would be to pirate someone else’s call and participate in the pileup with bad faith behavior.

    Think about it. If you were someone who, for whatever reason, wanted to make trouble (“DXing is too easy now” “I hate DXing”), why do it in your own “name”? And, if you pick an Honor Roller to pirate, it automatically eliminates the “why didn’t they QSL” problem.

    I think until we do some first class direction finding on these so-called “bully LIDs” that persistently call out of turn, we need to be careful that all of these bullies hold the calls we think they do.

    Some of them probably are the exact calls we hear. Some are just well-papered jerks I suppose. But, before we blacken some names, we had better figure out how to be damn sure it is who we think it is.

    One thing is pretty sure. There really aren’t that many of these people whether in their own name or someone else’s. There are somewhere between 40,000 and 150,000 DXers, world-wide, depending on whose survey you believe. If even 1,000 of them were doing any of this stuff, DXing would be impossible.

    Even five or six people, sitting 10 cycles off of each other, could really, truly jam a CW DX signal for at least a 4,000 mile diameter. Similarly, if calling out of turn were organized, things could be made similarly impossible at least regionally.

    By the same token, a small number of disgruntled hams could account for most of what we hear.

  3. Robert H. Pusch WD8NVN says:

    The world of DXing, it seems to me, is populated with by dozens and dozens of operators who think, Dxpeditions to a rare ( or semi-rare) entity, will be the last time ever to make that QSO; a sense of desperation sets in, bad behavior results. Contesters have the advantage and opportunity to achieve their “missed” goals by just waiting for the same contest next year and try something better to improve the score…
    The DX Code of Conduct offers valuable, friendly advise for anyone to observe those rules. Chasing the ARRL DXCC awards is nice. like with most everything in life, unintended bad consequences naturally happen… Frankly, I do not know the answers on preventing negative behaviors in the context of ham radio…

  4. Paul N5PG says:

    “Is this a display of one’s honor to call over and over again from xxx when the DX is asking for the West Coast? ”

    No, just a crude display of selfishness, bad manners and liddery. Nothing very new about it but it’s worse nowadays for sure.

    Some dxpedition ops will work the worst offenders but somehow it ends up NIL 🙂

  5. Peter W2IRT says:

    I doubt there’s any way to effectively stop it, since transmitting is completely anonymous. The joys of a backward-compatible analog medium and all that. Whether the ultimate culprit is award-greed, jealous, a sense of futility or a bottle of vino or vodka is immaterial, and in my opinion no amount of discussion of the DX Code will amount to a hill of beans.

    Just as increasing the complexity of firearms regulations won’t stop a criminal who’s intent on doing evil, honour codes won’t stand in the way of a greedy, mentally unstable or chemically-altered person with a mind for mischief behind the mic/key. Naming and shaming with indisputible evidence is the only option of our nations’ telecom regulatory bodies refuse to act. With no threat of unpleasant consequences there is no reason for a sick mind to change course.

    • Art Burke says:

      Amazingly, this morning I heard the exact opposite of what’s being discussed here. A not-so-experienced JW station came on 12M sideband this morning. I called him and was immediately followed by a W1 station who sounded very strong. I stayed out of the way and sure enough, the W1 station worked the JW. I got through on the next call. Just a few calls later, I heard Pete, W2IRT call and work the station. I think I heard Pete do the same thing I did, i.e., stand by while another station completed the call and *then* called – successfully. Made me feel good. I don’t know Pete (W1IRT) personally, but this is not the first time I’ve heard polite operating from him.

      Art – N4PJ
      Leesburg, FL

      • n6pse says:

        Yes, Peter-W2IRT is a very considerate operator and Roll Model. That is why I have asked him to be our Pilot Station for our January 2016 Dxpedition to South Sandwich and South Georgia.

        This hobby needs more guys like Peter.

        Paul N6PSE

  6. N7SMI says:

    DXpedition operators continue to reinforce this negative behavior by putting out-of-turn callers in the log. I’ve observed 1A0C do this numerous times. We can’t expect folks to obey instructions that are not enforced.

    On Marquesas we had a firm rule of never logging out-of-turn callers. I once sent “EU ONLY EU ONLY EU ONLY EU ONLY” about 20 times in a row to reinforce that I wasn’t going to entertain anyone outside of EU. Once the pileup knew I was serious, then the seemingly unending out-of-turn callers generally gave up.

