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DX Streak #4

Updated in mid-August a couple weeks after this latest DX streak came crashing to an end. Literally crashing with a very high local noise level crashing the bands along with the poor propagation conditions. The streak started on March 1, 2013 which means it reached 1,980 days on Aug 1, 2018 and ended the next day when no DX showed up in my log. That's 5 years and 5 months plus 1 day of working at least 1 DX station each day. All stats below now reflect data through the end of the streak.

Although they are DXCC entities, I did not count the USA or Canada as DX for the purpose of the streak. Any of the other 338 current entities in the world do count plus any that may have become deleted entities during the streak. The DX QSOs were all made using CW, QRP, and simple wire antennas, from my location here in the river valley town of Kittanning, PA. Actually to be completely accurate and honest, there were two days (6/26/2016 and 6/28/2015) in this streak that the QSO was made from our NAQCC FD site in Chicora, PA, about 20 miles from here, but still CW/QRP/simple wire antennas.

This table shows 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   681    0.1  0.0  15.1  4.3  40.8  15.3  22.5  1.9    5.1  0.0  0.0  32.6  42.1  1.8  18.4    77.3
2018   419    0.0  0.0   4.3  2.1  58.2  15.8  17.2  2.4    4.1  0.0  1.0  44.9  33.2  0.2  16.7    70.5  JAN-SEP 1st
The first column after the year shows the total DX QSOs for that year or partial 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 for the year or partial year.

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

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 somewhat 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 681 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.

Now some history of the streak. 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 until something beyond my control ended the streak. My friend Mike KC2EGL was sure I would keep going. When I said some time ago, I think when it was about to reach the one year mark that 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. Another good check point was four years.

On February 28, 2017 the streak did reach the four year mark. At 0001Z I worked PJ7AA on 30 meters. My next goal of 1,500 days came on April 8, 2017. A hundred more days were added by July 17, 2017 to make it 1,600 days. That day was perhaps the hardest day in the streak up to that point to get my DX QSO. I didn't make it until 2350Z when I worked my friend Alex HC2AO on 30 meters who copied my first call to him despite horrible conditions that had persisted all during that day. It's nice to have great ops like Alex to depend on to come through with a streak QSO.

Looking back over the streak, there were some days that it was not that easy to find (the hardest part) and work (easy when found) a DX station. Especially as mentioned in the previous paragraph. However those days were in a very small minority. On 1,453 of the 1,980 days the DX was found and worked in the 0000Z hour - 73.4%. 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 really made the streak easy was having the PX3 Panadapter. It's a great time-saver as it made 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. 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.

Let me interject here that I never used any of the following to get my QSOs. Spotting of any kind. Something like the skimmer which shows a call for each peak on a panadapter. Following info about DXpeditions. Nor any other similar kind of aids like reverse beacons to mention just one. I just fired up the rig, tuned around to find some DX, and worked it if I could. The good old conservative way of DXing which is really all that is needed.

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 was involved in my decision to continue or discontinue the streak at any point along the way. I believe 1 year, 1,000 days, or now 1,980 days of daily 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.

I think it should be pointed out to those who may be contemplating a similar streak that this is not the best time to start. With sunspots decreasing now, and along with the decrease, poorer propagation for working DX, it is becoming harder to work DX. In fact, although I did make it somewhat into the depth of the sunspot minimum, the last few weeks of the streak were very trying ones. It was a bit more satisfying and rewarding then as it took more effort to work the DX. Around the sunspot maximum, it was as easy working DX as working someone just a couple blocks away in town. So keep that in mind.

During the 1,980 days of DX, I made 7,235 DX QSOs. I worked 160 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.

Of the 7,235 QSOs, 1,223 different DX prefixes were worked, 1,636 QSOs were with stations I worked for the first time ever. 4,322 came in contests. 27 came in response to my CQ. 513 of the 2,913 non-contest QSOs came from a single call to the station. 63 QSOs came at less than 5 watts - all the rest at 5 watts.

