Have We Passed “Peak DX”?

Is it just me – or does it seem like we are past the “heyday” of DXing?

It must have been that 2016 was quite the incredible year – there were 5 Top 10 DXCC activations. That felt like the “grand finale” of a fireworks show. Since then, the number of activations – especially rare or ultra rare seem down in number.

One thing that does seem likely – is that the “run of the mill’ activity in the CW DX portions of the bands seem to be on the wane. The FT8 frequencies are always humming like a bee hive. So it could be that MY idea of DX-ing is CW.

But we have had several mega DXpedition leaders “retire” and some go SK. Then there has been the costly run up and ultimate failure to activate Bouvet – by 2 different teams.

To me, it seems like “attrition” is the operative word when it comes to DXing and DXpeditions.

5 Comments on “Have We Passed “Peak DX”?

  1. I am de facto done. I’m not taking down any of my antennas or selling off any kit (yet), but my large antenna in TN fell down in a storm in March and I’ve decided not to bother repairing it unless I can do it in one afternoon. I think I have worked a single ATNO in the last 12 months, and none are announced for any future date, which is a first for me. I know for sure, based on my discussions with others, that the lack of needed upcoming megas has caused other DXers to check out too. Some of it is cyclical but I know we used to see more rare stuff at the bottom of other cycles.

    I also hate to say it, but FT8 has soured me on the whole undertaking. I was an exuberant enthusiast at first, but later on I realized I missed the sounds of radio, specifically CW — crazy, I know. I wish the FT8 fans all the best and I have nothing against the mode or its users, and I am fine with it “counting” for DXCC. But to me, it’s too divorced from the aspects of radio that I most enjoy, namely the sounds of HF.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I started DXing in 2001 – it was “ablaze” with activity. On the air and even with the equipment manufacturers. Ten Tec was there and the Orion came out to challenge Yaesu with its FT-1000D. Then Elecraft – and heck – Force-12 had a “meteoric rise” at first. There was DX Magazine, and quite a few big time DXers who are sadly SK.

    My neighbor said in 2016 that we were already past “Peak DX” even then, but I am more believing that the first quarter of 2016 was the fireworks show finale. I am not lamenting that DX is dead – its not – just that the “buzz” that used to be DXing seems to have gone by the wayside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Q1 2016 was epic — was it 4 of the top 10 all active within 3 months? And not even great condx either, but it was still amazing. I guess it will go down in DX history along with 1957/1958 (for those who remember it) as an historical anomaly, but great fun if you were there. And yes, DX still is. But it’s not what it was, and I’m starting to believe that the social, financial, technical and political conditions that allowed it to flourish are becoming fundamentally altered. Qui vivra verra.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yep, the whole amateurradio world is about DXCC! Wake up! You know better Rich. Have you worked DXCC on 60m by the way? Another challenge! I don’t think many HAM’s botter about “rare” DX these days…it is always nice to work a new one but there are som may other things you can do with our hobby, so many other challenges and experiments. However it is interesting to read your views on the “Peak DX” subject. 73, Bas

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, there is a LOT more than just DXCC, and I certainly have branched out from that (restoring the SW-3 and Gold Dust Twins restortion, QRP, building gear – even a little EMMcom). But within the DX Community, things just seem “quieter” on CW than it used to be – that’s all.


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