DX University™

  A Guide for DXers and DXpeditioners

Remote Control Operation and the DXCC Program

After DeSoto described how DXers could count their countries worked, it wasn’t long until an award was created to recognize their accomplishments. The DX Century Club was announced in QST for September 1937. Creation of the award was due in large part to the efforts of its Managing Editor Clark Rodimon, W1SZ. In QST for November 1937, a list of DXers was published listing the DXers who had submitted their near 100 country totals to ARRL. (Yes, of course Rodimon’s total was listed…)

Among the original Century Club rules was one that required that all program participants make their QSOs from within the boundaries of their own call areas, where such call areas existed. Otherwise they had to make their QSOs from within the same country. Within a few months, recognizing that there were problems with this requirement – where DXers could move a short distance to another call area, requiring a restart – the rule was changed such that one could move a station up to 150 miles without having to re-start one’s participation in the DXCC program. This so-called 150-mile rule continued in place until mobility in the U.S. became so great in the 1970s that a change was deemed necessary. At that time, there was considerable discussion about this change. With the change to “anywhere within a single country,” the problem for large countries was resolved, though the problem was transferred to small countries – of course, that’s a different matter.

In the original DXCC listing, DXers were shown in order of their accomplishment. Those with the largest number of countries worked were at the top of the list. Those with fewer were farther down. Logic says that this order was arbitrary. How could it be any other way? Certainly those from the US Midwest could not be competing with those from the East Coast or Europe.

But, could it have been another way? Listing by countries worked implies competition. What if the listings had been alpha-numeric? Why not? An alpha-numeric listing today would greatly facilitate finding the score of a particular individual. Such a listing would also make sense since there really isn’t any meaningful competition intended by the sponsor. Any competition should be defined only by the participants.

Now, with the technological advantages we all enjoy, a dilemma exists: How to deal with the use of Internet-based remote control. Regardless of competitive aspects, there is an inherent propagation advantage gained in DXing using multiple remote stations – or just receivers – in far-flung locations, even within a single country. Many of us have an aversion to others DXing via remote control, where the DXer’s station can be anywhere – multiple locations – within any single country. But while we don’t seem to mind complicated remote control schemes – or even ‘phone patches – the internet is just too easy. This issue raises hackles among many program participants – to the extreme that some DXers feel any use of remote control is simply cheating – period.

Since the ARRL Board decision in the summer of 2015 allowing internet-based remote control points virtually anywhere, considerable discussion and discontent has arisen. Practically speaking, outlawing remote operation is really pointless as there is simply no way to enforce rules limiting this type of operation. (Of course, these remote operations have been going on for years, and the rules changes have just raised our consciousness.) Our Federal Communications Commission has its own problems regulating remote operation since the Internet facilitates operation from other countries, and only the control operator – not the station owner -- is responsible.

To help address this matter, after a short introduction, the DX Forum panel at the International DX Convention in Visalia - 2016 will spend much of its hour listening to opinions from members of the audience on Remote Control DXCC. What is the solution?

If you are coming to Visalia in April – and we hope you are – come prepared to stand up and express yourself. If you cannot make the trip, write to me with your well-thought-out opinions and we’ll include them in the program.