I often hear “LotW is for free“. It is not true. There is no free lunch!
LotW software needs servers, domain, code writing and maintaining and nothing is for free.
I do not know LOTW business plan but I guess you pay for it in at least three ways:
- Buying YAESU equipment who is the sponsor. Of course they include sponsorship in equipment price.
- Applying for ARRL award and plaques. In price you pay is cost of LotW.
- Paying monthly/yearly contribution to ARRL you also pay for LotW.
I am disappointed!
During dxpeditions one can see many violations of let’s say fair rules:
1. Many stations are using remote SDR either to listen or even to transmit to make contact with DXpedition. I am sure because sometimes QSO is made in impossible time
2. I noticed that few or several QSOs (under various callsigns) are made from one station (similar signal strength, similar signal distortion, similar prefix and time)
Even DXpeditions make fakes:
1. Sometimes they do not follow local restrictions about bands, power, modes and sometimes they think all is about CEPT rules which is not true – the license application is needed in some countries like ZA, 9H, Z6 etc…and in some countries there are restrictions about bands, modes, power (ie. E44 only 100W allowed) – but who cares…
2. Few well known Dxpeditioners make ie contact from Caribbean to other Caribbean entity on 160m band under their European home callsign. That is why I resigned in participation in eny Challenge, DXCC program, etc. Just to be clear – I do not cheat and I do not compete with cheaters.
3. Seems to me DXCC fellows put sometimes DX entity into DXCC list in doubtful conditions. Let me mention: OJ0, Z6, R1MV (Malyj Wysotskij), 1A0…
4. Operating without license or cheating. Famous W9WNV, 3W3RR, 3D2ZK, but also some other operations are not clear but accepted by DXCC desk (seems no money for Private Investigator at DXCC…J)
5. I know at least few dxpeditions deleting QSOs with persons they do not like. Is it Ham spirit?
Do you see solutions? Please do not make personal tours. Just try to solve impossible.
Another question: why one should pay for achievement awards. Cannot DX foundations sponsor main awards. Buying an award is very strange for me. Imagine Olympic champions paying money for their medals…I know supporting Dxpeditions is more publicity but in my opinion DXpeditions to 3Y, BS, VP8, etc. should count on bank loans as for every commercial venture. It is their risk and their popularity. “No risk, no fun” – as is popular sentence in Poland. Donation should be given after successful finish of expedition. If nobody wants to take risk, there is always a chance that radio operator will be involved in scientific research expedition…
I think this topic is so controversial that soon can be closed by moderator. So only in kind arguments please.
BTW: Do you like QSL cards being logo display of various enterprises? I personally do not. And what about LotW? Where to show all the logos?
I compare economic costs of small one-man dxpedition against team operation on example of VK9N.
During over 80 days VK9NK (one-man) made more then 42 000 QSOs. Similar result can be achived by group of 5 people during 14 days operation. VK9NK total expenses were 7000 Euro (without expenses for longer unforeseen stay and without cost of equipment).
Team of 5 persons will spent probably about 15000 Euro for 2 weeks. It seems that one-man is about 2 times more effective cost wise.
Few years ago ON4WW wanted to go alone to Bouvet Island for 3 month. I cheered to the echo his project although his goal 100 000 QSOs seems to be too ambitious. Here is his web site: http://www.on4ww.be/bouvet2016.html
Unfortunately amateur radio community did not belive his idea. Instead of supporting his idea big foundations gave big money to team projects that were not successful.
Men think it over!
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… ?)
In memoriam of Eric SM0AGD:
Thirty years of DXpeditioning (1971 – 2001) is something to remember and admire.
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.
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.
For 160m propagation try to check: DST
For prediction of geomagnetic space weather and forecast of sunspot numbers look here: NOAA
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:
E31A – JH1AJT, DJ9ZB, RA9USU, E21EIC
T31T – 3Z9DX, SP3DOI, SP7VC
3B9/G3TXF – G3TXF
TN5E – LA7GIA
H40GC – LZ1GC
Most of them were using power amplifier…