Last updated: 2001-01-10 (caution, links not being maintainted!)
Notice: © 1994 to 2001, Chris R. Burger. This document may be reproduced as required for personal use, and may be freely referenced from other Web sites. However, publication elsewhere requires express written permission from the author.
This listing shows the number of current DXCC countries (or "entities") worked on each frequency band by southern African stations. To level the playing field to the greatest extent possible, the listed scores do not include deleted countries. The total number of possible countries for this list is 334.
Apart from single band totals, we also list a five band total and a ten band total. The five band totals are for 28, 21, 14, 7 and 3,5 MHz. These are the bands that are valid for the major five-band awards like 5BWAC, 5BDXCC, 5BWAZ and 5BWAS. From the tables, it's obvious that the level of competition is much higher on these bands than on the remaining five.
The ten band totals also include 50, 25, 18, 10 and 1,8 MHz.
I decided during 2000, after the SARL started restricting access to the List to members only, that it was time to remove the List from their domain and publish it independently. Through the kindness of Bernie van der Walt ZS4TX and his partner Frank de Beer at CMS in Bloemfontein, the List found a new home in May. From that date, I've been updating the List as regularly as contributions have been received, and have also added a section describing ongoing activity. I intend to keep this pattern going, provided that inputs are received. Apart from a current version that contains freshly-updated lists and a summary of ongoing activity, I will also publish an annual summary. This document is the first such annual summary.
For this summary, the lists have been extended to a Top Ten (rather than a Top Six) in every category, to give an indication of other activity below the Top Six. Unfortunately, the response to my request for information from those who don't quite make the Top Six was disappointing. As it takes a huge amount of time and effort just to nag those already on the list to keep their scores current, I have not individually approached these individuals. The result is that their information is several years old in some cases.
Extending the list from six to ten has not been an unqualified success. In some cases, the entry level has become ridiculously low, while in others the entry level changed little. Perhaps, if more regular inputs are received, the expanded listing will become more meaningful. Failing that, it is unlikely that an expanded listing will be included in future reviews.
Chris R. Burger ZS6EZ
0001 South Africa
Activity during 2000
50 MHz is probably the main story of 2000. February to May produced the first East-West propagation of Solar Cycle 23 from South Africa. One contact to Brazil, and several each to Hawaii, Japan, Australia, Falkland Islands and Argentina (the latter two from ZS1 only) resulted. 5N3CPR and 5X1GS appeared regularly. OY9JD made a few locals happy during May and June. September saw a brief HB0 operation that provided locals with some fun. ZS6PJS caught 5A1A for a new one in September, but Abubaker has not returned to make Gauteng happy. J28NH and ET3VSC worked most of the boys during October. ZS6WB and ZS6AXT were leading the pack, with ZS6PJS and ZS6EZ around the 100 level, and ZS6XL, ZS6BTE and others fighting it out for the lower rankings. The entry level has now doubled from 42 at the beginning of the solar cycle!
Around the middle of the year, 10 MHz became the eighth band with a three digit entry level when ZS6AL passed the 100 mark. If 50 MHz continues to produce action, we may well see three digit entry levels on nine bands before the cycle ends, leaving only 1,8 MHz undone. This situation is a far cry from 1994 when this List was first published; at that time, only four bands (10, 15, 20, 40) had entry levels above 100.
May saw A52A, A52JS, FW/G3SXW, FW/G3TXF and VK9WI providing excitement for the locals. Intermittent activity started from KH5; this activity is bound to continue at least to the KH5K expedition in October. N4BQW/KH5K showed up for 18 hours with a barefoot radio and a dipole, working one ZS amid huge pileups. May also saw good conditions in the WPX CW contest.
July saw the IARU HF Radiosport Championships, which coincided this year with the World Radiosport Team Championships. Several locals worked S572L, amazed to find that one of the WRTC teams had a decidedly Afrikaans accent. ZS6EZ and ZS4TX pushed their station to an unspectacular but not disgraceful finish.
During August, FR/F6KDF/T provided almost everyone locally with some new band countries. They were easily workable on nine bands and three modes, although several of their operators made it difficult for us by listening for specific areas and not catering for their own continent. If you live long enough, you cannot fail to get to the Honour Roll! Everything is easy at some stage or another, even Tromelin.
September provided good high band conditions, allowing ZS6EZ to almost double the existing world 28 MHz record in the CQWW RTTY contest. Earlier in the month, the bands were filled with DXpeditions. VK9X, VK9C, A5 and ZD9 were all easy, the latter in the form of G3ZEM who operated ZD9ZM to great effect. Bob was supported by several locals, as he sailed on the SAS Agulhas from Cape Town.
