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Author Topic: INDEXA Newsletter  (Read 908 times)
WO7R
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« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2019, 09:03:55 PM »

Quote
Please cite actual data for this.  You're welcome to think this....but, without backup, it's just your opinion.

I don't have actual data for this except the observation (including above by K5GS) that the number of contributors to DXpeditions are small compared to the total working the expedition.

One would have to ask "why?"   You would think that enlightened self-interest would cause most DXers to put aside money to make sure there is something to work.  Maybe 5 or 10 per cent of what we spend on the station at least.  But that is not what we observe.  And, this includes me.  We none of us give to all of them, but why don't we give to more than we do?

Perhaps it is sheer ignorance of the costs.  And, there is a famous quote about not understanding something when one's paycheck requires one not to understand.

So, perhaps it is just about money and I'm wrong about the rest.

But, I have argued with more than one ehammer in here that have complained about anything from FT8 to clusters to changes in some DXCC entity status to anything that threatens to make DXing easier.

Even when I suggest it (for instance) makes it fairer, they seem to barely notice and go right on about how the idea (whatever it is) cheapens DXing by making it easier.  They seem pretty clearly invested (at least for that particular idea that that particular ham is willing to argue) in keeping it "just as hard" as it ever was and that's that.

Now, these are not always the same people arguing in any given case since this has come up in several guises.  But, it is a theme that participating in here is difficult not to notice.

Perhaps they are unrepresentative of DXers generally, but my opinion is that, no, they probably represent a decent fraction of us all.  One reason you see little change, and little pressure from DXers for change is that a lot of people are invested in the status quo.  Well, at some point, we all are.  We none of us could stand weekly changes to the rules.  But, there does seem to be a group that thinks it is important for it never to get easier, or at least easier on this or that wise.

In any case, any idea that touches on HR or #1 HR and threatens to make either simpler gets lots of opposition in here.

Now, if that is a real sentiment widely shared, one place I would predict it to show up is DXpedition funding.  If I have mine, I probably am not as inclined to contribute even if I don't feel that way.  But if, especially, I want it to be at least as hard for thee as it was for me, then I am even less likely to contribute to one I already have.  I might, if I felt that way, expect you to pay for this year's expedition just as I paid for the one 20 years ago.

You're right.  I can't claim metaphysical certainty for this.  But, I at least wonder about it as a factor.  Because we are not contributing as if big time DXpeditions were the scarce resources that they are.  We do not seem to notice or care that if DXpeditioners did put up a mere 1/4 of the cost, instead of 1/2 as they do, we would double the number of expeditions we get.  One has to wonder why that is so.
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K7KB
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« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2019, 10:43:11 PM »

Kinda hard to raise DXpedition funding when..............

 About 20 years ago I was at a Hamfest in the Minneapolis area. Typical amalgamated Hamfest/junkfest where the guy selling 500 floppy discs & a busted down Mac Classic is right next to the guy selling a FT1000D. As I'm perusing the junk I see a guy who has about 100 boxes of Tic Tac's for sale along with other assorted crap. I watch as a fellow amateur walks up to the vendor, raises a box of Tic Tac's in the air and starts counting the number of breath mints in the box. He sets it down & picks up another and starts doing the same. And another & another & another. I walk up to him and politely asked what he's doing. He told me in one of the packs there might be an extra Tic Tac or two.

 And people think amateurs will contribute generously to DXpeditions?       


                                                                 Tom KH0/KC0W     

HORROR!! You CAN'T be suggesting that Hams are notoriously frugal are you?  Shocked Grin The thing that gets me is that they are willing to spend thousands of dollars on equipment and antennas to get on the HR, but when it comes time to actually donate to a DX'pedition, the wallet goes missing. Problem is, all that equipment doesn't do much good if there isn't any DX to work. Go figure.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 10:50:12 PM by K7KB » Logged
WO7R
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« Reply #32 on: August 15, 2019, 11:59:49 PM »

Yeah, we are all -- sometimes, me too -- great at calling 'poverty' where none exists.

But, it does make me wonder -- what is the rational amount we should set aside to give to DXpeditions and/or Foundations?

Now, there are 20,000 to 30,000 unique call signs in most major DXpedition logs.  Five dollars beyond the postage costs of a QSL would actually fund many DXpeditions, albeit retroactively and albeit not the "southern ocean" types that need helicopters and such.  Just for the moment, though, set that retroactive part of the problem aside.  Let's look at being able to support 150K budgets with QSL cards.

