DXCC in the 90’s ….

While doing research on my other blog, The DXCC Sleuth:


I noticed that there was a trend where several clubs and DXpeditioners seemed to almost be competing to see who could be the first to activate an entity, and they lobbied the ARRL DXCC desk to do so.

The refrain I’ve heard from someone in the know was “good grief, another reef!”

At the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was quite a bit of change to the DXCC list. This was at the end of the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s. In the 80’s, a mini trend of adding silly buildings in cities was happening, and so these were Bullshit Entities added by gerrymandering. I can only guess that some lobbied to change the separate administration rules, or something like that.

The 90’s theme did seem to be islands and did seem to be gerrymandering by futzing with the distance rule.

Given the time frames and the chart that is the header for The DXCC Sleuth, my guess is that the Baby Boom generation is the one that seemed to like this gerrymandering.

I say this because prior to the 80’s, it seemed like the era of vets returning home from WWII (my father’s generation) seemed to be more about building stuff and DXCC had more than enough entities to keep DXers happy. Between 1966 and the late 80’s the DXCC list dropped from 321 entities to 315 in the mid 80’s.

My DXCC Elmer must have made Honor around 1985, and as I said yesterday, he said it was easier then than now. That’s because back then, you could take a cabin cruiser and go to places like Navassa. That ended during the Reagan Administration, when environmental rules got tougher. Few conservatives know that the Reagan Administration started something called NEPA, or the National Environmental Protection Act. Following that, the National Monuments popped up, and we ended up where we are today. GW Bush signed the Pacific monuments that make Baker, Kure, etc much harder to land on.

I was surprised that Republicans were the ones doing what usually you’d assume the Tree Hugging Democrats for doing.

But I digress – this coincides with other countries doing the same thing. France and Australia also gave clamped down access.

The ironic thing about gerrymandering to keep the Older Coots happy – is that more entities are added and with soaring oil prices plus the environmental restrictions in place, you have the one in the one two punch.

The two in the one two punch is that all of a sudden we are all older, and there are hardly any younguns to pick up the demand in the DXCC Supply and Demand Curve.

What this means is that I am not sure that 3Y0Z was the Zenith for expensive DXpeditions. I expect that it will be a very historical marker and turning point in the history of the DXCC program.

While I like the idea of 3Y0I – some are trying new approaches to funding, what I read this week shows that even if you have investors fronting such a project, that Bouvet might just be too expensive, even if you are very good at creative financing.

I still think we will be surprised when another small operation like 3Y0E happens. I’m not all doom and gloom on DXpeditions, but feel megas are at the end of their shelf life.

The DXCC community probably is already past it’s peak, and we are about to see a decline that is tied directly to boomers aging and leaving the game.

Don’t be fooled if someone tells you that LOTW uploads or even DXCC applications pick up, because FT8 has taken DXing by storm and will inflate the numbers like nothing we have seen before.

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