October provided everyone with a crack at K5K, from Kingman Reef. They were worked on all bands from 10 to 40 m, on 160 m and on all three modes from ZS. The month ended with a bang when the CQWW SSB provided fantastic high band conditions on Saturday. Unfortunately, the great conditions worked against the locals, as the northern hemisphere was all but impenetrable due to the loud signals. ZS6EZ claimed a new zone high QSO total by ending just a dozen short of 5000 QSOs on 28 MHz.
November saw several Pacific operations, including workable operations from Austral and Marquesas. ZS6YQ did not allow the opportunity to pass him by. ZM8CW was regularly active from Kermadec, although he was not easy to work from these parts. A strong 50 MHz opening to A45ZN provided several locals with a new one. Several ZS staions worked Canada on that band, but only ZS6PJS managed to work the USA. TT8DX surfaced a few weeks later. Paul passed the magic 100 country mark on 50 MHz during the month, followed a week later by ZS6EZ. Several African operations appeared for the CQWW CW contest; S07U and 5T5U by two Japanese groups, and TS7N by Germans. The latter worked a string of ZS stations, including most of the Sixes, ZS4TX and ZR5ADQ. They were workable daily.At the end of the month, the CQ World Wide DX CW Contest saw high activity from South Africa. ZS4TX and ZS6EZ were very active on 7 and 28 MHz respectively, and others from zone 38 known to have been floating around include 3DA0NL (ZS6ANL), ZS0E (ZS6AJS), ZS0M (ZS6MG), ZS1NF, ZS4TX, ZS6AL, ZS6DX and ZS6UT. Conditions were reasonable, except that violent thunderstorms lashed much of the country, producing huge low band QRN. Early indications are that ZS6EZ may have pulled off a world win on 28 MHz, with a claimed score just above the official world record.
December has not been a spectacular month. Conditions have see-sawed between mediocre and terrible. Koji Tahara JM1CAX, who now lives in Jordan as JY9NX and was previously known as ZS6CAX, visited the ZS6EZ station for a crack at the world title in the ARRL 10 m Contest. Koji, operating the Pretoria Contest Club callsign ZS6Z, exceeded the world record by a slender margin under very poor conditions. He made over 3800 contacts. We'll have to see if the record stands up to the log checking process, but at least the African record is history. Several other ZS stations were heard in the contest. Perhaps the most serious was ZS6BRZ, who operated Phone only, and ZS5NK. LX1NO and LX2LX visited these parts, and operated for a few days as 3DA0AD and 3DA0AE respectively.
At the same time, astronaut Chuck N4BQW passed through Cape Town on his way to extremely rare Bouvet Island. Chuck is the same guy who surprised me with a new country from KH5K during May. The Bouvet operation remained remarkably unannounced until he came up on the air. He is expected to stick around for several months, and remain relatively active. Chuck is mainly an SSB operator, and for the moment his activity is confined to 10, 15 and 20 m. More varied activity is expected later. ZS1AU, ZS1FJ, ZR1DQ and others are known to have been involved.
Some food for thought
Over the years, I've toyed with various mathematical models to try to objectively assess DXCC scores. Clearly, the more countries you have, the more difficult it becomes to add new countries. A scoring system must reflect this increase in difficulty.
Anyone who has studied exponential growth models understands the concept of a half life. Populations of animals, plants and even germs follow the rules of exponential growth.
It is even possible that DXCC scores follow a similar trend. My own experience on different bands and modes was used to test various models, and the results are not far from the truth.
Based on these tests, I include a table below, proposing a mark out of ten for different DXCC scores. You can use this scale to assess the merits of your own DX achievements, or the scores of other stations in the tables above.
The bottom line is:
DXCC Honour Roll entry level represents a score of five out of ten--barely a pass mark! It looks like reaching the entry level of the DXCC Honour Roll is half way to the top. Working the remaining 9 countries takes as much effort as it took to get to the entry level in the first place.
Looking back at your DXing career, you'll probably notice that moving up the scale by one step takes roughly an equal amount of effort (and time), regardless of where you are on the scale.
You'll also notice that South Africans are pathetic underachievers when it comes to single-band DXing. This conclusion may seem harsh, but even the top scorer (ZS6YQ on 14 MHz) has a score of only seven out of ten. Even he still has roughly half as much work left as he's already put in! Only six of the sixty scores listed break the 30% barrier.In mitigation, I'm often told that South Africa is a terrible location, with QRN during the prime low band DXing seasons, and with a huge disadvantage when trying to work stations beaming into the major population centres. I contend that these disadvantages are not seriously limiting yet, as the top stations are still making relatively rapid progress. If we were truly approaching the limits of what's possible from this part of the world, the leading stations would be stuck at their current levels, unable to move. The reality is that all leading stations have improved their scores by almost one point since this survey was first published in 1994. There's definitely ample room for improvement.
