Fun with 5U5R…

Posted: March 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

5u5r_team

The 5U5R DXpedition from the Republic of Niger has just concluded. This DXpedition was organized by the venerable Tifariti Gang. The team made 75,327 contacts from March 9th to March 20th, 2017.

This was a very good DXpedition for a number of reasons. This team really knows how to make effective use of their location and antennas. They always select a quiet location which helps them hear the weakest of signals.

They use light weight Spiderbeam and Hex beam antennas that perform very well. This team really excelled with their low band effort. They worked 30-160 meters very hard and were heard on 160 meters as far away as the Hawaiian Islands. Many of us on the US West Coast were really pleased with their effort as many of us scored a contact on 80 and 160 meters which is a very difficult contact to make.  Their signals on 30 and 40 meters were very strong. Their operating team was highly skilled and a pleasure to work.

photo8

This team worked extremely hard with considerable time working the bands and reducing the pileups. They reached nearly 10,000 contacts each day for their initial operating period. This is a significant feat that can be accomplished by using the strongest operators available.

They operated in a logical and effective style, much like the Italian DX Team, the Tifariti Gang choses several bands for that day and works it until there is simply no more propagation left. 

There have been many DXpeditions from Niger over the years but I cannot recall any that were as much fun to work as the 5U5R team.

My hat is off to Tony-EA5RM and his team for a fantastic effort!

What do you think?

Unsung Heroes of DXing…

Posted: March 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Today, I’m writing about some of the unsung heroes of the DXpedition realm. DXpeditions require funds to achieve their goals. Some DXpeditions require more funds than others.

There is a group of men that work tirelessly, day after day and year after year to help make DXpeditions happen. These are the fine men that run the nonprofit foundations that support and fund DXpeditions.

The two main organizations that enable DXpeditions to be funded are the Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF) and the International DX Association (INDEXA)

These men attend the various ham radio events and club meetings, tirelessly raising money in advance of the many requests of the DXpedition Leaders that are seeking funds. Probably one of their most difficult tasks is rejecting or turning down a request for funding. This is necessary as not every DXpedition can be funded and some DXpeditions cost considerably more than others.

A DXpedition to a South Pacific Island that is activated every few years does not have the same need and importance of the big expensive DXpeditions such as 3Y0Z, VK0EK or FT5ZM. DXpedition organizers need to be realistic and accept the limitations in funding. There is only so much money available in this hobby and these men carefully decide where it is needed most. These men make DX happen. Without the important work that these men do, many DXpeditions to the most important places simply may not happen.

Won’t you support their efforts today with a donation?

ncdxf240

http://www.ncdxf.org

indexacolorblacktitlemedium

http://www.indexa.org

What do you think?

Expert1.5K

I am a big fan of solid state amplifiers. I really enjoy my Elecraft KPA500 and my Expert 1.3K-FA solid state amplifiers. They perform extremely well and I don’t miss the three minute warm up time of my former 8877 based amplifier.

This past weekend at the Montichiari (Italy) Ham Fest, SPE Expert Amplifiers revealed a new solid state amplifier in their product offering. It is the Expert 1.5K-FA amplifier. This amplifier comes standard with the built in automatic tuner. It weights just slightly more than the Expert 1.3K-FA amplifier in the same form factor.

This new amplifier uses the latest NXP device MRF 1K50. Power is evenly distributed across the bands, about 1600 W on 1,8MHz and  14MHz, on 6 meters (50MHz) about 1580/1590 W.

According to SPE, the Expert 1.5K-FA will be on display in May at Dayton Hamvention

Photos by IK4UAY.

What do you think?

Blogging with Integrity…

Posted: March 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

I’ve been writing my Blog for a few years now. For the most part, it is enjoyable. The areas of interest on my Blog are DXpeditions and my love for adventure travel. The views put forth on my Blog are my opinions and those of the many commenters.

There certainly is no shortage of opinions these days. As a Blogger, we are not held to any kind of journalistic standard as the regular conventional media. I strive to be fair, balanced and accurate in my Blogging. I often write on topics and then share them with trusted/respected peers for their input before posting. Quite often what I post is a softer/nicer version of what I initially had written.

I welcome those that have alternative opinions to post them in my comments section or email me directly. Sometimes the comments are so well communicated and thought out that my own views are changed. For example, I have Blogged several times about Kosovo. Initially, I did not share the view that it should become its own DXCC entity and gain some form of UN admission.  I held this view even after visiting Kosovo.

