The venerable Ten Tec Orion II, one of my all time favorite ham radio rigs
People and radio gear have changed quite a bit since 2001 (when I got back into ham radio after a lengthy absence) – we have lost both as they have gone SK, and we remember them fondly. I’m glad that I was part of Ten Tec’s zenith, and also got to meet OT DX-ers like Chuck, K6RK, Earl, K6SE at a Visalia Top Band Dinner. There are many others, but these two stand out. When I was a teenager, it was Heathkit and I got to meet Bob, W2LV, who worked on the first antenna system installed on the Empire State Building in NYC. Bob worked with Major Armstrong and even knew Marconi – so that was pretty neat.
Anyway, looking forward, after VK0EK, (which happened in what will go down as perhaps the most amazing quarter in the history of DX-ing – when 5 of the Top Ten Most Wanted entities were activated) – and funded with large grants from the NCDXF and many other clubs and foundations – I don’t think we will ever see that again. That was “the perfect storm” in many ways. I’m also very glad that I was part of that.
2017 has proven to be a much “quieter” time for Mega DX-peditions, and I am sure that 3Y0Z will end up with some “changing of the guard”. I also think that 3Y0Z and the KH1 DX-pedition – which have received $100K and $75K grants respectively prove a trend that I expect is happening right before our eyes:
I think if someone were starting in the DXCC program today that Honor Roll #1 would be nearly impossible. But I also see very few young people getting into DX-ing anyway, so I do think DXCC is an anachronism. I expect that I will be one of the last to make Honor Roll #1, and that those close will also make it in the next 10 years. After that, I think even making Honor Roll will be a trick – for anyone starting DXCC now.
I have read about one ham making Honor Roll in 7 years – but he started in 1957, and had those amazing high sunspot years – including 1959, the year I was born. It took me 11 years starting in 2001 – and I really don’t think this will be possible in that amount of time – that I might also be one of the last to do that – and even if you have a much better station than mine – what governs this is cost and access to activate so many that seem all but off limits. I feel like I’m lucky to have a shot at Bouvet with 3Y0Z, and I expect that Glorioso will be tough to get access by the French Team. I think their priority was Crozet – and they couldn’t get access, so they settled on St. Brandon.
As far as DX-pedition of the year goes, my money is on 3Y0Z for this next cycle, and the French Team vs. the KH1 Team for the next cycle. What’s interesting is that 3Y0Z is so “epic” of an activation – as long as they pull it off as they have so many others, they are a “shoe in”.
One trend for sure – there will be a migration to the low bands – I know this just from the response I received at my Pacificon 2017 Antenna Forum presentation on Lowband Antennas. I expect there are a lot of people like myself – where the final DXCC pursuits are taking place on 160M and other low bands.
I’m very glad that I did jump into DX-ing in 2001 – and “Made Hay While the Sun Shone” . . . I feel like Im at the tail end of something that has been in play since 1930 or so – with a break during WWII, but I do feel like I have been part of a fun era in the history of radio – one that “kids these days” will never know or understand.