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Author Topic: Southeast Asia – The Black Hole of DXpeditions  (Read 2965 times)
W6GX
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Posts: 3007




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« on: November 28, 2012, 09:57:01 PM »

While browsing the AE5X website I came across this article.  You could find it here:  http://www.ae5x.com/blog/2012/11/21/southeast-asia-the-black-hole-of-dxpeditions/#more-10601.

In this region I'm missing Laos, Myanmar. Bangladesh, Nepal, and Andaman/Nicobar.  I imagine there has to be a foreigner-friendly, noise-free resort in each of these countries that's perfect for a dxpedition.  I understand that there are many factors when choosing to activate a country.  From an economic standpoint any of these places can be flown to which is far economical than, say, chartering a boat.  Further, on clublog these places are high in demand from North America.  I really do hope that this area will get more attention, particularly as we get near to the peak of cycle 24.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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W2IRT
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2012, 10:10:40 PM »

While browsing the AE5X website I came across this article.  You could find it here:  http://www.ae5x.com/blog/2012/11/21/southeast-asia-the-black-hole-of-dxpeditions/#more-10601.

In this region I'm missing Laos, Myanmar. Bangladesh, Nepal, and Andaman/Nicobar.  I imagine there has to be a foreigner-friendly, noise-free resort in each of these countries that's perfect for a dxpedition.  I understand that there are many factors when choosing to activate a country.  From an economic standpoint any of these places can be flown to which is far economical than, say, chartering a boat.  Further, on clublog these places are high in demand from North America.  I really do hope that this area will get more attention, particularly as we get near to the peak of cycle 24.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

Good luck with each of those. Laos is on from time to time but very infrequently. Myanmar/Burma has been essentially closed for over a decade, although recent geo-political events (and the efforts of one ham from Thailand who frequents this site) may put XY back on the air sooner rather than later. S2 is on every few years but there are extreme hurdles to be overcome here, not the least of which is extreme living and sanitary conditions and no good operating locations. I also believe it's difficult to get operating authority from the gov't. It's as close to hell on earth as you could imagine if stories I've heard by those who've visited are to be believed. I dream of world travel, but this is one of the few places you couldn't pay me to visit.

Nepal is on every few years. Just gotta be there when they're QRV. Propagation is very difficult to NA and I think getting authorization to operate was non-trivial. I don't believe there are any native Nepalese hams--just visitors, although I seem to remember reading that that was changing and a class was being started at some point. Details are really fuzzy here to me.

Andaman/Nicobar was in the top-5 most wanted for around 20 years for a reason. Access is tightly controlled by India and getting permission to operate as an individual isn't generally possible. Only organized Indian-gov't approved activations are allowed. VU4 was last activated in 2004 and 2011.
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HS0ZIB
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Posts: 434




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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2012, 12:15:58 AM »

Don't forget that some of these countries simply do not allow visiting foreigners (tourists) to operate from their country.  Thailand is an example. 

Quote
S2 is on every few years but there are extreme hurdles to be overcome here, not the least of which is extreme living and sanitary conditions ...

In that case, please have sympathy for me in Yangon because Myanmar is listed at 6 points lower than Bangladesh on the global poverty and sanitary scale....

Simon

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SV1XV
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2012, 02:10:58 AM »

From my more favorable location, I have confirmed all of these except Andaman-Nicobar islands. However I have not worked S2 for ages; my last QSO was in 2001 with S21YV.

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W1VT
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2012, 02:47:54 AM »

I confirmed Nepal on 15 SSB in the past year--one of those great openings with signals booming in over the pole--not a trace of flutter.

I've seen also seen tons of digital spots--but I stopped checking them out after getting it confirmed.
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NU4B
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2012, 03:28:44 AM »

While browsing the AE5X website I came across this article.  You could find it here:  http://www.ae5x.com/blog/2012/11/21/southeast-asia-the-black-hole-of-dxpeditions/#more-10601.

In this region I'm missing Laos, Myanmar. Bangladesh, Nepal, and Andaman/Nicobar.  I imagine there has to be a foreigner-friendly, noise-free resort in each of these countries that's perfect for a dxpedition.  I understand that there are many factors when choosing to activate a country.  From an economic standpoint any of these places can be flown to which is far economical than, say, chartering a boat.  Further, on clublog these places are high in demand from North America.  I really do hope that this area will get more attention, particularly as we get near to the peak of cycle 24.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

Black hole of Dxpeditions  Huh From the southeast its just the black hole, period!  Grin

There was a German ham in Vientiane the last week or so ago and he said the noise level was so bad he just gave up. Something like S9+20 all the time.
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W6GX
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Posts: 3007




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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2012, 06:27:38 AM »

While browsing the AE5X website I came across this article.  You could find it here:  http://www.ae5x.com/blog/2012/11/21/southeast-asia-the-black-hole-of-dxpeditions/#more-10601.

