2024 DX Marathon Rules
Translations: Translations for the 2024 rules are in progress. Check back soon.
CQ Magazine DX Marathon - Rules for 2024
Dates: January 1 — December 31, 2024
Log Deadline: January 5, 2025 (23:59Z)
The CQ DX Marathon is designed to promote DXing activity throughout the year. Credit is given for contacts on all ham bands (160-6 meters) including those not normally used for contesting (60, 30, 17 & 12 meters). Contesting Q’s can be used as long as they are made from the same station physical location.
Here are the complete rules:
The CQ DX Marathon is a yearlong activity, beginning at 0000 UTC January 1 and ending at 2359 UTC December 31.
Radio frequencies in the 160-6 meter bands are eligible including the 60m band and the WARC bands (30, 17 & 12 meters). Contacts through repeaters or satellites are not allowed nor are contacts with maritime or aeronautical mobile stations. All contacts must be made entirely over amateur radio frequencies – i.e., Echolink-type, DMR, All-Star, etc. contacts do not count.
Modes for which the operator is licensed may be used. Examples of the modes to be used in the DX Marathon program are as follows:
CW: Utilizes the International Morse Code; Phone: USB, LSB, DSB, FM (voice), AM; Digital: FT8, FT4, PSK, RTTY
Each participant in the DX Marathon program may submit one log each year per operating location. Participants submitting logs for either single-mode or single-band entries must include only those contacts in their submission. Logs submitted with multiple modes or multiple bands will not be considered for single-mode or single-band entries. A participant may use up to two callsigns per station provided that the callsigns are clearly stated on the submission form. Both callsigns must be used at the same operating location using the equipment and antennas commensurate with their entered class.
Remote operation is permitted if all transmitters, receivers, and antennas are at a single physical location. A remote station in a different country than the entrant’s country of license must comply with all local laws and regulations of that country. Once a remote station is selected by the participant, the participant must use the same remote station for that year’s activity period.
Participants must operate only those band segments allowed by their license privileges. The use of spotting networks is allowed for all classes. When referring to power, it shall be measured at the antenna feed point.
If an entrant operates from both a primary station and a remote station, they will be treated as separate entries. Each entry may be submitted provided they have different callsigns or a portable callsign designator. Entries that include contacts made with the assistance of remote receivers and/or transmitters, in addition to contacts from a primary station, are not permitted. If a participant enters in the QRP class, we prefer that submitted calls do not include a /QRP. Participants will define their QRP class in the submission process.
If the DX Marathon Program Administrator determines that a submission includes QSOs combined from more than one location, the participant may be suspended from the DX Marathon Program or at minimum the current year’s submission will not be scored. Decisions of the DX Marathon Program Administrator will be final. Your administrators consider this a serious violation of the rules, and it will be handled accordingly.
There are five entry classes, “Unlimited”, “Limited”, “Formula,” “QRP” and “DX Marathon Challenge.”
Unlimited Class allows entrants to use up to the maximum legal power output permitted on each band and the power permitted according to their operating license. Any antenna or combination of antennas may be used in this class.
Limited Class entrants are allowed a maximum output power of 100 watts. Antennas such as verticals or wire antennas, rotatable dipoles and arrays are allowed. Examples of wire antennas include wire dipoles, G5RV, Windoms, Off-center fed (OCF), and end-fed antennas. Any such antennas, whether vertical or wire, may not at any point be higher than 50 feet (15m) above ground level and shall not exceed 135 feet (41m) in length. If a sloping wire antenna is employed, the highest anchor point shall not exceed 50 feet (15m) above ground level. If two towers or trees are employed, the length and height requirement stated in this paragraph apply.
If a participant resides or operates in a high-rise building structure, vertical and wire antennas are allowed on the roof of the structure subject to the length restrictions stated above. Rotatable dipoles on top of multi-story buildings are allowed only if the height does not exceed 50 feet (15m) above ground level. The length restrictions of 135 feet (41m) as stated above will apply for long wire antennas.
Antennas in the classification of an “array” may be used. An array antenna means the use of driven element(s) and parasitic elements. Examples include Yagis, Hexbeams, Spider beams, and Cubical Quads. These antennas are limited to a height of 50 feet (15m) above ground level. Yagis are limited to 3 active elements and a boom length no greater than 16 feet (5m). Spider beams and Hexbeams have the 3 element restriction but do not have a boom length restriction. Rotatable dipoles for 30m and 40m are allowed in this class subject to the height restrictions stated above.
Formula Class entrants are allowed a maximum output power of 100 watts.
Antennas such as verticals or wire antennas are allowed. Examples of wire antennas include wire dipoles, G5RV, Windom, Off-center fed (OCF), and end-fed antennas. Any such antennas, whether vertical or wire, may not at any point be higher than 65 feet (20m) above ground level and shall not exceed 135 feet (41m) in length. If a sloping wire antenna is employed, the highest anchor point shall not exceed 65 feet (20m). If a participant lives in a high-rise structure, vertical and wire antennas will be allowed on the roof of the structure subject to the height restrictions stated in the Limited Class. The length restrictions of 135 feet (41m) shall apply.
