F6EXV’s Blog

Comments and thoughts about the DX scene


YES, I am trying !

July 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

DXCC changes

Hi all ! I had not written on my blog for quite a while, but recent events made me change my mind…

Do you remember the entity grouping FS and FJ islands ? In those days, they were both communes of the department of Guadeloupe, and obviously did not meet the criteria to be counted as 2 separate islands. Do you remember that on 14 December 2007, FJ was added to the list of DXCC entities, following the publication on the Department of State list of special sovereignty territories ON THAT DATE, while the political change referred to took effect on July 15th, 2007 ? Do you remember that this political change affected BOTH islands, and they BOTH and SEPARATELY became overseas collectivities of France ? They are BOTH listed separately on the DoS list.
So, to sum it up, an entity composed of 2 islands, affected by a political change applicable to BOTH islands, leads to the mere creation of 1 new DXCC entity as of the date of publication on the DoS list. (not the date of the effective political change). Right so far ?

Now, let us compare with the PJ situation, and let us limit our study to the PJ2/PJ4 combination. Previously, they were both part of the Netherland Antilles. They BOTH changed status, PJ2 became an “autonomous country” and PJ4 became a commune of the Netherlands. The publication on the DoS list was made on October 12th.
So, to sum it up, an entity composed of 2 islands, affected by a political change applicable to BOTH islands, leads to the deletion of the combination, and the creation of 2 new DXCC entities, not on the date of publication on the DoS list, but retroactively on the date of the effective political change.

If we apply the same logic used for the FS/FJ decision to the PJ situation, the decision should have been to only create either PJ2 or PJ4 (on the date of publication on the DoS list, i.e. October 12th), but certainely not the 2 of them on October 10.
If we apply the logic used for the PJ decision to the FS/FJ situation, the decision should have been the deletion of the entity combining both islands, and the creation of 2 new entities on the date of the effective political change (i.e. July 15th 2007).

In other words, an identical situation leads to 2 very different decisions regarding the DXCC status, using the same criteria.

In previous email correspondance, I have explained to the DXAC why the deletion+creation option is more logical.

My questions are :
How can the DXAC explain the difference of treatment of these cases ?
Why bother about having criteria if they are not applied identically to 2 identical situations ?

It is not too late for the DXAC to come back on their FS/FJ decision and apply the same logic : the decision MUST be changed to the deletion of the combined entity regrouping French Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy as of July 14th 2007 at 23h59, and create 2 new entities as of July 15th 2007.

It is never too late to rectify a mistake…

It is never too late for consistency…

Feel free to react, and best 73

Paul F6EXV

December 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Selling cards

Hello !

My attention was called upon by a spot on the cluster system today about C91VM and his QSL demands. See by yourself at qrz.com for that call.

For years I have modestly been trying to fight this trend of selling cards one way or the other, but this time, enough is enough.

Several times, both IOTA and DXCC people have told me that they could not do anything against it. WRONG : When there is a will…

It is very simple to say : XXyXX’s QSLing practices have proven against the ethics of ham radio, and his operation is disqualified from our program.

How can one DEMAND 5 USD for a card, even under the background of a humanitarian operation ?

I can speak about this as I was working for the UNHCR in Rwanda and Zaire back in 1994/1995, and did some operating while there on duty, operating 9X5DX then 9Q5EXV. So tell me about humanitarian operations ! I risked my life there : I was there when the genocide happened in Rwanda, I was caught under shelling for several days, and so on. But that is not the point.

I have no objection if any ham radio operation advertises for a humanitarian cause or suggests that a donation is welcome. I have a BIG problem when QQSLing is linked to a compulsory donation, whichever amount is demanded. There is no other name to this than “selling a card”.

By definition included in the rules of both the IOTA program and the DXCC program, this practice is UNETHICAL and MUST void the validity of the operation for these respective awards.

Sorry, but “sorry we cannot do anything” is no longer an excuse.

Cowardness to face this issue is leading to more and more QSL business, that a true operator must condemn strongly.

No more time for words, time for action. INTEGRITY is at stake !

73 de F6EXV

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Real hamspirit : HK3W

Hello !

It may look like my posts are pure complaints, but they do not make me forget the good sides of hamradio, on the contrary…. Here is why…

One of my previous posts brought me in contact with a fellow ham operator and great DXer in Colombia, first by email, then through Skype, and we chatted on several DX-related subjects. Among what we discussed was the QSLing, and I happened to mention that I still needed HK on 30m, as a previous contact with Colombia brought no card, and no way to get one.

