North American Shortwave DX Contest Results

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Cooper, who writes:

Greetings fellow DXers and SWLers.

The North American Shortwave DX Contest, “The Final Countdown,” has come to a close. Participation expectations were high with 50 requests for Contest form packets being received and sent out to prospective contestants.

The actual contest participation in the contest was another matter with only 10 contestants completing out of 13 competing which equaled out to a final 20% participation rate in the contest. 3 contestants dropped out, 1 due to a personal issue, 2 equipment failures due to blizzard conditions in Utah destroying a rooftop antenna, and 1 SW receiver failure.

The question I have is why the lack of actual participation? Was the contest to hard? Or as I have the sinking gut feeling, the Shortwave hobby truly is dying a slow painful death? Thus the contest name “The Final Countdown,” sounds prophetic.

Although Propagation conditions were lousy during the 21 days. of January the contest was held on, there were several days of good DX openings as I participated as an observer, and was able to score high. I would have personally placed in the top 5 if officially entering.

There were 3 great prizes donated by Universal Radio Inc., for the top three finishers, and they were a main sponsor along with NASWA who donated several months of Journal space for the contest packet forms and CIDX who also published the contest forms packet in their excellent monthly electronic newsletter. These are the largest Shortwave Clubs/Associations in North America. Additionally I want to thank Thomas Witherspoon for posting several announcements, reminders, and contest form packets on the SWLing Post, one of my favorite sites for radio information.

The bottom line is those that did participate stated they enjoyed themselves and in some cases the joy of SWLing and DXing were rekindled again after many years of inactivity. That’s a good sign!


John P. Cooper
Contest Manager
“The Final Countdown”

Click here to download the The North American Shortwave DX Contest score sheet (PDF).

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8 thoughts on “North American Shortwave DX Contest Results

  1. Marty

    Somehow I missed this whole thing. I would be interested to see the contest objectives / rules / criteria. Is there a way I can get this now that the contest is over?

    1. John C.


      No problem, I understand. In case of a next time I did mail out quite a number of forms to those that had problems downloading or no access to Internet. Thanks for trying!

      John C.

  2. John C.

    Dan H.,
    Even though I personally have an SDR and the ability to record large chunks of bandwidth, I don’t, and didn’t for this contest. FYI- 2nd and 3rd place winners used non SDR receivers. I too check one station at a time, preferring to get my IDs at the top or bottom of the hours in real time. I honestly couldn’t see myself listening to recording IDs for each station submitted as that would be just to time consuming and I’d be still going through tapes/MP3s. I tried to make the contest submissions as easy as possible only asking for time honored identification procedures for logging and DXing. Frankly regardless of atmospheric conditions, I had very few problems getting 80% of the required Countries, and over 30 Countries for Part 2. Pirates in Part 3 were a little tougher but obtainable if you knew when and where to look along with using resources on line like HF Underground. Like I stated, conditions were tough but manageable with several good days of DX openings. It sounds by your comments you wouldn’t have participated regardless of season or time frame, since you just like to listen. That’s cool!

  3. DanH

    I requested the contest forms but did not participate in the contest. Why? Well, the rules made sense after some consideration except for the subjective criteria for identifying stations. Recordings should have been required for IDs. I had no problem with the country identification rules. The reason why I didn’t participate was propagation conditions. SFIs were in the 70s, SNs in the 20s and higher noise levels predominated the contest period. Real-time DX wasn’t happening where I lived. Why bother with DX during the mid-winter of the nadir of a record-setting weak sunspot cycle? This favored SDR setups with wide bandwidth recorded playback capability. That’s fine with me, I suppose. I use real-time radios and listen and report real-time. I can ID only one station at a time at the top of the hour. DX for me is over 6,000 miles transmission distance. YMMV. Tropical band reception for me is limited to hours when my next door neighbor is asleep and his plasma TV is shut off. Next time, why not schedule the contest for spring when DX starts coming in for the northern hemisphere? Then again, why discriminate against the southern hemisphere by doing so? I have to think back about 20 or 30 years to remember why contests were part of the reason why I quit ham radio and let my license expire. Call me simple and non-competitive, but I just like listening to SW broadcasts and the more distant the stations the better.

  4. Troy Riedel

    I would like to convey a hearty “Thanks” to Mr. John Cooper for expending so much time & effort on the contest.

    This was my first “DX Contest”. And though I knew my equipment would/could not compare to most Dx’ers (I scored about 12% of the winner’s score), it was nonetheless quite fun. Additionally the contest “trained” me to develop the habit of keeping logs & taking better notes. So despite my placement, this Dx Contest proved to be invaluable to this novice SWL hobbyist.

    Hopefully there will be a future reprise of the contest – with larger participation.

    Thanks again John – and to Thomas for getting to word out via this blog.

    Troy Riedel


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