Band Country Survey for Southern Africa:
Standings at the End of 2012

Last updated: 2013-01-03 (Caution: Links not being maintainted!)

Notice: © 1994 to 2013, 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 prior 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 340.

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.

For this "annual" list, the list for each band has been extended to a Top Ten (rather than a Top Six) in every category. Unfortunately, the response to my request for information from those who don't quite make the Top Six is often 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 contenders. The result is that, in some cases, their information is several years old.

You can also see a current version of the Top Six on this Site. That document also provides links to previous versions, including a summary for previous years and a comparable survey in Britain, published during 2001. It also tells you in a few easy steps how to update your totals, to make sure you are also included in the results.

This list is the penultimate edition. The 2013 list will be the last one. The reason for publishing this list has always been that DXCC was expensive and risky--cards had to be sent to the USA, with a risk of loss, and obtaining QSL cards was a time-consuming and expensive process. With the advent of LotW and Online DXCC, the situation has changed. DXCC certificates can now be obtained and endorsed at modest cost and with little risk. Also, there are now single band DXCCs for all bands. Accordingly, any DXer can be expected to be able to obtain DXCCs on all bands.

DXCC scores, while they may lag worked scores slightly, are far more reliable as an indicator of DXing achievement. Firstly, there is third party scrutiny that eliminates some (unfortunately not all) deliberate cheating. Secondly, the need to obtain QSL cards eliminates a lot of inadvertent cheating, in the form of wishful thinking. Three categories spring to mind. There are broken callsigns (like the 5A cards that routinely pass through the bureau for CW contacts with Hungary...). There are contacts that are not really in the log (often due to pileup QRM). Then there are pirates, who may not really be in the country claimed.

From 2014, I will only publish DXCC scores. Little should change, as the leading stations on these lists mostly have DXCC certificates on each band by now. The exceptions have a year to get their act together.

These lists, going back to 1996, will continue to be available on the Web, to retain the legacy of operators no longer active who did not have the opportunity to apply for single-band DXCC certificates.

Chris R. Burger ZS6EZ
Box 4485
0001 South Africa

50 MHz
137 ZS6WB
129 ZS6AXT
128 ZS6NK
110 ZS6EZ
108 ZS6BTE
98 Z22JE ++
93 ZS6AVP ++
88 ZS6XL ++
82 ZS6LW ++
76 ZS2EZ
21 MHz
333 ZS6EZ
311 ZS6KR
306 ZS4TX
305 ZS6WB
291 ZS6YQ ++
278 ZS2DL
272 ZS6AOO ==
269 ZS6AJD ==
268 ZS5LB ==
268 ZS6P
10,1 MHz
282 ZS6EZ
243 ZS2DL
239 ZS6UT
226 ZS6WB
214 ZS2EZ
212 ZS5LB ==
203 ZS6NJ
196 ZS1EL
151 3DA0CA ==
139 ZS6AVM ++
1,8 MHz
207 ZS4TX
176 ZS5LB ==
143 ZS6EZ
141 ZS6UT
124 ZS1REC
80 ZS6WN
76 ZS5K ==
74 ZS6WB
56 V5/W8UVZ ==
55 ZS2LL ++
28 MHz
315 ZS6EZ
295 ZS4TX
289 ZS6WB
277 ZS6KR
275 ZS6P
266 ZS6AOO ==
256 ZS5LB ==
246 ZS1A
244 ZS6AJD ==
242 ZS2EZ, ZS6NB==
18,1 MHz
308 ZS6EZ
281 ZS2EZ
266 ZS2DL
260 ZS6AVM ++
247 ZS6AJD ==
247 ZS6WB
239 ZS6NJ
230 ZS1A
223 V51B
187 ZS1EL, ZS5LB ==
7 MHz
328 ZS4TX
314 ZS6EZ
284 ZS6KR
263 ZS6P
256 ZS2DL
248 ZS6WB
234 ZS5LB ==
226 ZS6AOO ==
223 ZS6UT
220 V51B
5 Band
1539 ZS6EZ
1534 ZS4TX
1394 ZS6KR
1306 ZS5LB ==
1301 ZS6WB
1259 ZS6P
1210 ZS2DL
1118 ZS6AOO ==
1106 ZS6AJD ==
1079 ZS1A
24,9 MHz
288 ZS6EZ
264 ZS2EZ
259 ZS6AVM ++
241 ZS2DL
236 ZS6NJ
225 ZS6AJD ==
221 ZS6WB
207 ZS1A
186 V51B
181 ZS5LB ==
14 MHz
332 ZS6EZ
330 ZS6YQ ++
319 ZS6KR
312 ZS4TX
312 ZS6AJD ==
312 ZS6P
308 ZS2DL
307 ZS1AU
307 ZS6AOO ==
297 ZS5LB ==
3,5 MHz
293 ZS4TX
251 ZS5LB ==
245 ZS6EZ
203 ZS6KR
167 ZS6WB
157 ZS6UT
141 ZS6P
134 ZS2DL
122 ZS6IR ==
120 Z22JE ++
10 Band
2670 ZS6EZ
2246 ZS4TX
2206 ZS6WB
2066 ZS5LB ==
1962 ZS2DL
1842 ZS2EZ
1689 ZS6AJD ==
1661 ZS6UT
1535 ZS1A
1518 ZS6NJ

Key: "++" indicates Silent Key (ZS6AVM, ZS6YQ). "==" indicates inactive operators whose totals are unlikely to change. Some do not have access to antennas (ZS5LB, ZS6AJD). Some have emigrated (ZS5K, ZS6AOO, ZS6IR).

