Last night provided me with a thrill in Ham Radio that just never
seems to get old. Snagging that elusive DX on a New Band. Working a New One is only surpassed by working an All-Time New One
(ATNO) and it seems several in the West Virginia DX Association (WVDXA) scored one of those "rarest
of the rare" contacts with this DX'pedition to A2, Botswana. CONGRATULATIONS
to all those folks! Hopefully you got your piece of pie as a reward for scoring
I am reminded of how it was "back in the day" when a New One was worked. Back then there were no WARC bands (30-M, 17-M and 12-M) so the record keeping was a "little" easier. Still, it meant having separate PAPER DXCC lists for each band AND for each mode!
Since there was no PacketCluster spotting system back then, you
found the DX by simply tuning your radio and checking out EVERY signal you heard until you could identify that station. If you happened to run across a pileup on the
band, you had to then physically check your list(s) to see if that
was a New One. But I can tell you that if it was an ATNO, that list
was kept in your brain and you knew instantly you had never worked
that country before!
There were check-boxes in your paper logbook to let you record if a QSL had been sent or received. But you still needed to keep paper records to record when you sent for a QSL, where you sent for it (bureau, manager, direct, etc.), and what you enclosed ($$$, SAE, etc.) All this paper-shuffling made you feel more like an accountant than a ham radio operator. That data can now be easily recorded in your logging program and instantly available to you. It is simply amazing what an improvement that is.
Plus, today with the PacketCluster, computer logging, Club Log and LoTW - that record-keeping "burden" has been removed. Today you don't need to tune the bands looking for DX, your logging program will take the incoming PacketCluster spots, check them against your log, then color-code them for you to tell you not only what stations have been spotted but whether or not it is a New One or an ATNO for YOU personally!
On the image at the upper-right, you can see that there are three spots from the PacketCluster that are color-coded Blue. (Click on any image to see a larger version.) These spots are displayed in my logging program's BandMap. Those are New Ones for ME. If they were Red, those would be ATNO's. If I hover my mouse over any of those (like I did with AP2HA in the above screenshot) I get a pop-up (shown in Yellow) with tons of detail. BOY, that's so much of an improvement over the "old days" that you just can't believe it unless you were there.
The Green square shown just to the left of most of those calls
indicate that station is an LoTW user, as does the "+" sign in the
Yellow pop-up. LoTW has improved the DX'ing hobby beyond measure.
At one time I waited 13
YEARS to get a QSL from an ATNO! And, when
that card came, it was still an ATNO as I had never worked that
country again in all those years. Today, you can sometimes get an
LoTW confirmation while the DX'pedition is STILL UNDERWAY!
All one needs to do is to click on any spot in the above BandMap and your radio jumps to the exact frequency and mode for the spotted station plus the callsign gets placed in the Call field of the logging program and is ready to be logged once the station is worked.
Your logging program can also tell you where you have and have not
worked that particular entity (band/mode/QSL Rcvd or not.) In the
screenshot on the left, I have A2, Botswana, Confirmed (shown in Red text) on
10-M and 20-M SSB plus 30-M and 40-M CW. The two Yellow "DIG"
fields show that I have "Worked" (Blue not Red text) A25RU on 17-M
and 30-M Digital Modes. They are Yellow since I typed A25RU into
the Call field to see these Worked/Confirmed records and the Yellow
says I have worked "A25RU" (not some other A2 station) on those
Bands/Modes. If I had just typed "A2" in the box, there would have been
no Yellow boxes, just the Mode shown in Blue text since it was not
confirmed on those QSO's. Plus the Yellow box for 80-M CW indicates my QSO from last night (as recorded in my log.) It is SO easy to check what bands/modes you need an entity on now, just enter the prefix for the entity and your Worked/Confirmed window will display all that data! No need to shuffle through all those PAPER DXCC lists!
From this data I can easily see that from this A25RU DX'pedition I have added two New Bands to my A2 list of stations worked as well as one New Mode. And, it also shows a gaping hole for 12-M which is one I still need.
Are you kidding me? 1973 for
that A2 QSO? WOW! Some of you reading this may still have been in
diapers or not even born then!
Still, the way things used to be, you were never 100% sure your QSO made it into the DX Station's log until you got his QSL (or not) which would always take 6-months or more and sometimes YEARS! Today, you just need to check out an online log to see if the DX has recorded your QSO. Below on the right is a screenshot of Club Log for the log of the A25RU DX'pedition checked against my own call.
Finally, my logging program, Logger32, even tracks my progress toward various awards. Looking at my confirmations for Mixed DXCC I can see my totals in the screenshot at the bottom of this Post.
That 80-M QSO with A25RU last night gave me 240 entities worked on
80-M All-Time and 237 Current since I have 3 Deleted entities worked
on 80-M. You can see two Yellow boxes with a "W" in them. That
indicates that A2, Botswana, has been "Worked" on those Bands but
not yet Confirmed.
The Green boxes with a "G" in them indicate those QSO's have been Confirmed AND Credit for them has been "Granted" by ARRL. The Orange "C" box tells me that QSO is "Confirmed" but not yet Granted toward my DXCC.
This table is a HUGE help in trying to confirm your contacts. Just scroll through the list and see what contacts are "Worked" but not "Confirmed." Click on the "W" box and a pop-up will give you the log information on that entity/band QSO. Below is what I see if I click on the Yellow box for 80-M on the A2, Botswana line. This gives me the information for ANY station marked as "W" (Worked and NOT Confirmed.) That will allow me to track when (or if) I sent for a QSL and give me access to all the information regarding that QSO. Using these tools you can stay up to date on your QSL'ing. And, we all know, the QSL is supremely important. Without a QSL or an LoTW Confirmation, you have NO Credit for working that entity. Anyone can "claim" they worked anything but if you can PROVE it, that makes all the difference.
The Red boxed text in the image below simply shows I've been DX'ing for a LONG time. I have Worked and Confirmed 18 entities which no longer count for DXCC! Some of those countries I have worked on as many as 3 modes and NINE bands! But, none of those QSO's count anymore because those entities have been DELETED from the ARRL DXCC List. BUMMER!
1. Abu Ail Is.
2. Yemen Arab Republic
3. Saudi Arabia/Iraq Neutral Zone
5. German Democratic Republic
6. Bajo Nuevo
7. Serrana Bank & Roncador Cay
8. Kingman Reef
9. Canal Zone
11. Territory of New Guinea
12. Bonaire, Curacao (Neth. Antilles)
13. Sint Maarten, Saba, Saint Eustatius
14. Malyj Vysotskij Island
15. Southern Sudan
17. Penguin Islands
18. Walvis Bay
So, even though I have been DX'ing for over 50 years, I probably enjoy it now more than I ever have. That is because of all the new technology that makes the hobby easier to enjoy. For me, this thrill of contacting some far-off country on a band where I have never worked them before, is STILL powerful! It just does NOT get old!
Please remember this history when your QSO does not show up in an online log as fast as you expect. Or when you think it is taking too long for LoTW to update after your upload. Today things are so much better than before so please - have a little patience! Remember, I waited 13 YEARS for one country to be confirmed!!! Just enjoy what we have now and keep working the New Ones!