[CQ-Contest] What affected DXing?

donovanf at starpower.net donovanf at starpower.net
Tue May 12 13:50:46 EDT 2020

Affordable global mobility is also a factor. DXpeditions were uncommon 
during the 1950s. DXpeditions and contest DXpeditions became 
increasingly common during the 1960s with the advent of global jet 
air routes and became much more sophisticated multi-band activities 
with the advent of Five Band DXCC and the DXCC Challenge. 

Regulatory changes resulted in -- among other things-- 
- the dramatic increase in 160 meter DXing and contest activity 
- the dramatic increase in 40 meter SSB DXing and contest activity 
- dramatic increase in 6 meter DXing and contest activity 
- DXing on the WARC bands 

The phase out of AM and the dramatic increase in SSB activity 
during the late 1950s and early 1960s. When I was licensed in 1959 
SSB activity was confined to the top 75 kHz each phone band. During 
the late 1950s and early 1960s serious DXers and DX contesters needed 
competitive AM and SSB capabilities. Picture K2GL with Collins 
KW-1 and KWS-1 transmitters on every band... 


----- Original Message -----

From: "ktfrog007--- via CQ-Contest" <cq-contest at contesting.com> 
To: artboyars at gmail.com, cq-contest at contesting.com 
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 3:42:41 PM 
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] What affected DXing? 

Hi Art, 

Thanks for your post. Yes, you caught my drift exactly. I shot myself in the foot by being overly cute with alliteration. 

There have been many changes affecting DXing over the years, among them geopolitics. 

You listed two important geopolitical examples from the early post-WW II days. With regard to the opened up USSR, there was eventually much more operation from the Soviet Central Asian and Caucasian republics than now. Especially with Turkmenistan. 

An additional example is the 1950s and 1960s distribution of American military and civilian personnel, from Saudi Arabia to Thule to Okinawa and all over the Pacific, left overs from WW II (Iwo Jima, Okinawa) or new from the Cold War (nuclear and missile tests). 

Johnston Island was relatively easy to work then, no $300K DXpedition and special permission required, just taxpayer money. Same for Wake, Midway and others. KG6IJ on Iwo Jima (Ogasawara) was on 20M SSB almost daily in the early 1960s. And remember Hot Ziggity One American Boy? The Panama Canal Zone? 

Also, many remote uninhabited islands had military, scientific and meteorological bases from various nations. Places like South Georgia and Macquarie had semi-permanent bases and the technical personnel there were often hams. Now some of these bases have been abandoned or automated and visited infrequently. 

Those days are gone, but geopolitics marches on. Witness the breakup of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, creation of South Sudan, DXCC realignment of the Netherlands Antilles, and so on. Most earlier closed-off countries like Albania and those in Indochina are freely active now. Ham radio is permitted almost everywhere and hams can travel and operate almost everywhere. But North Korea is still North Korea. 


Ken, AB1J 

-----Original Message----- 
From: Art Boyars <artboyars at gmail.com> 
To: CQ-Contest Reflector <cq-contest at contesting.com> 
Sent: Mon, May 11, 2020 3:46 pm 
Subject: [CQ-Contest] What affected DXing? 

( I'm decoupling this from "Long term ionospheric changes (was Magnetic 
North Pole Drunkard's Walk)" ) 

AB1J: Regardless of any geophysical changes, the biggest change in DXing 
over the years has been geopolitical. 

K9YC: Greater than RX noise? RBN? Nearly instant spotting? 

NM5G: Perhaps this refers to the availability of DXpeditions. 

I think this depends on your time perspective. Jim and Keith are probably 
thinking of, say, the past 20 or 30 years, where technical improvements 
have had a huge effect. (I'll add another older one: the availability of 
Japanese-manufactured transceivers in Europe. No more "Send a filter 
capacitor and VR tube to PO Box 88 Moscow.") 

Ken (CK 58) might be remembering the 1950s and 1960s, where the big 
technical change was SSB's displacing AM, and maybe the availability of HF 
beam antennas (tri-banders; not the shack-on-a-belt kind). In geopolitics, 
however, two things going on then influenced DXing. 

First, the Soviet Union removed restrictions on their hams contacting 
outsiders. (This is before my time (CK 60). K3ZO just posted a little 
essay about this, but I think that was only on the PVRC Reflector. Perhaps 
Fred will re-post here.) I note that Israeli hams still had to use the 
trick Fred describes to contact a USSR station. 

Second, European colonies -- perhaps particularly in Africa and Asia, but 
throughout the world -- gained independence. The former VQ, FE, CR, etc. 
stations disappeared, and the new "tube socket" prefixes started showing up 
slowly. My impression (again, CK 60, and never much of a DXer) was that 
most of the operators in the colonies were colonial types; very few 
locals. When the colonies became independent, some of the colonial people 
stayed, but a lot went home, taking their technical expertise with them. 
And the political situation in some of the the new countries might have 
hampered ham radio. 

Three stories from my time as a many-year trainee at the W4BVV multi-multi 
station, starting around 1967, illustrate the effect of the former 
colonies' independence. 

First, I'd find some new CQer, but not recognize the prefix. Not knowing 
which beam heading to use, or if it was even actually a new multiplier, I'd 
holler out "What's a 2Z99 [or whatever]?" An experienced op, usually W3ZZ, 
would holler "It's the same as a VR23! [or whatever]" Thanks, Gene. 
What's a VR23? 

Second, W3ZZ discoursed one time on how to work some certain African or 
Asian British colony: "You have to call CQ on 14050 at 1815Z because Reggie 
always listens on 14050 after he takes a shower and before he goes to bed." 

And last, I was doing a stint on 20M CW one afternoon. K3NPV/K4YF, our 80M 
ace, came and sat down next to me. "I'll show you how to work an MP4." 
[Really!! As I recall, MP4 was Trucial States and Oman.] John listened up 
around 14080, and there among the RTTY stations was, indeed, MP4TCQ. Got 

More than 50 years ago, and I'm still amazed. 

73, Art K3KU 

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