  7. Roger says:

    One of the problems is that it is “impossible” for the DXpedition ops to know who is or who is not “West Coast”. In the old days if you call had a ‘6’ in it then you were from California — now this is no longer true. We have K2s here in Oklahoma and K5s in Florida etc.

    Another situation is that if a DXpedition is going to work the “West Coast” then he better also give a window for “Central USA” or “East Coast”. Lets say that the “West Coast” is the most difficult from a propagation standpoint to/from the DXpedition location. But also, NM, CO, MT, OK, KS is a very difficult path that is only marginally better than the “West Coast”. Then the DX station is going to have to work NA by the numbers [or some such thing] so that DXers will stay in line knowing that they will get a turn.

    Sometimes DXpeditions will listen only for “West Coast” and then for “East Coast”. Well what about guys out in Flyover country? I guess according to the de-facto definitions that the DX is using then all of NA is either West Coast or East Coast.

    But I agree that there are pathological DXers who call out of turn — especially if they can get away with it.

    But if the DX ops announce what is going on “we are going to work West Coast until xxxxUTC then Central USA from xxxxUTC to yyyyUTC then anywhere in NA [or whatever] then people will have more of a tendency to stay in line.

    Generally it is the same crew that is in the pileups from one DXpedition to another. The difference is in the skill of the ops at the DXpedition who know who to tame the beast by giving info on what going on and then sticking to it.

    73 Roger K5RKS Oklahoma City

  8. Bob Beaudet W1YRC says:

    The prime responsibility for managing a DX pile-up lies with the DX station. He/she can hear most of what we hear and knows what he/she called for. The DX station operator must control the pile-up behavior of chaos will take over. When the DX station comes back to someone not fitting the description he just asked for, there’s no one else to blame for this poor operating style.

    Sure, sure, there will be some who accidentally call but they’re not who we’re addressing here. If the DX station clearly state what bad behavior could lead to, most of these over aggressive folks will calm down. I have heard very good DX operators call out bad behavior by the well-known op’s name and say “Joe Smith, you are not on the west coast” or “Andy Jones, you are not a 5”. Not saying the offender’s call-sign will avoid giving the impression that the DX station came back to him, so there’s no expectation given. The message is “yes, I heard you but I won’t call you”. These highly listed guys are usually known within the community and still works if they have Internet access from the DX location.

    Like many other old timer DXers, I feel that poor behavior is more prolific today. It’s surprising to see how many of these poor operators are listed as A-1 Operators as well as on the DXCC Honor Roll. Both lists are available on-line. I come from the school that says that holders of these should deserve to do so.

    During 2014, I had the privilege of being sought after in the ARRL Centennial QSO Party because as a Section Manager, I gave a high point count toward the score. I was in the center of several huge pile-ups. I was pleased the see how unruly callers behaved when I said, “I called for 7s and anyone not a 7 will not be logged”. Chirp, chirp … silence.
    The station at the heart of the pile-up MUST take control. We cannot simply believe that the Boy Scout in us will make us fall into line.

  9. Wayne, N0UN says:

    “West Coast” is too relative a term in my opinion. Some (like me) consider West Coast as west of the Mississippi River. Even more it seems consider West Coast anything not on the East Coast (when’s the last time you heard a DX station call East Coast?)

    An example I deal with all the time – I call CQ DX and somebody in Hicksville, Georgia answers and I ask, “are you DX?”, and they reply, “yes, because you’re over a thousand miles away”. I wonder where the hell did that definition of DX come from?

    West Coast is too fuzzy a definition (unless of course you actually live DIRECTLY on the West Coast in California, Oregon or Washington).

    If a DX station is calling West Coast, they can just as easily call “Call Area 6”, or “Call Area 7” or “Western Canada”. I’ve heard a few DX stations call, “Whiskey SIx or Whiskey 7” and that’s about as direct as you can get. There is no mistake who they’re calling when you hear, “Calling Whiskey 6, Whiskey 7”.

    In the end, it’s up to the DX station to control what it is they’re after. If a DX station calls West Coast and then takes 8’s, 5’s and 1’s well then he better expect everybody and their brother to join the fray.

