Skip to content

Damned If You Do…

The Establishment of DXpeditioneersYou’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

We’ve all heard it time and time again – “The Establishment” has certain criteria for DXpeditions.  A couple rules come to mind:

Rule #1.  The DXpedition team members personally pay for half of the total cost of the DXpedition.

So, say a DXpedition is expected to cost $200,000 – the team members pay for $100,000 of that.  Ten team members = $10,000 each – out of pocket.

You may be the best operator in the world, but if you can’t afford that personal contribution to the team – well you sit working the pileup from the superior comfort of your home while that 80 year old guy that can afford to play, plays.  Doesn’t matter they need the extra expense of helicopters, doctors and can’t lift a roll of coax off the floor – the rules clearly state: “you have to pay your way”.  And don’t be thinking about crowd sourcing (like Go Fund Me) your way in either.  No, that’s not allowed .  I know for fact a few A1 operators have tried this and they were quickly shamed.  You got no money?  You got no go.  That’s the rules!

Rule #2.  He who announces first, goes.

So, say a group is planning a DXpedition to BFE.  If you announce that 1, 2, maybe even 3 years in advance – well the Establishment Rules state you go and everybody else must stay away.  You announced it first, and since you announced it first it is now the Establishment Rule.

That’s just a couple of the Establishment Rules.  Oh, there’s a ton more, you know, all those rules that say, “this is the way it’s always been done” and “boy, don’t you argue those rules either!”   C’mon good readers of my Blog, everybody understands the “Big Boy” rules, right?


It’s just my opinion, but I think you’re starting to see pushback against those Establishment Rules from a few DXpeditioneers lately.

They don’t announce their intent.  They don’t go full bonkers showing up at every radio club and foundation begging for money a year before they go.  Hell, some even take the best of the best operators and don’t make them pay for half the total cost before they go.  They just go.

How are they funding their minimalist DXpeditions you ask?  That’s a whole ‘nother Blog post (soon).

Kinda’ refreshing, don’t you think?

Posted in N0UN Blog Posts.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .

8 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Tom says

    Here’s an alternative that won’t cost a dime. Apply for a Special Event 1 X1 Callsign and you will have endless pile-ups and plenty of fun. I’ve operated overseas before, but I must admit I enjoy the comfort of my own bed and all the conveniences of home here in the U.S.A. Now, imagine what would happen if the Remote Ham Radio group installed a station in P5 and then charged operators a fee to run the pile-ups. Given the cost of a DX’pediton, what would be a fair price to operate this remote station? $1, $10, $100 per hour, or more? At least it would less than $10,000. But many serious DX’ers would be tempted to ignore working any remotely operated DX’pedition because that’s not the true spirit of DXing!

    • Zack W9SZ says

      In the real world, there is not likely to be ANY operation legally permitted from P5. Certainly not a remote station. Look at the recent fiasco of an operation that was planned there,

      Most of the DXpeditions to US possessions that are rare have been issued 1X1 calls recently – K5K, K7M, K1N etc.

  2. Zack W9SZ says

    I don’t know about any Establishment rules. The upcoming Bouvet operation will probably cost close to a million dollars to pull off. It is not an easy place to get to. I don’t think the team is expected to pay half a milion dollars among themselves.

    There was a presentation done on this at Dayton a couple years ago. One of the people doing the presentation calculated that if everyone who worked the DXpedition sent in $5 for every QSO, the DXpedition would be well-funded. I myself try to follow this rule for the really rate ones. I doubt everyone does, though.

    And there are likely to be a couple DXpeditions to Bouvet in the next few years, possibly three. It is high on the list of needed countries and long overdue. It’s one of three I haven”t worked yet. I suspect that by the time the first DXpedition is over, there will still be a lot of people who didn’t get in their log.

    • Tom says

      Is the ARRL DXCC Program the driving force for these exorbitant DX’peditions? If there was not a DXCC Program, would there ever be an effort to raise and spend a million dollars on such a venture? I don’t think so.

      • Zack W9SZ says

        Do you know what kind of outcry there would be if the ARRL did away with the DXCC program? This thought has been kicked around on the various DX reflectors for ages. DXing and contesting produce the most activity on the bands. Eliminate those two and we wouldn’t be able to justify owning those parts of the spectrum and the powers that be would probably sell them off to the highest bidders.

        • Tom says

          As you know, the HF bands are not as valuable (in terms of dollars) as VHF/UHF and higher, so I don’t think that would happen. DX’peditions are less frequent than HF Contests which have a much higher level of participation. Contests are much different than the DXCC Program because they are sponsored by many parties (both domestic and international), not exclusively by the ARRL. As N0UN points out, maintaining activity of rare DXCC entities can be outrageously expensive and sometimes a dangerous undertaking.

  3. Tom says

    Does anyone remember the 3Y0VC DX’pedition to Bouvet in 1979? As I recall, the operator tuned the high end of 20m SSB and if he heard you calling, he responded. That’s how I made my QSO. Maybe that’s the way to run a major DX’pedition with all the D-QRM going on these days. Let’s hope for the best. Another factor in 2018 will be the declining sunspot numbers making this rare DX contact even more challenging!

  4. Tom says

    Wayne (N0UN),
    Thanks for your DX blog. It’s great reading. How do you feel about the use of Remote Radio technology to provide an otherwise impossible QSO? For example, propagation does not cooperate for an east coast station to work SE Asia, so a west coast Remote Radio station is used to make the contact. How about the operator on a very rare DX’pedition using Remote Radio to work himself with his US callsign? How does the use of Remote Radio affect the integrity of the DXCC Program? Before the advent of Remote Radio, these types of QSOs would be disqualified because they were made with assistance from a second party, usually far removed (over thousands of miles) from the originating QTH.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.