2010 DXCC Year End Review
by Joe Reisert, W1JR
DX wise, the year 2010 started out as a year of great expectations but
was very similar to what we experienced in 2007 through 2009 with only
a few improvements in radio propagation. There were approximately 285
DXCC entities activated during 2010, about the same as 2009 but this
also includes four (4) newly created entities. I'd call this the "Year
of the Caribbean", not only because of the four new entities but that
many more DXers were visiting the Caribbean Islands and making all
these entities available to "The Deserving."
A Quick Review of 2010:
There were several DXpeditions from places that are high on the "2010
Most Wanted Survey" in "The DX Magazine" by N4AA although only one of
the "Top 10" (ZS8M) was activated. Unfortunately as frequently
happens, several DXpeditions were delayed (hopefully only into 2011),
had to be cancelled or were thwarted from operating for one reason or
another. Most entities activated were available on SSB but CW still
did not die since there were at least 260 entities active on CW. This
is an improvement over 2009. The "599 TU" QSOs on CW are still very
popular although some are advocating a return to the days when signal
reports meant something! Computer sending and receiving were very
evident as well as many using the DX Clusters.
A few new organizations and foundations were formed and/or activated
in 2010. The first was "CW Ops" for dedicated CW operators. The
Worldwide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) was established by K1DG
and company to advance the skill and art of radio operating. Due to
other obligations, K1AR will now take over. Contest University (CTU)
under the direction of Tim, K3LR has now gone worldwide. The next
Radio Sport major event will be held in New England in July 2014 under
the direction of K1DG.
A Solar Review:
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he sent us a gift of sunspots
early in the year. We are definitely into Solar Cycle 24 since
technically Solar Cycle 23 ended in late 2008. However, in contrast to
prior Solar Cycles, it has been a rocky start with periods of
improvements followed by quiet times. Some of the computer models of
late are now undergoing modifications. For now, it doesn't look like
we will experience another Maunder Minimum but it also doesn't look
like Solar Cycle 24 will be a memorable one with record numbers of
The solar flux did get into the mid-nineties during the start of the
year up until March yielding improved HF conditions but then pulled
back until late September through early December. Some Auroral
disturbances were evident in early April and early August. Several
times during the year, especially in April and May, we experienced up
to a week with zero sunspots. Near the end of the year we again had no
sunspots for several days between December 19 and 25th. NOAA has the
"Stereo" satellites looking at the Sun from the front and back so now
sunspots can be easily spotted. No pun intended. The smoothed sunspot
count at the end of the year was around 25 so we still have a long way
to go until the predicted sunspot peak in mid-2013.
There was plenty of DX activity in 2010 albeit mostly concentrated on
160 through 17 meters. 160 Meters seems to be getting lots of DX
activity but possibly at the expense of 80 Meters which does become
active during contests. Several more entities have received permission
to operate on 60 Meters bringing the total available to DXCC level. 40
Meters is still the night time breadwinner. The expansion of 40 meters
from 7100 to at least 7200 KHz for many of the Worlds entities has
generated lots more activity, especially during SSB contests. 30
meters is becoming very popular, even for digital modes and is
sometimes open 24 hours a day. 20 Meters is still the daytime
breadwinner along with 17 meters. 15 meter conditions are improving
and are sharing some of the load when the solar flux rises. During
this year 12 and 10 meters were spotty at best and then mostly only on
the North/South or skewed paths but some good inter-continental DX
occurred especially during DX contests. Some sporadic E propagation
especially during June, July and December did enhance HF DX somewhat
but this was not due to increased sunspots.
Equipment and Publications: Some new equipment came on the market. The
four major radio manufacturers all introduced new transceivers and
peripherals. New receiving arrays became available for the Low Bands.
SDR (Software Defined Radios) also increased. In addition, some do-it-
yourself low cost SDR kits became available. New antennas were
introduced, especially compact multi-band Yagis. The ARRL announced a
revised handbook of interest to LF DXers, the 5th edition of "Low-Band
DXing" by ON4UN.