In the following stats the second column is for all 7,235 QSOs in the streak, the third column is for the 1,980 first QSOs of each day.
By bands:
80 -   54  -   18
40 -  778  -  297
30 -  650  -  549
20 - 2510  -  727
17 -  432  -  214
15 - 1638  -  126
12 -  118  -   21
10 - 1055  -   28
That shows that DX can be had even if your choice of bands is limited.

By continent:
AF -  265  -   68
AN -    4  -    4
AS -  154  -   39
EU - 4443  -  744
NA - 1567  -  796
OC -  110  -   14
SA -  692  -  315
Pretty well spread around the world with the natural predominance of EU.

By hours (UTC):
00 - 2081  - 1411
01 -  288  -   68
02 -  145  -   54
03 -   53  -   17
04 -   34  -   18
05 -  115  -    8
06 -   28  -    0
07 -    1  -    1
09 -    6  -    0
10 -   28  -    0
11 -    1  -    0
12 -   29  -   14
13 -  132  -   74
14 -  688  -  119
15 -  724  -   87
16 -  481  -   36
17 -  478  -   10
18 -  280  -   12
19 -  257  -   16
20 -  390  -   16
21 -  403  -   13
22 -  300  -    0
23 -  265  -    6
Indicative of my operating habits more than anything else.

By month:
2013
Mar - 235  -  31
Apr - 230  -  30
May - 147  -  31
Jun -  56  -  30
Jul -  57  -  31
Aug - 132  -  31
Sep -  54  -  30
Oct - 174  -  31
Nov - 556  -  30
Dec - 191  -  31
2014
Jan -  46  -  31
Feb - 536  -  28
Mar -  69  -  31
Apr -  73  -  30
May - 256  -  31
Jun -  49  -  30
Jul -  72  -  31
Aug -  48  -  31
Sep - 100  -  30
Oct -  66  -  31
Nov - 429  -  30
Dec - 166  -  31
2015
Jan -  50  -  31
Feb - 504  -  28
Mar -  94  -  31
Apr -  67  -  30
May - 206  -  31
Jun -  45  -  30
Jul -  39  -  31
Aug -  50  -  31
Sep -  42  -  30
Oct -  53  -  31
Nov - 287  -  30
Dec -  43  -  31
2016
Jan -  32  -  31
Feb - 337  -  29
Mar -  55  -  31
Apr -  32  -  30
May - 136  -  31
Jun -  34  -  30
Jul -  36  -  31
Aug -  34  -  31
Sep -  36  -  30
Oct -  31  -  31
Nov - 105  -  30
Dec -  32  -  31
2017
Jan -  32  -  31
Feb - 242  -  28
Mar -  32  -  31
Apr -  30  -  30
May -  35  -  31
Jun -  32  -  30
Jul -  33  -  31
Aug -  37  -  31
Sep -  31  -  30
Oct -  35  -  31
Nov - 108  -  30
Dec -  33  -  31
2018
Jan -  32  -  31
Feb - 145  -  28
Mar -  34  -  31
Apr -  33  -  30
May - 106  -  31
Jun -  35  -  30
Jul -  33  -  31
Aug -   1  -   1
The big peaks in Novembers and Februarys are due to the CQWW and ARRL DX tests.
For the past several months, the overall decrease in numbers is partly due to me getting on and
quickly getting the DX streak QSO, then moving on to other things rather than working more DX.
Let's take a brief look at some highlights of the five 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
7/17/2017 - Now the streak is at 1,600 days
10/25/2017 - Worked EI55WAW to bring the streak to 1,700 days.
11/25-26/2017 - 79 QSOs in the CQWW DX contest
12/10/2017 - Close call. Worked HB9CVQ on 80 at 2352Z to barely keep the streak alive.

1/1/2018 - IK8TEO worked to start the 6th calendar year in the streak.
2/2/2018 - Worked KL7SB/VP9 on 40 for day # 1,800
2/28/2018 - A 40M QSO with Josh 6Y5WJ completes 5 full years of daily DX QSOs.
5/13/2018 - Worked OT70TLS ON 40 for day # 1,900
8/2/2018 - First day without a DX QSO since February 28, 2013

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.