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DX Streak #4

Updated on February 28, 2017 - The day the streak reached 4 complete years of 1,461 days mainly to see how it has changed as the sunspot cycle declined.

For those new to reading about my DX streaks, a bit of an explanation is perhaps in order. It is simply working at least one DX station each and every day. The USA and Canada do not qualify as DX for the streak. The QSOs must be made using CW, QRP, and simple wire antennas, from my location here in the river valley town of Kittanning, PA.

These lines show the percentage of my DX QSOs during the streak sorted by band and continent.
YEAR  QSOS  10M  12M   15M  17M   20M   30M   40M  80M   AF   AN   AS    EU    NA   OC    SA    SF  NOTES
2013  1834 19.8  1.9  25.5  7.0  33.3   6.0   6.2  0.3  2.5  0.0  3.2  72.2  14.6  1.3   6.2 123.9  MAR-DEC
2014  1914 27.0  2.9  24.1  5.9  30.9   5.0   4.3  0.0  3.5  0.1  2.6  71.2  14.1  1.8   6.8 146.0
2015  1486  9.6  1.7  26.4  6.7  33.1   9.0  12.6  0.8  4.0  0.1  2.6  64.2  20.0  1.4   7.8 117.6
2016   899  3.6  0.2  21.9  5.8  32.9  15.5  18.8  1.3  4.3  0.1  0.4  43.7  33.9  2.0  15.5  88.8
2017   274 .004  0.0  21.2  2.6  44.9   4.4  24.5  2.2  4.7  0.0  0.0  45.6  36.1  1.8  11.7  77.2  JAN-FEB
The first column after the year shows the total DX QSOs for that year. The 10M through SA columns show the percentage of the total DX QSOs for each category. The last column is the average daily Solar Flux.

I think certain of the stats show a definite relationship between DX QSOs and the sunspot cycle or Solar Flux.

1. A noticeable decline in 10M and 12M QSOs after the SF peak in 2014.

2. A noticeable increase in 30M, 40M and 80M QSOs after the SF peak in 2014 as the higher bands became less useable. Also a slight increase in 20M QSOs for the same reason.

3. 15M and 17M didn't really decline until the SF dropped below 100.

4. Continents with high latitude paths (AS and EU) show a definite relationship to the SF.

5. Continents with medium latitude paths (AF and OC) increased as the SF declined. Probably mainly due to the lack of available EU and AS stations to work.

6. As EU and AS became much harder to work, the percentage of NA and SA QSOs showed a big increase.

It should be noted that 214 of the 274 QSOs in 2017 came from the ARRL DX Contest. That increased the 20M percent and decreased the 30M percent out of proportion to the info in items 1-6 above.

When I worked IK2SND on March 1, 2013, I had no idea what that started. When I did realize I was off on a DX streak, I decided I'd just keep going. I have no intention as of now of voluntarily ending the DX streak. I'll keep going until something beyond my control brings it to an end. My friend Mike KC2EGL is sure I will keep going. When I said some time ago, I wasn't sure about continuing it, he looked me in the eye and said he was sure that I would continue. 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.

On November 25, 2015 the streak reached day # 1,000 in a row. After reaching 1,000 days I needed to set another check point in the streak to challenge myself to reach. That was 3 years which was February 29, 2016. I reached that, and then it was time to set another check point. A good one was 4 years on February 28, 2017.

As mentioned above, on February 28, 2017 the streak did reach the four year mark. At 0001Z I worked PJ7AA on 30 meters. Now that I've reached that, my next intermediate goal is 1,500 days which should come on April 8 this year if nothing happens between now and then to end the streak.

Looking back over the four years, there were some days that it was not that easy to find (the hardest part) and work (easy when found) a DX station. However those days were in a very small minority. On 1,097 of the 1.461 days the DX was found and worked in the 0000Z hour. I think that proves beyond a doubt that you can be a successful DXer using only a very minimum setup without having to spend long periods of time on the bands. That is the main point of my streak, along with having fun and mastering the challenge of doing so.

One thing that is really helping to make the streak easy is having the PX3 Panadapter. It's a great time-saver as it makes it possible to quickly scan a band and examine each peak to see if it is DX or not. If it is DX, then jump on it and work it. No wasting time painstakingly scanning each band listening for signals. With the PX3, you know immediately if a band is worth examining further or not. Without it, I may have gotten disgusted some days and given up, thus losing the opportunity to be writing about a four year DX streak as I am doing right now. Also not to be neglected is the fabulous KX3 transceiver. Its user-friendliness makes it the very best such rig in the world. You can never get tired of operating when using it. One feature among many I'd like to single out is its ease of operating split, especially with the ability to hear the DX in one ear and the pile-up in the other ear when using headphones. That definitely helped me to break some good-sized pileups along the way, especially when I worked K1N Navassa Is. for my very last North American entity.

As alluded to above, I love showing hams who are in similar situations to mine that it is possible to work DX using CW at QRP power levels. I know I've done so because 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 1 year, 1,000 days, or 4 years of DX in conjunction with all the other things I've done with CW/QRP has been 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.

Time now for some more stats. All the following are up to date through February 28, 2017

During the four years of DX, I made 6,410 DX QSOs. I worked 159 countries (excluding W/VE). Of course all continents including a 9-minute WAC in the 2014 ARRL DX Contest. I worked 32 different CQ Zones. I worked 11 new overall countries: Tuvalu-T2YY, Qatar-A71CM, South Sudan-Z81X, Mauritania-5T0JL, Austral Is.-TX6G, Mauritius-3B8MU, Marianas Is.-AH0K, Navassa Is.-K1N, Western Sahara-S01WS, Western Samoa-5W1SA, and American Samoa-KH8/K0CW to bring my countries worked total to 225 via QRP/CW.

