What do you want in a DXpedition?

Posted: May 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

While I was attending the International DX Convention in Visalia, California last week. I sat and chatted with many DXers from all over the world. I asked them: What do you want in a Dxpedition?

By far, most DXers told me that they wanted a team of competent and able operators, who could handle big pileups with skill and finesse. They also want operators and leaders who know and understand propagation and make proper band selections by time of day. They want the Dxpedition to do everything possible to enable the DXers to work them. They told me that some DXpeditions seem to “go to bed too early” and miss important band openings to certain areas of the globe.

Many DXers told me that they like a log checking feature. Almost everyone said that a daily upload to Clublog was sufficient and they didn’t need real time logging.

DXers said that they like to see pictures from the operation and they want to know and understand the challenges at the other end of the pileup.

DXers told me that they are very interested in 160 meters and that proper emphasis should be made to have a good antenna, powerful amp and experienced top band operators.

DXers told me that Social Media was of little importance to them. “just have a good website” was said to me.” Show me how propagation will be in my area”. Have an easy method to obtain the QSL card.

DXers told me that they feel that the best DXpeditions use regional Pilot Relay stations. These people are in tune with the Dxpedition and aware of the propagation and they can best guide the Dxpedition to meet the demand for contacts.

Several DXers told me that if a Dxpedition makes bold statements such as they are also going to Kerguelen or activating a second camp on the other side of the Volcano, then they should really keep their promises. DXers tend to make donations based on promises and they feel wronged when they are not achieved.

DXers told me that they really enjoy it when the Dxpedition Team meets their audience at places such as IDXC and the Dayton Hamvention. They like the rapport that they develop with the teams and their members.

DXers told me that they like the concept of “pure DX”. They don’t want to work a remote station being operated from somewhere else. They want to experience the contact purely through radio.

 

What do you think?

 

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Comments
  1. Mike KJ4Z says:

    Count me amongst the minority then! I like what I call a “good show.” For me, that means the whole thing, not just racking up large numbers of QSOs. I like it when I can follow the DXpedition from the beginning online, and feel like I have an investment in it early on. I like to hear about the petty trials and tribulations that are encountered on the way, and of course I like to see lots and lots of photos.

    And, I like it when a DXpedition pushes the technical envelope. It’s nice to try something different now and then. I don’t dislike a “Pure DX” event at all; they can be a lot of fun. I just like an impure DX event better, so long as a reasonable number of QSOs are made. Maybe it’s a generational thing.

    73,
    Mike

  2. N6PSE's Blog says:

    Hi Mike, I think most DXers like a good show, but they want to see it all in one place. They want one informative website with frequent updates. They tell me they don’t want to go to the website for this, go to Facebook for that and Twitter for anything else. They just want one source of information. That is what was conveyed to me. And yes, it is probably a generational thing just like the views on remotes. I personally think your VK0LD experiment was cool and I think there will come a time when a Government will only allow access to an island to set up a remote pod of some sort to be operated from a ship.

    73,

    Paul N6PSE

  3. WW2DX says:

    Times are a changing for sure.

    Some will change with the times and others won’t.

    When we were on CY9C, OY, J8, FJ, S9 (poor internet) we attempted to push as much “live” content to Facebook live, twitter and our blogs as we could. As I would make 2M EME QSO’s I was posting them live on my blog, this was a big hit ( http://www.ww2dx.com/2016/03/ ). We found that pushing these live updates really made people energized and feeling like they were there with us. Traditionally a DXpedition would go off do their thing and then you would get some pics/details of the event after it was all over, this will be a thing of the past. We are ham’s! we are supposed to push the envelope!

    As for the “Pure DX” I just don’t get it. This is just archaic and backwards thinking, sorta like tube amps these days.

    There is absolutely no question that remote operations both from a “ability to activate” an entity due to government restrictions or simply out of connivence will prosper in the coming years. You will also see the ability to be a REAL participant to DXpeditions without even being there. Its all coming, soon.

    Need a “pure” hobby, go take up basket weaving.

    73 Lee
    WW2DX

  4. Chris Tate says:

    The biggest item I think that needs to be addressed is actually something that needs to be worked out by the various dxpedition teams.. some how. if smaller more agile teams are going to “beat” the bigger announced, pre vetted expedtions that are more capable to sites, then we can expect that that site will not be as productive, denying the entity to many while making donations from the foundations more challenging because need has been reduced, an not completely met.

