CQ DX Marathon

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is CQ Magazine’s role in the DX Marathon Program and we have heard that they are undergoing financial difficulties.

A: CQ Magazine has been the sponsor of the DX Marathon Program for many years as they also sponsor other ham radio contests like the CQ WWCW and SSB programs. Their sponsorship is included the publication of the rules in the November issue and the previous year results in their June issue. That is the sum total of their support. They do not and have never contributed financially to the program nor have they provided any volunteer resources. We are understanding that they have been and continue to have financial difficulties even to the extent they did not publish the electronic version of the November issue, nor of course any hard copy version. Their website recently ceased to exist as well. The DX Marathon has in place contingency plans and we do not see any issues with our program and it’s growth given CQ Magazine disappears. We wish them the best and hope this does not happen but we must protect the program and our participants. We have done so. No worries.

Q. Can I enter more than one Class?

A: The current rules allow each participant to submit one log per single location and select one of the Classes listed on the 2024 Rules Page.

Q. I want to submit for a single band but not sure which band I should choose. Will the DX Marathon extract only the QSOs for my best band and use that band for my single band submission?   Or can I submit multiple logs - one for each band?

A: No, if you want to enter as a single band participant, you must decide at the time you submit your log, declare it in your submission, and only enter QSO’s for that band. The DX Marathon will not decide for you. If QSOs are entered for more than one band, your entry will become an all band entry.

Q. I want to submit for a single mode but not sure which mode I should choose. Will the DX Marathon extract only the QSOs for my best mode and use that mode for my single mode submission? Or can I submit three logs - one for each mode?

A: If you want to enter as a single mode participant, you must declare at the time you submit your log and declare your single mode in your submission. The DX Marathon staff will not decide for you. If QSOs are entered for more than one mode, your entry will become an all mode entry.

Q. I wish to enter a single band/single mode combination. Is this acceptable? If so, how will it be scored?

A. At this time, we do not offer single band/single mode awards (for example all 17meter FT8) since there is simply not the demand nor the number of participants to justify this option. Perhaps, as our program grows, it will be included in the future. If a participant does enter a single band and single mode on the submittal entry form, we highly recommend that they declare which option is being sought, ie, is this a single band or a single mode submittal. If nothing is declared, the scoring software will consider the entry a single mode entry.

Q. What happens if I don’t declare in the submission page which option I intend to submit, that is single mode or single band?

If someone enters all QSOs in a single mode and a single band, the scoring software defaults to a single band entry. The upcoming upgrades to the submission tool will make sure the participant will have the opportunity to clearly declare for which option he declares for his entry.

Q. Can I submit multiple logs and have the scoring software choose the one with the best score?

A: The current rules allow each participant to submit one log per location.

Q. If I operate in a contest during the year, do the QSO’s qualify for the DX Marathon Program?

A: Yes they do as long as you are using the same station. If you use a separate call sign from the same location, you need to clearly specify the contest call on your submission form. (See other FAQ question relating to more than one call). If a second operator assists in the contest, does his/her QSO’s also count? The answer is yes, again as long as the same station is used during the contest.

Q. If my antenna meets Limited Category requirements, can a station submit logs in both the Limited Class and the QRP class?

A. No, the rules clearly state each entrant may submit one log each year per operating station.

Q. Some stations have their call followed by /MM or /AM. Are these Q’s eligible for DX Marathon?

A. No, these represent Maritime Mobile and Aeronautical Mobile stations and they cannot be claimed for Q’s in our program. The reason is clear, their QTH is not fixed. Mobile stations in a car or van also cannot participate at the present time in our program for the same reason.

Q. When are CQ Zones important when submitting on the scoring sheet and why was I penalized one point because of a wrong zone?

A. To qualify for a zone worked, the call entry that you place for the respective zone must be located in the claimed zone. If you enter a call sign for example claiming zone 3 as an entry, and that call sign is in zone 5, this is an incorrect zone and you will be penalized one point. The bottom line, make sure that all zone calls are located in the zone you are claiming. Many data bases including QRZ does not have the zone information correct as operators are responsible for inputting the CQ Zone. A mistake by the station worked means a mistake for you the participant. All participants should carefully check the zone associated with each zone worked.