Array antennas or rotatable dipoles may not be used in this class.
QRP Class entrants are allowed a maximum output power of 5 watts. Operators selecting the QRP class are limited to antennas on a single tower of which the height does not exceed 65 feet or 20 meters above ground level. Wire antennas may also be used but must meet the criteria of the Formula Class option and may be tower-supported at only one point.
Antennas in the classification of “array” may be used. An array antenna means a driven element(s) and parasitic elements. Examples include Yagis, Hexbeams, Spider beams, and Cubical Quads. These antennas are limited to 3 elements and erected at a maximum height of 65 feet (20m) above ground level. Rotatable dipoles for 30m and 40m are allowed in this class subject to the height limitation of 65 feet. If a participant lives in a high-rise structure, vertical and wire antennas are allowed on the roof of the structure if they comply with the height limit stated above. The length restrictions of 135 feet (41m) shall apply.
DX Marathon Challenge
This class is new for the 2024 program and will be limited to 75 participants. The Challenge will sum the total number of entities and zones that a participant has worked in 2024 on all the amateur bands (8) including WARC (80m-10m) in CW, Phone, or Digital modes, and rank the total score against the other 74 entrants who have chosen to participate in this class. For this first year, a registration will be required to participate by sending email@example.com an email no later than February 15, 2024. We will accept participants up to and including the first 75. A reservation will not obligate you to participate in this class. Should you choose to not participate later in the year in the DX Challenge, that is acceptable and you may participate in your usual class as if you did not sign up. For those participants who choose the DX Marathon Challenge, this will represent your single class entry into the 2024 program. You will not be allowed to submit a second entry in another class. Scores will not be differentiated by power levels or antennas used (e.g. Unlimited, Limited, Formula, or QRP requirements). Those who choose to enter, will work as many CQ DX Countries and zones (as defined on our website, https://dxmarathon.com/resources/countries/) on each band. The submittal format will be determined later in the year, but you may be submitting 8 scoresheets, representing each band (80-40-30-20-17-15-12-10). The winner will be determined by summing the total number of DXCC Countries and zones worked on each band.
Special Note On Antennas For Above Classes:
If you are not certain if your antenna fits the description above within any class, please contact the DX Marathon Program Administrator for a ruling.
Scoring is very simple: you score one point the first time you work a new country/entity and one point for working a zone. Add the country and zone points together and that is your total score. There are no multipliers.
Each country and zone count only once. A single QSO may count for both a country and a zone. Example: If in the year you work 238 countries and 37 zones, your score is 275. The CQ DX Countries List and the CQ Zone List constitute the official program lists and are available on the DX Marathon website. In the case of ties, the participant whose last scoring contact was earlier chronologically will be judged the winner. The decisions of the DX Marathon Program Administrator are final.
All submissions must be received no later than January 5, 2025. No extensions will be granted. Late submittals will be scored and listed as such on the final results, but participants will not be eligible for awards. If your callsign changed during the year, or if you used a contest call sign at your station, please enter your primary and alternate call on the submission form. If this is not done, you will not receive credit for both callsigns used and no exceptions will be made. Using the new submission tool, participants can upload anytime during the year. Each subsequent updated submission will replace the previous one. All submissions are private and not made public. Submissions can be made through https://entry.dxmarathon.com.
QSLs or any other form of QSO verification are not required. The participant is expected to claim contacts only from stations they have every reason to believe are legitimate, and only to claim contacts in which an accurate two-way exchange was clearly accomplished. Each contact for a claimed country or zone must be a solid contact. The station claiming a contact with a DX station is expected to have had his or her callsign fully and accurately received and transmitted by the other station along with an exchange of signal reports. The DX Marathon scoring team reserves the right to verify any QSOs submitted by participants, including Dxpeditions logs sent to the scoring team. Any other available sources of verification may be employed by the scoring team to validate a claimed QSO. The DX Marathon staff encourages all participants to carefully check the accuracy of information in a claimed QSO before making their final submission. The DX Marathon administrative staff encourages participants to visit the website and carefully read the FAQ section and review the question “What are the best practices for submitting QSOs?”
There is also extensive information about particular DX calls, currently found under the “Resources” tab on the website. Your administrative staff spends significant time during the year trying to provide information to allow for your clean submission of QSOs. Please use these resources.
During the scoring process, the DX Marathon staff will review claimed QSOs that may be invalid, including but not limited to contacts with pirates, broken calls, or stations not operating in claimed countries. Zone errors of stations continue to be an error source. Submissions for any of these errors shall not be counted in the participant’s score and result in a point deduction per error.
Participants may be disqualified in cases of intentional fraud or poor sportsmanship. Every QSO may be subject to verification by the DX Marathon Program Administrator and his staff. Decisions/rulings of the DX Marathon Program Administrator are final.