Now, the calculation is true only if everyone QSLs.  It's not clear that even if you cut off all free sources that a whole lot would change and that "everyone" would QSL.  

Continue to suppose an alternate universe where there are no free cards/LOTWs, at least not for top 100 DXCC entity expeditions.  

Hams that are that cheap to begrudge 5 dollars might simply give up on the awards programs altogether and settle for whatever free sources there are and keep track on their own.  And, unless the expedition was willing to give up Clublog or their own on-line log (and suffer the resulting insurance QSOs), then maybe not enough changes.  And, of course, the cheap ass ham can even say "I got a Q and an insurance Q, call it confirmed."  It's an arms race the DXpedition cannot win with the cheap enough ham.  

Despite that, maybe a few more stations do QSL with the required contribution in that alternate universe.  Would it go up to half?  That might be enough participation (though there is still the problem/risk of the up-front money).

But, I don't know.  In spite my own analysis of these things, the current set up makes me hesitate to spend 5 dollars on a QSL for a single band country.  If you are serious about "DXCC Challenge", that gets pricey fast.

In some respects, it is DXCC Challenge that is perhaps distorting everything.  Yes, it's fun to work, but a lot of people are only going to care about Bouvet, when it finally happens, in order to get a band country or maybe a mode.  (CQ Marathon does not, strictly speaking, motivate contributions because if Bouvet doesn't happen for anyone, it doesn't help or hurt the 2019 score).  So DXCC Challenge is a motivator for contributions, but only so far.

The lifetime cost of 2000 challenge points, at 5 dollars a pop (even allowing for a decent fraction where you get two or three bands for a card), gets to be far more than 5 or 10 per cent of one's station cost (an arbitrary amount I made a stab at a while back).  We're talking 5,000 to 10,000 US Dollar lifetime cost if you must QSL under some would-be alternate universe regime.  Given common countries would still be QSLed on the cheap even in that alternate universe, it is probably closer to 5K.  But maybe closer to 10K if the rare ones ask for 10 dollars over postage costs instead of five.  So, it's still probably 5K to 10K US in this alternate universe.

But, for an ATNO, 50 dollars is reasonable, especially as you are only going to have to pay that much for maybe 50 to 100 cards.  The rest, being common as rainwater, will not cost more than maybe a buck, on average, given LOTW in any universe.

So, that's kind of the dilemma.  If everyone gave, it would be individually cheap (if we ignore Challenge), DXpeditions would be far more plentiful, and there'd be lots to work.  But, individual lifetime confirmation costs would get to be on the order of a very nice station once we factor in Challenge.

Don't know how that circle gets squared.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 12:02:10 AM by WO7R » Logged
N1UR
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« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2019, 04:46:57 AM »

You are answering your own question here.  "The DX Community" which is globally something on the order of 30 - 50,000 hams based on DXpedition data has PLENTY of collective money and actually spends it.  Properly captured, its $2 - $5 Million a year that is floating around in QSLing, donations.  Take a look at Clublog and what it raises every year.  Not much need for Clublog if there is no DX to work.

The fundamental funding model just needs to change.  The money is there.  How much money is sitting in the DX Foundations bank accounts globally.  If that money was made available as a revolving loan fund to help with the up front and get repaid - bingo - the cash problem up front starts to be addressed.

Those in business, like myself, do this routinely in our other lives.  There are a lot of business people in the DX community.

By the way, there are probably 2 Million licensed hams around the globe.  Some count tic tacks (funny story), but that's not "the market".  Its the 30 - 50k of people that have quite often $5 - $10k of radio investment that are already spending a few hundred a year on "their habit".  $100 x 50,000 = $5,000,000.  That actually funds A LOT of DXpeditions if its channeled right.


Ed  N1UR
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VA3VF
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« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2019, 05:07:37 AM »

Quote
Other than that, the question is simply whether enough hams care enough about DXing to make it happen by funding expeditions, especially up front. 

This is interesting. People will send money to foundations up front, and lose control over how that money is used, but won't send it up front directly to a DXpedition, to activate an entity they need??

Yeah, I know, foundations can better evaluate the feasibility of a proposed activation. But is it really necessary to do 'studies' for those proposals coming from the top and well known DXpedtioners?

I can see value in foundations playing the role of  'venture capitalists', looking at new 'ventures', read new DXpeditioners, those without a 'track record'.

Quote
But many DXers don't actually want that.   They want HR and #1 HR to be very exclusive clubs.  Doubling or tripling the number of high end expeditions is just not something they want to do.

