Hello everybody and welcome back to the Everything Ham Radio Podcast! Last week we started off this series covering several topics dealing with HF. If you missed last week’s episode, click here to go back and listen to it. In today’s episode we are going to be talking about DXing.
What is DXing?
According to Wikipedia:
DXing is the hobby of receiving and identifying distant radio or television signals, or making two-way radio contact with distant stations in amateur radio, citizens’ band radio or other two-way radio communications.
DXing is a fun way to get on the air and talk to people in places that you may have never thought you would. You don’t need any special equipment, you don’t have to really know what you are doing. As long as you have an HF radio, an antenna that will work on whatever frequency you are going to be talking on and your license says that you can talk on that frequency, the only thing you need to know how to do, is turn on your radio and tune it to a frequency you can use, key up your microphone and say your call sign. That is basically it!
All of this being said, if you are sitting in your house in Ft. Worth, TX and you say you call sign on HF, it may take a while for you to get someone to answer you back because there is a lot of frequencies out there that people talk on so they have to find you. In order find you, you have to be talking or someone talking on your frequency anyway.
The other thing that you can do is to tune your radio up and down the band and try to find someone who is talking, or that is working a “pile-up”. If you are lucky to find one of those, that’s great! Listen for a few minutes and get the hang of what the person is asking for, then when they get done working someone, throw your call sign out there. If you are lucky enough, they will hear you and you just made a contact!
There are some things that can work in your favor when trying to make DX contacts, whether you are the one that is calling CQ or one of the many that are hunting for a contact. Unfortunately, these things, except for one, won’t last you forever.
- Age – Being young and especially if you are a new ham, will get you through most pileups or cause them if you are calling CQ. The amateur radio community loves it when they hear young operators on the radio and will typically accommodate the young operator so they can get the contact.
- Being a YL – What’s a YL and how do I become one, you might ask if you don’t know what YL stands for. Unfortunately, you are going to be a YL from birth or spend A LOT of money to make yourself one. YL stands for Young Lady. Young Lady does not refered to being young per say, it only refers to being a female. In the amateur radio community, women are referred to as young ladies and men are referred to as old men. Yea guys, I know, it’s not fair.
- Being a new ham – If you have just gotten your license, you are probably pretty likely to get a contact. Often when we are new hams, we have hesitation in our voices or they sound unsteady. Other hams will often pick up on this and it will cause a flashback to when they were new. Not only does it give them a happy memory but it also causes them to remember how they felt the first time they got on HF. This tends to turn on the Elmer mode that most hams will have after they have been a ham for a while.
One of the other fun things about DXing is collecting QSL cards. A QSL card is normally about a 3×5 post card style card that has your call sign, name, normally like a picture of your shack or antenna or something and a bunch of boxes that you fill out with things like what frequency you made a contact one, what their signal report was, what mode you were operating, date and time.
When you make a contact with someone, you fill out the boxes on one of your QSL card and drop it in the mail to whoever you contacted. If you want a better chance of getting a QSL back from them, include a postage paid self-addressed envelope for them to send one back to you, this is especially true if the contact that you made is in another country.
Nowadays, however, the paper QSL cards are starting to become more of a novelty piece to collect than proof of contact like it use to be. Several years ago, the only way that you could prove that you made contact with some DX station was by receiving a QSL card from them. What if they didn’t send you a QSL card? What if it takes a long time to get it? What if they can’t afford postage for it? All these questions and I’m sure more have gone through the heads of ham all over the globe when chasing a contest or award.
Enter the Internet Age
Rather than having to wait on a paper QSL card and then making copies of them to send to the ARRL to prove that you talked to this person to complete your Worked all States, or DXCC awards, now you have to jump online and log it into the Logbook of the World that the ARRL made. This is an extreme hassle to sign up for from what I understand. I have started the process of registering, but so far I am still waiting on some kind of code.
You have to use Logbook of the World for all awards that are given by the ARRL, I believe. There another online QSL site that is used a lot called E-QSL. It is a whole lot easier to register for and it is the second major player in the online QSL business – So to speak.
Amateur Radio Club Spotlight
Fox River Relay League
Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:30PM at the Bethany Lutheran Church, 8 S Lincoln st, Batavia, IL
- FRRL 2-meter Net: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. (except second Tuesday meeting nights), on 147.21 (+600kHz, PL: 103.5).
- PSK Net: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. on 144.9 (start on FM phone and switch to PSK).
- Ten-Ten City of Lights Net: Mondays at 8 p.m. (CW Net) on 28.150 and 8:30 p.m. (phone net) on 28.720
- Kane County ARES/Skywarn Net: Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. on the KC9OEM 2m repeater at 145.47 (-600kHz, PL: 103.5).
If you want to get your license, the FRRL offers several free multi-week courses to help people get their amateur radio license or to upgrade. The also co-sponsor a VE Testing Session 6 times a year, January, March, May, July, September, and November. All except for the session in July, the test will be given at the Messenger Library, 113 Oak St, North Aurora.The July testing session is be given at their annual hamfest.
- Hamfest – July 10, 2016 from 8am til 1pm at the Aurora Central Catholic High School 1255 N. Edglawn, Aurora, IL
- Field Day
- MS Walk
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Until next time…
73 de Curtis, K5CLM