Movers and Shakers

The following individuals have improved their standings since the last list was published. They have either improved their rankings, or have entered the tables for the first time:

V51B: 25 MHz (new); 18 MHz (new); 7 MHz (new)
ZS1A: 28 MHz (new); 25 MHz (new); 18 MHz (new); 5 Band (new); 10 Band (new)
ZS2DL: 25 MHz (up 1); 21 MHz (up 1); 18 MHz (up 1); 14 MHz (up 2); 10 MHz (up 1);7 MHz (up 1)
ZS2EZ: 28 MHz (new); 25 MHz (up 1); 18 MHz (up 1); 10 MHz (up 2)
ZS4TX: 14 MHz (up 2); 10 Band (up 2)
ZS6KR: 28 MHz (up 2)
ZS6NJ: 25 MHz (up 1); 10 MHz (up 1); 10 Band (new)
ZS6UT: 7 MHz (new); 3,5 MHz (new); 1,8 MHz (up 1); 10 Band (new)
ZS6WB: 10 MHz (up 1)
ZS6WN: 1,8 MHz (new)

Key: This list indicates changes since the previous list was published in 2011. "new" means that the station did not previously appear. "up n" means that the station has moved up the list by n steps.

Just look at the length of the lines, and you'll quickly see that ZS2DL has been as busy as last year, and the year before. For the third year in a row, Donovan has improved his standings on six of the 10 bands.

Runner-up was ZS1A, who appeared on three bands for the first time, and is also now in the Top 10 in the five-band and ten-band categories.

ZS2EZ moved up on four bands. Barry is also very close to entering the tables on two further bands. At this rate, Barry will be in the Top Ten on six bands by the end of 2013.

ZS6UT was added on two bands, improved on another and entered the ten-band table. Ed has relocated to a more restrictive site, so his totals have not really increased much, but a major paperwork exercise resulted in him claiming his rightful place on several lists. He has also managed to post all his logs on LotW.

Progress since the Last List

2012 was again a good year for DXing. Although we didn't get the spectacular high-band propagation of 2011, there was occasional propagation on 28 and even 50 MHz. This sunspot cycle appears set to go down as below average.

However, there was a feast of delicious DXpeditions, including several from the world's rarest countries. Examples included 1A0C in July, 3C0E in March, 5T0SP in November, 6O0CW in May, 7O6T in May, 7P8D in November, FP/ several stations in July, H4 several times throughout the year, HK0NA in February, JD1BLY and 'BMH several times during the year, NH8S in September, OJ0R in July, P29NI in October, P29VPB in November, PT0S in November, RI1ANF from June, V5/DL3DXX in December, V84SMD in November, VP6T in January, XU1A in December, ZD7XF in March and ZL9HR in December.

7O6T arrived completely unannounced in May. After an absence of many years, Yemen appeared on the bands with a vengeance, mostly under Russian leadership. 6O0CW from Somalia appeared simultaneously, with an Italian crew. The bands were filled with action for about two weeks. 7O6T was very difficult to work from South Africa, as the pileups simply never died down.

NH8S was active in September. Despite the difficult path, they were workable from southern Africa. Many of the key operators had been well briefed beforehand. Contacts were made on all bands from 3,5 to 25 MHz. Two South Africans made it on six bands each, and they were worked from here on all bands from 3,5 to 25 MHz, and on three modes.

PT0S was announced as a low-band and 50 MHz DXpedition with high-powered operators Brazilian and Hungarian operators. Unfortunately, the message was lost in the noise, and expecations were to have action on all bands and all modes. The also-ran operators who were manning the other bands were not up to the task. On several occasions, the entire Phone section of 18 and 25 MHz was consumed by a huge pileup. Eventually, the low band activity came to a grinding halt in an attempt to satisfy the high-band demand.

RI1ANF was honorary local ZS1ANF, based on the South Shetlands for most of the year. He has been very workable on all bands, including 1,8 MHz.

7P8D showed up from Lesotho in November, organised by ZS2DL but sporting a large multi-national crew. Despite some equipment failures, the team remained very active and produced around 32 000 QSOs, the third-most ever from Zone 38.

