Congratulations to all the winners in the 2018 Oceania DX (OCDX) Contest, and thank you to everyone who participated, even if only to make a few QSOs.
The 2018 contest was another tough one, with the solar flux down to around 70, some geomagnetic storm activity, and severe lightning QRN from storms over the Taman Sea and northern Australia. None of the entrants had kind words to say about the conditions!
Nonetheless, there was still a good turn out with 1188 logs being submitted. This is less than the record haul of 1303 logs received in 2017 but similar to numbers submitted in 2015 and 2016. There was a further decline in the number of logs received from Europe, and this can be largely attributed to the difficulty in making contacts between Europe and Oceania in such difficult conditions. The good news is that the decline in European logs was at least partly offset by ongoing growth in the number of logs from Oceania stations, primarily from new Indonesian entrants.
40M was the band where most of the action occurred, as this band was least affected by the conditions while also offering a useful 5 points per QSO. The SO 40M LP category was one of the most popular entry categories with the number of entries increasing from 172 in 2017 to 243 in 2018. 20M was the next most active band. Not surprisingly, activity on the higher bands was subdued due to the poor solar conditions, although in the CW section there were still some reasonable openings on 15M and even some 10M CW QSOs were made with Asia and North America stations. Only 36 10M QSOs were logged by Oceania stations in the PHONE section, one of the lowest numbers ever recorded. On the other hand, compared to previous years, there was a significant uplift in the number of QSOs made on 160M and 80M in the PHONE section.
As well as the more common Oceania entities (such as KH6, VK, YB and ZL) the 2018 contest saw activity from many rarer Oceania entities such as 5W, 9M6, DU, E6, FK8, KH2, KH8, T88, V73, and V85. As always, this activity from rarer entities plays an important role in making the contest interesting and attractive to participants, especially for stations from outside Oceania. In particular we are grateful to the individuals and teams who traveled to activate rarer entities in the 2018 contest.
We apologise for the late publication of the 2018 results. We have made a number of substantial changes to the processes for the uploading, checking and reporting of the 2018 results and it took additional time to work through the 'teething' issues associated with these changes. The good news is that, after ironing out these issues, we should be well placed to publish the 2109 results in a timelier manner.
Despite the challenging conditions there were still plenty of impressive efforts and scores achieved in the 2018 contest. There were also many new world, continental and country records set, mainly on the lower bands. Summaries of all the 2018 winning entries, and those who set new records, are provided on the following pages:
We have made some major changes to the presentation of the line score results for the 2018 contest. The results are now presented in the form of the following interactive on-line tables that can be searched, sorted and filtered to suit the interests of individual readers.
This tabular presentation format should make it easier to find and compare results for individual entrants. The following information is listed for each entry:
We have also included an option for downloading a CSV file copy of the data so it can be furthered explored within an external spreadsheet or similar tool.
Similar interactive tables have also been developed to show the history of Oceania DX contest scores and records set since 2001, as follows:
Congratulations to all the winners of the plaques and trophies in the 2018 contest.
The Australia Club plaque is awarded to the local club from Australia with the greatest number of member stations making at least 50 valid QSOs in the PHONE or CW sections in the contest. The Geelong Amateur Radio Club wins this plaque again (for the sixth year in a row!) in 2018 with a total of 3 eligible logs being submitted from members VK3DQW, VK3PK and VK3WK.
The New Zealand Club Competition plaque is awarded to the local New Zealand NZART Branch, DX club, or contest group with the greatest number of members making at least 50 valid QSOs as a single operator in the PHONE or CW sections of the contest. Unfortunately, there were no organisations with sufficient eligible entrants in the 2018 contest.
Note: Australia and New Zealand entrants are encouraged to use the Cabrillo log CLUB: field to identify their membership of a relevant organisation for the purpose of awarding these plaques. Most Australian and New Zealand logs for the 2018 contest did not identify their affiliation with any organisation.
Newcomer plaques are awarded to the highest scoring new entrant from Oceania in the PHONE section and the highest scoring new entrant from Oceania in the CW section. The rules define a newcomer as an entrant who has not previously entered the relevant section (in any category) more than twice since the 2001 contest. Eligibility is limited to entrants who have not won any other plaques or trophies in the same section (either in a previous year or the current year). Congratulations to Alice Bowler ZL2EM (guest operator at ZM4T) for winning the 2018 PHONE newcomer plaque and Aldi Zulwan YB2GV for winning the 2018 CW newcomer plaque.
