Is DXCC Already an Anachronism?

The UrbanBeam up 50′

I found a source of AB-577 extension tubes so will get 3 or 4. I’ve been researching 2 element 40M yagi’s  – only because if my UrbanBeam ever goes belly up – my next antenna would most likely be one of the JK 2 element 40M antennas. I have found less expensive models, but I feel that the JK has the best “bang for the buck”. The M2 offering has a really great looking set of coils – but its pretty pricey.

Its been interesting monitoring 40M every day – I do hear European stations every night – but I haven’t heard any ZS stations in a long while. I do see some occasional spots for ZS6CCY at 0440-ish and that lines up with the best time for the West Coast in the Summer. I need to pay more attention – I guess I’ve been involved with too many other things these days.

An interesting NASA plot that seems to suggest that we might have already hit rock bottom sunspot cycle wise

The monthly NOAA plot – also seems to suggest we might have already “turned the corner” on Cycle 24 bottom to Cycle 25 ramp up

Its hard to tell, and we only ever know where the sunspot cycle is after the fact – (and several years after the fact), but 2018 did feel like the bottom of the cycle is many ways – although it has seemed that there have been more sunspots this time around than back in 2008 or so. I’m sure this is wishful thinking – but in many ways it doesn’t matter this time around since I only have interest in 3Y0I – which I hope can happen this November – but so far its proven to be impossible to activate Bouvet – and Glorioso is even a more dire situation.

Thinking of that – I believe that maybe my starting DXCC chasing in 2001 might have already been “too late” as far as getting to DXCC HR #1, and I’m wondering if even DXCC HR would be impossible if someone started chasing DXCC HR today. It just seems like there are too many entities that are off limits – either due to access or cost, or both.

DXCC is starting to really feel like an anachronism to me.

I started wondering about the size of the DX market – is it still healthy? It seems like many top gun DXers that I remember from 2001 are now SK – some of the real “icons” of DXing are now gone – and many others have retired from DXpeditioning. I don’t see as many filling the gap – and since 2016, the DXpedition calendar has been as quiet and boring as I can remember.

 

 

 

 

9 Comments on “Is DXCC Already an Anachronism?

  1. Go through the DXCC list. My own estimate is that there’s roughly 30 countries that aren’t likely to turn up soon. In addition to the access aspect, there’s a number that have been activated within the past decade or so that may not see another operation for a very long time.

    Even if 30 is too pessimistic for you, half the number. You still can’t get on the Honor Roll.

    But, my personal view is that DXing really isn’t a competition. It’s more like playing solitaire. It’s really you working against what’s presented to you. When you look at it like that, it takes on a different complexion.

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    • I agree, and I mentally looked at the list and it seems the number of entities possible is lowering and impossible growing.

      I am an optimist, but having worked on VK0EK, and on the nitty gritty details where it’s make or break, I’m not as optimistic as I used to be.

      I do agree that DXing doesn’t require an award. In fact, as you have no doubt noticed, I’m addicted to 40M and just working EU LP in the Winter or ZS any path will keep me in DXing for the rest of my life.

      If it weren’t for 40M I might not stay active. I also still love CW – just because it’s fun. And unique.

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      • To a certain degree, I think it’s a question of the expectations you set. Expectations are a big deal today, and ham radio is no different.

        So, if a ham puts up a large enough station, often his – and it usually is a “he” – expectations are to get to the top of the Honor Roll or close to it. Back in the late 60’s, the Honor Roll listing in QST took up way less than half a page – for both modes. Lots of guys spent time DXing, but few were able to get into the top 10. That was not the expectation. That concept certainly has changed, hasn’t it? What used to be called fantasies are now expectations.

        My own belief system is sort of centered around the idea of “Zen QRP DXing.” That is, I attack working the DX as if I had a Big Bertha loaded with stacked antennas and ran a KW. But, when I work something, I realize just how fortunate I am to work that DX using the modest station I’ve chosen. If I don’t work something, it’s just “Well, what do you expect? You don’t even qualify as a squirt gun, never mind a little pistol or a big gun!”

