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 WWSSB programs. Their sponsorship represented 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 human resources. It is our understanding that they have been and continue to have financial difficulties. Their website recently ceased to exist. The DX Marathon has in place contingency plans and we do not see any issues with our program and it’s growth given that CQ Magazine may no longer exist. 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 class. That is select the Unlimited, Limited, Formula, or QRP class and one log is allowed per location in that class.

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. If you do select the All Band category, you cannot within that band select a single mode, ie CW, Phone, Digital. You will be all modes single band.

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 the option of a single band/single mode entry (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. All participants must declare on the submission page whether the submittal is single mode or single band. If declared a single mode, the log MUST contain only that single mode Q’s. If a log is submitted with mixed mode Q’s, it will default into an all mode submission. Similarly, if a single band is declared, and the log contains multiple bands, it will default into an all band submittal.

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 a psarticipant fails to declare a single band or single mode entry and their intention was to submit on one of these choices, the scoring software will default into a single band entry providing the Q’s submitted are ALL in single band. If Q’s are found on multiple bands, it will default into an all band submittal.

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 and in one class.

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. In fact my personal study shows a 1% error rate in zones within QRZ. All participants should carefully check the zone associated with each station worked. The AD1C country data base we have found to be the most accurate.

Q. I recognize how important it is to get the CQ Zones correct, and that QRZ does not always have it correct because the inputs for zones on QRZ are actually made by the operator. Is there another way I can check that a claimed Q has the correct zone information?

A. Absolutely, first of all, if you have access to the AD1C country files, these clearly are the best and most accurate in the world. They come as part of the DX4WIN software. But, there is another very reliable source according to our experience. It is free and can be found at the URL zone-check.eu/

From QRZ or from a stations claimed grid square, copy the grid square, go to the zone-check.eu website, and paste it in the appropriate place (top of the page).

The program will display a map showing the exactly location of the grid square AND the CQ and ITU zone. We cannot guarantee the accuracy but from a number of very, very experienced DX’ers it is very accurate in identifying the correct CQ Zone.

For example, 7O8AD operating from Yemen, he declared his QRV on QRZ as Grid LK72CQ. If copied and pasted into the program, you will get the exact location of his operation on Socotra Island for his DXpedition November 3rd to November 15, 2023.

CQ Zone 37 and ITU zone: 48.

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 calculate final 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 and you can take your time checking the accuracy of your entry during the course 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 on the www.dxmarathon.com website. Between the time high claimed scores are published and the final results published, your DX Marathon administrative team is going through a QSO verification and log checking process. Official results can be expected to be published in the first part of the month of April.

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 via the website. We appreciate voluntary contributions anytime during the year even if it is a few “bucks”. Contributions can be directed to paypal at wc3w@dxmarathon.com.

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 remain private and can be accessed by only the participant.

Q. What loggin programs can I use to log Q’s that are suitable for the DX Marathon Program?

There are many logging programs that work just fine with the DX Marathon Program. Now that we have a very easy to use submission tool, all your logging program needs to do is output an adif file. Below are listed just a few. The list is not complete as most logging programs will work just fine.

A. DXLab provides Marathon award progress. 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:



B. Ham Radio Deluxe. A complete description of the features and how to use them can be found at the following link:

C. N1MM+. 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.

A list of instructions/videos for exporting ADIF files from a number of programs used for logging- (Thank you Anthony Luscre, K8ZT for this list) 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)

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. 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. Can you explain how to use AD1C’s tool that converts an ADIF file to DX Marathon submittal file for 2024?

A. First of all, for people who wish, they can simply upload their ADIF file directly into the new submission tool without any conversion needed. For participants that are used to their old workflow before the new submission tool was available, or who want to use an Excel file mid-season to see their progress, they can use AD1C’s tool. If participants wish to still submit the Excel file for their submission, this tool will allow you to do that as well. Here is the location of the tool: https://ad1c.us/software/marathon/

IMPORTANT: The release of the program only works with the submission scoresheet that you can find here:


You will get an error message if you try to use any other scoresheet!

We recommend that you uninstall any version of this program that you may have installed previously. Then download and install the new program from the first link in this message.

The program window is the same as before, but only the CALLSIGN field is required. You can leave the remaining field blank.

Can you explain how the new submission tool works?

The submission process involves four steps: 1- Select your QSOs from your logging program 2- Prepare your entry 2A- Enter the list of QSOs in adif format 2B- Enter your contact info and class 3- Submit your entry.

This process is about as simple as it has ever been in the DX Marathon Program. Before the new submission tool, Step 1 was done either manually or using existing logging apps. Step 2 was all done in Excel sometimes with the help of tools like AD1C’s app mostly for 2A. And finally Step 3 was just a form on the old web site.

The new submission tool covers step 3 like before, but it also handles 2B. It can also help with step 1, and 2A, or you can use other apps for those steps.

It is our intent to standardize on the new submission tool. We have had overwhelming support from 99% of our participants on its simplicity.

In the interim time, if you wish not to use the tool, you can still perform steps 1 and 2A using any other tool. Those tools can still produce an excel file, and now also an ADIF file, or a special xml format, with the final list of QSOs.

So the main change, if you use the same tools you used last year, is that during the final submission process you will be asked to confirm your qso selection and complete your contact info and classification questions.

The new submission tool now will allow you to make your submission without having to use an Excel spreadsheet.

Also, those building tools to help you with steps 1 and 2A will not have to deal with generation of excel files which is a useless extra step adding no value to the process.

Please practice submitting anytime during the year. Each submission you make, i.e. changes, will superceded the previous one so you can start submitting right now. At the end of the year, you will only have to make an update, and then carefully check everything to make sure you did not list a pirate, or you had a wrong zone, or you had a broken call. That’s it!

Q: I’ve heard that the United Kingdom has changed its rules for callsigns in 2024. What does that mean for the Marathon?

A. The UK system has long had what it calls “RSLs” – the D in GD0ABC or the J in MJ0ABC. These are not actually part of the issued callsign, proper. If GD0ABC operates in London, they simply sign G0ABC; this has always been true. What is new is that GD0ABC may now sign G0ABC even when in the Isle of Man. But, anyone signing GD0ABC must be in the Isle of Man. Those are the current UK regulations.

Although on the surface the UK rule change does not appear to be a major change, it does in fact have an impact on the complexity that it introduces into the scoring of the DX Marathon Program.

In our interest to be transparent with our participants, we will be handling this situation as follows for the current 2024 DX Marathon period.

The DX Marathon will require a call with an RSL in it for credit outside of England. For example, if you submit a QSO with GD0ABC, no problem. However, if you work G0ABC and this station happens to be on the Isle of Man, it will be scored as G, England.

There is no official public list of UK calls and that is the problem. As such, it places a large burden on you the participant and we the scoring entity to figure out where the station was located when you worked them. So, if you are claiming a credit for a United Kingdom entity, it MUST have the RSL designation in the call otherwise it will default to England.

Of course, ordinary G or M calls in England (which normally do not have RSLs) will continue to be credited to England.

Lastly, since you asked the question, please note the following:

England - the largest “country” in Great Britain and the United Kingdom.

Great Britain: All countries on the island - that means England, Wales and Scotland.

United Kingdom: Great Britain plus Northern Ireland, Isle of Wight, Guernsey and Jersey