The Long Road to DXCC
I have resumed the chase for DX…
Being just a kid when I got my ham radio license, chasing exotic DX was mostly the stuff of daydreams and the occasional clever advertisement in ham radio magazines. I had neither the time or the money to assemble a station capable of chasing that dream. And sorry if this bursts a few bubbles, but no one ever made Honor Roll using a converted military surplus BC receiver and a single-tube 6L6 transmitter - despite the ‘Getting Started in Amateur Radio’ manual suggesting that possibility.
Years passed and though I stayed busy in the hobby it wasn’t chasing DX or entering radio contests.
When I finally had a little time and a little more jingle I decided to jump into the DX game. We didn’t have DX University back then so there was a steep learning curve to comprehend how this game was played. Using seventy-five watts and wire antennas I slowly gained ground until I had reached 176 worked and had QSL cards to confirm 154 of them. It was considerably more difficult to obtain confirmations than it was to work someone.
Despite having a shoebox full of cards I never applied for DXCC. I didn’t understand the card checking process and didn’t want to let my ignorance be known. Besides, by that point I had become distracted by other facets of the hobby that didn’t require a fixation on the mailbox and the arrival of those elusive cards.
Then one day we moved to a new QTH. Hard decisions had to be made about what to keep and what to chuck and those old QSL cards didn’t make the cut. I recall thinking that my interest in DXing had long since evaporated and I would never again need to collect QSL cards. As it turned out, I wasn’t wrong. I haven’t exchanged actual, printed QSL cards for many years now and have no plans to resume that practice.
Where I miscalculated was in assuming I would never again be interested in chasing DX. But here I am, fired-up to continue this adventure only this time we have LoTW which, theoretically, makes the confirmation process cheaper and easier. Of course, I tossed out what would have been a really nice head start in this process and am forced to begin again from scratch. So I did.
I recently surpassed the 100 confirmation threshold to qualify for DXCC (Mixed) via LoTW only. I applied for the award electronically and it was easy enough for even an old guy like me to figure out the online forms. Now I’m just waiting on the wallpaper to arrive. It comes at a cost, but I think it well worth the price:
But the quest for DXCC doesn’t end with working a hundred entities, this is only the beginning. The first hundred are easy and obtainable with modest equipment. I’ve worked
68 73 entities so far this year using a portable antenna and fifty-watts. The next hundred will be more difficult which is why I continue planning and plotting improvements to my station and operating techniques.
I need to up my game if I am to succeed in this endeavor…