In response to my Blogging, there were a number of alternative views shared. I read them and digested the thoughts. I found my own view changing on Kosovo based on other opinions that were shared with me.

As a Blogger, I believe we have some responsibility to “get it right” and represent facts and events honestly, even if our friends disagree.

I follow several other amateur radio blogs. My favorite is the Station Building Blog by Fred AB1OC. Fred shares his vast technical knowledge and love of amateur radio is a very nice, friendly style.

In this day and age of “fake news” I feel that amateur radio Bloggers such as myself ought to try their best to present a positive picture of our hobby and Blog with integrity as much as possible. We may share our opinions on our Blogs but it is important to state just that “these are my opinions”

What do you think?

 

The TL8TT Story…

Posted: February 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

TL8TT: The sixteenth IDT DXpedition to Africa. By Stefano-IK2HKT.

tl8tt_team

The TL8TT Team.

I find myself in the waiting lounge of the Bangui Airport, when Silvano (I2YSB) asks : “would you mind jotting down a few lines about our Dxpedition?”. I gladly go along with it (I cannot turn him down!), so, while overflying an unspecified African desert, I take advantage of these few hours of flight to narrate our adventure in the the Central African Republic (CAR).

I shall do my best to avoid repetitions, as compared to previous Dxpedition reports, but all our adventures have inevitably a common denominator: “ That’s Africa ! ” By the same token, however, every Dxpedition brings about surprises, stories, and new situations enriching our shared IDT experience.

This time the dominating factor was heat. After so many trips to this continent we are used to the African climate, but we could not imagine having to face almost record levels of temperature: +46 °C (115 °F)  outside, and +36 °C (97 °F) in the shack. Adding as bonus over 90% humidity with complete absence of air conditioning, it is up to your imagination figuring out the operating conditions throughout 14 full days in the Central African Republic.

temp

36C or 97 F inside the TL8TT shack!

It was about three years ago when, during our long telephone conversations, the possibility of operating from TL popped up. Our hopes were quickly quenched by safety considerations: up to a few months ago, in fact, CAR was in a state of dramatic civil war and all authorities contacted by us strongly advised against such a trip. The situation there began to normalize only in June 2016, this meaning that the civil war was replaced by a feeble truce, which however allowed us to consider this project with sufficient confidence. Following the reassuring news, Silvano became immediately active and, thanks to the most precious help of I1OJE (Billy) we met Father Federico, member of the Discalced Carmelites confraternity of Arenzano (Italy).

Father Federico lives in Bangui since many years, and, besides taking care of poor people in the Capital city, he also manages a seminary there, in a country among the most poverty-stricken ones in the world. During his visit to Italy in 2016 we had a chance to meet him and plan our trip there. A number of e-mail exchanges between him and Silvano got us the TT8TT license first, and then the logistic organization of our visit.

team_2

The TL8TT team visits with Father Federico.

Bangui exhibits very few hotels, and the only one of acceptable level turned out to be way too expensive for us. We opted for a more practicable solution, even though unforeseen circumstances affected our budget quite heavily, as mentioned below.

Through Father Federico, or rather thanks to his “intercession”, we were hosted by a structure of the Benedictine Celestine Nuns, managed by a small but great Sister Assunta.

sister-assunta-i2ysb

Sister Assunta and Silvano-I2YSB enjoy a visit.

The compound is located on the outskirts of the Capital city, fenced by a 3m high concrete wall; it comprises a wide garden, a church, two-story buildings for guests (mostly missionary priests or nuns) and a hospital manned by Italian volunteers. Everything under the control of Sister Assunta, who runs this outpost of civilization since 25 years with remarkable ability, humility and tenacity.

On receiving some pictures of the location we realized that it was the perfect place for us: lots of space, absence of surrounding obstacles, far from the chaotic city center, availability of power and, as a plus, Italian food…just the swimming pool was missing, but we gladly accepted !

Departure was in the afternoon from Malpensa airport on the 31st of January, headed to Casablanca. Usual questions by the Royal air Maroc personnel, who by now remember us and our special boxes, so that procedures have become routine. After a two-hour stopover, we fly from Morocco to Cameroun and from there to Bangui, the Capital city of the Central African Republic, where we land in the early morning of February 1st.