Immediately, Francisco offered a sked and a promise to not only upload the contact to LoTW, but also send me a card via the postal system. The best thing to mention was that he had to drive about 45 km though the city jams to reach his station. Off he went, the timing was right in terms of propagation… though CW is not his favourite mode, he made the extra extra effort to work me on CW. Nice and clean signal… QSO uploaded to LoTW in a matter of a few minutes, and card in the mail in the next few days….

If this is not “going out of one’s way” to please a friend, then I do not know what it is !

This true ham radio operator is HK3W, Francisco, or Siso as his friends call him. I am glad I met a new friend, and I hope I can reciprocate the favour one of these days. If you hear him on the air, please give him a call, he is a real gentleman.

So there are still many nice people around, do not loose your spirits and hopes regardinh ham radio !

73 de F6EXV

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New trend in QSLing


In the last batch received from the bureau, I have found 2 cards that confirm QSO with F6EXV from 2 different calls… on the same card. One is from China (BT1OB and BT1ON both on 1 card), the other one is even from 2 different DXCC… I single paper card confirming contacts with me from OH0V and OH4A. In the recent past, I have received one single card from 4 different Za calls…

Some cards are meant for multiple calls, but there is no indication which call was worked….

Some of the cards I have received for my operation (along with JR2KDN) as TO5FJ are amazing : QSOs all over the place, almost unreadable…. If your card is designed for single QSO, send several cards !

I wished people would give a little more care and seriousness when they fill in cards.

If this trend goes on, the next step will be confirming QSOs to several different stations on the same card. I think I might try that if I go again on expedition : confirm contacts with W1AA, W1AB, W1AC, W1AD and W1AE (as an example) on one single card. They can just forward the card to each other…

Less and less people send out paper cards, which is a pity as not everyone has internet access, or not everyone keeps computer logs. But if and when you do, please fill them in with a minimum of care and respect for the station you worked.

By the way, many people make sure they have an address on qrz.com. It would be nice of them, if and when it applies, to indicate that they do not wish to receive cards, if they confirm via bureau or not. I have no problem with someone not interested in cards, but let them at least say so…


Paul F6EXV

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Call upon DX foundations, clubs and groups

Hello !

How about DX foundations, clubs and groups sponsoring DXpeditions making QSLing via bureau a MANDATORY option in order to help financing ?

In other words, a DXpedition will get financial support from them only if they commit themselves to reply to bureau card requests ?

This is already one pre-condition imposed upon by the Clipperton DX Club. When are all other clubs going to implement that too ?

73 de Paul F6EXV

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Money and ham radio

Hello !

As a frequent reader of DX World of Ham Radio page, I was reading the web page of the XR0ZN upcoming DXpedition, and was devastated by the content.

That page (http://www.la6fja.eu/dx/XR0ZN/) is a disgrace to ham spirit as it talks money while it is not even mentioning the anticipated operating frequencies. How can a real ham plan a DXpedition with just money in mind ?

I know by personal experience that DXpeditioning is expensive but :

1/ If I cannot afford to go places, I just do not go

2/ If I can find sponsors, that is great, but  many people would love to travel for free

3/ Ham spirit includes the confirmation of QSO by paper card, considering not everyone has internet access, and less so are participating in the LoTW program. I remember the days when I was a beginner DXer. I was a student and could not afford to QSL direct a lot, even for expensive DXpeditions that gave me new countries. My choice was quick card direct, or slower card via bureau.

Nowadays, look at all the operations that will not provide bureau confirmations. To just name a few of the recent ones : all the HVs, all the 1A, 9L0W, ZA0/Is, SX5P, the Spanish guys on FJ, the upcoming expedition to Mogador Island, and so on.

Maybe the IARU member societies are partly responsible for that situation, as they will not forward the cards for people that are not members. One question is : If I (member of my national society) go some place, I am still a member, and the QSOs I make while on DXpedition could have been made from home. So membership should apply to an individual, not to a callsign. It is a different situation if I manage someone else.

Let us imagine a ham friend of mine operates from Djibouti and asks me to take care of his cards. I would find it absolutely normal that he should be a member so he can use the services provided to HIS benefit. In fact, the REF works that way :

The cards for my operation (along with JR2KDN) as TO5FJ could be dealt with by the REF bureau, while cards for 5V7BR can be sent and received via the REF bureau through his manager (F2VX)provided he (5V7BR) is a member.