In this region I'm missing Laos, Myanmar. Bangladesh, Nepal, and Andaman/Nicobar.  I imagine there has to be a foreigner-friendly, noise-free resort in each of these countries that's perfect for a dxpedition.  I understand that there are many factors when choosing to activate a country.  From an economic standpoint any of these places can be flown to which is far economical than, say, chartering a boat.  Further, on clublog these places are high in demand from North America.  I really do hope that this area will get more attention, particularly as we get near to the peak of cycle 24.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

Black hole of Dxpeditions  Huh From the southeast its just the black hole, period!  Grin

There was a German ham in Vientiane the last week or so ago and he said the noise level was so bad he just gave up. Something like S9+20 all the time.

Since this area is so difficult to reach from NA my fear is that no dxpeditions want to go there for the fear of low QSO count from the continent that donates the most (see VP8ORK donation statistics).

Obviously we also have red tape hurdles as mentioned by W2IRT.  I just hope the main reason is not a financial one.

These SE Asia counties are now beginning to open up to tourism.  Hopefully more hams will take vacations there  Smiley

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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K0AP
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Posts: 141




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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2012, 07:47:30 AM »

While browsing the AE5X website I came across this article.  You could find it here:  http://www.ae5x.com/blog/2012/11/21/southeast-asia-the-black-hole-of-dxpeditions/#more-10601.

In this region I'm missing Laos, Myanmar. Bangladesh, Nepal, and Andaman/Nicobar.  I imagine there has to be a foreigner-friendly, noise-free resort in each of these countries that's perfect for a dxpedition.  I understand that there are many factors when choosing to activate a country.  From an economic standpoint any of these places can be flown to which is far economical than, say, chartering a boat.  Further, on clublog these places are high in demand from North America.  I really do hope that this area will get more attention, particularly as we get near to the peak of cycle 24.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

XW1B was quite active from Laos in 2009. Worked him on 20/40m.
S21YZ was active in 2011 with six operators. They made quite many Qso's. I worked them on 20/17m with my modest station.
9N7AN and 9N7MD were two large operations from Nepal in 2011 and they made many Qso's with NA.
VU4PB was active in 2011, they made many Qso's with NA.

So, from all you have mentioned only XZ has not been active for many years. All the others have been activated in the last 2-3 years.

73 Dragan K0AP
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N2RJ
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2012, 07:49:42 AM »

. S2 is on every few years but there are extreme hurdles to be overcome here, not the least of which is extreme living and sanitary conditions and no good operating locations. I also believe it's difficult to get operating authority from the gov't. It's as close to hell on earth as you could imagine if stories I've heard by those who've visited are to be believed. I dream of world travel, but this is one of the few places you couldn't pay me to visit.

One of my coworkers is from there and he went back for a month last year. Not everywhere is "hell on Earth" but much of it is. If your stomach and immune system is not conditioned you will get the runs though. Best to get shots before you go too, malaria at least.

As for dxpeditions, I worked S21YZ last year, which according to ClubLog is the most activity they've had, ever.

Quote
Nepal is on every few years. Just gotta be there when they're QRV. Propagation is very difficult to NA and I think getting authorization to operate was non-trivial. I don't believe there are any native Nepalese hams--just visitors, although I seem to remember reading that that was changing and a class was being started at some point. Details are really fuzzy here to me.

There were a couple of recent DXpeditions, and I worked Dov, 9N7DX (4Z4DX). The major issue there is power. They cut power for about 16 hours per day because they don't have generating capacity and have to import electricity from India.

There are quite a few native hams now but I haven't heard them. I believe that one of them even has Father Moran's old callsign (9N1MM), and a YL to boot. But like many countries they are concentrating on VHF/UHF local repeaters rather than HF.

Quote
Andaman/Nicobar was in the top-5 most wanted for around 20 years for a reason. Access is tightly controlled by India and getting permission to operate as an individual isn't generally possible. Only organized Indian-gov't approved activations are allowed. VU4 was last activated in 2004 and 2011.

