DX Cluster F**k – 13 Colonies Special Event

This past week I observed some horrible use of the DX cluster system by many operators. This past weekend in the US was a long weekend in celebration of Independence Day aka July 4th. There was a special event going on this weekend where each of the original 13 colonies (states) had a special event 1×1 call sign (eg K2A) and a certificate was available commemorating the special event. Folks were shooting for getting all 13 logged for a “clean sweep”.

Being in NJ I was hopeful I’d be able to log many/all of the stations. Heck I did a triple play earlier in the year so I did all the stations on RTTY, CW and SSB. Well that certainly wasn’t going to be the case. Most of the stations I saw were on SSB on 20m and being as close as I am to those states, 20m SSB isn’t the best band to make the contact. I saw some special event stations on 40m and none on 80m before I stopped looking.

What was really disappointing was the conduct of many operators trying to make contact with the stations. The first disappointment was how they would put out their call sign when the special event station called CQ/QRZ. Once or twice is fine but I heard stations putting out their call 6 times or more. The special event station was already in the middle of the contact with the station he came back to and these stations are still putting out their call sign on top of the contact. I’m pretty sure one of the basic rules in amateur radio is “listen!”

The second extremely disappointing observation was the use of the DX Cluster for whining/complaining/begging. It was worse then when K5D was running their Desecheo DXpedition! There were operators spotting on the cluster requesting certain states to switch bands. There were operators spotting on the cluster asking why certain stations (states) weren’t on the air when they wanted them to be and how those states were screwing everyone. There were spots to the cluster asking which actual operators were responsible for the special event stations. These weren’t announcements to the cluster but actual spots.

It was certainly a disappointment to see such poor behavior from many operators. Here’s a small screenshot from DXWatch.com searching on K2C, one of the stations in the event, leading up to the end of the event. These are all spots, none of which had anything to do with the actual station being spotted. I’m sure I’d fine the same thing for many of the other special event stations. I have no idea if the spotter was the actual station listed in the cluster so don’t yell at me if it’s your call and you didn’t do the spotting.

K2C DX Cluster Spots
K2C DX Cluster Spots

Here’s for K2J:

Inappropriate spotting for special event stations
K2J DX Cluster Spots

Disappointing to say the least!


1 thought on “DX Cluster F**k – 13 Colonies Special Event

  1. I heard (and saw) some of the same poor behavior you’re talking about. It was pretty shocking and quite aggravating too. In addition to many of the comments you referenced on the spotting clusters, I heard several ops question the K2 ops as to why they weren’t on certain bands, some even went as far as to complain (and hold up other contacts in the process).

    I never have quite understood why people think that calling while the target station is transmitting is going to be effective? Logic certainly tells us otherwise, but maybe they know a secret that we don’t? I kind of doubt it.

    I guess this isn’t a problem that’s going to go away, it just seems to get worse. However, I have heard some really good ops take control of unruly crowds (and on CW that’s no small feat!) and manage them efficiently and maintain order. Some of the ops that I heard from the K2 stations seemed a bit overwhelmed at times at the size of the pileups, which was understandable if they were simply volunteering their time to put these stations on the air and weren’t used to such interest.

    You’re right, disappointing.

    73 – Ed N4EMG

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