I am told that the ARI or the JARL will only provide the QSL bureau services to their members and their single main callsign. I do not know if this is correct. Some managers are not even member of their own national society (RW6HS comes to mind, but there are plenty others)… Why are they managers ?

I feel really sad to see the growing influence of money into the hobby. Aren’t people forgetting they once were beginners ?

When will ARRL as one of the leading participant on the DX scene (obviously because of the DXCC program) SET AND IMPLEMENT rules to fight this growing influence of money ? Is giving priority QSL for the “payers” in the true ham spirit ?

Sponsorship should be an option, a choice, not an obligation.



April 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

QSLing and hamspirit

Hello !

Today I got some QSL cards from a manager in the US. Included was a little note that was astonishing : “Next time please add extra $ if you need so many cards because I print for my stations and this is very expensive”

Some explanations : I did request 4 cards from that manager (who manages several stations and does not QSL via bureau), and included 2 $ + SAE with my request.

The postage on the enveloppe for the reply was 0.95 US$, so I did send extra 1.05 US$. And apparently this is not pleasing the manager…

First, I did not ask these stations to pay for the printing of my cards, did I ? Why should I pay for the printing of their cards, and they should not pay for mine ?? Crazy, hey ?

Second, if 1.05 $ does not cover the printing of 4 cards, it is time to look for a cheaper QSL printer. I do not necessarily expect fancy picture cards (though they are nice, of course) but I would rather get a simple card than no card at all.

Third, if a QSL manager cannot afford the service he is sipposed to deliver, then he/she should not be  a manager, or ask the DX stations he manages to pay for the expenses. These DX are looking for cards (they did request some from some of my operations), why should it be free for them ?

I am told the bureaus will not forward cards for their non-members. Well, this is logical. But how about the DX station paying for a membership fee ? If they do so, the associations will forward their cards to their managers, and their managers will be able to send them out as for any other member. Let’s say this TF0XX pays membership to ARRL. His manager can then send and receive cards via the ARRL bureau. It will cost that station as much as to anybody else, right ?

Being a manager should be a service for which you volunteer, NOT a business.

After over 30 years of DXing, it is amazing to see how many managers don’t send cards…. I can understand someone not being interested in exchanging cards, but in that case, let them say so, instead of refering to qrz.com where their address can be found…. If they have mail theft problems, let them get a manager where this problem does not exist. I will not name some countries that are known to have these problems, we all know them…

While talking about QSLing, it is also amazing to see how many stations using a special call will not QSL either, for example during contests. They will be happy to indicate a QSL manager, even on qrz.com… but who will not QSL anyway… If the call is used several times, I can understand they are not expected to QSL 2 or more QSO with the same station on the same band and mode every time they work it in a contest, but at least once should be required… If you do not QSL, there is no problem with that, but SAY IT CLEARLY…

Well, I guess I will come back with this subject at a later date…

73 de Paul F6EXV

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

F6EXV pirated on cluster


My call has been pirated lately on the cluster system. I know who the offender is, and I can prove it…

A bon entendeur salut… Si ça devait se reproduire, plainte serait déposée pour usurpation d’identité…

March 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DX cluster use

Hi !

DXing is no longer what it used to be … thanks to new technologies. When I started Dxing, over 30 years ago, rare

country hunters would organize VHF network, or would even telephone each other as soon as an extraordinary DX

or a missing one would appear on the air. In Bordeaux, we would monitor 145.450 in those days. So we could

sometimes hear brief annoucements like “VK9YA is presently on 21.295, split up 5 ; here is F6BKI”.


Today, all internet-connected Dxers share the results of their hunts live, but also the hunt of the whole world, thanks

to the world-wide cluster network. A ZL8 appears on 17m, and the whole world knows in a matter of one minute.

Nevertheless, erroneous or useless info occasionnally appear, and I thought it would be nice to remind users of basic

rules which, in my humble opinion, should rule the use of the cluster.


The cluster is not meant to make QSO

It is more and more common to see two connected hams exchange reports on the cluster, sometimes after having

taken a sked on 160m for example. Reports should not be passed on the cluster, but only on the air, otherwise

why not telephone each other to make QSO ?? Giving reports over the cluster may invalidate the QSO for DXCC.