Most major contest logs and some awards now have to be submitted via
the Internet. Internet use and abuse by Amateurs continues to increase
especially for spotting clusters. The DX clusters are an amazing tool
for finding and spotting rare DX. One popular one is "DX Summit."
Clusters are a far cry from the way we used to spot DX using either
the telephone, spotting frequencies on HF or VHF repeaters. However,
there are several downsides. All too often incorrect or extremely rare
call signs (not on the air at the time!) are spotted. A rare call sign
can cause a huge pileup that may even cover up the DX station. Always
listen before you call to be sure it is the right station and
especially if there are special instructions such as listening UP! In
these days of seldom signing call signs, never reply solely on the
accuracy of the spot as you may receive a NIL (Not in Log) to your QSL
request. During 2010 there were often two or more DXpeditions
operating simultaneously and often pileups coincided or overlapped.
Also don't post spots with bragging or QSY request addendums. No one
cares and in the case of DXpeditions, they seldom are continuously
connected to the clusters so they usually don't see your spot.
There is no denying that the cost of QSLing is becoming too expensive.
I prefer paper QSLs but realize that I am in the minority. The ARRL
outgoing QSL Bureau can lower QSLing cost. This year they shipped over
700,000 QSLs weighing over 4,500 pounds. To further offset QSLing
cost, the ARRL LOTW (Log Book of the World) is becoming very popular.
The DXCC has been the prime user but other awards are being added.
There are now over 300 million LOTW QSO entries and over 35,000 LOTW
users, an increase of almost 25% over 2009! Many DX stations,
especially the large scale DXpeditions now update their logs on the
Internet during their operation. Also, several of the large 2010
DXpeditions put their logs directly into the LOTW. Due to some
potential problems, the LOTW will not accept any logs from the recent
PJ operations until sometime later in January 2011.
Change happens. Some new modes of communications have recently
appeared on HF. The JT65 digital mode similar to operation used on VHF
is now being used on HF. Also, the WSPR mode (See QST November 2010)
is now being used. Split frequency operation, especially by
DXpeditions has its own problems. Often calling stations are not aware
of the split and QRM the DX. During several of the major DXpeditions I
carefully monitored the DX station frequency. Often someone would hear
this relatively clean frequency, jump right in, hear the DX station
giving reports, imagined that they had a QSO and with impeccable
timing would hear the DX station say TU and think they had a valid
QSO! It goes without saying that if you aren't copying the DX station
well enough to properly identify the station or aren't aware of what
technique is being used by the DX station, DON'T CALL! There is a good
reason to check logs if they are posted on the Internet rather than
receiving back a NIL reply to your QSL request. This doesn't mean that
we should call continuously and later check the internet hoping to see
if your call sign is in the log!
Also, there are the usual problems with "frequency policeman". If you
can't refrain from saying something to the interfering stations, drop
in a SHORT reminder like UP. Sending or saying a long string of UP UP
UP UP UP, Hi Hi or calling a station a lid often does more harm than
good and often QRMs the DX station. Of course, obscenities are NEVER
appropriate. Also, try not to rag chew on frequencies frequented by
rare DX such as 3.795, 14.195 and 14.260 (IOTA) MHz. These are just a
few frequencies that come to mind. You may not hear the DX station but
transmitting on those frequencies will make it difficult for others
that are experiencing better propagation than you are.
Space does not permit more info on operating but the following
references are highly recommended reading. First see "DX Etiquette" by
W6SJ in March 2010 QST, pg. 100. Then look up on the Internet the
following: The "DX Code of Conduct" by the FOC (First Class CW
Operators Club) and "Ham Radio Ethics and Operating Procedures" by
John, ON4UN and Mark, ON4WW.
Pirates and Unauthorized Operations:
As usual, many pirate operations showed up in 2010 using existing or
unlicensed call signs. 3B8FOA, 3B8/F4BOA, 3Y0B, 3Y0M, 4K2JF/P, C31YL,
EZ (all), JW2JF/P, JW6EHQ, S9SS, UF6s (All), TS7C in May/June, ZK3T,
ZL8K, ZL9BI, ZL9CI, and ZS8M (on CW) are just a few. Also many calls
are often improperly spotted (typos) on the DX Clusters. 9Q/DK3MO has
submitted papers to ARRL and operations are now approved. Also some
DXpedition call signs were even pirated during their operation. WFWL
(work first, worry later) these stations but this does little good if
they are a pirate so sending a QSL is a waste of time and money.
