Over the years I have enjoyed chasing DX with my modest ham radio station. I have never owned an amplifier or a beam antenna so working DX is more of a challenge than for those big gun stations. Like the big DXer NO2C who laughed and said, working 100 watts is QRP to me!
With a lot of help from my old friend and Ham Radio buddy Nick KF2P, we managed to string up a long wire up in my postage sized yard this summer. Over the past few weeks I have worked several new countries with the new long wire. Thanks again Nick!
Obviously to work DX to any degree, a DX cluster is essential. When I first started working DX, long before the days of an online cluster, a handful of us notified each other by phone when a DX station was “up”.
30 something years later, there are plenty of DX clusters around. The N3FJP Amateur Contact Log I use has a built in terminal based cluster which optionally informs you by voice each time a DX station is posted. The shortcoming of this setup is the lack of filters to limit new spots.
Enter, the QRZCQ DX cluster. In addition to the site’s DX cluster, the site has an amazing array of reference information. Features like Buddies, Chat, Account options, the DXTron, Ham Maps, Resources, Propagation Info, SWLing, Forums, Articles, News, Calendar, Media, SwapMeet to name some of the site’s menu choices.
The amount filters that can be set for DX spots is what really attracts me to the QRZCQ DX cluster. To work general DX, I set the filters up so that I get all spots under 30mhz, the mode I want, only spots that are receivable in my area and only spots that I need. You may ask how does the cluster know which spots I need? Since I keep digital log within the N3FJP Amateur Contact Log database, I periodically create an .adif file from AC Log and upload it to the DX Cluster.
During special events like 13 colonies, I set the filters to initially look for prefix K2 and when I have worked them all, I set then filter to only list WM3PEN, then TM13COL and finally GB13COL. In my limited knowledge, the QRZCQ DX Cluster is the only site where these detailed filters can be set.
Which DX Cluster do you use and why? 73 de @ke2yk