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Author Topic: How I would run a DXpedition  (Read 1247 times)

Posts: 918

« on: April 11, 2013, 08:06:04 AM »

First, a disclaimer:  My station is in Colorado, and only operate 20M SSB.  1500 Watts
Second:  I'm referring to a DXpedition to a pretty rare entity that hasn't be activated in a long time, or only very limited.  I.E., lots want for an All Time New One, regardless of band.

OK, here we go:

At least two primary stations, one on 20CW and one on 20SSB.  20 is the money band.  Yes, band fills are nice, but to my view, getting an ATNO to as many stations as possible should be Numero 1 target.

Operate those two stations virtually continuously on 20M.  Target areas of the world based on ham population and propagation.  Don't miss propagation opportunities.

Add additional stations and operators if possible for other bands.  But never at the detriment of 20M operation.

Stations should have reasonable antennas, X Beam, etc, and run medium power (500 watts or so) so most hams have a chance to hear.

Obviously run split.  Do some split into General portion of 20M.

Do not post board leader statistics and calls.  Adds to pileups.  ATNO is more important than helping the big guns get tons of band fills.

That's my list.  Do you agree or disagree?  Add more?

Posts: 895


« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 08:41:59 AM »

Your proposal has a lot of merit to it. I am not a fan of the leaderboard feature. But most DXers want it.

For a small DXpedition to run 20 CW and 20 SSB at the same time is a real challenge. It would require some engineering and spacing to be able to do that well. Surprisingly, 20 meters is not always the ideal band for DXpeditions. On my last two DXpeditions to Conway Reef and Yemen, 20 meters was terrible most of the time, whereas 17 meters and 15 meters were much better.

I think the key for a small operation to a very rare place is to be active as much and as long is as needed to satisfy the basic needs of the DX community. When they start begging for SSTV, QRP, six meters etc then you know you've probably satisfied the need.

Posts: 3661


« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 08:51:14 AM »

The real question is what level of "needed" an entity you're talking about. Something that's going to generate massive worldwide interest will be big enough to be able to staff 5 to 10 stations on the air at all times, and I'd like to think they'll always have a 20m station active, so long as the band is open to them. Very few one-person operations get to visit places like that, however (although it's not unheard of). When that is the case, then, yes, 20, 17 and 15 are the bands that will yield the best overall numbers.

If you're not activating a top-10 or even top-20, then pretty soon you're going to run out of callers on 20, since most avid DXers have these on 20m SSB and CW, and probably 17 and 15, too. Also, 20m SSB is not a pleasant place to DX for a lot of people. Nino and his compatriots, and so on. You will achieve good propagation on 15, 17 and 20, and if you can get the antenna space, 40 as well.

It also depends on your desire and focus. Look at George and Tomi. They've done very compact operations from highly-needed locations (Chesterfield, St. Peter and Paul, etc), but their focus is 160 and 80 with other bands thrown in to fill their days. There is always interest in the DX community for activating a semi-rare one on the low bands. If your desire is uniques then stick to one band.

Another thing to consider is that RTTY is quickly becoming more in demand than it ever was. There are probably a bunch of entities that have been picked clean by DXers worldwide on CW and Phone, but not so much on digital.

In order to answer your post accurately really needs more information. Not necessarily a specific entity but the type of entity and what your focus/desire is.
Night gathers and now my watch begins. It shall not end until I reach Top of the Honor Roll.

« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 09:06:59 AM »

I think the model for a DX-pedition that I led would be very much like FT5XO - and the Microlite Penguins in general.

They achieved the goal that you mention - give out ATNO's to a very rare entity, and had the right amount of everything - and left out things that I think are not necessary. However, I wouldn't even bother with RTTY or EME - just stick to SSB and CW. I would stay in the Extra bands and only go into the General bands on the last days - if demand had waned in the Extra portion of the bands.

I wouldn't want to go on a DX-pedition with more than 12 people - I almost think 8 people would be a better size - and be a "strike team". I would probably not have more than 4 stations.

The reason I have this idea about a "pared down" team is cost. I think the economics would really dictate the size of the team - but I think very large teams will become a thing of the past, and soon. I think that era has run its course.

Its a shame that ZL9HR ended up with a black eye - because I think the size of the team and what they did to give out Q's was really great. I really thought their model was pretty good - and budget was pretty darned good for going to somewhere in the "Roaring 40's". They did have a dock to land at - so that probably made a huge difference in cost. Helicopter landings - will dictate a larger boat - and then a larger team.

I guess it all depends, eh?

Posts: 2493

« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 09:45:15 AM »

I am not a fan of the leaderboard feature. But most DXers want it.

I'd like to see that put to a vote. Somehow we survived without them. I think there are times (DXpeditions) for leaderboards and there are not times. Next year's early visits to Heard and Amsterdam would not be good times. I believe leaderboards encourage bad operating techiques and bad behavior in general, but who's counting (or should I say monitoring)?

I think a DXpedition needs to decide if they truely want to give as many people a new one as possible or they don't. And the second option is a real option. Just let us know ahead of time. These expeditions that claim they want to give out an ATNO to everybody possible on their website, then do everything they can not to is discouraging.

Length of stay, size of crew, demand, etc.. should all play a part. I doubt a 2 week stay to those mentioned above will give everybody a fighting chance when everybody is falling all over themselves to work them on as many modes as possible on every band possible. It seems like insanity to push that and say they are trying to give every DXer possible a Q. No, they aren't! They are trying to rack up as many QSO's as possible - an entirely different goal.

DX'ers want it? They want 5000 watt amps too, but...  Grin

Anyway, you guys are the experts and you guys know when the unique count has maxed. - good luck!

K0IZ - nice post
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 09:50:25 AM by NU4B » Logged
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