As soon as we debark, we realize why Father Federico recommended us to wear light clothes: we had left at -5 °C (23 °F) and find ourselves at +36 °C (97 °F), at 7 in the morning ! Thanks to Father Federico, who had checked our packing list with local airport customs beforehand, we get through with ease. We proceed to the Carmel cloister, to be greeted with an excellent Italian coffee. We meet there other Italian and African friars operating in that Mission and we fraternize easily with them. A short strech further on and we get to our final destination. We are welcomed by Sister Assunta, a short, friendly and very cute nun from Abruzzo. A few moments for planning stations and antenna placement, and the whole team begins setting up the equipment stored in 12 big boxes, for a total of about 300 kg.

Vinicio (IK2CIO) and I (IK2HKT) set up radios and computers, Angelo (IK2CKR) and Alfeo (I1HJT) the  verticals, Silvano (I2YSB) and Marcello (IK2DIA) the Yagis. The heat is fierce and we must stop antenna installation between 12 and 17 hours, since we risk a sunstroke. In spite of it, a partial setup is ready in the afternoon and at 16:37 UTC the first station is on the air on RTTY,  followed by the CW one and finally, just before sunset, also the SSB station becomes operational.

mac-ja3usa-stefano-ik2hkt-vinicio-ik2cio

Mac-JA3USA, Stefano-IK2HKT and Vinicio-IK2CIO making contacts.

Propagation being what it is, we had planned to concentrate on the lower bands. Since the first evening we plunged headlong on 40, 80 and 160m, where, to our surprise, we worked more than 200 Japanese, 1800 European and 240 Americans in the first 8 hours, respectively. On 160m we exceeded the contacts of previous expeditions in just one evening ! In a couple of hours, the SSB station worked, 122 Japanese on 80m, followed by high-rate contacts throughout the night with USA and EU. A really good start.

Predictably, however, “that’s Africa !” was in store and ready to hit us again. After operating for a few hours, we observed that our amplifiers were tripping at an increasing rate. At first sight, we believed that this phenomenon was not alarming, and that a more judicious sharing of the electrical loads between the various sockets could solve the problem, so we postponed the issue to the following morning. In the morning, however, we realized that the grid voltage was around 170V, at times even as low as 160V.

30kw-generator

The local 30KW generator at TL8TT.

The only solution was to revert to the local 30kW for the entire period of our Dxpedition, with the hope that it could survive our intensive, almost continuous use. Luckily, the generator was very solid and had been serviced recently. A bit of relief came from the three daily meal breaks; for the rest, the deafening noise was our endless company throughout our stay. We had also to refurbish from scratch the electrical connections to the shack, since the previous setup had been tampered with months earlier and never restored since.

All of this took us by surprise, since we had not allowed in our budget for such a heavy expenditure for fuel, at a consumption rate of 5 liters/h (1,32 gal US/h). We had no choice, so we purchased tanks over tanks of fuel and organized refueling shifts for the generator. This was not enough, though, since the problem of internet, as usual in Africa, remained outstanding. The solution was to purchase two dongle keys and a WiFi router from two different telephone companies, so as to switch provider connections according to the unstable availability of this service. By now, internet connection is a “must” for our Dxpeditions, with our online log system allowing for a substantial reduction of dupes.

In this respect we decided, after a few days of operation, to stop logging duplicate contacts. We always informed the correspondent with the standard “You are already in the log” (SSB) or “QSO B4” (CW and RTTY). At times we directed explicitly our correspondent to stop making dupes on the same band/mode. Some understood the problem, but others, to our surprise, insisted in trying to work us again and again in order to get a contact on the same band and mode on every day ! On SSB we explained at times that this behavior led to a waste of time, to irritation of the operators and in general to diminished chances for those waiting to work us. Others, definitely unwilling to understand, were threatened of being inserted on a “black list”.

We strongly believe that time has come for stiffening our policy on duplicate contacts, given the availability of a real-time log to check one’s QSOs. We invest quite some money in providing this service since the very beginning of the operations. As a consequence, as from our next Dxpedition, the IDT will activate a mode by which duplicate QSOs will not be logged (save exceptional cases).

angelo-ik2ckr

Angelo-IK2CKR works the pileups.