2010 DXCC Changes:
This was the first year in some time that the DXCC list changed. On
October 10, 2010 the former entities of PJ2,4,9 (Curacao and Bonaire)
and PJ5-8 (Saba, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius) Caribbean Dutch
colonies changed governmental status and both were moved to the
Deleted List. At the same time PJ2 Curacao, PJ4 Bonaire, PJ5/6 Saba
and Saint Eustatius, and PJ7 Sint Maarten were added to the DXCC
current list as four (4) separate new entities effective after 0400
UTC on October 10th meaning that the current DXCC list now has 340
active entities. If you add the 60 deleted entities, the DXCC total is
now 400 entities for the first time. It is doubtful that anyone can
achieve this total for some time since the top leaders missed at least
two (2) of the deleted entities. Therefore, until more entities are
added, 400 will be an elusive number.
There was a major DX item of interest in 2010. An agreement was
established to allow limited operations from some of the restricted
access US Possessions in the Pacific area. However, they must conform
to special regulations and will probably not be activated more often
than once every five (5) years. The first one to be activated will
probably be KH5, Jarvis but not until November 2011. Several large
scale DXpeditions were activated although some were not successful for
one reason or another. Hopefully they will be rescheduled. Still no
word on Navassa but I'm sure that will eventually happen.
The 2010 DX Review:
The following is a brief summary of monthly activity during 2010.
Emphasis will be on rare to semi-rare operations and DXpeditions
especially where no resident Amateurs are active.
January is still a tough month for DXers but this year was helped by
the solar flux being above 90 at the start of the year. A very active
DXer could have worked 100 entities over the long New Year's Day
weekend. There were at least 230 entities activated during January,
about ten or so more than in 2009. Activity from semi-rare entities
was helped by the unfortunate earthquake in Haiti with HH2/HB9AMO on
the scene. Other semi-rare operations were C56SMT, EL8RI, SV2ASP/A,
C21DL, 7P8BA, T32BJ, TL0A, DT8A (S. Shetlands), TX3D (Australs),
YJ0NA, and XR0ZA to name a few. A well-equipped DXer could have worked
at least 200 entities in January.
February was also a very good month for DXers with 160 meters still
yielding some very good DX and 17 meters improving. During mid-
February HF conditions really improved. C21DL, DT8A, TX3D and XR0ZA
were still active. They were joined by 9X and 9U operations, 5W0YA/OU,
E51WWB (N. Cook), H40FN, H44MS, J5NAR/UAP, VP6AL, and VK9X/G6AY.
March propagation seemed to improve with some openings on 12 and 10
meters. 3B9WR, 4U1UN, 9Q0AR, A33A, CE0Y/LA9SN, HC8GR, S79GM, TZ6TR,
VK9C/NL8F, XT2KY and ZK3OU/YA were all very active. One of the longest
and most productive IOTA (Islands on the Air) DXpeditions started.
Using several different T32 callsigns (to identify the different
islands), they operated from Malden, Caroline, Vostok/Flint, and
Starbuck Islands. No known Amateur activity had ever taken place from
these widely separated islands. They sailed several weeks covering
over 2,000 total miles and made over 34,000 QSOs.
April saw a large DXpedition operating as YI9PSE activate all HF bands
and modes making over 50,000 QSOs. This was followed by operations
from FW5X, SV2ASP/A (on CW and RTTY), TN5SN, T2A, TT8PK, and ZL7J. May
had its ups and downs. TL0A was activated on CW and RTTY by visitors
F6EXV and DJ8NK respectively. A DXpedition also put on an all band and
mode effort from E4X starting at the end of the month and made over
80,000 QSOs. They caught an unusually long distance late in the
evening sporadic E opening to the East Coast of the USA on 6 meters
and worked many mid-Atlantic stations. E4X may have set an all-time
record for a DXpedition by working over 6,500 QSOs on 6 meters. VK9LL
activated Lord Howe Island. KP4AO using the 1000 foot dish antenna at
Arecibo, Puerto Rico worked over 240 stations on 432 MHz EME, a
distance of about 250,000 miles!
