With growing competition due to increased participation, the DX Marathon is holding true to its name! Dictionary.com defines marathon: “any contest or event requiring exceptional endurance”. With the top five scores only one point apart each, it really was a marathon battle for first place! In fact, 21 participants finished in the top ten – a 50% increase over last year. Although there were four fewer entities available in 2013 for a maximum possible score of 334 (compared to 338 in 2012), the 330 winning score actually matched that of 2012. 2013 was indeed a very competitive year for the Marathon. 10 meters really came to life in 2013 and overall activity on 10 was up 14% over 2012 and accounted for almost 15% of all Marathon QSO’s. 15m remained the single most active band with 25% of all QSO’s. CW remained the favorite mode accounting for more than 50% of QSO’s. Digital participation was down slightly but still represented 15% of all QSOs. Single Band/Single Mode submissions increased over last year with some amazing scores.
Overall submissions were up 7% over 2012 although there were fewer entries from Europe. Activity was high as DX Marathon entrants submitted a total of 113,653 QSO’s! Formula Class participation dropped to 20% reflecting comments from many of about the antenna restrictions. Starting in 2014 the Marathon now has a third class which is expected to increase the number of lower power participants. See sidebar elsewhere in this article for details of the new Limited Class.
And the Winners Are…
Although overall participation from European stations was down in 2013, EU stations were very much in the battle for the top spots in all classes. Since the inception of the Marathon in 2006, Eduard, OM3EY, has been a major contender every year and has never finished out of the top five. He finished first in 2008, 2nd three times, 3rd place two times and last year was 5th in the Unlimited Class. But 2013 was his magic year and he was able to capture the top spot with a score of 330. Not far behind Eduard was Bob, W9KNI, with a score of 329. Most amazing was that Bob made all his QSO’s on 20 meters! Rounding out the top five with scores of 328, 327 and 326 respectively were EA1DR, KB0EO and IK0OZD. Congratulations to Eduard for his Unlimited Class win!
Although the number of participants in Formula Class was down from last year, the scores remained high! This year’s top 100 Watt Formula Class honors go to Zoli, HA1ZH, with an impressive score of 310. W4TV was once again runner-up with an equally impressive score of 304. N4RI, K8CQ and E73Y filled the next three positions in the top five. In the 10 watt or less Formula Class, Dan, WG5G, repeated his feat of last year by taking first place with an amazing score of 295. Congratulations to all of our Formula Class participants.
The single mode competitions continue to attract additional participants and there was no shortage of high scores in all modes. Soundly winning the Phone competition, Wayne, N0UN, lead the group with a score of 323, well ahead of his competition. Last year’s Formula Class winner, UT9FJ, entered Unlimited Class this year and decided to pursue CW only. Missing only three CW countries that were active in 2013, Sam lead the CW competition with a score of 319. The Digital leader for 2013 was Jack, WS3N with a score of 260 points. Each mode winner will receive a plaque.
Additional plaques are also awarded for the highest scores on the 10-80 meter bands and for the top continental scores. The 15, 17 and 20 meter bands generated a lot of competition and some very impressive single band scores. The Europe, North American and South American competitions were also very close, with only three points separating the top three positions in both Europe and North America. For 2013, we are awarding all plaques, so the runners-up for 20 meters, Europe and South America will receive plaques. All band and continental plaque winners are highlighted in the Top Scores chart elsewhere in this article. As always, we sincerely appreciate the tremendous support of all of our plaque sponsors. If you or someone you know would like to become a DX Marathon plaque sponsor, please contact the author directly.
Certificates will be given to the top scorer in each country and zone, plus the 6 and 160 meter top scorers, for those who did not already qualify as a plaque winner. In the DX Marathon Club competition, once again the Araucaria DX Group in Brazil took top honors with a total score of 5,895. The Carolina DX Association was second with a score of 4,740. If you are a member of a radio club, be sure to include your club affiliation in your submission.
To help everyone improve their score, each year we publish a list of busted calls, pirate calls and other helpful information on the DX Marathon website. We are pleased to report that the 2013 error rate dropped significantly – from 2.35% in 2012 to 1.98% in 2013 and fewer actual subtractions than last year. The top spots are usually only one point apart, so even one error can be significant. We are also happy to report that twice as many entrants submitted error free logs compared to last year, although over 85% of participants still had at least one error. 55% of the errors were due to submissions with Invalid Calls. Although many of those were real QSO’s where the entrant made a typing error when entering the callsign in their log, many points were lost to bad spots on the spotting networks. We encourage everyone to listen very carefully to the DX station – never assume the callsign that was spotted is correct!
28% of the errors were due to claiming a country different from what it actually was. We encourage all participants to use electronic logging and update their country databases before preparing their final Marathon submission. The majority of these errors can be caught in software. 15% of the errors were due incorrect zones. We continue to see a high number of errors in Zones 2,3,4,5. The DX Marathon web page has a separate section dedicated to help determine whether that VE2 station is in Zone 2 or 5. For the USA zones, a manual check on QRZ.COM or in the FCC database is often required. There are a number of stations with KL, KP and KH prefixes that actually live in the lower 48 states. The remaining 2% of the errors were due to Pirates.
With a database of almost 114,000 QSO’s, there is a lot of information and data available. For example, in 2013, 20% of all QSO’s took place in October and November, reflecting the excellent band conditions and the large number of DXpeditions that took place then. That figure is quite a change for previous years and confirms that the Marathon is truly a year long event. The busiest three hour period for the Marathon is 1400-1700Z accounting for almost 20% of all QSO’s. Winning the Marathon often means working those countries that only make a few QSO’s each year. There were three countries that between them accounted for only 13 QSO’s. Working rare countries can be quite a challenge! Zone activity varies significantly as well, with Zone 2 accounting for only 345 QSO’s – that means over 30% of participants were not able to work Zone 2! Zone 14 is the most popular zone, accounting for 11% of all Zone QSO’s. If there are other statistics our readers would be interested in seeing, please contact the author.
Elsewhere in these pages you will find a Top Scores listing and the detailed listing of all participant’s final scores. For more detailed scoring information, please see the CQ and DX Marathon websites. Good luck to all in 2014!