The cluster is not meant to spot stations you cannot hear

How many times have we seen info like :

DX de F6XYZ  21260.0 FK8ZZ  No copy in Paris

Most of the time, the info was given a few minutes before by someone else who copies the DX; Imagine all the

connected stations informing the world they are not copying that DX…The clusters would be full of useless info.


The cluster is not a chat box

Limit the use of “announce” and “announce/full” to what is really necessary. Before asking for a QSL manager,

search the internet or  the cluster itself, typing “SH/QSL DX0AA”. It is likely the info will be displayed, without

you to bother the world. Avoid chating with your local friends : use the “talk” command rather than “Ann”.

If you want to inform that you have received a card for a recent Dxpedition and you have been lucky to be one

of the firts to receive it, use “ann” rather than spot the DX like :

DX 14000.0 KH8SI  QSL received today

In that case, remember that the spot will be trated like a real one and computer bells will ring all over the world

for those with logging programs indicating that entity is still needed on that band. These guys will hate you forever…

Comments should be info usefull to others, not to your ego. Give the split rather than say 599  or “yesssssssssss

first call !”


The cluster is not a parrot

Once you have read the info on the cluster, you are lucky to make the contact yourself. There is no need to spot it

again, as the whole world already knows that DX is there, and avoid repeats. How many times do we see the same

spot repeated 20 times in 5 minutes ?

Many info are wrong in terms of callsign. 6W1XX spotted as BW1XX. The cluster is not a bible, and you should

LISTEN for the call on the air rather than fully trust the cluster info


A Dxpedition is not necessarily connected to the cluster network

You hear that rare IOTA expedition to P29 on 15m. You need P29 on 17m. Ask them through the cluster to

QSY to that band is unlikely to reach them. On a desert island, the expedition is not connected to the web, and

they will not see your request. Not only the expedition did not go there just for you, but you will be seen as an

selfish by the whole world-wide community.

The cluster is not meant for complaints, at least in terms of spots. Don’t criticize an dxpedition for not beeing on

a band you need it on, just listen and they will be there sooner or later. You are not there yourself, and you cannot

imagine what circumstances the guys are facing on their side.


The cluster is not meant for you to spot yourself

Don’t spot yourself as calling on a certain frequency, even if you have a sked. If you are on a IOTA, someone

ill spot you quickly after you show up on the air, your ego will have to bear with waiting for the spot. Imagine

every active station spotting themselves : the cluster would be full of useless info.

Don’t spot your next door neighbour, even to say he is calling DX. You hear him Cqing DX, but this does not

mean he is heard on the other side. Let some DX spot him instead.


Not everybody is connected to his local cluster

It is useless to thank the guy you just worked when you spot him. Hopefully you will have thanked him over the

air, and he is not necessarily connected to read your thanks. Send him a QSL better !

The common “Tnx new one” may be nice, but who cares ? Imagine everyone spotting all their new ones…


The cluster is not a copy of your log

It is not worth informing the whole world you just worked a common DL on 20m, or a SP on PSK on 17m.

Even a beginner can find this kind of stations by just switching on his rig. It is a wrong excuse to say a beginner

needs everything : a beginner must also learn to turn his VFO knob…

If there is no DX today, there is no need to feed the cluster with useless local info.


What to spot, what not to spot

Common sense should dictate your choices. The desire to help a beginner is a wrong excuse to spot “anything”.

There is no general rule or a list of what to spot. What is rare and of interest is not limited to what you need.


To work a Ukrainian on 15m PSK is not a fabulous achievement of which the whole world must be informed.

To work Florida on 17m CW may be nice, but should the world know ? Any station has a least one reference

for a local award (DOK for DL, zip code for Spain, department for F, county for USA, etc). This does not mean

you must spot everything you hear. What are these awards worth if you just need to watch your screen to get

them ?

A special prefix can be spotted, without exagerating in terms of repeats. A semi rare US state can be spotted

(like Wyoming or the Dakotas) but who needs a spot from New York ?


As a conclusion, I would like to say this is only a point of view. The cluster system is a fabulous technical

achievement, but do not forget that everything that goes through it travels the entire world in a matter of

seconds. And it is better to find the DX before it is spotted : less competitors, easier to get though… so

get to your VFOs !




DX Cluster which respect DX Cluster use

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 18 Comments