DXCC and Me: “Multi-Path Fading”

Signal Multi-path Fading . . .

3Y0Z and its demise has had a bigger impact on me than I would have thought. It really felt like the end of an era to me – in several ways – for the DX Community as well as me personally. Around the same time that 3Y0Z announced that it was cancelling the project for good, Seb, F5UFX, from the French Team announced that while they will keep trying to activate Glorioso, that it basically has become the French version of the US F&W “Navassa”. In other words, maybe some day in the future . . .

This means both of these last entities that I need might not be activated for some time – if at all. It was 19 years in between Heard Island activations – and unless some scientific mission goes to Heard Island again – you better not count on it – just like I have decided to no longer count on Bouvet or Glorioso. I really do fear that some entities might not be activated again in my lifetime. Every month and year – the probability of that grows higher. Baker, KH1, at $400K is as expensive as going to Heard Island, which makes no sense to me. And oil prices are something like 30% higher than last summer, so add that in. I think it’s just the ship operators and “supply and demand”.

Make no doubt about it – now that I am reminiscing about my trip to DXCC Honor Roll (chronicled in the DXCC Sleuth Blog), I feel more like I had the right idea to do it as fast as I could back in 2001 – just months before 9/11. Some had criticized me for being in a hurry and not “savoring it” – I say “Bollocks!”. Or is it “Ballocks!” . . .

3Y0I still has an active web site, and while their recent announcements to activate South Pacific entities seems to be on hold for now – the Polish Team did have good news about their budget and the fact that they have a ship for about 1/3rd the cost of 3Y0Z. I’m very cautiously optimistic – I can only imagine that they have hung their shingle out and I hope to hear that new team members are being added to their project.

But my DXCC Sleuth blog is my way of pulling up DXCC stakes – and as each month goes by, I am caring less and less if I ever work these last two. As I said, once 3Y0Z cancelled for good – I went out and completely changed my shack and my antenna farm per my “Post DXCC” plan – it just felt like that was “all she wrote” DXCC wise.

9BDXCC and DXCC on 160M sure feels like the last nail in the DXCC coffin for me – and that these two DXpeditions could be “The one’s that got away”:

One thing for sure – FT8 has ushered in a new era – where most of the band activity in between DXpeditions seem to be on that new mode. There are a few “stalwarts” out there CQ-ing on CW, but the day there is no more CW will be the day I cash in my chips. I don’t expect this at all – anyone alive who learned CW when they were a teenager will still fire up the key from time to time – but in 20 years there might be very little CW left.

8 Comments on “DXCC and Me: “Multi-Path Fading”

  1. I really can’t believe how quickly FT8 has essentially taken over. I know there have been other popular modes in the past, but I never heard anybody talking about how everything had moved to PSK31, for instance.

    It really is a phenomenon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I were starting out on the DXCC road, I would be on FT8 daily. It would be much better as a little pistol and you could get to 300 way faster than I did, and 11 years for Honor Roll was as fast as anyone I know – but I did hear of someone on the East Coast who did it quite a bit quicker than that.

      But yeah, 3Y0Z and FT8 feel like we just passed a new “gate” or portal. That’s fine with me, I slipped my DXCC business in right at the right time

      Liked by 1 person

      • After giving it more thought, I have to agree with the guys who say FT8 “cheapens” DXCC. I look back to the early 90s, and it took me two years of chasing stations with my meager station and paper cards before I got DXCC. This past winter, I worked (and confirmed!) 85 entities on 160 in two months with FT8 and LoTW, by sitting at my computer around European sunrise every night and clicking on what I needed. The two experiences were not remotely comparable.

        Now, I’m saying this as a fan of both FT8 and DXCC. But DXCC has been progressively “cheapened” by innovations such as LoTW, remote control, JT-65, and now FT-8. It would be a mistake to do what some guys want to do and outlaw these innovations in order to preserve the “difficulty” and “prestige” of DXCC. That’s just sticking our heads in the sand, and hastening our oncoming irrelevance. If it matters to us, we should alter DXCC in a way that allows for these innovations and yet adds more to the challenge in some other way. What that looks like, and whether the resulting program would even be recognizable, I’m not sure. But when you add in these changes plus macro factors such as the increasing costs of activating many entities, I think classic DXCC is over.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, totally agree on all points. Here’s an idea, use “weighted” points. Some ATNOs worth more than others and some modes worth more than others. CW gets highest weighted factor because it’s a very special skill. Polar places and other hard to get to places count most.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like the idea of dynamically weighted QSO value. Of course, if the value of a particular QSO were to change over time, I think minds would be blown. Perhaps QSOs with entities that haven’t been on in years become progressively more and more valuable, thus rewarding longevity? Maybe QSOs “drop off” from the calculations after a period of time, thus no longer favoring OTs? But just imagine the pileups that would result when that one scientist activates Crozet with his 5 foot high buddipole and 10 watts. It would have been bad enough anyway, but if that one QSO now counts the same as 40 regular ATNOs? And you thought DXCC Challenge was bad, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I moved from 2 land to 6 land – I got a 6 call. I moved here in 82 but changed calls in 1991 – when I passed my Advanced and Extra tests. BTW – I think the Advanced test was harder than the Extra . . . but I digress. Anyway – I even wanted a K call because at one time (I think and could be wrong), but I thought W at the beginning of a call was for East of the Mississippi and K west

      For me though – it was mostly nostalgia . . .

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are right about the K and W for commercial radio stations. That rule never applied to amateurs, AFAIK, but did you know how we came to have A, K, N, and W? Supposedly, in the early days, the Army used A and the Navy used N. For civilians, they just added a dash. So A (.-) became W (.–) and N (-.) became K (-.-). Or so I’ve heard. Makes as much sense as any other explanation, considering all the other major countries got calls that aligned with their names.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Its funny how much nostalgia drove me to get back into ham radio after being away so long. I’ll bet many got back in because they started driving as teens and that plus college and then life got in the way. I do feel lucky to have lived during some of radio history as I have. While my first station had solid state RX and tube TX, I started in the solid state age (73). But I had one acquaintance – W2LV – Bob Morris – who worked for Marconi and put the first TV antenna and tower on the Empire State Building. He also had one of the first transatlantic ham QSO’s ever. Boy do I feel lucky to have met such a legend.

        I also love the Computer History museum – because the ham radio and computer worlds were intertwined – and you can see it in the displays. Many computer hardware folk were hms when they were young.

        Liked by 1 person

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