For the engineers and mathematicians among you, the table was obtained by assuming that around 70 countries will be worked quickly, after which a restricted exponential growth model applies to the remaining countries. For those that are not nerds, I once wrote an article explaining the methodology that normal people could probably understand. I might even publish the article some day, if there proves to be enough interest.
In the mean time, let's see if we can push these scores up gradually; Cycle 23 is definitely doing its bit to provide spectacular high band DXing over the next few years. I predict that 28 MHz will see scores of more than 300 before the end of 2001, with a corresponding increase in entry level to over 260.
Those callsigns listed in the tables
The tables can be very impersonal. I've therefore decided to include a short profile on each of the operators. The intention is not only to put some "faces" to the callsigns, but also to give the reader an indication of how active each of these operators is. Clearly, while a few are retired and have enough time to play radio, the majority hold down jobs, raise families and generally spend time pursuing other interests. The odd spell of DXing certainly doesn't preclude balance!
You'll notice from the descriptions that I know many of these operators personally. This is no coincidence; many years of rubbing shoulders in the pileups must eventually arouse some curiosity to become acquainted. Making the effort to meet the people behind the callsigns has allowed me to meet some of the most interesting people I know.
20 callsigns are listed in the various tables. The resumes are of necessity brief. If you have information that we can include in your own or someone else's paragraph, please let me know.
3DA0CA: Jon Rudy is back in the USA, and radio is not on his mind right now. During his stay of several years as a missionary in Swaziland, he racked up respectable scores on each of the bands. He left just as 50 MHz started producing some sparks, and I dropped off a radio lent by Hal Lund ZS6WB. Unfortunately, the radio had a technical problem that prevented Jon from getting in on that action too. The Rudy family might well appear in southern Africa again in a few years, when both Jon and Carolyn have completed their post-graduate studies.
V5/W8UVZ: George Taft operated for only a week or so in 1997, from a lighthouse near Luderitz. Shows what can be done! George is a top-notch low band DXer back home in Battle Creek, Michigan. He is also one of the three volunteers that make the Battle Creek Special antennas available to DXpeditions. Charlie Dewey W0CD and George Guerin K8GG complete the trio.
ZS4TX: Bernie van der Walt is my prime DXing buddy. He has a serious station outside Bloemfontein. The two of us represented Africa at WRTC 2000 in Slovenia this July. While he occasionally gets involved in a high band pileup, he is predominantly active on the low bands. Bernie holds DXCC and Worked all States on 1,8 MHz, but the crowning achievement must surely be his Worked All Zones award on that band. Bernie completed all zones within five years of starting on the band, becoming the first African to complete a full house. He is a director of CMS, a telecommunications company, and hosts this Web site.
ZS5K: Greg Smith relocated to New Zealand as ZL3IX during 2000. He currently only has wire antennas, but has plans to re-establish his station. He concentrated mainly on 160 m, from an impressive station with only home-built and self-designed equipment. Greg taught me the basics of low band DXing and serious contesting in the late Eighties, when he was ZS6BPL. He was the first to show the way in major contest efforts on 7 MHz from this part of the world, using a full-sized Yagi.
ZS5LB: During 1999, Bert Lausecker moved into a retirement home. Bert was the first South African with 5BDXCC, 5BWAS and 5BWAZ. He followed up this feat by being the first to earn DXCC, WAS and even All Africa Award on 1,8 MHz. For the first few years of this survey, Bert was the undisputed leader in the 10 Band and low band categories. Using simple wire antennas, Bert continues to nibble away at his "wanted list".
ZS6AJD: Tom Curry now has his antennas on the ground, but his tower is up again and the quad should follow soon. Tom squeezes his DXing into a busy retirement. Tom's track record includes having been a prime contender (with ZS5LB) for early 5BDXCCs, a quest that was interrupted by a transfer to the then Rhodesia.
ZS6AL: Vidi la Grange is an old timer and a FOCer, who prefers CW ragchewing around '025. A concerted nagging effort has finally convinced him to chase some DX, and he is rapidly improving his single band scores. His wife Hester-Ann ZS6ESU is also a keen CW operator.
ZS6AOO: Jim de Almeida was very active on the five "classic" bands, on SSB only. Some years ago, he emigrated to Portugal with his bride, and his scores have been stationary for some years. Even now, his scores on several bands are not to be sneered at.
ZS6AVM: Norman Scully died in December 1999, bringing his very successful WARC band DXing career to an end. His scores will stand proud for many years to come. His son Dave now uses the same callsign, and is also fairly active on the HF bands. Perhaps a new ZS6AVM listing will emerge in due course.