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      • Agreed, and we are also all constrained by our QTH’s as well. On one hand I can put up whatever I want. On the other hand, my QTH is in a bowl – the house on the ridgetops cost twice as much as my house.

        When I started DXing I swore “100 watts and wire and do it in 10 years”. It took 11 years, full power and yagi up “high enough” as I approached #300.

        Today, I either get a kick out of using my 1958 Gold Dust Twins or my two 90’s era QRP rigs. Today, just making any CW QSO using my new Begali single lever paddles is a joy – along the same lines as getting back into playing a guitar.

        I’m just doing it because it’s fun. I don’t want to be in a band with my guitar, and I won’t be chasing any more ham awards.

        Just have fun these days is plenty good. Do it for the essence of doing it.

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  2. Thanks Rich for your nice blog & posts that are recognizable in many ways.
    With regard to the anachronism of DXCC.
    I started in 2008, today my total is 327 “CW” versus 156 “160 m”.
    Perhaps started DXCC too late for getting the DXCC HR #1 but enjoying the challenge. Never say never! 😉
    Keep posting.
    Cheers
    Philip

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    • When I started DXing in 2001 I did expect that it would get harder as time marches on. I thought to myself even back then “I better move fast”.

      I like working DX without an award in mind too, but I did have a lot of fun getting to HR. I think you are close enough to make it, because I’m sure you have many of the entities that won’t be activated for some time if at all.

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  3. HR #1, and even HR, were never a motivator to me. Maybe just too far off to seem possible? But I did chase DXCC almost automatically, because “that’s what DXers do.” A few years back, I decided even that was not really all that exciting anymore. I still chase DX for its own sake, but I am no longer interested in earning any awards, and I also have a couple of entities that I have scratched off my own personal list because I don’t consider them legitimate.

    I have to say though, my interest in DXing is just about at its nadir. Between the crummy conditions, the bleak calendar, and the fact I already am in the 320s somewhere, there’s just not much to keep me excited. I suspect I will keep on keeping on, but if I encountered any major setback (like if I had to move and find a new ham-friendly QTH) I would probably just QRT. Kinda like AM broadcast: barely still viable as a going concern, but you’d be crazy to invest big bucks in a new station.

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    • My gut feeling in 2001 – that I could be one of the last to do what the ARRL DXCC blurb proclaimed “Honor Roll is the Pinnacle of DXing” (or something like that) is the challenge and gauntlet thrown down before me. I accepted that challenge but had a very strong feeling that I was participating in something that had a “shelf life”.

      Navassa – with helicopters and logistics was one indicator. Political restrictions are an issue, but man made and can change at any time.

      Cost is the number one issue. The number of well heeled DXers donating to the cause will start to dwindle as the expense keeps climbing. Therein lies the rub.

      I am glad I didn’t decide to just give up. Heck even playing with a KX-2 and that new small antenna would be fun to just good around with

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      • About three and a half years ago, my wife and I looked around for a new house. Ham radio was one of the items on the list to be considered.

        Long story short – I decided that after three decades of being basically off the air, I ought to see what ham radio is like in the 21st century before buying a new antenna farm – I mean house. So, I bought a KX-3, some batteries, some wire for an antenna, and began operating portable from a local nature preserve. It takes a few minute car ride to get to the parking area, such as it is, and then a half hour hike to get to the “operating” location. (Uphill in only one direction.) Plus, time to launch the antenna into the trees and set it all up.

        Well, imagine my surprise. DX is much easier to work overall, even given the current sunspots, but there is far less activity except during contests.

        What I eventually realized was that “re-booting” and keeping the whole operation small was the best approach to take. Still fun. I wonder if I’d be saying the same thing if we’d bought that house and I’d invested the time and money into a larger station.

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