DX Streak - 365 Days and counting
This report was originally writen when I reached 100 consecutive days of QRP DX, and revised when the streak ended at 154 consecutive days several years ago in 1999/2000.
NOW here is my latest excursion into DX streaks with the 154 days pushed to the bottom of this page.
First a bit of history. When I worked KG9N/C6A way back on August 5, 1994, I had no idea then that was going to be the start of a still continuing streak of making at least one QSO with QRP/CW/simple wire antennas each and every day. On February 28, 2014 working W1AW/7 extended the streak to 7,148 consecutive days.
This story is not about that streak however, but another one. Likewise when I worked IK2SND on March 1, 2013, I had no idea what that started either. In fact as with the big streak, I didn't even know it was a streak till many days after the start. This time around it was making a DX (non-W/VE) QSO each and every day. On the same day of February 28, 2014 working D44CF extended this streak to 365 days which of course is a quantity of days equal to a full year's worth of days.
As I write, I still am not sure if I am going to be continuing this latest DX streak or not. My friend Mike KC2EGL is pretty sure I will. When I said I wasn't sure about continuing it, he looked me in the eye and said he was pretty sure that I would. Then explained why he thought so, telling me that I was the most 'challenge accepted' person he ever knew. I suppose that is true. I do enjoy setting a challenge for myself and then going out and working to accomplish it. Right now the figure of 500 days looks like a nice round number if I do decide to extend the streak. With conditions currently good with the sun quite active and the summer months coming up when it is easy to work DX in the evening as the bands stay open later, it shouldn't be all that hard to do.
There was another reason for the streak as well. I love showing hams who are in similar situations to mine - namely in a crowded neighborhood in middle of a town which lies in a river valley with little room for antennas of any kind - that it is possible to work DX using CW at QRP power levels. I have gotten many communications stating that they were interested enough to give it a try, and found out what I was saying and demonstrating was true.
I don't think that reason is involved in my decision to continue or discontinue the streak. I believe 365 days of DX in conjunction with all the other things I've done with CW/QRP is proof enough of what I have been saying for these many years now. The main point is how much time I want to devote to continuing the streak. Although in most cases it doesn't take much time at all in getting a DX QSO, there are some days it does take a while, and it is distracting if those days happen to be days I want to devote to other projects like a fishing trip, or some long walking, just to mention a couple.
During the year of DX, I made 2,413 QSOs. I worked 130 (excluding W/VE) countries. Of course all continents including a 9-minute WAC in the 2014 ARRL DX Contest. I worked 30 different CQ Zones. I worked 4 new overall countries: Tuvalu-T2YY, Qatar-A71CM, South Sudan-Z81X, and Mauritania-5T0JL to bring my country total to 218 via QRP/CW. The QSOs took place on 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 30, 40, and 80 meters. Of the 2,413 QSOs, 651 were with stations I worked for the first time ever. 1,640 came in contests. 8 came in response to my CQ. 148 of the 773 non-contest QSOs came from a single call to the stations. 26 QSOs came at less than 5 watts - all the rest at 5 watts.
80 - 6
40 - 155
30 - 129
20 - 728
17 - 141
15 - 672
12 - 44
10 - 538
That shows that DX can be had even if your choice of bands is limited.
AF - 66
AS - 65
EU - 1,741
NA - 351
OC - 37
SA - 153
Pretty well spread around the world with the natural predominance of EU.
By hours (UTC):
00 - 508
01 - 96
02 - 24
03 - 8
04 - 13
05 - 42
06 - 10
09 - 1
10 - 8
12 - 1
13 - 11
14 - 270
15 - 312
16 - 227
17 - 184
18 - 145
19 - 108
20 - 101
21 - 145
22 - 125
23 - 74
Indicative of my operating habits more than anything else.
March 2013 - 235
April - 230
May - 147
June - 56
July - 57
August - 132
September - 54
October - 174
November - 556
December - 190
January 2014 - 46
February - 536
The big peaks in November and February due to the CQWW and ARRL DX tests.
Let's take a brief look at some highlights of the year now.