Q. What if I miss the deadline and submit after January 5th?

A: We will be happy to accept your log and it will be scored and the results published separately with any other late logs. We reserve the right to treat a late log as a "checklog" or ignore it entirely. The reason is that we are under a tight time schedule to verify QSO’s and to submit finalize results. Please do your best to submit logs on time. Our new submission tool allows you to submit your log anytime during the year. Each time you submit, your submission will be updated with your last submission. By doing this, you can avoid a big rush at the end of the year.

Q. Why does it take so long for the results to be published?

A. High Claimed scores are published within a few days of the submission deadline, but the final results are based on CQ Magazine publication deadlines. Between the time high claimed scores are published and the CQ Magazine deadline, the DX Marathon team will be carefully checking logs for accuracy. Official results and rankings will be made available in the June issue of CQ Magazine.

Q. What happens in either the plaque or certificate award categories if two or more participants end up with the exact same score?

A. This does occur and in the rules, in the case of ties, the operator whose last scoring contact was earlier chronologically will be judged the winner. For example, we recently had two stations finish with exactly 280 points. Station W9XX last QSO at 12/26/2022 at 1650Z. Station K9XX had his last QSO at 12/31/2022 at 2320z. The winner of the award would then be the W9XX because his last QSO was the earlier of the two.

Q. Is there any cost to enter the DX Marathon and receive awards?

A. There is no cost to the entrant. All certificates are downloadable PDFs and the cost for the plaques are covered by the plaque sponsors. The DX Marathon staff does incur costs and we welcome and encourage any donations via PayPal or a tax free contribution that can be found at the bottom of the home webpage at www.dxmarathon.com. We appreciate voluntary contributions anytime during the year even if it is a few “bucks”.

Q. Does the DX Marathon website provide updates during the year on the top scores?

A. The majority of participants prefer to keep their current scores private, so there is no current progress listing on the website. Participants can load their scoresheet during the year multiple times. The last submitted scoresheet will supercede previously submitted scoresheets. Those submitted logs during the year will remain private.

Q. I use DX Labs for my logging program. What features of this program support DX Marathon?

A. DXLab provides instantaneous Marathon award progress and completely automates the submission process. In addition, it does the following:

  • identifies in real time currently active stations with whom a QSO would advance your Marathon award progress by monitoring the worldwide DX Cluster Network, the Remote Beacon Network, and local instances of WSJT-X

  • minimizes point loss to busted or invalid callsigns by tracking “risk”; for example, a QSO confirmed via LoTW is low risk

Please see:

https://www.dxlabsuite.com/dxkeeper/Help/Progress.htm#AP%20CQ%20DX%20Marathon

https://www.dxlabsuite.com/dxlabwiki/MarathonAwardTracking

Q. I use Ham Radio Deluxe for my logging program. Does HRD support the DX Marathon Program and what features are available?

A. Yes, most definitely. HRD deluxe does support the DX Marathon Program. A complete description of the features and how to use them can be found at the following link:

Q. I use N1MM for my logging program. Is there a way I can get status reports, and at the end of the year use this program to generate my ADIF file?

A. N1MM+ is not a general-purpose logger; there is no support for chasing awards like DXCC and WAS, and there are no QSL management features. For those functions, you should be using a general logging program. If you are using N1MM+ as a logging program, you do have the ability to export ADIF format files and import them. So, if for example you are using the DX Marathon web-based https://marathon.ham2k.net/ You can import your adif into this tool and get your current year-to-date status and of course at the end of the year, you can compile your log for 2023 and export it into a final adif file. Then you can use various tools available to generate your submission.

Q. I have a summer cottage and have small antennas there and low power. Can I add those QSOs to my total form my home station?

A: No. The rules clearly state each participant is entitled to submit one log per location. You are welcome to enter a second log from your second QTH.

Q. Why doesn’t the Marathon offer a 100 watt version of the Unlimited Class?

A. The majority of participants with towers and yagis own amplifiers. There is simply not enough demand for a low power unlimited class at this time.

Q. I started out the year in one QTH but during the course of the year I sold my home and moved to a new location within country. Will I be allowed to combine the scores for the year in a single submission?

A. No, the rules clearly state submissions for the year must be from a single location. You may put in two submissions from each location. You should distinguish the difference through a modification of your call in some way so that we can differentiate the two submissions.

Q. I received my summary of last year’s entry and I made a simple error for which I have an alternate QSO – why can’t I substitute that QSO and gain back that point?