ZS6AXT: Ivo Chladek is a retired RF engineer and a UHF moonbounce afficionado, who occasionally descends to the depths of LF to make an appearance on 50 MHz. While the solar cycle is up, he is almost always on 50,110, enjoying full time ham radio.
ZS6BTE: Despite having a day job, Ian Roberts has entered the 50 MHz listing from scratch during Cycle 23. He is also interested in Moonbounce. I can attest from personal experience that Ian also plays a mean game of squash.
ZS6EZ: When not entangled in generating amateur radio paperwork like this, I work in information security and electronic payment systems, study part-time and work part-time for the Air Force and a welfare organisation. I even occasionally get on the air, mainly in a few annual contests. If you look at some early pictures of my hilltop station (circa 1998), you'll see why construction work takes a major portion of my spare time. You can see more information about me and my pastimes at my Web site.
ZS6IR: Uli von Aswegen is a German citizen who spent some years in South Africa, and now mainly chases DX during annual vacations in this country. His most recent visit was in July 2000. He is a science teacher, and was recently heard from TF and ZL. Uli sometimes uses my station when in this country. He has recently submitted his 5BDXCC application.
ZS6KR: Hans Kappetijn runs his own one-man electronics firm, developing various subsystems and gadgets. He chases DX mainly on CW, on the "classic" bands. He has achieved excellent results, including 5BDXCC, with a very modest station.
ZS6LW: Van van der Watt is still the only South African ever to have worked all countries. He occupied the top spot on the DXCC Honor Roll in the Eighties. Sadly, he died in July 2000. His interest in HF DXing waned in the last years of his life, but he did remain reasonably active on 50 MHz. He retained a Top Six spot on this band until several months after his death. Unfortunately, he did not maintain single-band scores on HF. He would surely have been a serious contender on some bands, especially 14, 21 and 28 MHz.
ZS6P: Tjerk Lammers runs an Automotive Climate Control Centre ("car air conditioner workshop" to us normal folks), and plays DX from an impressive station near Pretoria. A 5BDXCC hangs on his wall. I have guest-operated his station on 7 MHz, and can testify that the 3 element Yagi at 30 m works. He is mainly on Phone, and also dabbles in contesting. He is active in amateur radio politics, as past chairman of the local radio club and Awards and Contest Manager of the South African Radio League.
ZS6PJS: Paul Smit is a retired Air Force colonel, who still spends some time working for the Air Force and pursuing other interests. He has Moonbounce capability on 50 and 144 MHz. His Pietersburg location is some 300 km north of most of us, just enough to drive us all wild with envy when propagation just doesn't make it down to Gauteng on 50 MHz.
ZS6UT: Ed Willers is mainly on CW and on 160 m, but has recently developed an interest in 50 MHz too. He lives near Pretoria.
ZS6WB: Earlier this year, Hal Lund retired from the company he started. He has made a bad start with the life of leisure, having volunteered to run the SARL's QSL bureau. Hal was in the computer peripherals and consumables business, and now monitors 50 MHz almost continuously while sorting piles of QSL cards. He is a long-time regular on the band, dating back to many Caribbean expeditions in the Sixties. In 1998, he became the first African to obtain DXCC on 50 MHz, despite stiff competition from stations further north. Hal is my next-door neighbour, and our antennas are separated by only about 50 m. We spend many evenings planning DXploits over a meal. Hal is a source of equipment and assistance for many 50 MHz operations. In the past, activity has happened in exotic spots like 3DA, 7P, A2, C9, V5, ZD7, ZD8, ZS0, ZS8 and ZS9, mainly through Hal's nagging and assistance. He is also supporting an operation from 9Q that may happen in the next few months, although it appears that this opportunity might be on the skids. Hal's next target is to see if he can get to 130 countries confirmed on 50 MHz. It's clearly a pathological state he's in: He just passed his previous target of 120 a few months ago!
ZS6YQ: Bushy Roode is retired, and spends most of his operating time on SSB. On the 2000 DXCC Honor Roll, he was the top South African on Phone and second on Mixed. He is mainly a 14 MHz specialist, as can be seen from his score on this band--only four countries remain unworked on that band. However, Bushy's 21 MHz score is fast approaching 300, and should not be discounted! He expects that his records may not be fully up to date. If he can find the time to do the necessary paperwork, Bushy may well become only the second ZS to exceed 300 on more than one band. On SSB, Bushy needs only two countries (Rotuma and North Korea). He is a collector and restorer of Collins equipment, and has only recently started playing with bells-and-whistles Icom stuff.
A current version of the Band Country Survey is also on this Site.
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