Friday, 3 June 2016

Magic Band And The DX Window

Late May and early June always sees 6m come to life ... sometimes slowly and sometimes with a 'bang'. Last year's good early start soon flickered-out into what was the poorest sporadic-e season that many could recall. This year's 'start' has almost been a no-show, with just a very few short openings to the south eastern states (Colorado, Utah) and one 'blink and you've missed it' opening to the Great Lakes.

Hopefully the 6m propagation gods are just having some fun with us and things will really spring to life shortly. Once we do get into some periods of good propagation, there are always new arrivals to the band, as most transceivers these days include the 6m band. Every season I hear of newcomers getting their knuckles wrapped for, probably unknowingly and in all innocence, operating inside the 'DX Window'.

If you're new to the band or perhaps not sure how the window should work, here's a short section taken from my Magicband web page, that explains the concept:

Don't Be A 'DX-Window' Lid! 

One of the quickest ways to get the 6m community saying nasty things about you behind your back is to mess-up in the DX Window. The DX Window (50.100 - 50.125 kHz) has long been established for one type of contact only, that being a legitimate DX QSO. 

The DX Window can only be of value if everyone follows these basic 'rules': 

If you are in the U.S.A. or Canada, DO NOT WORK ANY OTHER U.S.A. or CANADIAN STATIONS INSIDE THE WINDOW. The window is NOT for North America - North America contacts. 

Do not answer the "CQ" of U.S.A. or VE stations if you are in North America. This creates unnecessary QRM and chances are, they will not respond to your answer anyway. Calling or answering other North Americans in the DX-Window only reinforces bad operating habits, encouraging newcomers to do the same. If you want to work U.S.A. or CANADA, do it outside the DX Window! 

Work or call only stations outside of North America inside the DX Window. 

The only legitimate exception to these rules, that will not get you in the naughty-corner, is working a KL7, VE8, XE or some other such fairly rare North Americans. 

I hate to say it, but some of the worst offenders to the successful function of the DX Window are my fellow VE's, many of whom don't know or don't understand the simple concept of how it works. Now that you know, pass it on! 

Now, you may or may not agree with the concept of a DX window, so please don't shoot the messenger. What I do know however, is that if everyone does their best to adhere to the window's concept, it works well. Problems arise when those that should know better, and probably do, decide that for some reason, the concept doesn't apply to them or that it won't hurt, 'just this once'. Others, particularly newcomers, see it and think it's all OK and soon the window is full of domestic QSO's, effectively killing its usefulness.

As conditions slowly improve, hopefully we can work on six this summer. I usually hang out on CW, just below 50.100. As one long-time 6m diehard would often say to me, the newcomer over 40 years ago ... 'We'll see you, all of a sudden!"

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