In 2005, W9KNI and CQ Magazine asked me if I was interested in managing a new contest for CQ Magazine – the CQ DX Marathon. This new contest/DX program sounded very interesting, and I thought it would be a great program to keep old timers interested in working DX.
As it was a new contest, there was nothing avail- able in terms of tools, scoring software, web site, etc. Over the years the DX Marathon has grown significantly and has become an annual event with a tremendous following.
But the DX Marathon would never have reached its current level of activity without the dedicated help from many people.
Alex, VE3NEA, was one of the first to jump in with his idea of software to score the contest. It is still in use today. Jim, AD1C, has created many DX Marathon tools and a dedicated DX Marathon web page.
Dave, AA6YQ, was the first logging program author to build DX Marathon support directly into his excellent software.
Mike, W9MR, has built our online submission tools.
John, W9ILY, prepares the 100+ certificates every year. VK3AMA has fully supported the DX Marathon in his JT Alert software.
W9KNI and PY5EG not only provide significant financial support but have also provided many great ideas and emotional support. Bernie, W3UR, has been very supportive of the Marathon in his Daily and Weekly DX Bulletins.
Our many plaque sponsors have provided incentives for participants to strive for the top positions. However, the Marathon is now at a turning point. Participation has grown significantly the last two years and many of the processes are still done manually. I am not a software person by education or trade, so I am not able to automate more of the work without asking for additional external support. In addition, the introduction of FT8 has changed the face of the Marathon. On the positive side, the weak signal capabilities of FT8 have allowed low power and compromised antenna participants to submit some amazing scores. On the downside, 79% of all submitted QSOs are now FT8 and combined with the Internet, cheating among a few participants has increased.
In summary, the DX Marathon needs a fresh look, some updated tools, and some serious work on evaluating submitted logs. After 17 years and watching my advancing age, I told CQ Magazine late last year that 2022 would be my last year to manage the DX Marathon. To date, they have not been able to find a replacement for me to manage the Marathon. Each of you on this letter has had a significant impact on the Marathon, so I am turning to all of you with the request to find a person, persons, or organization to assume leadership of the DX Marathon. I have approached the WWROF, but there has been little interest in the DX Marathon. Perhaps I did not handle the requests properly. If you or any of your contacts has an interest in managing the DX Marathon, please contact me directly.
Finding a replacement person or organization now would provide a lot of overlap time as there is plenty to learn. Thank you for your support of the DX Marathon and reading this note. I will surely miss many aspects of managing the program, but it is time for me to step down.
Sincerely, John K9EL
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