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DX Cluster Dunces

You would think after 44 years a Ham Radio operator that nothing I’d see or hear would bother me anymore.  You’d be wrong.

DX Cluster DunceIt started off innocently enough.  At 0330Z I asked five times if 7.155 MHz was in use – no replies.  So I set up camp.  1,450 watts and my 2 element 40 Meter beam pointed East.  Propagation was in and I called “CQ DX”.  A couple of stations from Argentina stopped by, then here came Africa!  Conditions were perfect and I got to enjoy talking to my old friend Tom, ZS1AFS (who stopped by for almost 30 minutes).  After wishing Tom and Suzie a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year I cleared and resumed my CQ DX at 0409Z.  A few more South Africans answered my call and I exchanged reports with them.  As I cleared those Q’s another friend, Andre in Namibia (V51B) stopped by at 0411Z.  I was enjoying Andre bringing me up to speed on his new 30/40 Meter two element quad when I saw this flash on the DX Cluster:

V51B Spot

N7EKD had spotted V51B, calling CQ?  And there it was.  The first DX Cluster Dunce spot.  Of course in-between overs with Andre I could now hear people trying to break-in, but I was in conversation with my friend and I had been holding the frequency for quite some time now – so I continued to hold the line.  After a 15 minute conversation with Andre, we wished each others families well for the Holidays and closed our QSO at 0425Z.

Because of that one bad spot from the first Cluster Dunce, now other Cluster Dunces had descended on the frequency to work V51B, but that’s when I heard the last two letters of my friend John’s (ZS6BNS) call, so I picked him up next.

It was at that point you’d thought I robbed a bank.  As I conversed with John and in-between short VOX breaks, I could hear the Cluster Dunces rumbling.  One told me to get off the frequency, “there’s DX here”.  Another told me to quit QRMing the frequency.  And on and on…

Anyway I worked John and even a few more ZS’s through the chaos before my neighbor Keith (K0KE) stopped in where we shut off the amplifiers and had a good old fashioned ragchew for another hour.

After I closed with Keith I went to the DX Cluster and tried to gain a little wisdom as to why anyone would spot the DX station I was working on a frequency I was holding – and I ran into this (from the same guy):

N7EKD DX Cluster Dunce

When I saw that it became clear to me what I was dealing with.  That single spot explained everything I needed to know.  N7EKD had spotted DX he didn’t even hear.  I pulled up more of his spots (and hundreds of self-spots) and decided to write this post for the Newbie DX Cluster User that may have stumbled and bumbled their way here onto my Blog and this post.  To those new DX Cluster Users – may I suggest starting your DX Cluster learning experience on page 53 of this fine document?

Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur

It’s a document that was written by experts in the field of DXing, John (ON4UN) and Mark (ON4WW).

To the rest of the DX Cluster Dunces, it’s a given it is hard to teach an old dog a new trick, but maybe you should grab your bifocals and read it too.  You just might learn how not to end up being mentioned in one of my Blog posts (rants).  😯

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10 Responses

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  1. Zack Widup W9SZ says

    This is why I have all but given up on DXing. I need three more to be at #1 HR DXCC and I will probably only pursue them and not waste my time trying to push my way through other pile-ups. I know there have always been lids, but the internet only seems to have made it worse.

  2. Ben says

    Zack, Don’t blame the Internet. Its a mixture of society today. Permissiveness, instant gratification, (me first regardless!) and the rest, related. Much under misinterpretation of the First Amendment. With no help from ARRL/QST as they refuse to print anything constructive for fear of offending, hence losing sales.

    • Zack Widup W9SZ says

      Yes, but back in the late 60’s – 70’s you had to spin that big knob and find the DX yourself. There were no spots on DX clusters like this N7EKD character is making. (Well, there were 2 meter spotting nets and phone call systems from friends, but these were of limited scope.) The number of people in any given pileup was mostly limited to whoever happened to be tuning the band at the time. Now someone like N7EKD posts something, alarms go off on people’s phones or computers and they rush to their rigs to join in the fray.

      • les says

        You are correct Sir. Hunt and listen and listen some more. It was hard work. now its a given to the no code hams like ki4pg. The CBer in them all is hey look boom give your call with 5k watts..never knowing if they are really there or not. This same guy even has the attitude of I quote I dont feel sorry for the VETs they knew what they was getting into” unquote. Its good to see a few of us old hams still around..hang tuff watch your 6.
        De kx4aa 73s

  3. Vollie, NA4C says

    Agree with you 100%. I have been on both ends of DX. In ’92 I was in a RTTY QSO
    with an SV9, I was his QSL manager. A W9 insisted on an exchange with him on
    30 meters. Hal was nice and gave him a contact but explained he was in QSO
    with his QSL manager. A few days later I received his QSL card. It took a lot of
    soul searching not to give him a NIL reply! I did reply with a QSL. I enjoy your blog.
    GUD DX

  4. John says

    Sorry about the problems you had Wayne. Anyway, it was good having a chat on 40m. There was quite a big ZS pileup on you, but obviously it became difficult for you. Personally, I dont like being spotted as the spotter sometimes creates expectations that I am doing rapid fire contacts, which I hate, and also that I will be around for some time, which is seldom the case. 73, John ZS6BNS

  5. Rick says

    Nothing worse then having a SKED and then getting the DX spotted during the QSO. This recently happened and the DX went QRT because of all the QRM.

    AS IT STATES IN ON4UN’s PROPER USE OF THE CLUSTER AND WHAT NOT TO DO….

    Regarding self spotting…. It needs no explanation that this is just not done in Ham Radio. If you want to make QSOs, call CQ or reply to stations calling CQ.

    The cluster abuse is epidemic and the abusers need to be re-educated on its intended purpose.

  6. SIMON SAYS says

    N7RY AF6TC WA7LNH N7EKD BUNCH OF ARROGANT ********. WORSE OF ALL IS GROUP USES INTERNET SDR RECIEVERS IN EU TO HEAR THEMSELVES THEN THEY SELF SPOTS THEMSELVES. THEY EMBARRASSMENT TO HAM RADIO. EVEN SPOON FEED SIGNAL REPORTS TO EACH OTHER. I KNOW I BEEN TO SHACK OF ONE. DISCGRACFUL ********. WA7LNH HEAD ********

    • N0UN says

      Clean it up, you’ve been edited.

      N0UN

  7. Jameson says

    The hams ‘Simon Says’ mentioned are always listed on DX Watch’s LID Fest page as self-spotters. They’ll never change as they are too ignorant to understand exactly what it is they are doing. ‘You can’t fix stupid’ comes to mind.

    http://www.dxwatch.com/statistics/lidfest.php



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