DX University™

  A Guide for DXers and DXpeditioners

“Am I in the Log?”

The WeeklyDX™ Helpful Hints No. 54 from the DX University™*


Some of this week’s discussion has been covered before, yet we continue to see similar situations every day. I am going to suggest a method for working DX that will make you better than the Internet. It’s about on-line logs.

The Internet log was first used in the mid-nineties. While I am not sure of the original motivation for using an on-line log, one argument for such a log is certainly that it can reduce duplicates. Along these lines, the on-line log can also reveal when a DX op has busted a callsign. If the DX op says one call and logs another on ‘phone, the call will not show up in the log, but looking at the log might reveal who was actually logged. This seldom happens on CW, of course, since with computer logging, if the computer sends your callsign correctly, you can be reasonably sure that it is correctly entered into the log.

The on-line log can promote QSLing via OQRS by drawing attention to that QSLing facility. The use of the Internet can even complete the entire QSO/QSL process by submitting files of signed QSO records to Logbook of the World.

One has to wonder though, if the on-line log doesn’t actually facilitate or even encourage poor operating. In fact, one has to wonder if the use of the Internet doesn’t encourage a form of cheating. How could this be?

Most award programs are based on two-way QSOs. If you rely excessively on an internet listing of your QSOs, are you really even making two-way QSOs?  One well-known low-band DXer once stated publically that if he found his call in an on-line log, he would claim the QSO even if he didn’t think that he was in the log. Is that a two-way QSO? One has to wonder.

DXers often ask: “What is the definition of a QSO?” The answer is that a QSO must involve some exchange of information from each side of a QSO to the other on the band and mode in question. This suggests that in – each direction – if no information is exchanged or if all information is exchanged via another means – for example the Internet – then maybe a valid two-way QSO has not actually taken place.

What is the solution for the DXer? In the eighties and nineties, DXers were prone to making many duplicate contacts. For the most part, they were making “insurance contacts.” They were trying to get insurance because they were not sure of their contacts. This resulted from sloppiness on the parts of both the DXers and the DXpeditioners.

In recent years, many DXpeditioners and DXers have realized that it takes two operators to make a good QSO. The DXpeditioner has a responsibility to give the DXer a reasonable chance to know that he is in the log correctly. Today, DXpeditioners are counseled to “just work dupes.” Log the [likely] QSO and move on. An apparent dupe in the log may be caused by either party, so let’s not waste time arguing about it. Likewise, if you are a DXer, don’t worry about dupes. If you are not sure of a QSO, work the station again. He owes it to you.

Is Internet communication a valid substitute for “a good contact?” Absolutely not!  Simply put, if a DXer isn’t sure about the DX station having his call correct, he should call again, and he should continue to call without sending a signal report until he is certain that his call has been recorded correctly. When he is sure that his call has been recorded correctly, he should send a report and finish the QSO. (Mind you, this is not license for you to call and expect a good QSO when the propagation is so poor that you can only hear the DX station on peaks. Good judgment must be utilized.)

Yes, it is always possible that the DXpedition operators will still make some error that will cause your QSO not to be in the log, but the chance is not great. In over fifty years of DXing, mostly using this technique, I have less than two handfuls of “not in the log” contacts, and ironically, the majority of those have been with expeditions employing on-line logs! On-line logs should not be a crutch for poor operators.

de N7NG

*The DX University™ is a day-long learning session for newcomers and old-timers wishing to hone their DXing skills. In person sessions are being scheduled for 2014, including a session at the ARRL 100th Anniversary Convention in Hartford, CT. DXing resources can be found on the DX University Website. For more information go to www.dxuniversity.com