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Dx Clusters are DX spotting tools for the Ham. DX stations are listed with their freq, the time heard and the call of the station that heard them. You may see many stations on a Cluster that you can not hear. This is because of propagation. You should pay close attention to the station that entered the DX and pick the ones that are in your area for best results. Some DX Clusters have filters that you can set to only show you the stations in the areas that you select. You have to enter your call to sign in to a Cluster. Any Ham signed in can enter a DX station into the Cluster. The Clusters should not be used to send personal messages or non DX related information. There are a few main Cluster sites and all the ones you see are working into one of these sites. Therefore the information is almost exactly the same on any Cluster you select. For this reason it is best to pick one that is operational most of the time. Each one is operated by a Ham who has set up the equipment to help others. These are not commercial installations and therefore occasionally a site will be off the air or not operating properly. When this happens, just select another one. When using a Cluster you are in the Packet digital mode and the expressions you type are Packet words. Have Fun and Enjoy.

Accessing a DX Cluster

You will need a Telnet program to view the Clusters.

A good, simple (free) one is PUTTY. Windows also has a Telnet program.

Putty can be downloaded from the Internet by typing PUTTY.
Download the “puttytel.exe” file. This is the simplest one.

To use, enter the DX Cluster address and click <open>
You can click <save> to save the address and then the next time you want to use the Cluster, click on it, and then <load>., then <open>. You can also change the Font and colors and save them.

When you connect to a Cluster you will be asked to enter your call. Do this and press <enter>

Some Clusters ask for additional information such as your QTH, your name, your latitude and longitude, etc. If you don’t want to go through this, just ignore it. If thls doesn’t work, pick another Cluster.

The data will begin to appear and continues to update as new info is added. If you want o see a large amount of files right away you can type
sh/dx/#. Where # is the number of lines you want to see. I usually use the number 20

If you want to enter a DX call into the Cluster do the following:

    At the end of the data, type the following:  (dx) (freq in kHz) (dx call) (comments) <enter>.

NOTE it is very important to leave only one space between each item of information.

Example---  To enter vk9nt operating on 24,226.9 kHz, handle Dave

            Type--          dx 24,226.9 vk9nt Dave <enter>

    The program automatically picks up your call as the station entering the information

If you want to learn more about different commands you can use, type <?/help>  <enter>. It usually works.

When you are finished with the program, type a <b>  <enter>,  [(BYE) to exit the program].

I normally use one of the following Clusters. If one fails one of the others will usually be operating.


Sample DX Cluster presentations

DX Cluster 1  shows a raw cluster as it comes over the internet via PUTTY

DX Cluster 2  shows the cluster presentation presented by my logging program. It is set to show only the stations that I have not worked and the colors
represent the following:

Yellow background—New COUNTRY
Blue background—    New award MODE
Red background—    New award BAND
Green background—New BAND MODE
Blue printing—            Award MODE not confirmed
Red printing—             Award BAND not confirmed
Green printing—         New BAND MODE not confirmed
Black printing—          Nothing special

The number in the P column shows the relative importance