Topband: Dirty Harry and the DX window

David Gilbert rimradio at
Sun Dec 11 14:42:15 EST 2005

on4ww wrote:

> IMO, during contests :
>- split operation should be avoided. It is only warranted when the 
>pileup/chaos gets uncontrolable.
>- working 1up 'inside' the DX-window, is of course nogo at all times.
>- listening outside the DX-window 'per default' would create more confusion 
>than benefit (S&P stations will lose time figuring out which station the 
>pileup is clg)

I tend to agree with Eric, and here are a few thoughts why.

I'm fairly new to 160m but I've been DXing for over 30 years.  It seems 
that everyone monitors the DX window during a contest and pileups build 
quickly and heavily.  My observations are that stations in the 160m 
pileups send their calls more slowly and often send them several times 
due to the typically lower S/N ratios.  The average QSO rate for a 
station not running split is often very slow because such conditions 
cause a lot of stepping on the DX and don't support crisp exchanges. 

The window rarely supports more than a handful of DX stations at a time 
because of all the clutter, but if the DX were to listen outside the 
window it could probably support five times as many of them or more.  My 
rig's filters can distinguish between stations a couple hundred Hz 
apart, but they are useless when the pileup is a half KHz wide and 
calling nonstop.  I often S&P, and I would much rather tune through the 
DX window and listen for where the DX is QRG knowing that I have a 
better chance of making the contact, both because of the higher rates 
and because I'd actually be able to hear if he came back to me.  While 
activity during a 160m contest is high, compared with the other bands 
there are more "open" frequencies for the DX to work split and the 
benefits of doing so seem greater.  As it is now, it isn't any more 
efficient to work DX within the window than out of it ... maybe even 
less so.

Working split is usually a last resort because of the impression that it 
wastes QSO space, but QSO rates in a pileup only have to double to 
compensate.   And if more DX fit in the window as a result, the factor 
is even less.

Dave  AB7E

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