Don't spill the beans. Remember the unwritten/unofficial HR "Code of Ethics".Grin

Quote
Then there is the frighteningly large number that just don't understand the economics of it as well.

True, and most of them hang around fora such as this one, writing posts as I'm doing now. Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
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VA3VF
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« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2019, 05:12:53 AM »

....we'd get more expeditions.  But many DXers don't actually want that.   They want HR and #1 HR to be very exclusive clubs.  Doubling or tripling the number of high end expeditions is just not something they want to do.


Please cite actual data for this.  You're welcome to think this....but, without backup, it's just your opinion.

I don't know whether he has the 'data' to back it up or not, BUT, where have you been when the "FT8 is devaluing achievements" discussions took place, or deleting this or that entity? It's the same thing, is it not?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 05:23:39 AM by VA3VF » Logged
VA3VF
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« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2019, 05:20:27 AM »

I walk up to him and politely asked what he's doing. He told me in one of the packs there might be an extra Tic Tac or two.

I see that every weekend at the grocery store. It's not just a ham thing, fortunately. Fortunately you say? Yeah... we already have too many unique 'quirks'. Wink
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VA3VF
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« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2019, 05:32:05 AM »

Quote
The thing that gets me is that they are willing to spend thousands of dollars on equipment and antennas to get on the HR, but when it comes time to actually donate to a DX'pedition, the wallet goes missing. Problem is, all that equipment doesn't do much good if there isn't any DX to work. Go figure.
I 'love' the guys that spend kilobucks on a transceiver, but use it with 'compromise', or worse, antennas, and then brag about having the best transceiver around. We are a special 'mixed breed'. Grin
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WO7R
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« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2019, 05:36:42 AM »

Quote
$100 x 50,000 = $5,000,000.  That actually funds A LOT of DXpeditions if its channeled right.

Except that the money you mention is being spent. . .on their own stations.

The question is "what will motivate people to spend money on expeditions?"

On the available evidence, "not much."

Nobody I know of treats the fact that DXpeditioners pay for half of a DXpeditions' cost as any kind of scandal.  If you think about it, all of these rugged individualists (or who talk a good game of same) should be outraged that this is true.   I would agree that DXpeditioners need some personal skin in the game.  But half?  That' just too much subsidy.  But, truth is, we all complacently accept it.

I have DXpeditioned to several easy places and expect no funding from anyone when I go.  So, it's on a continuum.  But we all know nobody is doing a fly-in to St Peter I.  Yet, we fund it under nearly the same set of rules.

The first thing that needs to change, somehow, is the idea that DXpeditioners are expected to pay for half.  Until that changes (either by us or, more likely, by the DXpeditioning community), not much will change, I think.

In the meantime, when one looks at it personally, a "pay for play" scheme (which is what we are groping towards) is looking fair to be equal to the cost of one's station and would actually happen if DXpeditioners stopped subsidizing us.  Or, we would suddenly find the courage to take a lot of money out of the cost of DXpeditions.  One or the other.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 05:40:10 AM by WO7R » Logged
VA3VF
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« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2019, 05:48:03 AM »

Quote
If you are serious about "DXCC Challenge", that gets pricey fast.

In some respects, it is DXCC Challenge that is perhaps distorting everything.

Down with DXCC Challenge, up with CQ Marathon. Grin

CQ Marathon proved that confirmations are not the 'be all' in DXing.
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VA3VF
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« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2019, 06:01:48 AM »

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The question is "what will motivate people to spend money on expeditions?"

There is an assumption here that those 20-30K DXers know about costs. How many of them follow the preparations for a major DXpedition?

My gut feeling, yes...I have no data, is that even among that core group, most just work what the cluster and their logs show as needed. What took to activate the entity does not 'register' with most of them.

This is why, slowly and against my own wishes, I think 'pay to confirm' will happen, and may be needed to fund future DXpeds.

People will simply not pay, you say? Fine...I'll be terribly sorry for those few DXpeds that will lose big time money, but at least we end the 'charade'.
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N1UR
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« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2019, 06:36:19 AM »

Actually, its not an assumption.  They don't at all, and honestly, they don't need to.  What they need is to realize that the money they spend anyway on donations to a few websites like Clublog, Bureau membership, some number of OQRS, etc is an annual budget they are spending anyway for enjoyment of the DXing hobby.  THIS is the $100 number as a starter.  Has nothing to do with buying things for the shack or antennas - for most DXers - that's many times the $100 a year I am referring to.

