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New DX Waves and Terms Coming Up: The DXPP and Outer Space

New DX Waves and Terms Coming Up: The DXPP and Outer Space

By Guest Contributor Martti J. Laine, OH2BH

Thanks to NCDXF Treasurer Don Greenbaum, N1DG and his excellent financial study of several mega-DXpeditions, 2012 will be remembered as the year that financial openness began to make inroads into the domain of DXpedition. This comes as a number of DXpeditions, including recently announced mega-expeditions are expanding the DXPP concept: Inviting able – but not always well qualified – team members to supplement DXpedition funding.

What is a DXPP? The term describes the Paying Passenger. An operator – with only a minimal degree of operating expertise – who contributes to DXpedition financing to help the DXpedition overcome its budget deficit. The typical profile of a DXPP is that of a person with a deep yearning for adventure and a burning desire to experience the flashing limelight of a huge pileup in return for substantial financial participation – like buying a ticket. For my part, I say fine. Since many sectors fall short in helping to provide funds through contributions, we have reached a point where the DX world is ready to welcome the DXPP in the same way that we offer trips to outer space.

Let's first consider the DXPP's perspective. Many DXPPs are aware that a first time experience can be far from pleasant. If not approached with care, that” wall of sound” can almost kill you. This often hopeless situation, in a multicultural setting far from home and in the presence of ominous icebergs or scorching sunshine, can be psychologically mind blowing. At this point, however, the DXPP could assume that the DXpedition leadership is prepared to assist with the selection of his operating bands and hours as well as assistance with his operating techniques. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. The result is one-QSO-per-minute, busted calls or even worse.

From the DXpedition's perspective – and that of the audience – DXPPs may seriously damage the credibility of the operation and throw the show into uncontrollable chaos. We have seen this occur more and more recently. As a result, the temperamental multitudes – primarily in Europe – may begin to hurl tomatoes onto the stage as is their usual style. In many cases, however, there is a good reason for this response.

It is well-known that even seasoned DXpeditioners often have difficulty with an unruly European pileup. More qualified operators, on the other hand, are capable of meeting and mastering any contingency, making it a smooth ride. The European pileup simply mirrors the quality of the DXpedition operator, and serves to measure the DXpedition's resource management skills. The DXPP must be carefully tutored.

From a DX foundation's perspective, the issue is more complex. Any foundation must offer its financial support in terms of the operating ability of the whole DXpedition team, not just that of its most qualified performers. If the percentage of DXPPs is high, the DXpedition may not be able to meet established standards and therefore should not qualify for foundation support. The education of aspiring DXPPs does not justify assistance.

We have a few solutions on hand. DXPPs can and should be accommodated. It is reasonable that the DXpedition management can set aside some bands and hours exclusively for DXPPs. They can spell out the plan with this in mind: That less experienced operators be assigned to appropriate bands, so that the thundering multitudes will understand that there is a”driving school” underway. Club Log band-slots for the DXPP bands could be disabled, to relieve the pressure on these ops.

Listening to the recent K5D operation, where the team's most powerful operator was scheduled back-to-back with the least experienced operator, gave the impression that WWIII was in progress. This change was made between Europe #3 and #4. What a shame it was to see part of this well prepared DXpedition going down the tube just a few minutes after the operator change, with lots of tomatoes tossed onto the stage – and maybe some pasta, too. The proper allocation of operator skills is essential.

New times are coming for the business of DXpeditioning. Implementation of the DXPP concept will require far greater attention to operator scheduling and guidance. When considering the support of mega-DXpeditions, foundations must impose a fresh and more comprehensive evaluation of these efforts. The role of DXPPs must be well understood by all concerned. In this way, their experience – and that of the pileup audience – will be more pleasant.

Finally, the DX audience (Hola!) is faced with the challenge of understanding the need for DXPPs. DXPPs are likely here to stay because of the rapidly increasing cost of mega-DXpeditions and because the DXing community has failed to contribute adequately to them. I hereby challenge the first mega- DXpedition to present openly their DXPP plan to the general public and to the supporting organizations.