DX wise, June was also a very productive month. EA5BYP organized a
DXpedition to 3C9B and 3C0C although the later operation was
mysteriously cut short after about 11,500 QSOs and no 160 meter
operations. T30XG, FJ/DL1DA, and OJ0A followed. July saw activity by
FP/K9OT, OJ0A, 9Q50ON, XT2EME (Mostly VHF EME), FWs, 9X0TL, 5V7DX, and
XW1B. As usual, August was very quiet except for YJ0VK and XT2EME.
September came alive as usual. Notable activity was from Pierre, ZS8M,
one of the Top-Ten needed, using only SSB on several bands. He is
antenna challenged so as not to affect the bird population. Also, a
large construction on Marion Island took Pierre off the air for some
time but he will make every effort to work the deserving until he is
reassigned early next year. C91KNH, RI1FJ (FJL), YK1BA, and FH8ND soon
October will probably go down in the DX history books. Four new
entities were added to the current DXCC list and activated as
mentioned earlier. All four of the new PJ entities came on after 0400
UTC on October 10th, the day of the change of government status of
these Dutch islands. The four major DXpeditions coordinated their
operations so that they would spread out over the bands so as to cause
the least amount of QRM to each other. I'm told that it was well
controlled and over 100,000 QSOs were made in the first week of
operation. Unfortunately for me, I had family business in Hawaii (sob)
so I missed all the action and have lots of catching up to do! Other
notable operations in October were KG4AS, CE0Y/DK7ZB, 5V7TT, TY1JB,
ZD9AH, A25s, CY0/VE1AWW (a resident worker on Sable I.), FP, and 9X.
The CQWW SSB DX contest experienced great propagation conditions to
round out the month.
November saw operations from 9U, 9X, TJ3AY, 9L, TO3A (FJ), HK0GU
(HK0S), 3DA0s, VK0KEV (Macquarie now in residence), ZK2A, ZD9T and
ZD9AH, ZL7s, and ZL8X. The later made a great effort on all bands and
modes while making over 140,000 QSOs from this semi-rare entity.
December rounded out the year with operations by H40FN, J5V, S21YX,
VK9NN, ZL7s, a large scale DXpedition by 9Q50ON and 5T0JL on New Year
And now the Drum Roll: Those entities that were NOT believed to have
been active during 2010 are as follows:
Africa (17): 3B6, 3X, 3Y/B, 5A, 5U, D6, E3, FR/G, FR/J, FR/T, FT/W,
FT/X, FT/Z, S0, S9, T5, and VK0/H.
Antarctica (1): 3Y0 (Peter 1).
Asia (9): 1S, 7O, BS7H, BV9P, EZ, P5, VU4, VU7, and XZ.
Europe (3): 1A0, JX, and R1M (MV Island).
North America (7): CY9, FO/C, KP1, KP5, TI9, XF4 and YV0.
Oceania (13): 3D2/C, FO/M, KH1, KH3, KH4, KH5, KH5K, KH7K, KH8S, T33,
VK9/M, VP6/D, and ZL9.
South America (6): CE0/X, HK0/M, PY0/S, PY0/T, VP8/SG, and VP8/Sand.
Please note that some rare entities may not be on this list. This is
because some operations, however short, were conducted during 2010.
Examples are FK8/C from Chesterfield and 3D2AA from Rotuma.
A list of DXCC entities that are believed to have not been activated
in over six (6) years are: 7O, BV9P, CE0X, E3, FR/E, FR/T, FT/Z,
HK0/M, KH1, KH3, KH5K, KP1, P5, VK0/H, VP8 (S. Sandwich) and ZL9. This
shows that an avid DXer working hard at DXCC in the last 7-10 years
could have been able to make the DXCC Honor Roll. This list also
serves as a guide to those planning DXpeditions to rare entities.
