*EDITORIAL* The Truth with Busted Callsigns

It’s the nature of dxpedition operations that, sporadically, callsigns are logged by the dx adventure team that are not accurate — well not fully anyway.

You can’t blame them either when there’s ‘more layers than a hamburger’ of 5/9 signals on the QRV frequency.

These are often referred to as ‘busted callsigns’ where part of the QRZ — for example the division number, club acronym or unit number — is broken or missing.

Fluctuating signals (i.e. QSB), heavy QRM, or QRN caused by multiple stations calling can make it difficult to decipher some callsigns and so result in a busted callsign being registered.

In actual fact, the dxpedition operator might even know it’s busted but, instead of leaving them off the log completely, log what he believes is the true callsign and then move on to the next guy, knowing it can be fixed at a later time — such is the beauty of the internet.

This isn’t always a human error as such, more indicative of the problematic operating conditions at the time and how challenging it is to pull out weak signals when ‘every man and his dog’ are on the same frequency.

It can also be a deliberate strategy by a professional team of guys to maximize the number of stations worked.

So why deliberately move on to another station when you’re not sure if the previous callsign is correct?

On the 11m band and others, where propagation is volatile at best, time spent triple checking unit numbers is time lost working others. 

The opening, after all, could last only a few minutes.

You also risk losing the pileup or the pileup becoming unruly if too much time is spent working one particular station and others are left to twiddle their thumbs on the frequency.

It’s especially difficult, on this note, to expect guys to sit on the side when a rare or all-time new one (ATNO) is at stake and the chances of another opportunity to work him are slimmer than a catwalk model.

Fortunately, these days most dx adventure teams are open to adjusting a callsign in the official log if it’s proven beyond reasonable doubt to have been busted — even more so, if elements of the busted callsign resemble the one claimed by the inquiring operator to have ‘made it’ ITL.

This hasn’t always been the case in the past where log inquiries were often shot down in flames.

For any DA-RC ‘Most Wanted’ activity, if you feel your callsign has been logged incorrectly and would like it changed then please email the QSL Manager with your query.

If you’re a sponsor of the DXpedition you might also have direct access to the team members and can put forward your case personally.

If you can prove that a QRZ is ‘busted’ then of course a DA-RC DXpedition Team will be happy to investigate the claims and adjust any log accordingly.

Of course there’s the chance you’ll be told to try calling again if the dx adventure team isn’t convinced they’ve RX it wrong so video recordings, testimonials from local ops, frequencies, times, dates, etc. are always helpful to support your argument.

Good luck ITL!

73 de Darren, 43DA001