Not sure about ham radio activations, but there's no problem getting to the Andaman islands, even for foreigners. Permits are issued at the airport (and not required for Indian nationals). Nicobar, however, is tightly controlled due to the tribal regions and wanting to prevent outside influence.
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W6GX
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Posts: 3007




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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2012, 08:17:00 AM »

While browsing the AE5X website I came across this article.  You could find it here:  http://www.ae5x.com/blog/2012/11/21/southeast-asia-the-black-hole-of-dxpeditions/#more-10601.

In this region I'm missing Laos, Myanmar. Bangladesh, Nepal, and Andaman/Nicobar.  I imagine there has to be a foreigner-friendly, noise-free resort in each of these countries that's perfect for a dxpedition.  I understand that there are many factors when choosing to activate a country.  From an economic standpoint any of these places can be flown to which is far economical than, say, chartering a boat.  Further, on clublog these places are high in demand from North America.  I really do hope that this area will get more attention, particularly as we get near to the peak of cycle 24.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

XW1B was quite active from Laos in 2009. Worked him on 20/40m.
S21YZ was active in 2011 with six operators. They made quite many Qso's. I worked them on 20/17m with my modest station.
9N7AN and 9N7MD were two large operations from Nepal in 2011 and they made many Qso's with NA.
VU4PB was active in 2011, they made many Qso's with NA.

So, from all you have mentioned only XZ has not been active for many years. All the others have been activated in the last 2-3 years.

73 Dragan K0AP

Thanks.  I was QRT between March '11 to February '12.  Prior to 2011 I wasn't able to work them with my modest station.  I'm sure there are others who need these countries or have only one contact on one band.

I wish there would be a large dxpedition to Laos since no one has mentioned any major activities on this post.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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W5RDW
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Posts: 266




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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2012, 08:34:22 AM »

I remember my contact with VU4PB last year on 17M SSB of all things! I tend to be on CW for hard to hear DX stations and VU4 falls into that category for sure.

The VU4 came up on the cluster around  00:00 UTC and I tuned to 17M SSB expecting to hear nothing as usual from that part of the world. I could hear something in the noise and had to fiddle with the K3 NR just to see if it was a voice I was hearing. Waiting to see if anyone was working him by looking at the cluster for W5's, all of a sudden , out of the noise, came him calling a W5! I could not believe it. I threw my call in there a number of times and he came back. What a thrill, but it was short lived. As quick as he came up on frequency, he disappeared. Looking at the Search function on DXSummit, I later saw that there was a short lived window of opportunity where he worked maybe a hand-full of US stations at that time including 3 5's.

This is not the first time a station has literally jumped out of the noise so to speak and was workable for just a short time. It pays to listen awhile, even though you hear literally nothing!
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Roger White W5RDW
Murphy, TX
Ham since 1961
N2RJ
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Posts: 1224




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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2012, 08:39:50 AM »

The first time I worked VU4 I worked them on phone, 20m and with 100 watts.

I rarely turn on the amp to DX unless I have a heavy pileup to deal with.
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VU2CDP
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2012, 09:21:13 AM »

Nepal has a resident ham in Satish 9N1AA but he is not very active. I got my first QSO with him on 15m phone only this year. He always generates a pile up (obviously) and its usually an EU affair. 9N1FE has been quite active on PSK.

Laos is on air off and on. Rudi DK7PE had to cancel his trip last week. Details are here >>  http://www.qrz.com/db/XW2CW    

S21 has a few resident hams and they do chew the rag with some of our "east coasters" on 40m in the mornings. S21B is fairly active and I believe so is S21RC, though i have never heard him.

XZ may not remain off air too long with the recent political thaw there. (Your President visited XZ recently). Maybe a few years and it may become "garden variety" DX!  Wink

VU4 (ditto for VU7) is not so common because operations from these territories require special permissions from the authorities in New Delhi. And permission is difficult to get because of various, often bureaucratic, hurdles. The laws regarding radio operations are dated requiring frequent written correspondences and follow ups. The hobby, being not so popular here, gets very little or no attention at all from the law-makers. Which explains why these islands, otherwise a great tourist location, are so rare on the air-waves.

Besides all the above are a long, long way from NA. Rarity = f(distance, freq of activity)  Smiley

73,
Deepak VU2CDP
(one of the VU4PB crew)


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KB3LIX
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2012, 09:54:36 AM »

I got VU4PB back in March 2011...or so I THOUGHT !
'
Turned out to be that rat bastid SLIM !
Maybe next time.
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N2RJ
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2012, 10:14:05 AM »

I got VU4MY in 2008 and confirmed on paper, and now in my dxcc record. Smiley
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