DX University™

  A Guide for DXers and DXpeditioners

W1AW Portable Seven

The WeeklyDX™ Helpful Hints No. 63 from the DX University™*


Wyoming and Missouri became two of the latest states to spend an intensive week with volunteers signing the ARRL’s callsign – W1AW portable – in a sort of a year-long pseudo contest to help promote the ARRL’s Centennial celebration. Since Wyoming has the smallest population of all states, with a ham radio operator count similarly small, I volunteered to participate and help out where possible.

The activity began last week at 0000Z on Wednesday, May 28th. Since I have a moderately successful low band station, I decided to spend most of my time on 80M and Topband with a little 40M thrown in. While the first few nights were very active, adverse weather showed up yesterday in the form of severe electrical storm activity in the West and central Mid-West. The noise level has been running around 10 to 20 dB over S9 for the duration. Nevertheless, with some 20 meter CW thrown in Sunday night, over 3,400 QSOs have been made during my stint. There have been some top-grade runs, for sure.

I suspect that the W1AW portable activity can serve a number of purposes. It certainly is helping to highlight the ARRL Centennial. It’s also lots of fun, especially for DXers would-like-to-be DXpeditioners as well as potential contesters. Perhaps expectedly, there have been great pileups, and these pileups have been very large, wide and deep. Japanese and Far Eastern callers in the morning and on the higher bands, European and African stations later in the day.

It is a fact that running a pileup is one of the most important skills in contesting and DXpeditioning. Learning how to pick callsigns out of pileups quickly and accurately is a fundamental skill for these activities, and lots of experience is the key. The W1AW portable activity is a great chance for those interested in contesting and DXpeditioning to practice these skills without having to travel offshore.

This is a real-world equivalent of the many computer-based pileup programs, and probably superior in many respects to most of them. There’s real world QRM, incidental and intentional, real QSB, a full display of “interesting” operating styles, real propagation – or not – and a whole host of other parameters. It’s a great opportunity to see what you can do on all modes, CW, SSB and RTTY.

So if you still have an opportunity, join in the fun. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be back on 80 and 160 hoping for a little quieter band, and looking forward to a quieter October/November session.


*The DX University™ maintains an Internet-based website containing lots of useful DXing information. Visit it at www.dxuniversity.com. The next scheduled in-person DX University session will be held on Thursday, July17, 2014 in Hartford, CT, at the ARRL Centennial celebration.