Back to propagation issues, we found what was expected: in spite of many “incursions” on 10 and 12m at all times of night and day, we logged (just!) 2314 QSOs on 10m and 2830 QSOs on 12m, equally shared between SSB and CW. Unfortunately, no Americans or Japanese on these bands, who on the occasion of previous expeditions were a major presence. It was slightly better on 15m, with 9113 QSOs, with more reasonable values on 17 and 20m. Obviously, the lower bands turned out to be favored: 8581 QSOs on 40m (of which more than 5000 on SSB) and 4402 contacts on 80m, of which, 273 Japanese and 786 Americans. The greatest satisfaction came from the 160m band, with 2569 QSOs of which 178 Japanese and 388 Americans. Such a record achievement is to be credited to Silvano for the optimal antenna setup and to our CW operators IK2CKR Angelo, I1HJT Alfeo and IK2CIO Vinicio, who succeeded in giving many stations “new ones” for this band (several of them using just a tuned 40m dipole !).

The 30m band was a different issue, with 4019 CW contacts logged (most of them by Silvano), all worked with a Delta loop set up hastily between two trees, but very efficient. The band displayed openings at unexpected times when compared to previous expeditions: the propagation has definitely shifted and for some years we shall have to live with anomalous openings (and closures), quite different from earlier years.

As announced, we operated on RTTY on only one band, i.e. 20m. This choice was made in order to offer as a chance to work this country to many operators as possible. Following our experience, operating on more bands would have resulted in more contacts with “known” stations, to the detriment of many “little pistols”. We prefer to make happy as many OMs as possible, since we believe that the purpose of a Dxpedition is precisely to maximize the number of “unique” QSOs in the log. On this occasion we believe that we reached our goal, having logged more than 20,000 different calls !

On SSB, the activity during the first week relied mostly IK2DIA Marcello and me, IK2HKT Stefano, while during the second week were joined by Mac JA3USA. The DVD that we mailed to our sponsors contains live recordings of many contacts, so that you may have a chance to hear what happens on the other side of the pileup. Alternating moments of dead calm and frantic activity were somewhat stressing, considering also propagation vagaries and the oppressing heat, but at the end we consider 30,003 logged QSOs on this mode a good result.

We finished with a grand total of 63,154 QSOs, of which 20,038 uniques. As usual, we paid a particular attention to operators using extreme conditions such as QRPers; we logged 142 QRP stations and 52 /M mobile stations. We consider this to be a good result, as we can imagine the excitement of those operators in receiving a 59 from us .… For these stations, we add to the conventional 59(9) report also the real RS(T), in order to provide our correspondents with realistic information on the performance of their setup. Each QRP QSO is often the result of many hours of efforts and waiting, sometimes displacements to locations more favorable than one’s QRA, time taken from family duties and other factors. We should keep these friends in high respect and appreciate their tenacity.

With the passing of time we understood better the local propagation features, which we strained to exploit at best on each band with our three stations: unceasing QSY to 10 and 12m during the day, to catch few barely understandable signals at the limit of sensitivity. On 15m only 48 Japanese stations, a surprisingly low number on their preferred band, but propagation did not offer any chance, either via long- or short-path (and, as Marcello says, also “via skewed…”). Luckily, on 17m and below the situation was much better and we could log thousands of QSOs with Japan and the USA. Obviously, the Europeans took the lion’s share, and we wish to thank them for their patience when we were calling selectively “only USA” or “only JA”. Only rarely we had to scold someone, and in the majority of cases it was closed with a “sorry”.

Time went by very fast. In spite of the stifling heat and a wish for a cooler winter climate, we were reluctant to finish operations from TL8TT on February 14th, at 15:27 UTC. RTTY was the first station to QRT, followed by SSB and finally CW.

As for the setup phase, the team is well trained, each one having a well-defined task: it took us 2h and 40 minutes (the time frame planned by Silvano, and adhered to) to clean up (dust had accumulated everywhere!), disassemble and pack all equipment for the return flight. We said goodbye to Sister Assunta at 5 in the morning and, assisted by Father Federico, we went through customs at the airport.

In closing, I come back to Silvano asking me to jot down a few lines about our adventure. We are waiting to board the flight to Casablanca, where we shall wait for 15 hours (Royal Air Maroc delayed our final leg) and we should land at Malpensa on the 16th in the afternoon (while writing these notes we are still in flight).

In the end all is well, in spite of the most physically stressing Dxpedition to our memory. Yet this experience leaves beautiful memories and great respect for people who do so much for so many without asking for anything in return; a poor country among the poor ones, the third most needy in the world, split and destroyed by a civile war which has cut life expectancy down to a dreadful 40 years. We get back home valuing once more our good luck of living in countries where war is absent, where it is so normal to have running water in our homes, where a well-equipped supermarket is close by and where, most important, we live as free people. This the main lesson from this experience.

As usual, the IDT show must go on. See you soon, and thanks for your continuing support !

