DX and dangerous places…

Posted: June 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


Paul-N6PSE and David-AH6HY visit North Korea

The institute for Economics and Peace released its Global Peace Index for 2015 this week. This index ranks 162 nations around the globe, measuring involvement in conflict, militarization, safety and security.

The Global Peace Index ranks Iceland as the most peaceful place and Syria at #162 as the least peaceful place. As someone who has visited many of the places listed as least peaceful, I find these results very interesting.

I have visited the following most dangerous countries on the list:

#161 Iraq-YI9PSE Dxpedition 2010

#159 South Sudan-ST0R Dxpedition 2011

#156 Sudan-stop in Khartoum on the way to Juba, South Sudan.

#153 North Korea, two visits in 2013.

#147 Yemen-7O6T Dxpedition, 2012

#138 Iran, Intrepid-DX Group friendship tour, 2014.

#137 Egypt. Three visits, 2008, 2011, 2012.

#135 Turkey, visits in 2008, 2012 and 2015.

#130 Myanmar, XZ1J Dxpedition, 2013.

#127 Eritrea, E30FB Dxpedition, March 2015.

Having visited each of these places, I can tell you the commonality between them is that they either have bad leaders and/or bad neighbors. While Iraq is full of turmoil and war, we were fortunate to visit a peaceful and reasonably safe area of Iraq called Kurdistan in the north bordering Turkey and Iran.

Juba_2011 055

The 2011 ST0R Team from Juba, South Sudan.

While we were in South Sudan’s capitol of Juba for the ST0R Dxpedition, we were several hundred miles from the border conflict between Sudan and South Sudan.


The 2010 YI9PSE DXpedition operated from Erbil, Iraq.

Having visited North Korea twice now, I felt very safe there as long as you obey all of the rules. If you go there intending to break the rules you may find yourself in prison for an extended stay.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to visit Sana’ Yemen and Socotra Island in 2012 before the Yemeni Civil War that is still raging. Yemen was a friendly and fascinating place at the time of our visit. I visited Iran in October 2014 and was impressed at how modern and friendly Iran is. As Americans we were treated very well and had a most enjoyable visit.

Yemen_2012 209

Paul N6PSE and David-WD5COV from Socotra, Yemen.

Myanmar and Eritrea are just beginning to open to tourism. Myanmar has ethnic conflicts in their border area with Thailand and Bangladesh. Otherwise it is a very friendly and safe country. Eritrea has border conflicts with their neighbors Ethiopia and Djibouti. Eritrea has a long ways to go to improve their standing.

In 2011, we tried to visit Kabul, Afghanistan to join our friend James McLaughlin-T6AF and to operate from the Hotel Intercontinental in Kabul. Sadly, Jim-T6AF was killed just two days before our arrival and we decided that we should not proceed with our plans. Our hotel was attacked by the Taliban and blown up and burned a few weeks later. We feel that we missed our chance to safely visit Afghanistan.


W6DR, N6PSE and AH6HY visit Iran in October 2014.

While each of these countries has been named among the most dangerous places, each has a unique reason for making the list and there are compelling reasons to be familiar with them and to hope for improvement in conditions which may enable more amateur radio. Things are certainly improving in Iran, perhaps North Korea will be next!

What do you think?

  1. layo589 says:

    I can’t imagine the pile up generated by a possible p5 dxpedition. …..good luck dear friend. …de wp3mw

  2. n6pse says:

    I think a P5 pileup would be very loud and very wide. I will never forget operating the first week as a member of the 7O6T team in Yemen. The pileups were just a roar and you could not discern any part of a call sign. It sounded like a railroad train going past. I had to be very creative to begin to work that pileup. It was unbelievable!

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