So you want to go on a DXpedition?

Posted: May 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

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The 2012 3D2C-Conway Reef DXpedition Team had a number of first time DXpeditioners.

I am often asked: What’s it take to get invited to join a Dxpedition?  Or I am told “please keep me in mind for future trips”.

Participating in DXpeditions is one of the most enjoyable and interesting things I have ever done. The places that you see and the people that you meet are truly fascinating. You may discover as I have, that our world is truly different than our mass media and biased news reporting would have you believe.

Prior to my first Dxpedition to IRAQ, I always wondered why it was always the same guys on each team that activated these strange and interesting places. Soon, I learned that each team often builds a core part of the team. These team members are often retired or semi-retired and are able to travel with little notice. They also bring other skills to the team such as solid and reliable work ethic, a “can do” attitude, they are likely to be very strong operators and able to operate for long periods of time often under harsh conditions. They are often willing to operate in any mode, any time.

They bring a sense of excitement and adventure that adds to the excitement and passion of the team. Some guys are just hard workers. They know what needs to be done and they just get it done. These guys are the back bone of the team and their skills and knowledge are invaluable.

It is my opinion that each team should have some new talent or new people to introduce to Dxpeditioning. Dxpeditioning should not be an elitist function and the hobby benefits from finding and developing new players who can later go on and do more activations and eventually form and lead their own teams. This kind of activity can propel Dxpeditioning activity for decades to come.

When I am approached by a new comer who wants to join a Dxpedition, I gauge their interest and ability to fit in with a team. I find that sometimes future Dxpeditioners have a unrealistic expectation of what a Dxpedition is like. Those that expect comfort and convenience will bring unrealistic expectations to the table. Cost is a consideration for all of us. Today’s Dxpeditioner can expect to spend $250-$500 a day or more plus their cost to get to and from the Dxpedition meeting point.

When building the Dxpedition team, the leaders want to build a team that will be engaged and effective. They will tend to go to their core people first as these people are known for their skills and qualities. The leader knows that he must seek and maintain balance in the skills sets available.

I believe that multi-national teams are the most effective teams at meeting the huge global demand for contacts. For that reason, I prefer to build and assemble a team of US, EU, JA and South American members whenever possible.

I try to tap into the team members feeling of personal obligation to ensure that his own continent is well covered with contacts made. Never do you want to leave a continent feeling that they did not get access to the Dxpedition team.

Strong operating skills are very important to the Dxpedition team. An operator should be strong at CW and/or SSB. Willingness and ability to do multiple modes is a plus. RTTY should not be an afterthought and operators that bring skills such as rapid rate and expertise with multiple decoders are desirable.

Some operators bring extra skills to the team, such as the ability to effectively troubleshoot PC & network issues. Expertise in logging programs such as N1MM, Wintest and Writelog are quite desirable. Skills in gathering log data and performing satellite uploads are very beneficial.

We are often impressed by those that have the right attitude and the aptitude to succeed. Skills can be developed, honed and improved but they must be coupled with the right attitude along with the aptitude to succeed.

There have been countless times when I have been asked “Please keep me in mind for a future trip”. Quite often when I contact those people I find that they are dreamers and not really engaged in becoming a Dxpeditioner. They are not prepared to take the time away from their work and family or prepared for the cost of the Dxpedition. The men that say “yes” time and time again are able to live the dream and enjoy the fun.

So when you look at the various Dxpedition websites and see the makeup of the team, know that could be you going on the adventure, but only after you have aligned your expectations with those of the team and you have made your skills and abilities attractive to the team leader as he builds and assembles his team.

The future of Dxpeditioning needs new blood. If you wish to join the ranks of DXpeditioners start getting ready now so that you are prepared to say yes when that call comes.

What do you think?

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Comments
  1. Pat says:

    Really appreciate your efforts. 3D2C was ATNO #314 for me…with 100 watts and vertical antenna which is SOP here. Thanks for supplying a needed new one for so many. And keep up the interesting articles. 73, Pat K4AVO

  2. Lou N2TU says:

    Paul,

    Another great posting…

    There are many, many qualified operators in our ham world but not all would be compatible with the Team atmosphere required for a successful DXpedition. Team Attitude, physical capacity coupled with skill are prerequisites for any candidate.

    As you mention, candidates must expect sacrifices in terms of time away, financial outlays and personal hardships.

    Dxpeditioning is a blast…but few realize the amount of effort expended to get these ‘rare’ ones on the air. There are countless hours spent by the organizers obtaining permission, logistical planning, equipment procurement, pre-assembly and testing, fund raising and recruitment.

    Will the Organizer be extremely critical when checking a candidate’s resume? You bet!

    Are you ready for a DXpedition?…can you afford the thousands of dollars required?…can you operate CW, SSB and digital (tri-lingual)?….can you get N1MM+ or any other logging program running from scratch?….can you troubleshoot a defective antenna?…adept at hanging antennas?….knowledge of worldwide band plans?…propagation trends?…ask yourself these questions…then hone your skills!

    “Please keep me in mind for a future trip”. Yes, that is the right way to approach DXpeditioning but only after a resounding ‘yes’ to the above.

    Paul…thanks for highlighting this subject! Well done!

  3. Jerry says:

    Although I’m not a DXer, I would love to go on a DXpedition. Unfortunately, while I was working, I didn’t have the time to spend. Now that I’m semi-retired, I have the time but not the money. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another! 😦

  4. Robert H. Pusch WD8NVN says:

    Question: Me go on a DXpedition ??
    Answer: Point me in the right direction, I will be ready to go !!

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