    I have yet to be slapped by any DX station for calling from Colorado when they are calling West Coast. Not a single time. I surely do not call when they call Whiskey Six (or 7) though.


    • n6pse says:

      Sorry Wayne, I can’t agree with you. Anyone East of the Rockies has a tremendous advantage over the West Coast to Europe and Africa. I think very few DXers would consider the Denver area the West Coast. There is quite a difference.

      • Wayne, N0UN says:

        From Denver, it’s 1,000 miles to the Pacific, and 2,000 miles to the Atlantic. So I lean “West” until I hear a DX station call for “Midwest” or “Central”. I haven’t heard one yet!

    • n6pse says:

      Wayne, the DX station isn’t likely to “slap” you because they don’t know where you are. But the guys on the “real” West Coast hear the guys in Colorado and the middle part of the US and think less of DXers that operate that way. Consider it a mental slap from your peers on the real West Coast.

      This morning, EP6T was on 15SSB and asking over and over for the West Coast. As he did so, I wrote down the calls that worked him. There was quite a series of guys in Michigan, Illinois etc that worked EP6T while he was asking for the West Coast. The West Coast guys pay attention to antics like that.

      • Wayne, N0UN says:

        I also heard several East Coast stations calling (and working) in the EP6T pileups when they were calling “West Coast”. Hundreds of them.

        It goes back to why don’t DXpeditions call “Whiskey 6, Whiskey 7” only? Is it really that hard to say?

        And since they pick-up those W8, W9, W4 and W3 stations while calling “West Coast”, who is to blame? That blame is now shared as they allowed it.

        Paul, your and my definition of West Coast differ, but if a call is made for Whiskey 6, Whiskey 7 – well there’s no doubt who they’re calling. You consider BC, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona as West Coast. I include yours but also consider New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho.

        West Coast is too subjective in my opinion. West Coast in it’s truest definition does not include Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Montana. In fact, West Coast is 3 States – California, Oregon and Washington. And how do you split Mexico and Canada? What imaginary line makes parts of those West Coast and the rest “something other” than West Coast?

        We can discuss this all day. Until somebody with authority (and after open discussion) publishes what should be considered “West Coast’, well, all we have now are opinions. Everything from strict to loose opinions I may add.

        Perhaps you may start pushing the discussion forward on one of your DXpedition websites? If you publish what you consider “West Coast” to your DX Websites, you may be opening a can of worms, but your rules are simply stated. This will be what you expect, and there is no room for discussion. It’s called the Golden Rule. He who holds the gold makes the rules.

        Good DX Brother, see you in the West Coast pile-ups! hahahahahahaha!

      • Wayne, N0UN says:

        Since you started this post, as you can see I’ve already adjusted my original definition of “West Coast” (West of the Mississippi) to a narrower view. I for decades thought of West as West of the Mississippi. From this gentlemanly discussion I’ve already moved my compass. Now for those folks in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, etc.? Well, that’s just blatant disregard.

      • Jeff Schwartz / KI0KB says:

        East Coast West Coast Debate… If the hams in the U.S. can’t decide what’s what in this debate how can we expect the DX to figure it out? How about these DXpeditions start using the ITU Zone system when calling NA? I think the ITU Zones more realistically represent potential propagation zones than the CQ Zones. Calling for either ITU Zone 6, 7 or 8 makes sense to me. They can add 2, 3 and 4 to that mix too. Then those out of zone callers can be held to account and the debate about “out of place” call sign numbers can disappear too in regards to working DX. Makes sense to me and I think it gives hams in the different zones a chance to “compete” with hams having similar propagation issues. Living in Colorado I’ve often felt at a disadvantage at times trying to get through the Eastern U.S. wall and I never felt comfortable answering a West Coast only request. I have yet to hear anyone call for the Central U.S. How easy would it be to call NA by ITU Zones? I suspect pretty easy…. hams ignoring that request, now that’s a whole different issue. If DXpeditions started to use that system then it would quickly become routine and everyone would know what to expect.
        Jeff / ki0kb

  10. K0YQ says:

    The issue of what is “Western US” is subjective and debatable. Maybe the information of who you want calling when you ask for certain geographic areas could be included on the DXped website? IE – when we call for “Western US” we only want stations in CA, OR, WA, NV, BC, etc. I called for my one ATNO QSO with 1A0C when they were calling for “Western US”, as I absolutely consider myself “Western US”.