I worked 1,168 different DX prefixes. Of the 6,410 QSOs, 1,501 were with stations I worked for the first time ever. 4,000 came in contests. Only 19 came in response to my CQ. 407 of the 2,410 non-contest QSOs came from a single call to the station. 56 QSOs came at less than 5 watts - all the rest at 5 watts.
By bands:
80 -   36
40 -  621
30 -  492
20 - 2112
17 -  401
15 - 1575
12 -  118
10 - 1055
That shows that DX can be had even if your choice of bands is limited.

By continent:
AF -  222
AN -    4
AS -  150
EU - 4161
NA - 1237
OC -  104
SA -  531
Pretty well spread around the world with the natural predominance of EU.

By hours (UTC):
00 - 1716
01 -  265
02 -  122
03 -   44
04 -   30
05 -  102
06 -   28
09 -    6
10 -   28
11 -    1
12 -   13
13 -   66
14 -  633
15 -  693
16 -  445
17 -  439
18 -  269
19 -  247
20 -  365
21 -  394
22 -  282
23 -  222
Indicative of my operating habits more than anything else.

By month:
2013
Mar - 235
Apr - 230
May - 147
Jun -  56
Jul -  57
Aug - 132
Sep -  54
Oct - 174
Nov - 556
Dec - 191
2014
Jan -  46
Feb - 536
Mar -  69
Apr -  73
May - 256
Jun -  49
Jul -  72
Aug -  48
Sep - 100
Oct -  66
Nov - 429
Dec - 166
2015
Jan -  50
Feb - 504
Mar -  94
Apr -  67
May - 206
Jun -  45
Jul -  39
Aug -  50
Sep -  42
Oct -  53
Nov - 287
Dec -  43
2016
Jan -  32
Feb - 337
Mar -  55
Apr -  32
May - 136
Jun -  34
Jul -  36
Aug -  34
Sep -  36
Oct -  31
Nov - 105
Dec -  32
2017
Jan -  32
Feb - 242
The big peaks in Novembers and Februarys are due to the CQWW and ARRL DX tests.

The number of times in which the first DX station of a day was worked by hour:
00 - 1097
01 -   53
02 -   31
03 -    8
04 -   14
05 -    1
13 -   28
14 -   91
15 -   72
16 -   23
17 -    8
18 -    7
19 -   10
20 -    7
21 -    9
23 -    2
Let's take a brief look at some highlights of the four years 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.
3/27/2014 - DXCC entity # 219 overall worked in TX6G (Austral Islands)
3/28/2014 - Guam worked on 12 meters for a new band-entity (#1,078)
4/4/2014 - RS80KEDR commemorating the 80th anniversary of the birth of Yuri Gagarin worked.
6/3/2014 - Made my first QSO with the ARRL Centennial paddle presented to me by the NAQCC (CO0SS).
6/23/2014 - Worked EF6 honoring the new Spanish king Felipe VI. First QSO with a call having no suffix.
6/28/2014 - Worked FD with Mike KC2EGL using N3AQC from my front porch (we made 288 QSOs including a few DX)
7/13/2014 - The 500th day of the streak. Worked YU1700AST and EA4AOC/P.
10/11/2014 - Worked 2SZ, a station commemorating the 90th anniversary of the first England to New Zealand contact.
10/21/2014 - The 600th day of the streak. Worked WP3Y and SA5A.
11/30/2014 - Worked 3B8MU for country # 220 overall.
11/30/2014 - Worked AH0K as my last QSO in the CQWW DX Contest for country # 221 overall.

1/29/2015 - Day # 700 of the streak. Worked HK1MK, LY8O, SN90IARU.
2/9/2015 - Worked Navassa Island to finish all NA countries (entities). Thanks K1N - # 222 overall.
2/12/2015 - Worked Western Sahara thanks to S01WS for country # 223 overall.
2/21-22/2015 - 449 QSOs in the ARRL DX contest.
4/3/2015 - The 52nd anniversary of my becoming a ham.
4/11/2015 - A tough day for the streak, but made it with FS5PL at 2033Z.
5/30-31/2015 - 151 DX stations in the WPX contest.
6/8/2015 - Received my K1N QSL to verify the last NA DX entity.
6/16/2015 - Another rough day - no DX till 6Y5WJ at 1921Z.
6/19/2015 - One of the longest call signs in the streak - AO10EURAO
9/6/2015 - Rare Russian operating portable in Greece - SV2/RW3AL
10/1/2015 - Not too often worked Liechtenstein - HB0/DL5YM
10/19/2015 - Another of several IARU SE stations - EI90IARU
11/15-25/2015 - Several stations setting up for CQWW DX made last few days somewhat easy
11/25/2015 - Day # 1,000!!
11/28-29/2015 - 247 QSOs in the CQWW DX contest
2/20-21/2016 - 303 QSOs in the ARRL DX contest
5/28/2016 - DX entities Western and American Samoa (#224-225) worked in the CQWW WPX contest
11/26-27/2016 - 76 QSOs in the CQWW DX contest
2/18-19/2017 - 214 QSOs in the ARRL DX contest 2/28/2017 - The streak hits four years or 1,461 days

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.