Contest dxpeditions
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Contest DXpeditions. Brian McGinness, N3OC. Why go on a contest expedition?. The “thrill” of being DX Bigger pileups and bigger scores Rates can be up to 300 per hour! A larger contribution to the Club score. Why go on a contest expedition?. Combining a contest with a vacation

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Contest DXpeditions

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Contest DXpeditions

Brian McGinness, N3OC

Why go on a contest expedition?

The “thrill” of being DX

Bigger pileups and bigger scores

Rates can be up to 300 per hour!

A larger contribution to the

Club score

Why go on a contest expedition?

  • Combining a contest with a vacation

    Bring the XYL

  • Meeting new friends

  • Promote ham radio in other countries

    You contribute to their tourism industry

Where to go on a contest expedition?

Avoid very rare DX locations for a good score

Choose a location with good propagation

Islands, beachfront QTHs, not too far from USA

Choose a location with a good scoring potential

Know the scoring rules for your particular contest!

Choose a convenient location

Is it easy to travel to? Is an existing station available?

Where to go on a contest expedition?

Choose an inexpensive location

There are some deals out there!

Find a ham-friendly location

Choose a winning location

If you want to win!

CQWW winners: P4, PJ2, 9Y, IH9, CN, EA8, D4

Licensing in DX Locations

Three methods of securing a license to operate from a foreign country:

C.E.P.T Licensing



Visitor’s License

C.E.P.T. Licensing

CEPT is an acronym for the

European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations

There are currently 46 member countries.

C.E.P.T. Licensing

CEPT provides for automatic reciprocal licensing with countries that are parties to the agreement when traveling in member countries

Member countries can be found at:

C.E.P.T. Licensing – Documents Required

You need three documents to operate in a CEPT member country

1. Your original US ham license

2. Proof of US citizenship (passport)

3. A copy of FCC Notice DA99-2344

I.A.R.P./CITEL Licensing

An IARP is an International Amateur Radio Permit

IARPs are issued by the ARRL for US hams

CITEL is the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission

CITEL member countries are LU, PY, VE, YS, HP, CE, 9Y, CX and YV (and the USA)

Visitor’s License

Sometimes done in advance, sometimes best done

in person

Local information required

A local contact is very helpful

You get your own callsign, instead of a “stroker”

May make entry in a country with radio gear easier

Visitor’s License

More information is available online:

What Equipment Should I Bring?

Depending on the QTH, you may or not need to bring rigs and amps

You will usually need to bring a laptop for logging

What Equipment Should I Bring?

You may need tools if you anticipate doing any work while you are there.

Tools are heavy to take on the airplane!

What Equipment Should I Bring?

  • Antennas

  • Accessories and power supplies

  • Know the local voltage requirements

Traveling with Radio Gear


  • Consider shipping antennas in advance

  • Choose antennas that travel well:

    DK9SQ or MFJ fiberglass masts for wire verticals

    Sportube hard ski case

    Cut yagis into short sections that fit in ski case

Traveling With Radio Gear

  • Pack gear in unmarked hard cases

    Having the cases unmarked reduces the chance of theft and the likelihood the customs official will want to look at it!

    Pictured are Pelican and Cabbage hard cases

Traveling With Radio Gear

  • The TSA will x-ray your baggage and will most likely want to hand-search the ones containing radio gear

  • Pack things in such a way to make this hand-search as easy as possible for them, and include a copy of your US ham license with the gear

    Use bags and plastic containers to group similar items together

Traveling With Radio Gear

  • On your arrival, you will have to go through local customs (except FS/PJ7, KP4 & KP2)

  • Have copies of your ham licenses packed with all gear, preferably including a local license if you have one

Traveling With Radio Gear

  • On your return to the US, you will have to go through US Customs

  • Generally, they will not search your radio gear but may ask questions about it. Be prepared to show your US ham radio license

Planning Your Contest DXpedition

  • Plan well in advance

  • Set up an email reflector with your team

  • Consider insurance and medical needs

  • Safety – have a plan if someone gets hurt!

  • On-air schedules with first arrivals in case items are forgotten

Where to Get More Information

  • Club members with travel experience

  • Web resources

This Presentation is dedicated toSteve Affens, K3SA / ZF2SAwho became a silent key whileon a contest expedition.

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