All the target market needs to see is that they don't get their coveted counters if they don't participate.  Any more than they can go fishing or hunting without buying the annual license or deer tag.  The market just needs to be educated under different assumptions.  And the game will change.  But don't kid yourself that there a Millions a year in play.  I wish all business proposals were as easy as this one to define a market.

Ed  N1UR
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WO7R
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« Reply #42 on: Today at 09:38:01 AM »

Quote
All the target market needs to see is that they don't get their coveted counters if they don't participate. 

But, as of today, that has not been true and still isn't true.  You can, if you wish, get all the way to HR and possibly #1 HR without doing anything but put up your own station. . .and wait.

Freeloading has been an issue pretty much since day one.  Moreover, the "don't get" is restricted in the end to a handful of places.  Nobody expects to spend a dime to activate Gibraltar or Tokelau or dozens of similar places that aren't on the air much.  We just "did" Malta again.  That's a "DXpedition" to central Rome.  Maybe some people throw a few extra bucks in the envelope.  Many just wait for the LOTW to show up.

Nor is it money that stops any of us from working P5.  That's a fly-in, financially.  The solution to that is some weird break in international politics plus a few of us sucking up like crazy to a couple of officials.  So, money isn't even always the issue, though it often is.

The majority of DX counters (at least somewhere around 250 of them, minimum) will always be essentially free.  Depending on one's objectives, one is never motivated to contribute even 100 bucks.

Worse, one can be at this game a long time before spending that 100 bucks becomes acute even if HR is an ultimate goal.  Most of us take a while to acquire the skills to be a serious threat to making HR.  Often that's 10 even 20 years of a DXing career.  Others of us dabble at it for a long time before becoming serious.  That means a lot of people who say they want HR aren't serious about it. . .yet.  They will show up in that 20,000 or 30,000 that work a given expedition.  But, they never contributed a dime so it could set sail because they aren't serious themselves.

It is quite easy to spend the first 20 years as a dabbler, yet make 250 or even 300 DXCC without spending a dime on DXpeditions.  One also might not spend all that much on a station, either, which makes 100 bucks look like a lot more money.  Put up the big tower and 100 bucks a year looks more reasonable.  But for a long time, all I had was a rig, a 500 dollar, 500 watt used amp, and a G5RV.  Like many, I wanted to see how far I could get on the cheap.  Like many, I hit the wall.  But I tried it out a long time, first.

Somewhere between 250 and 300 progress essentially stops or slows to a trickle.  Only then would contributing begin to look essential.  But one has also "learned" that contributing is not essential.

Moreover, if one sets one sights on other things (most of us don't, but stay with me), it is never essential.  5BWAZ is a very tough award.  But it requires no top 100 DXpeditions to accomplish.  Not one.  Neither would high achievement in the CQ Field Award.  You can make the lower rungs of the IOTA Honor Roll without doing any DXpedition funding either (IOTA has its own problems with funding several IOTA-only rare rocks, but if you don't care about making, say, 1000 IOTAs, you have no reason to contribute there, either).

All of this funding discussion and the reality of it happening in real life only happens because of a peculiar psychology where we have all agreed to want Bouvet and Peter I.

And, critically, because a very small number of us have made a separate, expensive sport of putting them on.

The thing is, it is quite possible to cheap out and ignore all of this for years.  Which, in fact, seems to happen.

Quote
Any more than they can go fishing or hunting without buying the annual license or deer tag.  The market just needs to be educated under different assumptions.  And the game will change.  But don't kid yourself that there a Millions a year in play.  I wish all business proposals were as easy as this one to define a market.

The market needs more than education.  Where does this 100 bucks go?  How do I, the individual contributor, know that expedition I am sending money to will actually come off? 

How do I find out whether these guys have a track record? 

In some cases, how do I know that they know enough about what they are doing so as not to die doing it on our behalf?  I have seen several obviously "half baked" ideas that seemed to me downright dangerous for the participants.  It would be nice to have some idea if the risks were reasonable ones.

One of the reasons we have a system dominated by foundations is that they provide some ability to answer such questions.  Perfect?  No.  But a hell of a lot better than me trying to figure it out based on Google searches.

Expertise is kind of out of fashion these days but I, at least, recognize my limitations in terms of my ability to vet these various proposals.

The marketplace (and yes, you are right, there is a marketplace here if a peculiar one) need a great deal of infrastructure before it is going to take off.

You think it is easy?  Found a new foundation to provide that rolling seed money.  See how far you get.  It would be great if you could pull it off.
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