    The issue of the clowns that will always call all the time is entirely different. They won’t respect your wishes anyway.

  11. Tom Liska says:

    With the FCC issuing calls anywhere in the country with no regard for the geographic location, it is no wonder that we don’t know who is calling or where they are calling from. I live in AZ for approximately 6 months and WI for the other six months. When in AZ , I consider myself, generally on the West Coast, but a “9” call is subject to all kinds of scrutiny by the other callers. The willful interference is a horse of a different color. In most cases, ignoring them is the ONLY answer, as any kind of recognition is only going to fuel their activities. Nuf said on that one.

  12. John says:

    I can overlook “calling on a dx frequency” no big deal, calling out of turn happens to all of us. The thing that irritates me the most is the blatant RTTY signals and deliberate tune up constant on top of the dx. These are ops that don’t work dx and never have done a whole lot of it. And it isn’t just a few, its all over the world. The deliberate QRM is not acceptable. Why does it happen? If you aren’t into dx chasing, go somewhere else.

  13. Jeff Schwartz says:

    Aside from our own occasional operating mistakes, the seemingly displaced call signs which seem to aggravate some people for some reason and the discussion on where the West Coast ends and the rest of us begin these pileup bullies know they are doing it and as far as I can tell really don’ t care. It’s a manifestation of a lifelong social disorder, perhaps at times fueled by drugs and or alcohol that can only be dealt with effectively at the time by the DX station. All the complaining or policing we might do on the DX frequency doesn’t help. As far as I can tell the DX station can either identify them and ask them to wait until called or work them at some point to get rid of them and don’t put them in the log. The ultimate ham failure…. “you’re not in the log”.

    Achieving the Honor Roll, which is where this conversation sort of started has nothing to do with the abnormal behavior manifested by hams on or off the Honor Roll. Having finally achieved the lowest rung on that ladder myself after 46 years of hamming I tend to stay out of the pileups anymore unless I need a slot for the DXCC Challenge or of course for the ATNO. I’m sure many others do too. As far as I can see to make it to the top of the Honor Roll you just need to be persistent, enjoy the hobby and outlive everyone else.

    Anymore if I get aggravated by unruly pileup behavior or ticked off at some social misfit calling out of turn constantly I’ll turn the dial or shut it down. Why would you beat yourself over the head with a hammer if it hurts? Fortunately these high dollar Dxpeditions these days seems to hang around for several days which gives us all a chance to get involved in a more tame pileup at another time, band or day.

    • n6pse says:

      Jeff, very well said, I tend to agree with your views. Thank you for your interest in my Blog.


      Paul N6PSE

      • Paul, I do believe this is the first time I’ve actually Bloged but this is a subject dear to my heart. I must say I thought my call sign would show up automatically along with my name. I sort of felt anonymous without my call sign posted which was not my intent.
        Keep up the good work…. Jeff / ki0kb

  14. Paul - vk4ma says:

    May be this confusion could be avoided if the DX simply called for w6 and w7s west coast only

    Of course this will not stop w6s/7s calling if they are resident in say New York. I have also heard east coast USA add a portable 6 or 7 to their call when it seems very unlikely that they are actually portable w6 or 7.

    I agree that it is the DX operators responsibility to minimise this type of behaviour – there is nothing more effective and embarrassing for the recalcitrant caller than being told by the DX op “vk4ma – standby I am calling W6 and W7 only”. If the guy continues to call after this type of warning then it is time for “vk4ma – you are calling out of turn – I will not work you today on this operator shift – improve your manners and may be you will fair better with our next operator”.

    Of course there is then the potential that the disruptive caller will cause deliberate QRM but generally rude operators and deliberate QRMers are a “different beast” in my opinion.

    That said, in the CQWW test a few years back, I refused to work an Italian station who constantly called out of turn – he then followed me for another 5 hours from band to band calling out of turn on a constant basis. I had to admire his persistence and commitment to vengeance but I refused to work him for 5 hours despite the QRM he was causing and the related slowing of my QSO rate. I gave him the two warnings above and from that point on I never once acknowledged his existence, despite him being over s9 at times.

    This takes a lot of commitment on the part of DX – it would have been easy for me to capitulate and work the guy but there was no way I was going to reward or acknowledge this behaviour.

