Creeping towards DXCC

The 2012 Shack: 100 watts and a wire. I made the majority of my interesting SSB QSOs on this rig.

The 2012 shack. I made the majority of my interesting SSB QSOs on this little rig.

One of my goals this year is to get back on track towards the DXCC award. When I first started a few years back, my primary goal was DXCC. Somewhere along the way, I got distracted. While I do have at least 100 unique entities in the log, I am missing confirmations for about 25 of them.

So this week, I decided to finally go through my log, identify those unconfirmed contacts, and plan a strategy to get QSL cards out. In the process, I discovered some interesting things about my DXing:

  • Many of the QSOs I need confirmed occurred within my first month of being on the air, using a radio that was theoretically not very good, with my very nascent skillset. I’m guessing that 50-60% of my DXCC was completed in those first few months. All those QSOs were phone, with the majority on 20 meters. I feel like I had some really decent success early on with contacts all over the world — the most interesting being two QSOs in a single weekend to Australia, which have remained my farthest contacts to this day.
  • I gained some Logbook of the World confirmations simply by cleaning up my log entries. I remembered a memorable QSO with a gentleman in Iraq one evening, but couldn’t find his call in my LOTW logbook online, yet he was in the logbook on the shack PC. Evidently, that QSO never made it to LOTW, so once I resent it, I had immediate confirmation. Similarly, I picked up a Bermuda confirmation by editing the callsign to a more LOTW-friendly format (X#XXX/VP9 rather than VP9/X#XXX).
  • Sadly, I LOST a few DX entities during the clean-up. DX Lab informed me I had QSOs with stations in Egypt and Bouvet. I couldn’t recall having made those contacts, and sure enough, they were actually QSOs with US stations who were using a “portable /#” suffix. For some reason the logbook read those as foreign stations.
  • I will NOT be able to confirm several stations. Sadly, my Cyprus contact is now a silent key. Another wonderful contact, Canary Islands, doesn’t use LOTW or accept paper QSLs — only eqsl.cc, which is worthless for the purpose of the ARRL award.
  • I may not be in their log for whatever reason. I think all hams have had this happen to them, particularly on those “ESP QSOs” on CW. For instance, I logged SV5AZK, Dodecanese, on 20m PSK31 back in summer 2013. By all accounts, we should have confirmed since he’s on LOTW and HRDlog, which I use. Searching his online log, I’m not there. And I distinctly recall making this QSO because it was shortly after placing my K3 on the air.

So, it’s going to come down to the wire and I may even come up short. Fortunately, this weekend is the ARRL DX contest and I may be able to snag some new ones. In the meantime, I’ll be sending out some “green stamps” and patiently waiting for returns.

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