DX University™

  A Guide for DXers and DXpeditioners

If You Cant Find the Pileup, Look Elsewhere. You Might Be Surprised

If you can’t find the pileup, look elsewhere. You might be surprised what you find.

by Wayne Mills, N7NG

Last time, we talked about code readers. I received several replies, but I would like to receive more. If you use a code reader as a primary source of information for your CW DXing, write and tell me about how it works for you. Email me at n7ng@arrl.net.


This week, I will suggest what you can do when you can’t easily find the pileup of the station you wish to work. From time to time, it happens that you can’t find the pileup. Sometimes the station might be working DXers on another continent, to which you don’t have propagation, and you are hearing him weakly or you are just the first to find the open path. In these cases, you might use information from a spotting network, or just guess.


In other cases, the DX op is working stations in your region, but you cannot find them. You might be hearing stations calling, but none of them are able to attract the attention of the DX station. The DX op is saying “Up 2,” but no one up two is able to work him. So…


At this point, it is time to start a wider search. Don’t assume that you should be able to hear the pileup where others are unsuccessfully calling. You must widen your search. If you have a band scope, that might help. Often the primary pileup is large, while there are also several smaller pileups. The DX op may have said “Up 2” some time ago, or he may have programmed his keyer or computer, but just drifted away and not bothered to make a change. Some DX ops say they are listening in a place where they are not listening. That’s a bit of a dirty trick, but you can turn the advantage to you if you are on top of your game.


Occasionally, something else may happen. I recall several instances where the DX station was emitting a spur, and saying “Up2.” Several stations were listening to the spur, and calling up two kHz. Actually, the DX station was on a different frequency and listening two kHz above that one. One time, the DX was on a different band J

This week’s Hint is to be sure that you know where the real pileup is located. Careful listening is always the order of the day. (Remember that word…)

(c) 2012, Wayne Mills, N7NG