DXCC Country Criteria
Thanks to the ARRL for the following
Certain terms occur frequently in the DXCC criteria and are listed here. Not all of the definitions given are used directly in the criteria, but are listed in anticipation of their future use.
Entity: A listing on the DXCC List; a counter for DXCC awards.
Previously denoted a DXCC "Country."
Event: An historical occurrence, such as date of admission to UN,
ITU, or IARU, that may be used in determining listing status.
Event Date: The date an Event occurs. This is the Start Date of
all Event Entities.
Event Entity: An Entity created as the result of the occurrence of
Discovery Entity: An Entity "Discovered" after the listing is
complete. This applies only to Geographic Entities, and may occur
after a future rule change, or after an Event has changed its
Discovery Date: Date of the rule change or Event which prompts
addition of the Entity. This is the Start Date for a Discovery
Original Listing: An Entity which was on the DXCC List at the
time of inception.
Start Date: The date after which confirmed two-way contact credits
may be counted for DXCC awards.
Add Date: The date when the Entity will be added to the List, and
cards will be accepted. This date is for administrative purposes
only, and will occur after the Start Date.
Island: A naturally formed area of land surrounded by water, the
surface of which is above water at high tide. For the purposes of
this award, it must consist of connected land, of which at least
two surface points must be separated from each other by not less
than 100 meters measured in a straight line from point to point.
All of the connected land must be above the high tide mark, as
demonstrated on a chart of sufficient scale. For the purposes of
this award, any island, reef, or rocks of less than this size
shall not be considered in the application of the water separation
criteria described in Part 2 of the criteria.
Additions to the DXCC List may be made from time to time as world conditions dictate. Entities may also be removed from the List as a result of political or geographic change. Entities removed from the List may be returned to the List in the future, should they requalify under this criteria. However, an Entity requalified does so as a totally new Entity, not as a reinstated old one.
For inclusion in the DXCC List, conditions as set out below must be met. Listing is not contingent upon whether operation has occurred or will occur, but only upon the qualifications of the Entity.
There are five parts to the criteria, as follows:
- Political Entities
- Geographical Entities
- Special Areas
- Ineligible Areas
- Removal Criteria
1. Political Entities:
Political Entities are those areas which are separated by reason of government or political division. They generally contain an indigenous population which is not predominantly composed of military or scientific personnel.
An Entity will be added to the DXCC List as a Political Entity if it meets any one of the following three criteria:
- The entity is a UN Member State.
- The entity has been assigned a callsign prefix bloc by the ITU.
A provisional prefix bloc assignment may be made by the
Secretary General of ITU. Should such provisional assignments
not be ratified later by the full ITU, the Entity will be
removed from the DXCC List.
- The Entity has a separate IARU Member Society.
New Entities satisfying any one or more of the three conditions above will be added to the DXCC List by administrative action as of their "Event Date."
Entities qualifying under this section will be referred to as the "Parent" when considering separation under the section "Geographical Separation." Only Entities in this group will be acceptable as a Parent for separation purposes.
2. Geographic Separation Entity:
A Geographic Separation Entity may result when a single Political Entity is physically separated into two or more parts. The part of such a Political Entity that contains the capital city is considered the Parent for tests under these criteria. One or more of the remaining parts resulting from the separation may then qualify for separate status as a DXCC Entity if they satisfy paragraph a) or b) of the Geographic Separation Criteria, as follows.
- Land Areas:
A new Entity results when part of a DXCC Entity is separated
from its Parent by 100 kilometers or more of land of another
DXCC Entity. Inland waters may be included in the measurement.
The test for separation into two areas requires that a line
drawn along a great circle in any direction from any part of
the proposed Entity must not touch the Parent before crossing
100 kilometers of the intervening DXCC Entity.
- Island Areas:
A new Entity results in the case of an island under the
- The island is separated from its Parent by 350 kilometers
or more. Measurement of islands in a group begins with
measurement from the island containing the capital city.
Only one Entity of this type may be attached to any Parent.
- The island is separated from its Parent by 350 kilometers
or more, and from any other island attached to that Parent
in the same or a different island group by 800 kilometers
- The island is separated from its Parent by intervening land
or islands that are part of another DXCC Entity, such that
a line drawn along a great circle in any direction from any
part of the island does not touch the Parent before
touching the intervening DXCC Entity. There is no minimum
separation distance under this section.
3. Special Areas:
The Special Areas listed here may not be divided into additional Entities under the DXCC Rules. None of these constitute a Parent Entity, and none creates a precedent for the addition of similar or additional Entities.
- The International Telecommunications Union in Geneva (4U1ITU)
shall, because of its significance to world telecommunications,
be considered as a Special Entity. No additional UN locations
will be considered under this ruling.
- The Antarctic Treaty, signed on 1 December 1959 and entered
into force on 23 June 1961, establishes the legal framework
for the management of Antarctica. The treaty covers, as stated
in Article 6, all land and ice shelves below 60 degrees South.
This area is known as the Antarctic Treaty Zone. Article 4
establishes that parties to the treaty will not recognize,
dispute, or establish territorial claims and that they will
assert no new claims while the treaty is in force. Under
Article 10, the treaty States will discourage activities by
any country in Antarctica that are contrary to the terms of
the treaty. In view of these Treaty provisions, no new Entities
below 60 degrees South will be added to the DXCC List as long
as the Treaty remains in force.
- The Spratly Islands, due to the nature of conflicting claims,
and without recognizing or refuting any claim, is recognized as
a Special Entity. Operations from this area will be accepted
with the necessary permissions issued by an occupying Entity.
Operations without such permissions, such as with a self-
assigned (e.g., 1S) callsign, will not be recognized for DXCC
- Control of Western Sahara (S0) is currently at issue between
Morocco and the indigenous population. The UN has stationed a
peacekeeping force there. Until the sovereignty issue is
settled, only operations licensed by the RASD shall count
for DXCC purposes.
- Entities on the 1998 DXCC List that do not qualify under the
current criteria remain as long as they retain the status under
which they were originally added. A change in that status will
result in a review in accordance with Rule 5 of this Section.
4. Ineligible Areas:
- Areas having the following characteristics are not eligible for
inclusion on the DXCC List, and are considered as part of the
host Entity for DXCC purposes:
- Any extraterritorial legal Entity of any nature including,
but not limited to, embassies, consulates, monuments,
offices of the United Nations agencies or related
organizations, other inter-governmental organizations or
- Any area with limited sovereignty or ceremonial status,
such as monuments, indigenous areas, reservations, and
- Any area classified as a Demilitarized Zone, Neutral Zone or
- Any area which is unclaimed or not owned by any recognized
government is not eligible for inclusion on the DXCC List and
will not count for DXCC purposes.
5. Removal Criteria:
- An Entity may be removed from the List if it no longer satisfies
the criteria under which it was added. However, if the Entity
continues to meet one or more currently existing rules, it will
remain on the List.
- An Entity may be removed from the List if it was added to the
- Based on a factual error (Examples of factual errors include
inaccurate measurements, or observations from incomplete,
inaccurate or outdated charts or maps); and
- The error was made less than five years earlier than its
proposed removal date.
- A change in the DXCC Criteria shall not affect the status of any
Entity on the DXCC List at the time of the change. In other
words, criteria changes will not be applied retroactively to
Entities on the List.
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