DX University™

  A Guide for DXers and DXpeditioners

Running the Show

Running the Show…

by Wayne Mills, N7NG

In Hints No.16, I talked about what Club Log could do to help mitigate the effects that it encourages – the recurring race for band-mode slots during major DXpeditions. It is likely that the competition created by listing DXers’ band-mode accomplishments serves to encourage more operating, more competition, and perhaps more commotion on the bands. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We certainly need to utilize our frequencies. (As a DXpeditioner, I am particularly fond of “controlled chaos.”)

How significant is the increase in commotion due to Club Log? DXers generally don’t avoid pileups or stand by for those who “need a QSO for a new one.” DeSoto said that we always needed something [new] to work. Once we work something, we will look for something else to work – at least until we run out of gas. Perhaps those who do standby for “needy DXers” have simply run out of gas.

The ARRL’s DXCC Challenge encourages us to work everything on the DXCC list on each and every band. This is far more than was required for the original DXCC – but far less than suggested by N.M. Patterson, W4EG in DeSoto’s original QST article. Once we have worked an entity for the Challenge, there is no “need” to work it again. Club Log, on the other hand, does encourage us to work bands and modes, for every DXpedition that utilizes the program. Having said all of that, we know that there is a demand for this type of thing. The naysayers notwithstanding, the great popularity of Club Log illustrates the demand. DXers will join the fray, Club Log or not.

Whether the effect of Club Log on DXpedition operating needs mitigation is debatable. During the recent Internet discussion of Club Log and its impact on DX operating, Club Log author Michael Wells, G7VJR indicated that he had some ideas about how to temper the effects of the Leaderboards on DXpedition operations. He has now presented a well thought out open letter to the DX community explaining his position: “Expedition Leaderboards: Good or Bad?” (http://g7vjr.org/2012/06/expedition-leaderboards-good-or-bad/)

In his letter, Michael makes a case for the Leaderboards. Later, in addressing the perceived downside, he raises the proposition of encouraging DXpeditions to emphasize “uniques.” That is, encouraging DX ops to maximize the number of different stations in their log, which in turn he sees as dampening the race toward band-slots, thus calming the pileups.

To facilitate this, Wells suggests offering an award that will create an incentive for DXpeditions to operate in this manner. It might be possible to “encourage” DXpeditions to work more uniques. But, will it help? Will the resulting pileups be more “civilized?”

Emphasizing uniques is an excellent DXpedition tactic. For small and mid-size expeditions, where the number of bands is already limited, it will get more of “the deserving” in the log while it lessens only slightly the number of band-slots worked by DXers. But, for large expeditions, where the perceived band-slot “problem” is perhaps greatest, the effect of emphasizing uniques would serve only to lower the QSO total. In fact, such an award incentive if adopted as a goal by an expedition might serve to limit the size of the effort.

DXpeditions usually operate according to the size of their operation and the rarity of the entity they are activating. In the case of new countries, experienced DXpedition managers generally make an effort to work the maximum number of different stations – uniques. Although there have been notable exceptions, this is really nothing new.

Here is a hint for those who would promote this idea to DXpeditioners: There seems to be a rush to solve a problem that might not even exist. Let’s think about it for a while and maybe develop an incentive that will encourage DXpeditions to field operators who are savvier in their operating procedures. Let’s encourage them to do a better job of running the show. The DX op has the power to control the pileup. Let’s encourage him to do so.

(c) 2012, Wayne Mills, N7NG