Stefano, IK2HKT – One of I.D.T.s

 

TL8TT antenna setup:

Nr. 2 SpiderBeam 10,12,15,17,20 m  /  Nr. 1 Yagi 2 elem. 10,12,15,17,20 m

Nr. 2 Vertical 40/80 m (one for cw and one for ssb)  /  Nr. 1 Delta Loop 30 m

Nr. 1 Vertical for 160 m  / Nr. 1 Diamond Loop for rx  / Nr. 1 DHDL for rx

Coaxial cable by: Messi & Paoloni

TL8TT equipment

Nr. 3 Elecraft K3 /Nr. 3 Elecraft KPA 500 /Nr. 3 Dunestar filter system (10 to 160  )

Nr. 3 Laptop  running N1MM  /   Nr. 1 Server with IH9GPI’s real-time log online system

stats

TL8TT era splendida!

Posted: February 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

tl8tt

TL8TT was Splendid!

The Italian DXpedition Team has become one of my favorite DXpedition Teams. They bring a unique style and energy to the bands during their operations. This team has been extremely active from all parts of Africa. They have activated Somalia and Niger a number of times as well as Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Guinea Bissau, Chad, Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, and most recently the Central African Republic as TL8TT. They plan to return to Guinea Bissau later in 2017.    

The Italian DXpedition Team really sets a great example for running a DXpedition. They make wise choices for band selection and they adhere to each of the bands for the duration of their day until there is just simply no propagation left. They do not jump around from band to band trying to keep up a high rate. Their approach of choosing a band and sticking with it for that day is very effective.

As DXpeditioners say, there is “always propagation somewhere”. In addition to making good use of the bands, the Italian DXpedition Team brings a certain vitality to their operations. Perhaps “Gusto” is the right word. They have very effective operators, very fast rates and they give their audience confidence that they will get into the logs.

Sometimes working a DXpedition pileup is a real chore and not very fun, but with the Italian DXpedition Team’s approach, its great fun to work them and you can tell that the operators on their end are having a good time too.

I have so much respect for Silvano-I2YSB and his entire team. I can’t wait for their next operation.

What do you think?      

 

How good was that DXpedition?

Posted: February 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

One of the things that DXer’s do when they gather is they discuss various DXpeditions that they worked recently. During these discussions, many of us reflect back on the “thrill of the chase” or how fun and exciting it was to work the various DXpeditions that have recently taken place.

We like to share what aspects of the DXpedition we liked and enjoyed and what the various challenges were. We often discuss what was the best DXpedition and why.

We all have our unique and individual criteria for what was the best. For some of us, just the fact that it was rare and they needed it made it the best. For others, their criteria may include that they were worked on 160 meters or six meters. Some of us will look at the overall performance of the DXpedition including the statistics as provided by Clublog.  The Clublog statistics can give a good indication of how effective the DXpedition was.

Let’s look at three DXpeditions that took place at roughly the same time in early 2016 and let’s look at the Clublog statistics for each and see if a picture emerges as to the performance of each activation.

I was the Co-Leader of the VP8SGI DXpedition to South Georgia Island in January, 2016. At the time, it was ranked the #8 most wanted DXCC entity. We were active from 1-29-16 to 2-7-16. Our team of 13 men made 82,847 contacts. Of those, 21,596 were unique call signs.

vp8_team

The VP8SGI Team

The significance of uniques: Some feel that the higher number of unique call signs worked by a DXpedition are a good measure of performance. I don’t share that view. You could sit in a row boat off the coast of Japan and easily work a high number of unique call signs, but if you just work Japan and Asia have you really been effective?

A better metric  is the number of Daily QSOs  as seen below.

Daily QSOs VP8SGI

Date Total QSOs Uniques Uniques %
07-02-2016 985 225 22.8
06-02-2016 9632 1644 17.1
05-02-2016 8679 1568 18.1
04-02-2016 6510 1354 20.8
03-02-2016 8485 1749 20.6
02-02-2016 11216 2283 20.4
01-02-2016 10179 2563 25.2
31-01-2016 11329 3098 27.3
30-01-2016 12030 4591 38.2
29-01-2016 3802 2521 66.3
Totals 82847 21596 26.1

 

This gives a breakdown of the contacts for each day. As you can see, there are four days when this team made over 10,000 contacts. That is a very difficult feat and it takes a team of experienced and fast rate operators to make those kinds of numbers. We can also divide the total number of QSOs by the number of days QRV and come up with an average daily number of contacts. For VP8SGI, this number is 8,284. This is a reasonably good measure of how hard the team worked each day to satisfy the need for contacts.