    I may of course have felt differently if I had spent $400K to go to a rare DX location and this guy’s QRM was slowing the qso rate.

    This is always the dilemma for the DX – do you slow down the qso rate by ignoring the “out of turn” caller or do you just work him and get him out of the way. I suspect the answer depends on how strong he is, how big is the pile-up is etc

    Like all long standing problems in the world – if there was an easy answer – we would have fixed it by now!!

    Paul – vk4ma

  15. John VE8EV says:

    Just about any competitive endeavor requires a certain amount of assertiveness to be successful. One of the eternal enigmas of DXing is how assertive you can be without incurring the wrath of your fellow operators. Unfortunately, as is clearly evident by the callers mentioned in Paul’s original post, many will blindly cross the line to get “success” without caring about whatever collateral damage they leave in their wake. In my opinion those that behave this way do so because they think the regular rules don’t apply to them. They have big antennas, and big amplifiers, and big awards, and think they don’t have to wait their turn. When a DX station is asking for a particular area, well, that’s just for the little people. In their minds, the DX welcomes their call at any time!

    Other than the bad examples, though, the problem for all of us is how close to the line between assertive and aggressive should you get? It’s not an easy question because that darn line moves around all the time depending on the circumstances. How badly do you need to make that contact? Is it an all time new one or just a bandfill? Is it the first day of the expedition or the last? And what does a DX station really mean when they are calling for a specific area? When they say “West coast” do they mean “only the 10 most Westerly states in the USA” or do they really mean “NOT Europe or Eastern North America” There’s no easy answer to that one for those of us that are neither West nor East. Sometimes the situation might require getting closer to that line than others might like. I almost missed KP5 at the bottom of the cycle because the few times I could actually hear them they were only calling for JA’s on our common greyline path. Should I have called anyway? Did they mean “only Japan” or did they really mean “NOT North America”? Oh wait, I’m technically in North America, too. Sigh. Nobody ever calls for “North coast only”…

    John VE8EV

  16. iz4aksGiorgtio says:

    I will enter in the topic on tiptoe, just because I ‘m pretty sure to be the operator mentioned by Paul.

    First of all I was not born able to managing such an huge and intensive pileup. I learned (and I’m still learning) by failures. My first attempt to dxpeditioning was a disaster, the second was just better, and so on…till today where, if i’m honest, i can said that I improved a lot.
    So I want to share my point with you just to give you the point of view on the other side. I have nothing to protect or defend myself, I want only provide my contribution to the discussion.

    Immagine the situation: Rome , center of the city, winter, heating systems switched at full power during the most cold and windy week of the year. It does mean from s4 to s7 of noise over each band.
    To be clear, from my side, if I call only W6/W7 or only “west coast”, I intend exactly BC, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona.
    Unfortunately nowadays, I have no chances to know in advance if a N2xyz (or a W5xyz or a K1xyz) is really in West Cost or not. And if he declares his real location, he will do it at the end of the QSO.
    “You are five and nine in Vermont, thanks”…At this time, he is already in the log and the QSO is done. If I want to delete it I need to go up, in the meantime my colleagues are logging other stations and I have to be careful to avoid mistakes to some good QSO logged on other bands.
    Sometimes the last part of the conversation is covered by other calls. And it is not smart to stop the pileup disputing with the station about his real location.

    I understand that 1A is pretty rare in West Coast but it seems calling in this way is not enough. Someone wrote us that California has a different propagation if you compare it to the one in Washington. This was providing an advantage to the W7. So I started to call “only California” when I was able to understand there were sufficient conditions but after a while we received an email explaining how it could be different the propagation between Sacramento and San Diego… 🙂
    So: what to do?

    My solution is: I will do my best to serve the new one and if somebody wants to cheat…. it is a personal problem of fair play, someone understand it, some other prefer to cheat themself. Period!

    Unfortunately at the moment I have not much intelligent sentence to add and any solution to fix the problem. I did (believe me!) the best to log as many stations from West Coast possible, ignoring the obvious decrease of the rate.
    In any case i really want to thank Paul to highlight the point with this very interesting post. The Dx Community really need some value added post like this one.

    73 de Giorgio IZ4AKS

    • n6pse says:

      Dear Giorgio IZ4AKS.