A. All scoring is done in February to allow time for verifying QSO’s and writing the magazine article in time for publication deadlines. By the time you receive your score summary, the results have long been determined and awards created. It is not possible to change anything on your log after the January 5th submission deadline. We encourage all participants to carefully check their logs before submitting.

Q. I submitted my log on January 2nd and after reviewing it, I found a mistake. Can I re-submit?

A. Yes. You can re-submit any time as long as the submission meets the final submission deadline of January 5th, 23:59Z. The new log will simply overwrite your previous submission.

Q. I worked a station that is not listed on QRZ.COM and not listed on the DX Marathon’s Helpful Hints webpage. How do I determine if the call is real or not?

A. If you are not sure, please send an email to the DX Marathon Communication Manager at K2CIB@dxmarathon.com. All inquiries are generally answered within 24 hours. Please note, John, K2CIB spends lots of hours each week trying his best to keep the Helpful Hints updated. Please understand, Helpful Hints mean helpful hints. The listing of good calls for example is not a “callbook” and there may be good calls out there that are not listed. John tries his best to modify Dxpeditions late starts and times of operation, and postponed DXPeditions. He pays particular attention with station using prefixes such as FO, GB, HK, JD, and others. John does not track IOTA DXpeditions. John can always use our participants help–if you work an entity that you feel is rare and have confirmed it, please send him and email.

I understand your policy on Russia/Ukraine. What about stations that have call signs beginning with D1?

A. D1 calls are self-assigned, and not issued by any recognized government authority (neither Ukraine nor Russia). These have shown up in the Donbas region and as far as the DX Marathon Program is concerned, they are pirates and do not count. The DX Marathon program uses the DXCC country list plus the WAE countries. Donbas is not on either of those lists, so no country credit is possible.

Q. I worked a station in a rare entity, but never received my 73 and there is no online log. Should I still enter the QSO even though I am not sure I am in the log?

A: Remember the "solid contact rule." If, on your side of the QSO, you copied the DX’ call and copied the DX sending back your call, you can certainly submit the QSO. It meets our requirements. That said, it is better, if you can, to submit QSOs for which you are quite confident that you did make the QSO.

Q. My logging program assigned a CQ Zone to a QSO submitted on my score sheet. Why did I get flagged for having the wrong CQ Zone?

A. Each logging program uses different sources of identifying a CQ zone with a call. If for example, QRZ is used by the logging program, each station call sign operator must manually input their CQ Zone and ITU Zone into QRZ. If the operator makes a mistake in entering the CQ Zone, you have made a mistake. All entries when using a logging program that gets the CQ Zone data from QRZ, for example like DXKeeper in the default position, should be double checked by you before submission. We have found that the country data base maintained by AD1C is highly accurate. This data base is used by N1MM, WSJT-X, DX4WIN and others.

Q. I happen to belong to two clubs and would like to provide my score to both clubs. Can I do this?

A. Unfortunately, at this time, since the software does not allow us to process club scores, (maybe we can enhance this in the future we can only allow participants to assign their score on the submittals to a single club. Please carefully read the new Club rules in 2024 Rules on www.dxmarathon.com.

Q. How will the new organization work, and if I have any questions, where should my questions be directed?

A. The administrative work will be split among five functional areas. Depending on your question, you should direct it to the appropriate person with a cc: to WC3W@dxmarathon.com. The emails are:

Q. What are best practices for submitting QSOs?

A. Some QSOs are easier to approve than others. Some are more error prone than others. If you have a choice about what to submit, we recommend you follow the best practices listing below in the order that they are listed:

  1. QSOs you have confirmed by tools such as LOTW, Clublog, eQSL, QRZ’s logbook. We don’t require confirmations, but confirmed QSOs are much more likely to be real ones.

  2. For zones, prefer Canadians over Americans for zones 3, 4, and 5. Prefer VO2 for zone 2.

  3. For zones, prefer regular Russian calls like UA0CA over calls like R1155RW.

  4. QSOs whose callsigns are known to LOTW, Clublog or QRZ.

  5. QSOs from callsigns we have approved before.

  6. Double-check stations with these prefixes: 3D2, E5, FO, FK, VK9. Their prefix does not always tell which DXCC entity to which they belong.