3/1/2013 - First QSO of the streak - IK2SND on 17 meters
3/16/2013 - The Russian DX contest provides 108 QSOs and the first of several contests worked as a 'tag team' effort with Mike KC2EGL
3/31/2013 - Closed out the first month with HI3LFE on 40 meters - 235 total DX QSOs
4/8/2013 - Worked LZ833MBB - Just one of many new prefixes worked during the year
4/20/2013 - Eight separate contests worked 'tag team' with Mike including DX contests Manchester Miniera and the YU DX contest
4/30/2013 - QSO total now at 465 with 230 more in April
5/9/2013 - Another Bulgarian Saints station worked in LZ1876SMB
5/31/2013 - May closed with a total of 612 QSOs total
6/8/2013 - Day #100 of the streak featured HA9RT as my only QSO
6/14/2013 - LZ1534GWS worked - I mention the Bulgarian Saints stations because of the beautiful award offered for working so many of them
6/30/2013 - Total now 668 - only 56 DX QSOs in June
7/3/2013 - LZ1722SN and SJ0SOP for two more new prefixes
7/31/2013 - 725 the new total - 57 in July
8/25/2013 - New Saints station LZ1105PIO
8/31/2013 - At the end of 6 months the total is now 857 QSOs
9/8/2013 - LZ2013HST
9/16/2013 - Day 200 is reached thanks to JW/DL5SE, HB0/DF5AU, and LU7HF
9/30/2013 - Now 911 QSOs - only 54 in September
10/16/2013 - EI13CLAN worked celebrating the Irish Clans
10/19/2013 - QSO #1000 logged - DF0DA
10/29/2013 - OG3077F - a station honoring a Finn working all 3077 USA counties.
10/31/2013 - Newest total in at 1085 QSOs - thanks to a big turnout of 106 QSOs in the WAG contest
11/30/2013 - A big CQWW DX effort (421 QSOs) raised the total to 1641 QSOs
12/31/2013 - The 10 meters contest (thanks to a wide-open band) brought many DX QSOs for a year-end streak total of 1831 QSOs
1/31/2014 - Only 46 QSOs for a total now of 1877
2/15/2014 - 480 DX QSOs in the ARRL DX contest - my best total in a contest since the early 2000s
2/15/2014 - A six-QSO, 9-min WAC in the ARRL DX contest between 0025 and 0034 - KH6MB RT0C NP2N CS2C CR3L P40W
2/28/2014 - The end of one solid year of DX QSOs (365 days) saw somewhat exotic Cape Verde enter the log thanks to D44CF on 20 meters.
3/1/2014 - The streak continues for I don't know how long with 3Z6M, DL5FCZ, and TF3JB worked today.
This is dedicated to those who claim they can't work DX with QRP/CW/simple wire antennas. You're wrong, it can be done just about any time you want to do it.
On November 23, 1999 I worked 5C8M, 9G5MF, XQ0YAF, EC8ACJ, OK1ACF, VP2MGU, and 3 other DX stations. Most of these stations were setting up for the CQWW DX test coming up in a few days. The day before that I only worked a couple of USA stations. I didn't know it at the time, but the 23rd would be the first of a long string of days that I would work at least 1 DX station. We were nearing the peak of sunspot cycle 23 and the bands were finally starting to act like it.
The next 3 days also saw many stations getting ready for the CQWW DX test finding their way into my log. During those 4 days I worked all continents several times over except for Oceania.
During the CQWW DX test on the 27th and 28th I worked 502 stations, most of them DX, from all continents and 83 countries including ZS and VQ9 which were overall new ones for me.
The following week I worked many stations who were lingering at their locations they used in the contest. It was about the end of that week that I started thinking of a DX streak. My longest previous streak of working DX was only 17 days. I felt I could surely break that string this time.
On December 10th, the day before the ARRL 10M DX contest, I worked OT7KG and LZ2DD for my 18th straight day of DX, breaking my previous record.
The streak rolled on and on through the month of December. As we started the year 2000, the streak was at 39 days with no end in sight. Conditions were just fabulous most of the time, and working DX was just as easy as working my regular daily QSO. In fact many times the DX was my regular QSO of the day for my QRP QSO streak which would reach 2000 straight days on the 25th of January. That's the last I'll mention that streak since it is covered in a separate report.
On each day in January I worked some DX. There were never any close calls. If I didn't get my DX in the 0000 or 0100Z hours, there was always the 1400Z hour. At that time 10, 12 or 15 would always provide me with an easy DX QSO, usually from a EU country. January ended with the streak at 70 days.
February brought more success, and then heartbreak. A massive geomagnetic storm brought the streak to an end on February 12th. I just couldn't work a single DX station that day. I couldn't even find a strong DX station. I tried a couple of weak ones that I heard, but to no avail. I might have been able to get J3/K4LTA on 30M, but I didn't want to try him since I had already worked him on that band a few days earlier and didn't want my QSO with him to perhaps deprive someone else who really needed Grenada on 30M. At any rate, the streak was over at 81 days. I was really feeling down, but I decided to try again.
So on February 13th I started in again to shoot for 100 straight days of DX. As in the previous streak that was cut short, this was just a few days before a major DX contest - the ARRL DX test - and there was a lot of good DX to be had. It started simply with KG4KO on the 13th, and continued with YL2000UZ, JW9VDA, etc. before the test started on the 19th.
