What is DXCC - DX Century Club Award

DXCC, DX Century Club is possibly the most prestigious award for radio amateurs which can be gained for submitting confirmations for contacts with over 100 countries.

Ham radio operating awards includes:
Introduction to ham radio operating awards     DXCC - DX Century Club     WAC, Worked All Continents     WAS, Worked All States     IOTA - Islands On The Air     SOTA - Summits On The Air    

DXCC is possibly the most sought after and famous amateur radio operating award.

The award can be gained by contacting and having written proof of the contact with other amateur radio stations in a hundred DXCC country entities.

Once the basic award has been gained, further endorsements can be gained as further countries are contacted and the confirmations received.

DXCC can be gained for all band all mode working, or for single band or single mode operation. There is also a 5 band DXCC, 5BDXCC award as well.

With the first awards dating from 1937, DXCC has been a major motivator for HF operators and anyone holding the award is seen as an accomplished HF operator or DX'er.

Although the award was suspended fort he duration of WW2, it was re-opened after the war and even now contacts dating from 1945 are eligible.

DXCC basics

DXC is an amateur radio operating award that can be earned by making and receiving confirmation of contacts with licensed radio amateur operators in at least DXCC 100 countries.

The award is administered by the ARRL - American Radio Relay League, which is the national amateur radio society for the USA. In fact the award name, DXCC is a registered trade mark of the ARRL.

Radio amateurs or radio hams worldwide are eligible to apply for the award, although applicants within the USA, its possessions and Puerto Rico must be members of the ARRL.

Proof of the contacts for DXCC must be supplied at the time of the application. This can be either as a physical QSL card, or an online confirmation in Logbook of The World, LoTW.

As many people do not want to send their prize QSL cards abroad, many countries have local authorised checkers whoa re able to verify the QSL cards on behalf of the ARRL. Before applying, it is worth checking with the national society about this facility. Sometimes at major events checking may be undertaken. For example, at the RSGB Convention, a stand may be set up for authorised checking.

What is a DXCC country

It is very difficult to define exactly what a country is. For many years there has been debate about this because there are many definitions that could be taken.

One of the first attempts to try to resolve this issue appeared as an article in QST in 1935.

Entitled "How to Count Countries Worked, A New DX Scoring System" and written by Clinton B de Soto, W1CBD.

The article looked at the issues of counting countries and proposed that each discrete geographical or political entity is considered to be a country. This meant that DXCC countries would be distinct geographical or political entities.

For example the United Kingdom is one political entity, but England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man all count as separate countries.

The criteria for defining countries has been refined over the years, but essentially it remains the same.

DXCC award types

While it is possible to apply for DXCC without any restrictions applied, i.e. any band any mode, it is also possible to apply for awards based upon the type of mode used.

DXCC is available for operation using the following specific modes:

  • Mixed mode, i.e. any mode of modes
  • Phone
  • CW
  • Digital
  • Satellite

It is worth noting that contacts made via repeaters or satellites are not eligible for counting towards normal DXCC scores, but obviously satellite contacts can be counted towards the satellite award.

It is also possible to limit operation to a specific band.

  • 160 metres
  • 80 metres
  • 40 metres
  • 30 metres
  • 20 metres
  • 17 metres
  • 15 metres
  • 12 metres
  • 10 metres
  • 10 metres
  • 6 metres
  • 2 metres


While it is possible to have a single band DXCC, there is also a 5 Band DXCC for making contacts with 100 countries on each of five bands: 80, 40, 20, 15 & 10 metres.

This represents a significant challenge because many operators can optimise their stations and skills for operation on a particular band, but 5BDXCC requires 100 countries to be contacted on each of the bands.


Although the basic DXCC award is for 100 countries, it is possible to contact many more. In recognition of the ongoing achievements, it is possible to apply for endorsement stickers to attach to the original certificate.

Stickers are available for contacting 150, 200, 250, 275 and 300 countries, and beyond 300, they are in multiples of 5 above 300.

Endorsements are also available for 5BDXCC, and these again , represent a major operating achievement.

DXCC Honor Roll

There is a significant challenge for DX'ers in having confirmed contacts with as many countries or entities as possible. Currently the number of entities stands at 340, although as some countries or entities have changed, contacts made before certain dates will mean that some stations can have figures above this.

Anyone who has confirmed contacts with over 331 confirmed countries or entities can enter the DXCC Honor Roll.

The DXCC Honor Roll standings are published annually in the ARRL magazine QST, and those who have attained this level of DXCC status are eligible for an endorsement sticker, a lapel pin and Honor Roll plaque.

DXpeditions & most wanted list

While it is possible to make contact with widely populated countries that have a large number of licensees, it becomes very much more difficult to contact stations with very limited levels of population, or ones that are very remote.As a result, expeditions, normally known as DXpeditions often travel to remote and rare countries or DX entities to activate them and give ham radio stations the opportunity to make contact with them.

These DXpedition stations are very popular, often making many thousands of contacts. They are well organised and often have several stations that can go on the air simultaneously and a group of experienced operators.

Some DXpeditions have been to places including Bouvet Island, Vanuatu, Congo Republic, Banaba Ocean Island and many others.

DXCC is probably the most widely sought after award for amateur radio operating. It takes skill in know about radio propagation, technical knowledge in setting up, running and maintaining an effective amateur radio station, and dedication perseverance continuing to seek the required contacts, often over a good period of time.

Those who gain DXCC and the various endorsements are recognised as effective DX'ers and are respected within the ham radio community.

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