Let’s look at the very successful FT4JA DXpedition to Juan de Nova from 3-30-16 to 4-10-16. This team made 105,643 contacts over 12 days. They made 25,055 unique contacts. This team had four days where they made over 10,000 contacts. Their average daily number of contacts was 8,803.

ft4ja_team

The FT4JA Juan de Nova Team

This figure represents a herculean effort by this team.

 

Daily QSOs FT4JA

Date Total QSOs Uniques Uniques %
10-04-2016 5170 853 16.5
09-04-2016 7227 1156 16.0
08-04-2016 8365 1513 18.1
07-04-2016 8278 1278 15.4
06-04-2016 9072 1519 16.7
05-04-2016 10104 2034 20.1
04-04-2016 8482 1730 20.4
03-04-2016 9687 2215 22.9
02-04-2016 11808 2890 24.5
01-04-2016 11032 2840 25.7
31-03-2016 10781 3710 34.4
30-03-2016 5637 3317 58.8
Totals 105643 25055 23.7

 

The VK0EK Heard Island DXpedition was active from 3-23-16 to 4-11-16 and made 75,189 contacts. Of those, 21,040 of those contacts were with unique DXers. This team did not have any days where they made 10,000 or more contacts. In fact, their highest day was 5,938 contacts. Their average daily number of contacts was 3,759 which is significantly below the other two DXpeditions discussed.

vk0ek_team

The VK0EK Heard Island Team

Daily QSOs for VK0EK

Date Total QSOs Uniques Uniques %
11-04-2016 13 7 53.8
10-04-2016 1497 242 16.2
09-04-2016 3218 764 23.7
08-04-2016 2955 615 20.8
07-04-2016 3896 602 15.5
06-04-2016 4499 1014 22.5
05-04-2016 4193 771 18.4
04-04-2016 2113 487 23.0
03-04-2016 2113 557 26.4
02-04-2016 5214 1197 23.0
01-04-2016 5573 1432 25.7
31-03-2016 4943 1282 25.9
30-03-2016 5132 1348 26.3
29-03-2016 5938 1634 27.5
28-03-2016 5701 1296 22.7
27-03-2016 5875 1893 32.2
26-03-2016 5353 1851 34.6
25-03-2016 4276 2088 48.8
24-03-2016 1629 1146 70.3
23-03-2016 1058 814 76.9
Totals 75189 21040 28.0

 

In addition to looking at the total number of contacts for each day, we can also divide the total number of contacts by the number of operators on the team to come up with an average number of contacts per team member. This can be used as a further measure of the team’s effort and performance.

For example: VP8SGI’s 82,847 contacts divided by 13 operators equals an average of 6,372 contacts per team member. Using that same formula for FT4JA, we find that their team member average (105,603 divided by 10) is 10,564 contacts per team member. This is a significant number and represents an incredible effort by each and every team member. In contrast, if we look at VK0EK we see (75,189 divided 14) reveals an average number of 5,370 contacts per team member or about half of the average number of contacts made by the FT4JA team members.

Each of these DXpeditions occurred at nearly the same time and similar solar conditions. FT4JA was very near to the equator and was a hot and harsh climate. VP8SGI -South Georgia was on a similar latitude to VK0EK-Heard Island. Probably the most significant difference between these three teams was that VP8SGI and FT4JA teams were comprised of experienced DXpeditioners who are adept at operating at fast rate for long hours. VK0EK had three Science/radio members of their team and only several of the team members were experienced DXpeditioners.

Some of the other factors to consider when trying to decide which DXpedition was the best;

How was their messaging to the DX Community?

Was their news and information clear and concise?

Did the team have pilots and make effective use of them?

Did the team upload logs at least once a day?

Did the team provide for online log checking?

Did they have a website that was updated with relevant information?

Did they use an online QSL request method?

Did the team have an efficient QSL manager?

Did the QSL manager answer questions in a timely manner

Did they operate in a logical style making good use of propagation?

Did they over/underserve any major population areas?

Did they keep their promises?

Did the team publish and follow their stated operating guidelines?

Did the team explain their budget challenges?

As you can see, there are many factors that we can use to judge and evaluate the performance of any given DXpedition. A look at the relevant statistics can help paint a picture of effort and performance. The bottom line is did you work them and was it fun?

What do you think?