It is sad to note that several well know Amateurs became silent keys
during 2010 and deserve to be remembered. Among them, not in any
particular order were Vince, K5VT who gave many of us a new one and
was a great contest operator. K4TWJ gave us lots of history on Morse
keys. Ahmed, HZ1HZ will surely be remembered by old timers for his
great CW and contest skills. HB9TL was one of the top DXers in Europe
and put out several entities. NM7M was well known as a propagation
expert and will be remembered for his many LF propagation articles.
Frank, W6KPC will also be remembered by old timers for his large 10
meter arrays and articles on same. Finally one of my DX Elmer's,
Elliott, W2MUM, a great low power DXer passed away at age 91.
Looking ahead to 2011:
Solar Cycle 24 sunspots are increasing albeit slow and sporadically.
This will improve propagation on the higher HF bands. Look for the
solar flux to go over 100 with low A (<20) and K (<3) indices. Solar
wind below 300 KM per second and dynamic pressure less than 0.5 nPa as
show on NOAA Space Weather are also good indicators of improved HF
The possibility of new entities being added to the DXCC list still
exists. Kosovo may finally obtain all the needed requirements for
separate status. An election is scheduled for early January that could
possibly change the status of the Southern Sudan region. If separation
from Northern Sudan occurs, a new entity could be created. Also of
note is that a recent Russian treaty took back possession of Malyj
Vysotskij Island (4J1FS etc.) from Finland so this entity should soon
be added to the deleted list.
January is shaping up to be a very exciting month with more sunspots
and some rare entities scheduled such as 3B9, VK9X, VP8ORK and DX0DX
(Spratly). These will hopefully be followed in later months by S9DX,
VK9C, T30, CY0, T31, 3D2R, 3D2C and KH5 (Jarvis Island) to name a few.
We hope that the excellent cooperation with the USFWS that permitted
the recent operation from Desecheo and Midway Islands will help to
open the door for operation from other entities such as Navassa Island
which has similar environmental restrictions. VK0 from Heard Island is
also in the rumor mill for 2013. Others operations maybe in the
planning stages and not yet announced. 2011 should be an exciting year
DX means many different things to many people. Some DXers are only
interested in the ARRL DXCC Honor Roll and soon run out of interest
and challenges. Others pursue the never ending ARRL Challenge
competition. Some like to chase Islands for the IOTA (Islands on the
Air) program by the RSGB. There are approximately 1200 IOTA Island
Groups and many have never been activated so there are lots of
challenges. For the last several years, CQ Magazine has reinstituted
the year long CQ DXCC Marathon to see who can work the most entities
in each calendar year. This program has a few more challenges by also
adding several entities recognized only by CQ Magazine but not on the
ARRL DXCC list as well as working all 40 zones. And there are the
never ending DX Contests. There are lots of things to do. Don't let
the airways die for lack of activity. Stay active and join the fun.
Finally once again I am honored to be asked by Bernie, W3UR to write
this review and for his valuable critique. Thanks also to my son Jim,
AD1C for all his computer help! Obviously all the opinions etc.
expressed are solely mine as are any errors (I hope there aren't many)
that I have made. This write up is copyrighted. Therefore copies or
use of this review MUST first be approved by Bernie and then a
courtesy copy of the reprint sent to W1JR.
Best of DX to you in 2011 and here's hoping to see you in the pile
Editor's note: Congratulations to the following stations who reported
working 250 or more countries during the 2010 calendar year: EI9FBB,
K4MWB, K5EK, N4BAA, N5ZM, N8RR, PA3FQA, W1SKU, W2QO, W4QN, W4VIC and
W8AEF. A special thanks to W1JR, Joe, for the above article.
Joe's other Year End Reviews:
| 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 |
Used with permission and with special thanks to "The
Daily DX" Vol. 10, No. 002 -
January 3, 2006
Editor/Publisher Bernie McClenny W3UR
Many thanks to Joe Reisert W1JR for the review