Could a P5 DXpedition happen?

Posted: June 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

In the weeks and months building up to yesterdays historic Summit between US President Donald Trump and DPRK Marshal Kim Jong Un, I was asked many times by interested amateurs if a DXpedition from the DPRK might be able to happen?

Based on what I saw on the news coverage of yesterdays Summit, I would have to say that “anything is possible” and it seems that the possibility is more likely today than it was yesterday.

That said, there are many obstacles that must be overcome. We know from our previous efforts to activate the DPRK (nine combined visits to the DPRK) that the cost of permission is quite steep. These costs are enmeshed into hotel and internal travel costs but never the less they are significant and more than a self funded team could carry on their own.

We know that absolute secrecy is required from the DPRK authorities and as hard as we tried, we know that one of our P5DX team members “spilled the beans” to his friends.

Most formidable is the current Trump Travel Ban which prohibits Americans from visiting the DPRK currently. With the travel ban in place Americans are unable to take advantage of this newfound goodwill or make any travel to the DPRK. If that travel ban is lifted the possibilities for a P5 activation involving Americans increases significantly.

So with these considerations in mind, we can “watch and wait” and see if the travel ban is lifted or if any other group is able to make inroads into the DPRK.

Update as of June 27th, 2018: The Trump administration has renewed the “Travel Ban” which prevents US citizens from traveling to the DPRK for another year.

What do you think?

  1. Thuy says:

    There’s no longer a need for DXpeditions to entities that have many
    residents who could easily learn to operate efficiently on their own.
    It’s a waste of money for DX foundations, clubs, and individuals. The
    past year has brought us activity by residents of many semt-rare
    entities, now each completing hundreds of (or more) QSOs per month on
    FT8 when they previously lost interest quickly in SSB pileups. With
    some effort by the DX community, this new paradigm can and should be
    extended into the DPRK. Use connections, directly or indirectly, to
    reach out to potentially receptive residents, many of whom may be IT
    experts working for the DPRK government. Explain why ham radio is an
    important next step in ending isolationism and fully participating in
    the global community, both of which need to be DPRK national
    priorities. Possibly donate equipment and suggest initial antennas,
    but do not make even one QSO yourself! Explain that spending years
    developing CW or SSB “operating skill” is simply no longer necessary
    for success. They can use the current FT8 DXpedition code and can
    probably develop even better code on their own. It is
    counterproductive to send one of the usual groups of 60-year-old
    Westerners with the paternalistic attitude that they must personally
    do the operating. It is counterproductive to have a one-time
    mega-expedition in 2018/2019. We need resident operators active in
    every season, every point in the sunspot cycle, every rare opening.

    • N6PSE's Blog says:

      Thuy, a very interesting perspective. I think the DPRK officials are much more likely to approve a group of foreign amateurs rather than promoting or allowing any use of ham radio by local amateurs. Things such as Internet, the ability to make calls outside the country are allowed to foreigners but not to the locals in the DPRK.

  2. HA5X says:

    It will happen. At an appropriate time.

  3. Bill Kennamer K5FUV says:

    I know from my own experiences and those of others that the DPRK is not to be trusted, even to the point of connecting the radio to the antenna. Thuy is correct, better for one person to try to get them involved and guide them. They already have high speed CW competitions. No DXpedition is necessary.

    • N6PSE's Blog says:

      As I replied to Thuy, I think the DPRK is much more likely to approve a group of foreigners to come, make a quick activation and then leave than they are to allow locals to use amateur radio. Case in point, they allow foreigners to use Internet and make calls outside the country, but locals are prohibited from doing this. Locals go to jail for watching DVD’s produced in South Korea or China and they cannot legally modify their TV set to receive foreign broadcasts. I cannot imagine they would let locals use amateur radio in any way.

  4. Roger says:

    When the Iron Curtain was setup in Europe no one thought that it would ever collapse. But it did.

    I predict that sooner or later the 38th parallel boarder will collapse and Korea will become one nation. Then DPRK will cease to exist so the ARRL will delete it from the DXCC list just like they did East Germany. So — long term — there is no need to setup a DXpedition to P5.

    Instead of DPRK I recommend that DXpeditions focus on other rare places such as: Johnson Island, Pratas. San Felix, and Turkmenistan.

    73 Roger K5RKS

  5. N6PSE's Blog says:

    Hi Roger, I think one’s perspective on “So Long term, there is no need to setup a DXpedition to P5” is based on whether you have P5 confirmed or not. Time will tell.

    Best 73,

    Paul N6PSE

  6. Dennis ZS1AU says:

    While I enjoyed DXing & ticking off ATNO on the DXCC list, It never entered my mind that I would ever reach the Honor Roll , never mind #1 HR. It is a long term “game” which can provide a hobby/challenge for a long time which could be anything from a weekend DX contest ( CQWW ) & reach the 100 for FREE DXCC Membership. This is where many who consider 100 to be DXCC & it is. !! Then we get those who want to contact ATNO & start realizing that this is hard work & fun.
    Then you reach the stages where the 200 & then 300 are real targets. Once you reach the 300 & see the light at the end of the tunnel, you cannot & must not give up hope. As it is a slow progress from here on, as those ENTITIES that are left are the rare ones. This is a reality & must be accepted.
    Those of you who are now near the TOP must believe that you can get there. !!! This determination & dedication also requires the mind to be patient as this is now a time when it can still take as long as it did to get this far. The thinking that it is becoming “impossible” to get the last few outstanding,
    is something which is experienced by all DXers who have come along slowly but surely & feel they have reached a dead-end. !! It is now that a TBDXer ( True Blue DXer ) is born & the unexpected /surprise takes place. Like a huge jigsaw puzzle, the last ENTITY needed, comes up & it is such an amazing experience, when it is captured in YOUR LOG. !!!
    The DXCC through to the #1 Honor Roll is a huge task which makes it probably the most difficult & interesting Sport in the world. By making it easier to achieve, the DXer is doing yourself & those all over the world a disservice as you will miss out, on the most amazing achievement in YOUR LIFE.
    I tell this story as one who has just run the course & thought about it just like everyone else, in the process. The YEMEN was also an “impossible” & it came up unexpectedly, as did many others.
    My #1 HR plaque for Phone & Mixed is 340 / 360 is firmly on my shack wall.
    Remember miracles never cease….. QUOTE !!
    I’m now an oldtimer, a 1928 model, licensed in 1950 & still going strong.

    WHAT A HOBBY ( sometimes called a SPORT. !! )

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