The UN announced that Kosovo was now ready for self-government. However, the Serbians from which they were gaining independence were not convinced. Although most nations recognise their independence, China and Russia continue to veto their UN membership. Undaunted, OH2BH and others showed up in Kosovo and activated Z60K in September. Furious jamming and pirating by Serbians followed. Many South Africans worked Z60K on several bands, only to discover later that a pirate had been worked. A lot of activity has followed, including Z60WW in the CQWW contests and many other Europeans signing Z6/homecall. About a dozen residents have also returned to the air with Z60 callsigns. Under current DXCC entity criteria, Kosovo will not count as a separate county until it joins the UN or obtains a separate callsign assignment. A rule change appears necessary to facilitate the addition. Stalemate?

The Caribbean continues to be a popular DXpedition destination, with dozens of these throughout the year. Examples include 9Y, C6, FS, HR, J6, J7 and PJ (all four DXCC entities).

The CQ World Wide DX Contests produced the normal spurt of activity, with many DXpeditions to semi-rare locations. Two such operations that produced some low-band activity for locals were C5A and D4C.

Residents (permanent or temporary) who were active and provided many DXers with new counters included 5N7M, 5W1SA, A45XR, D2QV, D3AA, JX9JKA, ST2AR, SV2ASP/A, T6LG, TG9ADM and VK0TH.

2012 was also the year in which Clublog asserted its influence on DXing, changing the game forever. Most major DXpeditions now place their logs in Clublog on a regular basis, allowing DXers to monitor their progress, and that of their peers. DXpeditions can elect to list leaders by country, zone and continent, or even by club, in terms of the number of band-mode "slots" worked. Unfortunately, while in the past DXers who had the country confirmed would only make a token contact or two with a DXpedition, they now have to defend their honour by working the station on every "slot", just to stay in the running in their club, country or zone. With 10 bands and up to five modes to choose from, leading stations are making up to 30 QSOs with an expedition, adding tremendous artificial demand far in excess of the actual requirements of DXCC credits. DXpeditions have relished the ability to make unheard-of numbers of contacts on this basis.

There has, however, been an unfortunate side-effect. The pileups never thin, even in the last few days of large-scale DXpeditions. Anybody in a fringe propagation area (which South Africa often is) is simply out of luck. Where one would previously have had a good opportunity to make it through as pileups dwindle, there is now a constant pileup of loud stations from nearby population centres. Weak stations simply do not get through. The result is that many marginal propagation paths go unutilised. For example, NH8S was often heard on 28 MHz, but not a single southern African made it through. Only one contact resulted on 25 MHz.

Clublog has had another effect too. Some unscrupulous DXpedition operators have a habit of placing their home callsigns in the log to obtain DXCC credits for contacts they did not make. Although this practice is clearly against the spirit and the letter of DXCC rules, as well as the regulations of most countries, for some individuals the lure of the limelight is simply too much to resist. In the past, this practice was hard to detect, and few instances were ever proved beyond reasonable doubt. Now, all of a sudden, these contacts are visible for all to see. And all do see them. In South Africa, one particular case was very visible, earning a well-known DXpeditioner the contempt of his peers.

DXpeditioners are few and far between. They operate in the public eye and contribute to the common good. DXers are a dime a dozen, operate outside the public eye and operate only for selfish reasons. On the face of it, sacrificing a hard-earned reputation as a DXpeditioner for yet another slot on the DXCC Honour Roll (yawn...) does not appear to be a good trade!

The list in general shows a few interesting developments:

  • Only one year after ZS6WB bumped long-time occupant ZS5LB out of the second place on the 10 Band table, he was in turn displaced by ZS4TX. Bernie has finally taken to the WARC bands, rapidly adding almost 500 counters to his total.
  • The horse race on 14 MHz continues apace. Three stations are now tied at 312, with seven stations between 307 and 319. The entry level approaches 300.
  • The entry level on the WARC bands has jumped, with over 180 on 18 and 25 MHz and 139 on 10 MHz. Also, the top score on each WARC band is now over 280. Look for top scores of over 300 on all those bands in the 2013 list.
  • The top score in the 5 Band table represents an average of 308 per band. The entry level is an average of 216 per band.
  • The top score in the 10 Band table represents an average of 267 per band, with an entry level of 152.

    Rating your Progress

    I've written a short piece, describing how one can assess DX achievement a little more accurately than just comparing the numbers. For example, how much better is 280 than 240? How much effort is required to get onto the DXCC Honour Roll once you've passed the 300 mark? How much effort does it take to catch the remaining 9 countries once you're on the Honour Roll? How does your score on a specific band really stack up? The answers may astound you.

    An Offshore Comparison

    In these pages, I've often mentioned that I felt that ZS DXers were under-achieving. To impart a notion of why I feel this way, I've included results from a comparable survey in Britain, published in 2001, on this Site. Look at them, and see what you think! Don't forget that their scores have increased significantly in the past decade, making these scores even more remarkable.

    Those Callsigns listed in the Tables

    The tables can be very impersonal. I've therefore written 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!

    Return to ZS6EZ's Radio Page