Click on the image for a full sized chart . . .
Its hard not to wonder where the DXCC program is headed when polar places cost more than $700,000 to activate. Political set backs have proven to work themselves out – in some cases it took 20 years before a place was activated (China and Albania). In some cases it was purely administrative (Navassa), and with Heard Island it was cost and logistics – these are not easy projects to put on.
The NCDXF just awarded 3Y0Z $100,000, which I predicted a long time ago, and they certainly deserve it. The organizers have 10 Top 10 Most Wanted and just as many DX-pedition of the Year awards to boot under their belt – if anyone can get you in their log, they can. Since there is nothing else rare planned in this “DX Year”, I fully expected that they would get such an award.
For the good of the DXCC Program and its future, I sure hope the smaller teams gain traction and get creative, because I believe that this 3Y0Z DX-pedition will represent a big turning point and a bell weather in DX-peditioning. I do not think this cost is going to be sustainable – and I base that on actuarial figures. DX-peditioners and DX-ers are getting older, and from a percentage perspective, far fewer are getting into this aspect of the hobby than leaving. It will always be a supply and demand situation, so that’s what will dictate where this is headed.
Mike, KJ4Z and I share the opinion that we will be headed back to the days of small teams and single world travelers – and that Mega DX-peditions have for the most part seen their best days. I know I welcome that – I really like DX-peditioners like Vlad, UA4WHX, who just shows up and puts many in his log. In fact, Vlad still is the #1 DX-peditioner who has put the most ATNO’s in my log.
20 years ago, part of the reason VK0IR were able to keep costs down (relatively speaking) is because they found available berths for a reasonable price on a scientific ship (The Marion DuFresne). I hope more enterprising DX-peditioners also go back to that sort of planning.
Chuck Brady, N4BQW (SK) activated Bouvet by himself, but that was during a time when a scientist / astronaut had access and the right connections to do so. I worked Chuck for quite a few ATNO’s – especially in the OC-PAC part of the world. Sadly, there are very few left in the ham ranks with that sort of connection, and the current administration is all but wiping out climate science, meaning forget about US teams to piggy back on a US scientific mission – there will be fewer. I predict that if DXCC is going to continue, it will be because countries other than the US jump in and activate the rare one’s – especially the polar ones.
I still wonder who will take the place of those DX-peditioners entering their 70’s, and the Baby Boomers are already there . . . and in fact, the world wide DX Community is made up of mostly Boomers, so all at once the DX Community will drop in numbers over the next 10 – 20 years at a dramatic pace.
What will be the remaining supply, and what will be the remaining demand?