The CQ DX Marathon is an annual recognition issued by CQ Magazine. It is the sum total of the number of different entities, plus the number of CQ zones, worked in a given year.
This conversion program for Microsoft Windows reads an ADIF log, determines all of the unique entities and zones worked, and writes the corresponding QSO data to the official scoresheet. Unlike previous versions of this program, there is no copy/paste involved - the program does almost all the work!
IMPORTANT: The conversion program will only recognize QSOs made during the year it was designed for. So for example, the 2013 conversion program (v.13.x) will only work with QSOs made during 2013. You can can NOT use it for QSOs made in 2012 or 2014 (or any other years). Each new release of the conversion program will occur shortly after the current program expires, typically at the end of January the following year.
The current version of the conversion program is 14.3 and was released on 6 April 2014. This version will expire after 31 January 2015. You can click on this link to see the version history.
Several of the most common mistakes are as follows:
To install the program for the first time, go to the Version History below and click on the highest version number (most recent date) at the top of the list, which is a link to that version of the program. This will download the installation program. When the file is saved on your disk, just open it to begin the installation. The default installation path is:
C:\ADIF to CQ DX Marathon
You may install the program anywhere you wish, but avoid the C:\Program Files directory, due to possible file protection issues with Windows Vista and later.
HINT: inside of the installation directory, create a new folder for the current year, i.e.:
C:\ADIF to CQ DX Marathon\2013
This is a good place to download the scoresheet as well as a place to put your ADIF file for that year.
The conversion program requires your logbook data in ADIF format. The procedure for creating this ADIF file from your log is specific to each logging program, so those particular details are not included here. If you have the option, only export QSOs for the year of interest. It's OK if you can not do this, because the conversion program will only use QSOs from the current award year. However, it may take longer to process the log because the program still has to read all QSOs older than the current year.
Each QSO record in the ADIF file must contain the following fields:
Most logging programs will export the correct fields automatically. If the DXCC and/or CQZ fields are not present, the program will not be able to determine the DXCC entity and/or the CQ zone the station you worked. Most contest logging programs are unable to write these fields to the ADIF file (especially the country information). General-purpose logging software like DX4WIN, DXKeeper, Ham Radio Deluxe, Logger32, etc. usually generates the desired fields in the ADIF file. If neither DXCC nor CQ zone fields are present, the program will not convert your log. It will assume the input file is not an ADIF file.
From the CQ DX Marathon website, "This list of separate countries (entities) for the CQ World Wide DX Contest and the CQ DX Marathon is based on a combination of the ARRL DXCC list, additional entities on the WAE (Worked All Europe) list and the Italian islands of Lampedusa (IG9) & Pantelleria (IH9), in CQ Zone 33 off the coast of North Africa. This provides a total of 347 entities, based on 340 DXCC entities, six additional WAE entities (GM/Shetland, IT/Sicily, TA1/European Turkey, 4U1VIC, Z6 Kosovo, JW/Bear Is.) and African Italy. "
The conversion program attempts to determine the additional entities above based on callsign, prefix or IOTA reference number:
The above list is complete at the time this was written. However, there could be legitimate calls of which the program is unaware. Make sure to check your scoresheet after the program finishes.
The program will choose the first QSO it finds in your log (ADIF file) for each country and/or zone credit. It will ignore certain QSOs as follows:
While reviewing your completed scoresheet, if you don't like a QSO that the program chose, enter a different one by hand. Alternately, mark the QSO invalid in your logbook using one of the above techniques, export your log to ADIF and the run the conversion program again. If you changed the QSO by hand, then run the conversion program again, that change will be lost. QSO data is not retained from one conversion to the next.
After installing the program, double-click on the "ADIF to CQ DX Marathon" icon on your Windows desktop or in the Start menu. You should see a window like the following:
The Title Bar shows the year and version number. Make sure you are running the correct program version for the year of interest. The major version number will correspond to the last two digits of the year, so version 13.x would be for calendar year 2013.
The window is divided into three frames (sections). The frame on the left is for your personal information. Callsign, Country and CQ Zone are in bold because they are required fields. You will not be able to convert your ADIF log unless those fields are filled in. When you exit the program, all of these fields are saved in a file in the same directory as the program. The next time you run the program, the values in these fields will be restored.
The Callsign field is a drop-down list. To add a new callsign, click on the arrow and select [new callsign]. You will get a pop-up window into which you can type in the callsign to add. Type <ENTER> when you are finished entering the call. The program will check that the callsign is valid, and report an error if it is not. You can add as many callsigns as you need, in case you want to submit logs from multiple stations.
When selecting a different callsign, both the ADIF Log and Output File fields will be reset to empty. This is to ensure that you select the correct ADIF log, as well as use the correct output file name for the newly-selected callsign.
There are two ways to delete a callsign from the list;
In either case, you will need to select another item from the list (either an existing callsign, or [new callsign]) to close the Callsign listbbox. You can delete multiple callsigns at once; you can not delete [new callsign].
