I enjoy working DX. One of the tools a DXer will use to sniff out DX is the DX Cluster. That 24/7 'round the clock Internet system that will notify you that DX stations are "on the air". The DX Cluster will tell you what the DX stations callsign is, who spotted him, what frequency he's on and more. I have my DX Cluster loading through Ham Radio Deluxe software so along with station/frequency/time display, it also shows me the beam heading and distance in miles to the DX station from my QTH.
It's a great tool. I've worked a lot of rare DX and DXpeditions using the DX Cluster. But see here's the rub. It's a DX Cluster. Not a W1AW, USA, 13 Colonies, etc. spotting network. Inherent in its name is DX CLUSTER. So USA stations spotting USA stations is a waste of what little window space you and I have set aside for our DX Cluster program. In my opinion, US stations spotting US stations is a waste - just like self-spotting.
And speaking of self-spotting on the DX Cluster, I just completed a "spirited" discussion via several emails with a Ham. It stayed civil, but at times the discussion was on the brink of disaster. See, I saw a station on 20 Meters that had obviously set up shop on a frequency and was working DX. He had a good DX Pileup going. Awesome stuff! But the problem was he was self-spotting all the DX stations he was logging. Now I don't know about you, but that annoyed me. My DX Cluster window was cluttered with this specific station spotting all the stations he was working. What good is that? I looked him up on QRZ and sent him an e-mail simply asking, "Why are you self spotting on the DX Cluster?"
Among several back and forth e-mails, I wasn't getting my simple point across. Here's three of his replies:
"If you are referring to my 20 meter activity last night, I was NOT self spotting. I was spotted by some of those who were working me as part of the ARRL Centennial QSO party. But thanks for being the self appointed cluster spotting police."
"Dude, I didn't spot myself. Since I worked 5 or 6 Germans, Russians or Ukrainians, my log program may have spotted those automatically. But that's NOT self spotting. Self spotting is SPOTTING YOUR OWN CALL SIGN. I've been a ham for almost 40 years; don't tell me how to operate unless you want to really piss me off."
"I don't know where you came up with that definition of "self-spotting", but the ARRL and I disagree with you. "Self-spotting is the practice of announcing your own call and run frequency on the spotting network." http://www.arrl.org/hf-operating-guidelines. Perhaps you should brush up on rules, regs and best practices before you decide to send errant emails to other hams."
As you can see in his replies, the little light bulb in his head hadn't come on yet.
I found it a little hard to believe that even though I sent him a snapshot of my screen with his call spotting a long list of stations he was working back to back to back on his frequency, he couldn't grasp that he was self spotting. Then I provided him this:
"You're something else. Tough nut to crack.
You clog up thousands of DXers valuable Cluster window space with your self-spots, then when called out you try to snake your way through a discussion with excuse after excuse.
Let's see... I didn't spot the DX you worked, the DX stations you worked didn't spot the DX you worked, casual folks listening didn't spot the DX you worked, YOU YOURSELF spotted the DX you worked.
I attached a snippet of you (using your words) "announcing your own call and run frequency on the spotting network" just in case you needed to "see" what you were doing.
Who was "Station Call Removed" spotting DX in his own pileup on his own frequency? That's self-spotting. It's a version of self-spotting rarely seen (because everyone knows better). Imagine if everybody did what you do, sit on a frequency, call CQ and spot everybody they work."
Maybe he finally got the point, maybe not. Maybe somebody reading this obscure Blog post on self-spotting to a DX Cluster will get it too, maybe not. I felt it worthy to write about. Read the ARRL guideline on self-spotting again, "Self-spotting is the practice of announcing your own call and run frequency on the spotting network". When YOU post the DX YOU are working on YOUR frequency to the Cluster, you are self-spotting. YOU are the spotter. YOU are spotting your frequency. Capisce?
If you think about it for a moment, spotting your own call in the "DX" as well as the "Spotter" column to the DX Cluster isn't 1/20th as bad as what this Ham was doing. If some 9N7 station in Nepal spots himself on 14.195 calling CQ DX ONE TIME, that's 20 times less window space taken than when self-spotters are spotting their logbook.
And my DX Cluster alarm just went off, so with that I'll sign off my rant and do what DXers do, go work some DX. See you in the pileups!
Related, including Remedy: US Stations Spotted on DX Cluster
UPDATED: Just got an e-mail from a US Ham wondering what wasted window space I'm talking about with self-spotting. I didn't have to look far. Here's a snapshot of self-spotter HI8CSS:
This begs the question, "why?" Other than to create aggravation and frustration for Cluster users, what is gained for anybody anywhere by this type of self-spotting?