The historic Oceania DX (“OCDX”) Contest is one of the longest-running contests in the amateur radio calendar, on a par with classics such as the RGSB Commonwealth Contest (formerly BERU) and CQ World Wide DX Contest (CQ WW).
It is an annual competition between radio amateurs to make contacts on the HF (shortwave) bands, specifically DX (long distance) contacts with stations in Oceania.
From the mid-1930s until the end of the millennium, the contest was known variously as the “VK DX Contest” and “VK/ZL Contest”. It was renamed the “Oceania DX Contest” in 2000 in recognition of increased participation from the entire Oceania region.
Aside from VK, ZL, YB and KH6 hams, contestants from many of the rarer Pacific islands get on the air for the contest, making this an excellent opportunity for DXing. Some intrepid contesters plan trips to the islands to coincide with OCDX because they know DXers will be beaming this way.
In the latter half of the twentieth Century, WIA and NZART took turns to manage the contest each year. Concerns such as frequent rule changes and limited promotion led in 2000 to the establishment of a combined Oceania DX Contest Committee comprising VK and ZL contesters. The joint management committee, coupled with more stable rules and increased global promotion of the event, has led to a year-on-year growth in participation from both Oceania and DX entrants.
Steady improvements in the South Pacific region’s infrastructure make it easier than ever before to visit and operate from many of the Pacific islands.
There are daily, direct air links from the rest of the world to major hubs such as Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Indonesia, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, of course.
The growing network of regional flights is opening up tourism to more exotic places such as Tahiti, Rarotonga and the South Cooks, Papua New Guinea, French Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Chatham Island, Solomon Islands, Bora Bora and Kiribati among others, making the Pacific an increasingly popular destination for both DXpeditioners and holidaymakers. October’s fabulous Spring-time weather and outstanding natural beauty, coupled with the traditional Pacific hospitality, a very warm and friendly welcome (starting at the airport arrivals hall – or the airport hut in some places!), and endless pileups make for memorable trips either way.
Looking forward, the Committee plans to continue automating the checking and analysis of logs, speeding up the process while at the same time reducing the painstaking and tedious manual work. We have renewed our efforts to promote the contest globally, with a perennial year-round OCDX marketing plan and a press officer.
Help us exploit the legacy of this historic content by spreading the word among the DX and contest communities, through your local clubs, and most of all getting on the air during the first two full weekends of October – the more the merrier.