DX University™

  A Guide for DXers and DXpeditioners

The Phases of a DXpedition

The Phases of a DXpedition

by Wayne Mills, N7NG

When a DXpedition shows up on the bands, there is going to be a lot of additional activity. Everyone who needs a contact on any of the bands will probably be scrambling for QSOs. How much chaos depends on the rarity of the entity, the band conditions, and the discipline of DXers.


This week, let’s talk about the different phases of a DXpedition. Through the DX media, most DXers know when a DXpedition is expected to begin operating. The duration of most serious expeditions will be of such length that DXers of most capabilities will be able to make at least several QSOs before it’s over. Some expeditions will operate for three weekends, or even more.


If the entity is rare, the first few days will be the most frenetic. For Big Gun DXers, there is no question that they will work the expedition on the needed band-modes. What they are often interested in is how many Qs they can work and how quickly. They are interested in the competition. For most DXers, the goal is to work the expedition only on the needed band-modes for award credit. Still others will be happy to work even one band or mode.


With these priorities in mind, this week’s hint is to think about how to approach the phases of DXpedition operation. The first phase might be the first several days of operation, depending on the rarity of the entity. This is the time for the Big Guns to flex their muscles and compete with other Big Guns. During this phase, working the station is pretty much a matter of luck. If you work the propagation carefully, you might work the station quickly, but it is difficult to find the station the operator is working, so picking a frequency is usually a random process.


The next phase – the middle period of the DXpedition – will be one in which the piles have become much more manageable. During this phase, it becomes possible to study the pileup and find just the right spot to call. Most experienced DXers will succeed during this phase. Finally, for the more casual operators, or those with more modest stations the last phase will be to their liking. During this last phase, the DX ops will be calling CQ and literally“ begging for Qs.” Come, join the fun, and add to your DX totals.


If you wish, you can jump in and compete with the “Guns.” Otherwise, you can continue on with the rest of your life and not waste too much time if you wait until the last phases of the DXpedition. Your choice! Good luck!

(c) 2012, Wayne Mills, N7NG