      Thank you for your perspective, and thank you for the many nice contacts from 1A0C. Giorgio, your operating was fine, very good in fact. You were very clear in your desire to work the real stations on the West Coast. That is why I was so disappointed to hear so many North American stations ignoring your requests and to continue calling.

      No one can expect you to know if a K1 is on the West Coast or not. The problem was with the out of turn callers who were covering the weaker West Coast stations.
      Yes there is some propagation difference between Southern California, Northern California, Oregon and Washington but not enough difference for the DXpedition Operator to worry about. As you saw from EU, the propagation moves like a big ocean wave across North America from the East Coast to the West. During our Winter, that opening is very short. You did everything on your side to get everyone in the log in a fair and equitable manner. Now if the guys in the pileup would adhere closely to your commands, everything would go much better.

      73 and all the best,

      Paul N6PSE

      • John says:

        I can say this from my experience working 1A0C all the operators did a fine job. No reason to complain. It is what it is and I thank them for putting 1A0 on the band. Great job. You cant please everyone.

  17. Roy WA4DOU says:

    This is a very timely subject and deserves a wider forum for discussion. I’m principally a cw op so my observations tend in that direction. Judging from the numbers of offenders in the cw pileups, I see 4 major causes:

    1) ops with code readers and little to no cw competence. These ops often cannot understand the flow of events, calling at wrong times, out of sequence, and at times the dx is trying to work a station. It has been estimated that 15% of those in the cw pileups fit this category.

    2) ops with no self control (egomania and desperation/frustration seem likely here)

    3) ops calling when propagation is so poor to their qth that they have little to no chance of being heard. Often made worse if they’re using poor antennas.

    4) poor/lacking dx station guidance

    Code readers reportedly do not perform well with weak signals, qrm, etc. When operator behavior involves two or more of these characteristics, they become even more annoying.

    There’s only 1 time to call dx in a pileup. It’s after he has acknowledged a qso and is available for another. One quick call (maybe 2 sometimes) is all that any station should make before standing by again for the dx to work another one.

    Poor operating has continuously increased for the past 10-15 years. I’ve looked up many I’ve taken note of and surprisingly, the majority are older, often Extra class, Honor Roll or high standing ops. It seems to grow worse by the day. I am frequently annoyed to the point that I often just walk away from the station. Another tactic I’ve used is to lay in wait for a station to show up and work him before the cluster tells the world.

    I don’t know the solution. Some ops don’t respond well to being emailed and having it pointed out to them. It seems a shame to have to consider public embarrassment and/or humiliation. Perhaps a short suspension of the awards programs along with a turn off of the dx clusters and an international plea to the dx community to clean up its act via various medias might work. If the subject were addressed throughout the dx world simultaneously via various media, the attention focused on the problem might reach many more individuals.

  18. Roy WA4DOU says:

    I believe substantial numbers of dx’ers are honorable in their pursuit and conduct. However, honor among many others is steadily eroding. It was more evident than ever during the FT4TA and 1A0C operations, in my opinion.

  19. jeff n1kdo says:

    It’s up to the DX to manage the pileup. It’s up to the rest of us to follow the instructions of the DX.

    Contrast the operation of FT5ZM and FT4TA. FT4TA did not manage the pileup well, IMHO. They were hard to work, and there was a lot of bitching on many boards — and even on cluster messages. FT5ZM ran a pretty tight ship — I am looking forward to working these same guys on Navassa.

    Perhaps the DX need a way to mark a “shameful operator” in their logs. Let everybody know that if you call out of order or otherwise don’t follow the instructions of the DX you aren’t gonna be logged, or you will be logged in the “Special Harmful Idiotic Technique” list.

    I’d like to know why more of the DX does not call by numbers, or by continent and number. I know that may not help the 2 in 6-land a whole lot, but it ought to help some.


    • John says:

      Cant remember the dxpedition that did it, but I remember one that if he was calling NA SA only, and you were in Eu, the op would inform the EU op that he would not be in the log. That was a little harsh, but it didn’t take long to rectify that situation

      • RoyInNC says:

        It often takes an example made of a few to obtain the right result. I don’t think it was too harsh. I remember a station on Macquarie Is.that informed his pileup that anyone making a second contact might find neither in his log. I think he made his point. I got my qsl card.

