Two of my DXpeditons heros passed away: Jim Smith VK9NS in 2009 at the age of 80 and this year in July 2018 – Eric Sjolund SM0AGD at the age of 83.
What I most appreciated – their operations were “one man DXpeditions” and in 70s or 80s previous century there was no internet to find proper QTH, cheapest airline, ship or boat to remote location etc…
Great memories of both of them…. Specific style of operation (Do you remember last Dxpeditions of Eric listnig 5, 10, 15, 20 kHz up… ?)
SM0AGD operations over 30 years from QRZ.com page:
Past few years I tryed to win Clublog ranking for one-man dxpeditions. It is awarded to the single-operator DXpedition that works the most unique callsigns within a 2-week interval. In 2014 I (VP2V/SP9FIH) was runner-up behind G3TXF (ZD9XF). In 2015 LU1FM (5J0B) overthrowed me (9N7WE). And in 2016 K5WE (XR0YS) won competition with 9N7WE behind again.
But seems 2017 was more lucky. E44WE was first (10 374 unique callsigns) and runner-up durind second operation. Also HB0/SP9FIH was forth.
To compare various Dxpeditions we should take into account similar phase of solar cycle, as much as possible – similar position in most wanted list and similar equipment and geographical location. It is almost impossible to have all factors equal. Nevertheless I will make some comparison of this year (2017) and previous (2016) efforts below.
Few of this DXpeditions had well known DXpeditioners in their crew:
If you are not Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, George Soros or similar person – money for dxpedition can be a problem. Besides that dxpeditioner gives his time, effort, sometimes health to please armchair DX hunter, he needs funds to buy tickets, rent boat/ship/plaine, buy equipment, food, etc.
There are few ways to compensate at least part of DXpedition expenses. From “pay to play” before all expedition starts to “wait until you see effect”. I am rather for the second one. It is a bit irritating to see all this mega dxpeditions asking for more and more money before they start expedition.
It is far fair to donate some money after you work dxpedition or after you see how they perform then pay before, just for promises. Also for me is strange that people gift foundations instead just donate directly expedition you like or appreciate. I do not understand why people give money to foundations – seems that they allow other people govern to whom give donation, who is nice, who is not… Probably sometimes is taxing system that prefers foundations but never the less I always like to evaluate where my money go.
My hart was always with one man Dxpeditions. From early stage of my HAM career I watched Eric SM0AGD, Jim VK9NS, Ron ZL1AMO efforts. Now their role took Nigel G3TXF, Vlad UA4WHX and Charles KC0W. When I started not only watching but also participating in expeditions, I made some one man DXpeditions too: SP9FIH/OA4, FO/SP9FIH, A35WE, 9N7WE, E44WE.
From financial point of view one man DXpedition is much cheaper and efective then multi person effort. Compare 12 000 QSOs made by one operator in 14 days costing about 3000 $ to 60 000 QSOs made by 8-10 operators in the same time and spending more then 40 000 $.
Last time I carefully watched and cheered Mark ON4WW well planed try to make one man Bouvet expedition to come true with goal 100 000 contacts during 3 month. Unfortunately amateur radio community voted for big, costly, short period expedition which can make probably 60-80 thousands of QSOs.
Look – 100 persons making small expeditions will give you 100 DXCC entities every 3 day in a year. When you group them to 20 persons big events it will give you 5 DXCC entities every 2.5 month.
As everybody knows propagation on radio waves depends on sunspot numbers. Now (2017) we are going to sunspot minimum which is expected in 2020. Then we expect improving of propagation (especially on higher bands – 20m and above).
Next maximum of propagation probably will be first reached in about 2023. As usual maximum should be with two peaks separated by small deep. See following picture of last cycles and imagine future propagation yourself.