The ongoing sponsorship of plaques is important for maintaining and growing interest in the contest. New sponsorship offers are always welcome and anyone who is interested in becoming a sponsor should contact the Contest Committee. The cost of sponsoring a plaque is currently AUD 50.00 per annum to cover the expenses associated with the manufacture and delivery of the plaques.
Certificates are awarded to the top scoring station in each category for each continent and country. Additionally, each station that participated in the contest and made one or more valid QSOs, is awarded a participation certificate identifying the number of QSOs made. The certificates are available online for downloading and printing here .
A log checking report is produced for each entry in the contest (except SWL entries). This report provides detailed information about the calculation of the score including identifying QSOs that are duplicates (no penalty), calls that are copied incorrectly, exchanges that are copied incorrectly, QSOs that are not in the other log, and calls that are unique and not in other logs (no penalty).
A facility for entrants to download their log checking reports has been added to our web site. Any entrant can enter their callsign on this page to have the relevant report sent to the email address used to submit their log. Anyone having difficulty downloading the report (e.g. due to a change in their email address) should contact the contest committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Oceania DX contest will be held on the first two full weekends of October 2019, as follows:
PHONE: 08:00 UTC Saturday 5 October to 08:00 UTC Sunday 6 October
CW:08:00 UTC Saturday 12 October to 08:00 UTC Sunday 13 October
In 2001 the start time for the contest was brought forward by two hours from 10:00 UTC to 08:00 UTC so ZL and other western Oceania stations could finish at a more reasonable time on the Sunday evening. Some VK entrants are now asking that we bring the contest period further forward. The main reason cited is that more stations are operating from remote locations to get away from the manmade noise in urban areas and these stations wish to finish earlier so they have more time on Sunday afternoon to pack up and travel home in daylight.
The contest committee considers that it may be possible to bring the contest further forward, but by no more than 2 hours, i.e. to start and finish at 06:00 UTC. A start time earlier than 06:00 UTC would not be appropriate because it would require Pacific island stations immediately east of the international dateline (e.g. Niue, American Samoa and Tokelau) to begin too early on their Friday afternoon. Any earlier would also start to seriously eat into the time available for YB, VK6 and other western Oceania stations to set up in daylight on the Saturday, especially if they are travelling to remote locations.
Propagation factors also need to be considered. Moving the contest forward to 06:00 UTC would result in more Oceania stations starting and finishing in daylight hours when DX propagation is less favourable and limited to the higher bands. This would make a slower start and finish for a greater proportion of entrants and could result in fewer entrants operating the full 24 hours. The earlier finish also means that some Oceania and European stations would no longer be able to rely on having a second opportunity to work each other via the long path at the end of the contest. This could have a noticeable impact on their scores if the long path opening at the start of the contest is in poor shape.
The committee will make a decision on this matter after the 2019 contest. In the meantime, the committee is interested in receiving the views of entrants on the pros and cons of moving the start and finish times forward by 2 hours to 06:00 UTC for the 2020 contest. Please email your views, along with reasons, to the committee at email@example.com.
The successful running of the Oceania DX Contest is a large team effort involving contributions from around the world. The log uploading, log checking and certificate production processes are increasingly being automated but committee members still contribute many hours of effort per annum to manage these processes along with writing up and publishing of the annual results, administering the sponsorship and distribution of plaques, and promoting the contest.
The support of the following individuals and organisations is also acknowledged and greatly appreciated:
Finally, and most importantly, thank you again to everyone who participated in the 2018 contest and made it such a success. We look forward to seeing you all again, along with more new entrants, in the 2019 event.
Oceania DX Contest Committee
(Gary ZL2iFB, Geoff ZL3GA, Phil VK4FH, Lee VK3GK, Brian VK3MI/ZL1AZE, Tony VK3TZ, Martin VK7GN)
The following abbreviations are used in the description of the entry categories for the results:
Note: the M1 and M2 categories replaced the MS category in 2010, the LP and HP categories were introduced in 2010, and the QRP categories were introduced in 2014.