  20. Tipping Point | Perturbation says:

    […] all this comes on the heels of N6PSE’s painfully pointed question, “Is there no honor left among DXers?” in which he excoriates the bad behavior — of even Honor Roll […]

  21. Wayne, N0UN says:

    And today, for the first time I hear EP6T calling for North America W6 and W7! Perfect. They couldn’t be anymore specific.

    • John says:

      I heard the same thing. A 4 land called and he asked if the 4 was on west coast. didn’t get in the log. Good Very specific, And best of all no QRM or rtty signals on them. That’s a first

  22. RoyInNC says:

    That’s good and it has to happen. Facing the possibility of public embarrassment is what it’ll take to shame some into acceptable conduct.

  23. Mort says:

    It seems clear enough to me; If someone calls “W6 only” or for that matter, “SV5 ?”, it’s clear enough what he means. Anyone who answers out of turn should be told, “QCB1” – An astonishingly appropriate happy thought on the part of the compilers of the Q-code !.
    I have called on the DX frequency, when he’s working someone already, and committed most of the lidderies known to man & The Devil, but they were errors, & I don’t persist. But then, I haven’t a dozen kilowatts. If I had 2p (about 2-1/2 cents) for every time some cretin called me when I’m working somebody, I’s employ Bill Gates to apply the snake-oil to my antennas/ &£, Mort SV5.G2JL

  24. K1LEM says:

    Sorry, I am coming to this discussion late. A few mornings ago I heard what I thought was the impossible. A VK6 at actual S 8 and a ZL at + 5 db on 75 meters, in the DX window.
    Please understand I am not a member of what I call the DX cult. That said, please also give me a chance to tell you what happened.
    There are perhaps ten or more cult DXers with four squares in the North East. You may know the as W1QS, Millionaire oldman Fred Collins W1FC and various ones in their hunter group from two land.

    I was going to call the ZL since it was just magic to hear one at all and one at S9 seemed outrageous. But, two of the above who have worked BOTH the ZL and VK many times began a tet-a_tet ragchew between themselves. The DX stations were not in the rag and the stations were directly under the two cult stations.

    I came in and said what is wrong with you guys ragging when many must want to call these pacific stations. They of course demanded my call, said I was a nut case and you can imagine the rest.

    I have had Collins come in and make his calls over me when I was originally calling the DX. Had that happen with a ZS on 75.

    Suddenly I realized this isn’t fun. Its DX by corporate consent. They, the cult, is the corporation.

    Well, I have been license since a kid of 13, way back in 1959. Got DXCC in 1970 and said that was really all I needed. From there I try to call them when I think they can hear me.

    My Nickle or vinegar about the DX cultists. They are similar in many way in selfishness to the contesters.

    • n6pse says:

      I hear similar things these days. From California, 9K2GS is a nice contact on any band and Abdullah is usually the first and only Kuwait contact for many hams on the West Coast. During those few weeks a year when 9K2GS is booming into California a round-table of DXers gathers on his frequency and each night they laugh and chuckle about the same things and give each other signal reports. This goes on and on for night after night making it very difficult for the newbie DXer hopeing to get a contact with 9K2GS or A41MO who often joins. I call these guys “chest thumpers” They just want everyone to know that they have a big station and big abilities. Big stations and big egos.

      • K1LEM says:

        Boy, I hate to sound so negative, but honestly this happens here, especially on 75. The times I have heard a VK on 75 at S9.. so, so rare.. and fleeting because that super progation is short lived GRAY LINE. I use only a 1/8th wave Butternut 2 HFV on 75. Yet, just imagine my thrill to hear a ZL at s9 + 5. Usually can’t hear them or they are in the noise.

        So these cultists are just glutting everything that is rare. Then having the gall to rag chew over the very stations they just worked. It defies imagination. Of course they will deny they do this.

        When I was in Vermont about ten years ago, where I was born, there was another one who did same.
        This one had a two element quad at 150 feet (or was it more) in southern New England.
        In the afternoon Korea would come through long path and also Japan. He would sit a chat until the grey line had ended. But, would just before it was OUT, say anybody else want Korea?
        Like yeah man, here I am with a wire antenna and the signals from the Korean are now all but unreadable.

        I just gave up and said F the whole thing ! If I say that with 1500 watts guess who else says same with much less ERP?