The final listing of official scores and winners will be published in CQ Magazine and the DX Marathon website. The claimed scores will be issued on the website within 30 days after scores are submitted in January. Final 2024 results after verification will appear in CQ Magazine’s June 2025 issue and at the same time be posted on the DX Marathon website.
The DX Marathon will award plaques as follows: highest overall score in Unlimited Class; highest overall score in Limited Class; highest overall score in Formula Class, highest overall score in QRP; highest world overall CW only, highest world overall SSB only and highest world overall Digital only scores; highest overall score for single band entries for the 6, 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, and 160-meter bands; highest overall score for each of the 6 continents and highest overall CW scores in Europe and North America. Plaques for CW, SSB, band and continent winners are awarded regardless of class and may only be awarded if the winning scores in those categories are at least 50% of the score of the overall DX Marathon Unlimited Class winner. A plaque will be awarded for the highest overall score in the Youth overlay. A plaque will be awarded for the worldwide highest score in the YL overlay. A plaque will be awarded for both the top score and #1 runner up for the newly created “DX Marathon Challenge.” Entrants may receive only one plaque per year. In the case of a participant qualifying for more than one plaque, that participant will receive a plaque for the highest level based on the above listing order. Two plaques will be awarded for the DX Marathon Challenge, one for the top score in the world and a second for the runner-up.
Certificates are awarded to qualified participants in the following order: highest overall score for each of the three modes on each continent with the exception of CW in Europe and North America; highest overall score in each CQ zone; highest overall score in each country; highest overall score for each class in the USA; highest overall score in Unlimited, Limited, Formula, and QRP in each USA callsign district; highest overall score in each Canadian callsign district. Plaque winners are not eligible for certificates. An entrant may qualify for only one certificate. In the case of a participant qualifying for more than one certificate, that participant will receive a certificate for the highest level based on the above order. A minimum level of points to qualify for a certificate will be established each year by the DX Marathon Program Administrator above which a certificate will be issued. The rulings of the DX Marathon Program Administrator are final.
Special Note: Currently, the DX Marathon does not provide awards for a combination single mode/single band award. If a submission has all entries in a single band and a single mode, it will be counted as a single band submission.
Annual K9EL Special Award
In 2024, in honor of the contribution of K9EL over the past 17 years to the program, the DX Marathon Program will be issuing the “John Sweeney K9EL Super Marathon Award” in honor of John’s service. The Award will be called “The Super DX Marathon Award.” The award plaque will be issued to the participant who has had the cumulative highest five consecutive years of performance in the DX Marathon Program using the years 2020-2024. The single plaque award will be made irrespective of Class, i.e. Unlimited to QRP. Once a participant has won the award, he will be ineligible to qualify for this award a second time.
The Youth overlay for 2024 is open to anyone who was born on January 1, 2000, or later. A Youth plaque will be awarded to the highest Youth score in the world, and certificates will be awarded to the highest Youth score in each of the six Continents. To enter the Youth overlay, the entrant must claim Youth entry with birthday stated in the submission form. All Youth entries may be subject to age verification. For certificate qualification, Youth entry must achieve a total score of at least 100. Participation in this overlay does not exclude participation for any of the above plaques or certificates.
The YL overlay for 2024 is open to any YL operator in the world. A YL plaque will be awarded to the highest YL score in the world and certificates will be awarded to the highest YL score in each of the six Continents. To enter the YL overlay, the entrant must designate this overlay in their submission. For certificate qualification, the YL must achieve a total score of at least 100. Participation in this overlay does not exclude participation for any of the above plaques or certificates.
We encourage the submission of Club scores for the DX Marathon program. There is a designation on the submission page that can be filled in if a participant is a member of a Club. A Club that wishes to enter must meet the requirements as outlined below.
The Club score is the total aggregate score from logs submitted by members in any of the designated entry categories. There will be three levels of clubs and plaques will be awarded to the winners for each level. The three levels are determined by Club participation:
- Clubs with submittals of over 75 participants or more.
- Clubs with submittals of between 26 and 74 participants
- Clubs with submittals of 25 participants or less
To qualify as a Club, you must adhere to the following requirements.
- US Clubs: All participating Club members must reside within a 250-mile radius.
- International Clubs: All participating Club members must reside within either the DXCC country where the Club is located OR within a 400-km radius.
- The Club entity must be engaged in ham radio activities such as DXing, community service, Emergency Services (i.e. ARES), or contesting. National organizations such as JARL, REF, DARC and the like do not qualify as Clubs and are not eligible to participate.
- For Clubs to submit, the President/leadership must establish a consistent entry name for their Club. For example, the Northern Illinois DX Association should be expressed only as one name on participant’s submission forms. The Northern Illinois DX Association may designate their name as “NIDXA” as opposed to multiple entries such as Northern Illinois DXA, etc. Only identical Club names submitted will be considered for scoring.
- The DX Marathon Program Administrator and his staff expect that the above rules will be adhered to as stated. If any rule is broken, the club submission may be rejected. The DX Marathon Program Administrator ruling on all Club qualifications shall be final.