512 DX QSO's were logged from 71 countries on all continents during the contest. VP6BR was worked for my only new overall country in the test. I also added 8 new band-countries.
The streak continued through February and into March. On the one month mark on March 13th T97M, YZ1RA, JA1CPZ, and JI1HFJ were entered in my log. The next few days provided some of the best DX conditions I have seen so far in sunspot cycle 23. I worked my first South Korea - HL4HLD, over 50 QSO's in the Russian DX contest the next weekend, and several new band-countries.
March 18th brought me the final QSO's for my Millennium DXCC award. Z31FK, GI0KVQ, and VP2VI were countries # 98-100 worked in 2000. I've since received the award, and it is a beautiful one as you can see by checking my Awards section - Millennium DXCC page where I have a picture of it posted.
Then came the best day of all, March 21st. 23 DX QSO's! That's the most DX QSO's (or non-DX QSO's, for that matter) outside of a contest I've made in one day since I returned to the air in 1993. Among the 23 were EX2X and SV0LK (Crete) for 2 overall new countries. A CQ on 10M netted an answer from UA1ABI. While I didn't make WAC that day, stations from 4 continents filled the log. Unless a better day comes along, I'll remember this day as the supreme highlight of cycle 23.
The rest of March was not all that bad, either. Stations like YM3LZ, Z37HWX, J79LGQ, UA0ABK, and EA9/EA7CTE, just to mention a few, contributed to the streak which stood at 48 days.
29 QSO's in the Polish DX contest on the 1st got April off with a bang. Then the next weekend 11 JA's in the JA DX test were a personal high in that contest and brought my total of JA QSO's to near 100. I never thought I'd see that many JA's in my log back when we were struggling through the sunspot minimum and I couldn't even hear JA, let alone work it.
April 21st brought me another first - WAC in 6 QSO's. RV9CP-20M, VK4XA-17M, UX1MM-10M, W5UJA-15M, YV6AZC-12M, and EA8ALP-20M. I was hoping to make it 6 QSO's on 6 different bands, but I couldn't find an AF station on 30M to finish that off, so I settled for doing it on 5 bands.
Some other new overall countries worked were VK0MM on 28 April, and HV5PUL on 30 April. The HV5 QSO finished off the month of April and made this latest DX streak 78 days, just 3 short of my previous best.
The streak almost ended prematurely again with some very poor conditions on May 3rd. It wasn't until 2248Z that I finally worked PY2NHK on 17M that I made my QSO for that day. Whew! What a heartbreak that would have been to not only not make 100 days, but to have this new streak end at 80 days, just one short of my previous record.
RH1F made the streak 82 days on May 4th. Only 18 days to go now! Some great conditions to Oceania in mid-May saw new countries Wallis & Futuna Is. and Fiji entered in my log thanks to FW/G3TXF, FW/G3SXW, and 3D8AG.
No more close calls, and the DX QSO's came easily through May 22nd, which was day # 100. RA2FBC and EA5/DJ7HZ put me over the top. I continued to keep the streak going after reaching my goal of 100 days. The streak eventually ended at 154 days on July 15th when I contacted FP/AI5P on 30M. Conditions again were very poor due to a severe geomagnetic storm, and I struggled to get that QSO. The next day I couldn't work any DX at all, my only QSO that day being with K4VK. Since then I have not attempted another long DX streak, being content with keeping my regular QSO per day streak alive.
Some random highlights of the 54 day extension of the streak included back to back QSO's for new countries on July 2 - A35RK and 3A/OH2BH, 9 JA QSO's on Jun 18 in the morning on 15M, 5H3RK on Jun 20 for a new country and a new zone leaving me with 4 zones needed for WAZ, TT8JLB on Jul 4 for yet another new one, working a dozen or so of the S5##* WRTC stations in the IARU contest, and getting V63KP on 17M for one more new one on Jul 10.
Combining the 2 streaks gave me DX on 235 out of 236 days. Not bad for QRP and simple wire antennas. If you're limited in what power you can run or limited in antenna space, keep my accomplishments in mind and give it a try yourself. You'll succeed and obtain much enjoyment from doing so. I certainly have.
Finally let's look at some stats from the streak. In the following stats, the first column will be for the 100 days, the second for the 235/236 days.
Number of DX QSO's 886 2103 Continents (excl Ant) 6 6 Countries 114 145 African QSO's 16 49 Asian QSO's 65 120 European QSO's 633 1549 NA DX QSO's 109 237 Oceania QSO's 20 29 SA QSO's 43 118 Overall new countries 12 22