30 All time records were broken or added in 2014! Click here for details.
10 Meters was alive and well in 2014! Although the propagation forecasts at the beginning of the year looked poor, many participants in the 2014 edition of the DX Marathon kept their dials set to 10 meters. Over 25% of all QSO’s submitted in the Marathon were on 10m - double the quantity from 2013. 12m QSO’s were also up significantly. The 10, 12, & 15m bands accounted for 55% of all Marathon QSOs. That is the highest percentage ever seen in the Marathon. Let’s hope these good conditions continue into 2015. Average scores were down slightly from last year, reflecting the greater seasonal variations of the higher frequency bands and an increased number of entrants pursuing single band awards. However, participation in the Marathon grew 5% in 2014, thanks primarily to the addition of the new Limited Class. This new class was claimed by over 15% of entrants, most of whom previously would have been required to enter in Unlimited Class. The Marathon committee will continue to evaluate all entry classes. We would like to extend a special welcome to the 38 entrants from Turkey – a huge increase over previous years.
Single band submissions on 10 meters were almost 3 times as many in 2013, although single band activity on the low bands decreased. CW remains the most popular DX Marathon mode, with just under 50% of all QSOs made on CW. Twice as many entrants entered as Digital only compared to last year. Overall, a total of 292 countries and 40 zones were available in 2014 for a maximum possible score of 332. Unfortunately, the number of active countries continues to drop each year, but Marathon competition was the toughest yet, with the winning score only one point less than 2013!
And the Winners Are…
Since his first entry in the Marathon in 2011, Tony, IK0OZD has been a major contender. He won the overall Unlimited Class in 2011 and won the CW plaque for Top CW score in 2012. For 2014, Tony was the sole leader with a top score of 329 – he missed only 3 countries. There were quite a few countries in 2014 that made only a very few QSO’s: E5 (North Cook), KH9, VP6, VP8 S. Georgia and TL. Ultimately, those countries made the difference between the top positions. Wayne, N0UN and Bill, K2TQC, both came in one point behind Tony at 328 points. In the case of ties, standings are determined by the date of the last country worked. Sam, UT9FJ, had the incredible score of 327 using only 100 watts and a vertical! Fortunately his vertical is quite high in the air. Rounding out the top five were EA1DR and OK2PAY who were tied for 5th at 326 points. Congratulations to each of these top scorers – we know you spent many hours in front of your radios!
2014 was the first year for the new Limited Class which is designed for those running 100 watts and small, low directional antennas. We are very pleased with the participation in Limited Class in its inaugural year. Egidio, IZ8BRI, is the first winner of the Limited Class plaque with a score of 310. R6YY and W2NK claimed 2nd and 3rd place with scores of 298 and 282, respectively.
Formula Class scores continue to climb each year, along with participation. In 2014, Ruslan, UR5IRM, claims the number one position in the 100 watt section with an amazing score of 312 – 2 points higher than last year’s top Formula Class score. Joe, W4TV was again runner-up with a score of 303, followed by N4RI at 272. In the 5 watts or less section, Dan, WG5G, had the top score for the third year in a row! Dan’s winning score was 280 – very impressive for only 5 watts! Congratulations to all of our Formula Class participants.
The single mode competitions continue to attract additional participants, especially in Digital and Phone modes. Dan, KB0EO, lead the CW competition with a score of 307 out of a maximum possible score of 315. F5IN was close behind at 303 points. In the Phone category, Gert, PA2LO, finished on top with a score of 302. N3CDA was close behind at 298 points. The Digital only category attracted over twice as many participants as last year and Piero, IK5FKF, will receive the plaque for digital with the top score of 263. N5MOA was runner-up at 257 points.
Plaques are also awarded for the highest scores on the 10-80 meter bands and for the top continental scores. As always, there were some very impressive single band scores and plenty of competition. LU5FF’s score of 118 on 6 meters, PY5EG’s score of 289 on 10 meters, LY2FN’s 272 points on 12 meters and W9KNI’s 316 points on 17 meters are new all-time high scores for those bands. The Europe and North America competitions were also very close, with only five points separating the top five positions in Europe and the top three positions in North America. Three new Zone records were set as well, with TG9AJR in Zone 7, UT9FJ in Zone 16 and TF3DC in Zone 40 all being added to the DX Marathon all-time record books. 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 5,951. The Carolina DX Association was not far behind with a score of 5,074. If you are a member of a radio club, be sure to include your club affiliation in your submission.
Throughout each competition year, the DX Marathon website publishes a long list of bad spots, pirates and other information to help every participant eliminate or reduce errors. In 2014, that list totaled over 500 callsigns. Perhaps not everyone is aware of the list as many of the bad calls shown appeared in many logs. The 2014 error rate was up slightly from last year at 2.05%. The top spots in many categories are often only one or two points apart, so even one error can be significant. Unfortunately, 85% of all entrants had at least one point subtracted from their submitted score. In 2014, one third of all subtractions were due to entry of the wrong country for the callsign worked. The wrong country error rate was up from last year and can be largely attributed to the Russian Olympic callsigns. The error rates on those callsigns were very high. The Olympic callsigns did not always follow the traditional Russian prefixes and unless a logging program database specifically included the unique callsigns, mistakes were easily made. Please update your country database files before submitting your score!
The highest error category (although down from last year) was busted (28%) and invalid (18%) calls accounting for 46% of all subtractions. Most of these errors were due to mis-copying of callsigns or logging spots that had errors. Never log a DX spot without carefully listening to the callsign that the DX station is sending. For each busted call subtraction, we can provide the callsign of the actual station that was worked.
Wrong zone errors were also higher this year. A large number of Zone errors came from the various W1AW/X operations. For example, W1AW/4 and W1AW/8 could be Zone 4 or Zone 5. W1AW/7 could be Zone 4 or Zone 3. Since the call area designator is no longer required to match a station’s actual location in the U.S., a manual check on QRZ.COM or in the FCC database is often required. There are also a number of stations with KL, KP and KH prefixes that actually live in the lower 48 states. Zone 2 is always a major problem as well and the DX Marathon web site has a separate section dedicated to help determine whether that VE2 station is in Zone 2 or 5.
With a database of over 110,000 QSO’s, there is a lot of information and data available. We will continue to analyze all QSO’s that took place in the 2014 Marathon and include a summary of facts on the DX Marathon website. For example, only 349 QSO’s took place with Zone 2 in 2014, so one third of all entrants missed zone 2. Zone 2 remains the most difficult zone to work in the Marathon. 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 12 QSO’s. Working those rare countries can be quite a challenge! 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 2015!