    This should be at the forefront of all dxpedition planning, and something that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. The reduced amount of announced dxpeditions seems to re-enforce this problem. You have discussed this in prior posts.

    What I want, and would hope for is the teams to be less competitive with each other and more co-operative.

    As far as the remote, if a team brings infrastructure that can put a good op on the air to help fill the need, even if its remote, as long as its legit, as defined by the DXCC program (it has been recently clarified). then I am not sure what the issue is. I, like you Paul enjoy worldwide travel, but IMO part of being able to fill the need of the operators on the other side is not eliminating viable options to improve qso totals and remote can do that. It should always be an arrow in the quiver. A pure remote operation is not generally feasible, but expanding the team by bringing remote infrastructure, particularly to some of the Intrepid locations could improve QSO totals, add more competent operators, and improve safety by exposing fewer to harsh environments.

    73
    Chris
    N6WM

  5. Robert H. Pusch, WD8NVN says:

    With the risk of being perceived as greedy, crase and silly….. I want the Dxpedtion QSL card(s) delivered by mail, within 30 to 35 days after the last day of completion. And when the Dxpedtion team members go on tour, delivering the video/ powerpoint presentions to us the audience. I do not want to see scenes of crabs wrestling banana peels, birds flying aimlessly, ” pissed-off” walrus showing his teeth, and acres and acres of penguin poop….. So, that is what I think…

  6. Roger says:

    I’m relatively new to DX, since I have only taken it up seriously since 2000. To my knowledge, I have never worked any remotes for DXCC credit. I may have inadvertently worked a remote in Germany (for example) that had the control point in the same country, but I’ve never encountered a DXpedition to rare — or even semi-rate — entities running remote.

    I think the jury is still out on whether DXpeditions to the top 20 rarest locations will operate remotes. I have no problem with remotes as long as they are operated ethically according to DXCC rules. However, I think logistical realities will require that all radio equipment — including antennas — has to be physically available to the operators 24/7. If the wind blows down your antenna or your xmitter shuts down for some reason you need personnel there real-time to look into it. You can’t wait until a Helicopter takes you from your boat to the island which could take many hours if the failure happened at 10PM local time and the copter can’t go over until daylight.

    Does anyone know of a DXpedition which has operated with remotes such that the xmitters / antennas are on the DXCC entity and the operators are elsewhere? How could this be feasible? Who would put fuel in the generators? Who would repair the operating tent that blew apart that is housing the rigs and the remote internet/satellite link? What type of communication method would be used to communicate between the xmitter site and the control site? In many “real world” cases the internet would be non-existent — or only marginally reliable — at the xmitter site.

    73 Roger K5RKS

    • Chris Tate says:

      Roger,

      I would venture to guess that the best use of a remote in this scenario would be to augment the team and not replace it. So there would be support personnel on site.

      Another issue of doing this is the cost of a reasonable internet link, and the latency that could make it simply not possible.

      There are lots of places where remote could work, and an equal amount where it wont. As satellite internet tech improves, the places where remote could work will expand, along with the cost of doing so as well. These uplinks are not cheap. but when factoring the costs of locating another body at the location it could be feasible

  7. Roger says:

    Mike:

    Wow, a constellation of LEO satellites sounds great!! I know next to nothing about these various satellite services.

    I wonder if the SpaceX footprint will cover areas relatively close to the north and south pole. Say south of 50 degrees south, and north of say 60 degrees north. If so, then this SpaceX service looks like it would be usable for even rare DX locations such as Peter I & Bouvet. I guess the only unknown is how much the service costs per unit of time usage and in terms of the equipment you need on the ground at both ends.

    73 Roger K5RKS

    • Mike KJ4Z says:

      Yes, the LEOs are not stuck in geostationary (read: equatorial) orbit, so they can cover all areas of the globe including the polar regions. SpaceX’s proposal sounds a bit “pie in the sky,” literally, but they have accomplished some impressive feats so far. The next few years could be very interesting, not just for DXing but for all sorts of applications.

      73,
      Mike

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