    • JOhn says:

      There are dxers out there that would trample the Pope for QSO. Its the nature of the beast called Ham Radio

      • K1LEM says:

        The truth here, I am very afraid to say, the worst cult Dxers are in fact old timers with Extra class calls, who took the CW tests. The CB classes are not, generally able or even wanting to work DX. Its all about running their mouths in a circle.

    • mort says:

      I have had similar experiences, chasing my 200 th from here. One of the creeps said “This is MY frequency” I asked whether he bought it it or if it cameon a cereal-box top like his licence.

      You can hess the answer: here it is in big, bold letters:

      • K1LEM says:

        Yes, and another frustrating truth.. on 75 meters, 3.8-3.790 is the DX window.. so why would two US Dxers choose to rag chew with each other on a rare opening to western Australia ? The reason can only be cultist blinder visions. They are the only ones who hear and can work DX or so they think. KJ2S is a member of the cult and he called incessantly DX south Pacific this morning. He finally got a weak VK 6 and then after the exchange, called CQ DX yet again on same frequency. I was listening and the VK6 was still transmitting !

      • Paul says:

        There is another angle to this story

        I did once frequent the 75 metre DX window. Night after night there would be no activity from VK in the window. So, I would put out a few cq calls and invariably I would get a reply from stateside or Japan. Before I could even acknowledge the dx calling me, one or two VKs would break in saying that they were standing by to work the dx. Before I know it I am working as a quasi net control trying to complete dubious contacts between these VKs and the US / JA callers.

        I quickly tired of this, so tried the tactic of cqing – working the dx caller – and then leaving the frequency to cq somewhere else in the window so that the other VKs could work my original frequency. This did not work either – presumably because these VKs could not make the dx contacts without my assistance – so they would simply qsy to my new frequency waiting to work whatever dx I may turn up there.

        In short – working dx on 75M ssb can be tough – in the case of the stateside regulars they are up at the crack of dawn every morning often cqing into a dead and noisy band. When they do get the ocassional dx fish on the end of the line I can understand their frustration when others jump on their frequency and start biting chunks out of the catch.

        If you want to work dx on 75 metres, then get up early, put out your own cqs or listen about for DX cqs. Don’t sponge off the dxing efforts of others. The Dx would not be there at all if it were not for the regular and consistent activity of the stateside regulars.

        I have been involved in ham radio for nearly 40 years, and throughout that time, the rule has always been that if I have arrived on a clear frequency and put out a cq then that frequency is mine. Based on some of the comments here it would appear that this convention has changed in recent times and I did not receive the memo.

        Paul – vk4ma

      • K1LEM says:

        Paul, with all do respect, what non sense. We are NOT talking DX nets. We are talking DX stations with good antennas calling CQ and allowing stations without a masters of ceremony being in charge. I think if you develop an operating skill and operators are courteous and leave once they have a contact everyone could profit. I totally think your idea of some working class milking DX is rubbish.

      • Paul says:

        The 75M dx window is now 20kc wide here in VK. Some years ago it was only 5kc wide and that of course meant that stations had to work together on the one frequency due to band space limitations.This is no longer necessary with 20kc of space.

        The rule about the cqing station owning the frequency is one of longstanding. It is also a sensible rule as otherwise there would be all sorts of confusion. Even if you had jumped in and called the dx it is unlikely he would have worked you any way as he would have known it was not “good form” for him to take the frequency away from the stateside station.

        If you wish to work the dx that is on someone elses frequency the usual protocol is to quickly jump in at the end of the qso and ask the dx to qsy up or down.

        Your other option on 75 metres where the window is quite narrow is simply to move up or down 5 and put out your own cq. If your station is being heard by the dx then it is highly likely he will come across you and give you a call.

        It is basically rude to take over some one elses frequency – this would actually be CBer type behaviour and it is not following a long standing rule of conduct in ham radio

        Paul – vk4ma

      • K1LEM says:

        Paul, good point acknowledged. I think you said, the two American stations may have BEEN called by the DX. That part I may have missed because, I only heard the ZL/VK speaking then the two Dxers on frequency. So, I make the possibility the Dxers may have been CALLED by the Vk?
        That I don’t know for certain.

      • K1LEM says:

        This is where making amateur radio a CB hobby has gotten us. Sigh.. The reason I am not a Dxer

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