  7. Most QRZ entries have CQ Zone data in them. But because the user enters that information, zone entries may be incorrect. Most entities (countries) have one and only one zone. Use that. Those that don’t are mostly determined by the call sign (US calls, R0xxx Russian calls, and VK9 calls are the principal exceptions). Find out what your logger does. It probably implements a lot of this.

Avoid submitting these if you can:

  1. Busted calls, pirates, or invalid operations we call out in Helpful Hints. These, we have already promised to reject.

  2. Calls from very rare locations (the kind that are only activated once a decade). The WP5HAM you think you worked was probably WP4HAM or a pirate. Double check.

  3. Rovers, SOTA, POTA stations. By definition these folks move around. We may come to a different answer than you do about where they were.

  4. Calls with funny or nonstandard suffixes. For example: IS0SZU/FB. Is it France or Sardinia? If it’s all you have, turn it in, but in our scoring check, our answer may be determined to be different from yours. We have many multiple sources to check such unusual calls at our disposal.

  5. “Stateside” US 1x1 calls. If you worked K8H (American Samoa) in 2022, submit it without fear. We will learn about 1x1s to US Possessions. If you worked K7M, think twice. Not only was it activated in just about every “7 land” state in 2022, it was also activated in North Dakota, which is zone 4, not zone 3 as most 7 land calls are. Accurate information on US 1x1 stations is hard to come by. We do have sources, good ones, but definitive? Not really.

Any general questions, please direct them to wc3w@dxmarathon.com

Q. When using the new submission tool, I am not getting credit for Shetlands when I upload my log with my QSO with GS2MP?

A. When uploading the log on the new tool, we use what’s in your ADIF file to sort the QSOs for each entity. We do not do any smart processing, nor do we use third-party information such as ClubLog or Country Files.

If your log has IOTA information, we use that for a couple of the WAE entities. We also use prefixes for TA1 and a short list of calls for 4U1V. So if you want to see your QSOs with GS2V show up under “Shetlands” in the new tool, make sure your ADIF includes either the Region tag (which is not supported by many programs) or an IOTA tag.

Having said that, the new submission tool lets you manually pick any QSO for any entity, so you can always go to “Shetlands”, click on the pencil icon, click on “search for a callsign”, enter “GS2” and click “select” on the QSO you wish to use.

Q. I have tried all three of the tools listed on the CQ Marathon site. Using a COMMON ADIF log file each option results in a different score. Official Submission Tool 234 Entities, 39 Zones 273 claimed total: AD1C Program 237 Entities, 39 Zones, 276 claimed total; Ham2k Tool 235 Entities, 39 Zones, claimed total 274. Which tool is considered the most accurate? Is there an automated way to do a comparison between the results of the 3 tools?

A. The official submission tool does almost no “guessing” past what is on your ADIF tool. It does not check your call signs against other external data sources, like Country Files for example.

If your ADIF export has no entity info, then the tool does basic prefix matching. But many entities have ambiguous prefixes, so this matching is incomplete. Tools like AD1C’s, or Ham2K, do use better sources of information that can match individual call signs to these ambiguous entities. They do a better job with zones too, in areas like Canada or Russia. AD1C even checks against the DX Marathon list of bad callsigns.

The submission tool does not try to be the best tool to analyze all data sources and do your research for you. You can use it to edit your entry manually and adjust any entry based on your research. Or you can use other tools like AD1C or Ham2k as a better starting point. But do understand that the marathon is meant to test not just your station capacity and your operation ability, but also the quality of your log management.

Q. I am having trouble figuring out how to export an ADIF file for input into the DX Marathon submission tool? Can you help?

A. I have put together a list of instructions/videos for exporting ADIF files from a number of programs used for logging- Exporting ADIF from Logging Programs- Ham Radio Deluxe (https://support.hamradiodeluxe.com/support/solutions/articles/51000052695-exporting-log-files) DX4Win (https://qo100dx.club/dx4win-export) DXLab DXKeeper (https://www.dxlabsuite.com/dxkeeper/Help/Export.htm) Log4OM (start at page 61 of the manual–https://www.log4om.com/l4ong/usermanual/Log4OMNG_ENU.pdf) Logger32 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhzjjpGge2s) LOGic 9 or 10 by PDA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tUAdzB4EEs) N3FJP AC Log (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX1whGCuWZM) QRZ.com (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esi_gLRtrSY)

Thank you to Anthony Luscre, K8ZT for providing this information.