Why Can’t I Work DX?

Being a pilot for a major Dxpedition involves answering requests and gripes from the general ham community. I do it because it’s fun and it helps the DXpeditioners and you get to meet all sorts of interesting hams by email. The recent 3Y0X DXpedition operation was quite brilliant and we ZLs did very well. Hams in the northern hemisphere didn’t have it easy but thousands were successful. The following series of emails from “Joe”, WXXXXX (Not his real name or callsign) are real and are quite enlightening. The exchange of emails took place during the 3Y0X DXpedition some years ago. The first email as follows:

Subject: 3YØX Pilot/Team page
Lee: I have come to the Conclusion that the Dxpedition and the operators down there are snubbing the USA & Canada and there has been NO TRACE of there signal at all, forgive me But I am beginning to feel that working them or trying to is Nothing But a lost cause….. If I sound like a bear, then you would too, if you were up at 3:00 am local time in (City in NA) and Have been patiently waiting to work them and I feel that I and others are being SNUBBED!

My reply was as follows:

Subject: Re: 3YØX Pilot/Team page
Hi Joe
It must be very frustrating for you but it is the nature of the DX beast. There are a number of factors which affect DXers trying to work a rare new one:
1. 3Y0X is on the opposite side of the planet, more than of 20,000 km from you.
2. The Gods of propagation are not happy. You can’t do a lot with an SFI of 74 and
a K index of 4
3. There are NO/ZERO/ZILCH/NADA Sunspots to help you.

You must consider the following.
1. This is an American lead DXpedition with most finance from the USA and some from the world wide ham community.
2. Why on earth would the team “snub” its own core support?
3. The ops are professional ops with hundreds of years of DXpedition experience. They do not “snub” any ham faction!

You should also consider:
1. The “Darwin Theory of DXing” applies. Only the fittest survive! Only the best equipped stations will be successful during no sunspot conditions.
2. The 3Y0X team has the BEST possible gear and antennas available to do the job.
3. 3Y0X is putting astoundingly good signals everywhere that propo will allow. Thousands of stations including stations from your area have worked them over the past few days.

Consider this. We ZLs have an extremely hard time trying to work rare DX such as OH0, R1MV, TF and JW from 40 degrees South. You have the same problem working 3Y0X from 40 degrees North. God does not vary the laws of physics just because you need a contact with 3Y0X.

Solution? I don’t have any except to say that persistence pays off. I wish that I could wave a magic propo wand but I can’t. But I can assure you that 3Y0X operators do NOT snub any area, region, country or call!
73, Lee ZL2AL

Subject: Re: 3YØX Pilot/Team page (I have left the spelling mistakes as they were.)
With all due respect Lee, I have good equipement, I have a ICOM 725 and a 20 Meter Mono band Dipole Sloped and I have work the World Before and with a Home-Brew Center insultator Not a 1:1 balun or a current Balun, But Something I have built myself and have gotten pretty good results with. Take a look at the Dx.txt that I have enclosed and you’ll see for yourself. I have been up at 3:00 am twice and there has been Nothing not a single trace not even a peep of signal….

At this point I suggested that:
1) He study my original reply again.
2) He should improve his station by taking some advice from seasoned DXers in his area.
3) Well, I never did suggest the 3rd option but I sure came close to doing it! I don’t
know what it is about DXpeditions but the “night people” do crawl out from under rocks when one is on!

I hope you enjoyed this true story from years ago
73, Lee ZL2AL