In the Inputs frame (section), select your class (Unlimited or Formula). Click the ADIF Log button and navigate to the location of the file you saved from your logging software. Double-click on the file name, or click once and choose Open. Do the same for the Scoresheet. This is the official scoresheet, in Microsoft Excel 97-2003 format, that you downloaded from the CQ DX Marathon web site. Finally, click the Output File button and choose a name for the resulting (populated) scoresheet. If you have filled in the Callsign field in the user section, the program will suggest naming the output file with your callsign (i.e. AD1C.xls), but you can change it to whatever you wish. Do not make the output file name the same as the input scoresheet! The program will report an error if you do this.
There are two additional drop-down selection boxes for Band and Mode. You may use either or both of these to select QSOs for only a particular band or mode (or band/mode combination). There are separate plaques awarded for the following categories:
The default selection is all bands, all modes.
After you have filled out the user information and class, and selected the input and output files, the program window should look something like this:
To begin the conversion, click on the Convert button in the Actions frame (section). At this point, the program checks that the required fields have been filled in and are valid, and will report any that are not. You will need to correct these errors before you can proceed.
If you are entering one of the Formula classes (either < 100 watts or < 10 watts), the program will bring up an additional window that you need to fill in:
This is where you type in your antenna description, as required by Formula class entries. Like the user data, this description will be saved when you exit the program, and restored when you restart it. The Antenna Description is required for Formula class entries. If you fail to describe your antenna system properly, you will get a warning from the program.
When the conversion has finished, you should see a pop-up message like the following:
At this point, the program will offer to open the filled-in scoresheet using whatever default program your installation of Microsoft Windows uses to work with spreadsheet files. This is a good time to inspect the scoresheet for errors, as well as fill in any missing entities (like IT9, Z6, etc.) and/or the optional Comments section at the bottom. Please save the scoresheet before exiting the spreadsheet program.
NOTE: Once you open the resulting scoresheet, it will remain open even after after you exit the ADIF to CQ Marathon program (by clicking the Exit button).
You can use the Convert button multiple times, for example to experiment with different band/mode selections. Note that each subsequent conversion (after the first) will warn that you are about to over-write the existing output file. This acts as a reminder to select a different output file name if you want to keep the results of each conversion. The first time you Convert after changing callsigns, you will not get this warning.
You may continue to maintain your scoresheet throughout the year, either by converting a new ADIF file, or by hand. Note that the program does not retain any QSO data from the last time that it ran. Therefore, you must select the input and output files, as well as any band or mode filters all over again.
There are seven entities on the CQ list that are not on the ARRL DXCC list:
The program will attempt to identify QSOs with these entities if the QSO records in the ADIF logbook contain enough information to do so (callsign or IOTA). Otherwise, you will have to find the information in your logbook yourself and fill in those entities in the scoresheet by hand. If you do enter a QSO by hand, make sure that the QSO wasn't already used as credit for another entity. For example, you can not count a Bear Island (JW) QSO as credit for both Svalbard and Bear Island, so you may need to find another Svalbard QSO in your log to receive credit for that entity.
NOTE: The IOTA information for some of these special entities must be filled in the same way for all QSOs. For example, JW9JKA was very active in 2013 from Bear Island, IOTA EU-027. If you fail to fill in that IOTA for any of your JW9JKA QSOs, i.e. by leaving the field blank, or using EU-026 for Svalbard instead, then the program may give you JW/Svalbard credit for one of those JW9JKA QSOs, when he was really on Bear Island. You could also have this problem with GM/Shetland, because the conversion program looks for IOTA EU-012 to differentiate Shetland and Fair Isle from the rest of Scotland. Remember, garbage in, garbage out.
When you are satisfied with the contents of your submission, E-mail the output file from the conversion (not the empty scoresheet), as an attachment, to the contest sponsor. The E-mail address can be found on the CQ DX Marathon web site.
The program has a built-in updater. This way you do not need to re-run the full installation after the initial one. To check if there is an update available, click on the Update button. If an update is available, you will see a pop-up message like the following:
If you click Yes, the program will download the update into the installation directory. After the update is complete, you will need to restart the program in order to use the new version. If the update attempt encounters a problem, your current version of the conversion program should remain in-tact.
After the program expires, it will bring up this pop-up window immediately, prompting you to download the next (current) year's version. If you choose not to do this, the program will remain open. However, the Convert button will be disabled. So except for entering/editing User Information, it won't do much.
HINT: It is still possible to use the program after it has expired. For example, in June 2014, you want to re-run the conversion against your 2013 log. In order to do this, you will need to modify the shortcut that starts the program. Right-click on the program icon and choose Properties. You should see a window like the following:
In the "Target" text box, after (outside) the closing quote, add this parameter:
so the result looks something like this:
Then click on the OK button at the bottom to save your changes, and rerun the program from the modified icon.
IMPORTANT: Remember to remove the year override when you want to prepare this year's submission!
The two remaining buttons in the lower-right frame are Help and Exit. Clicking the Help button will bring up this web page. Clicking the Exit button will exit the program, after confirming that you really want to do that. Before exiting the program, it will write the User Information to a file that will be read the next time you run the program.
This program was re-written from scratch for 2013. There are bound to be mistakes in the program, or things that may not work exactly as described above. If you want to report a problem (either program or documentation), or request a feature, send your request to the Webmaster E-mail address at the bottom of this page.