About DX Clusters


In the "good old days" DXers had to tune around to find their prey. Of course friends would help friends improve their DXCC score by getting together on 2 meter nets, or by telephoning each other to say "DX1DX is on frequency now".

But all this changed in 1986 when AK1A (Pavillion software) write the original DX cluster program. This was a buggy DOS program that ran on a node PC connected to a packet TNC. The AX25 packet protocol allowed many connections on the same frequency - sharing time slots - to connect to the node. Thus, one Dxer in Dallas could spot (report) DX1DX and all the other stations connected to the node would receive the spot almost instantly. The same thing would happen in Austin, Houston etc. Then the nodes would use a 70cm link to talk to each other, and a huge network emerged.

The next step came from Finland after the emergence of the internet. The boys at OH2BUA started the DX Summit web site. Here users all over the world could report DX into the web page. Then every minute or two, the page would refresh for all users. DX Summit is now from the OH9W / OH2AQ radio club.  

Other web cluster sites have come along. I have found the cluster from Ham Radio Deluxe to be very fast. Here is the feed from it.




The next step is the telnet connection. This is based on the Telnet protocol which allows encrypted ASCII characters (plaintext) across a network. It allows a huge number of connections to be made in almost real time. This has the best of the original packet radio connection (spots are output as soon as they come in) and the web (world wide spots).

Now there are more versatile front-end programs for the Telnet DX cluster connections. These allow thing like auto reconnects, audio alarms & filtering of spots. Good examples are VE7CC's AR-User program and HB9BZA's rxclus.

Thanks everybody for providing these sites.


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