DX University™

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DXpedition Retrospective: 1A0C

DXpedition Retrospective: 1A0C

by Wayne Mills, N7NG

Paraphrasing the venerable Hugh Cassidy: If you worked [a DXpedition], it was a great one! If you didn’t, well…it wasn’t all that good.

Listening to the some of the comments from the western reaches, last week’s DXpedition to Sovereign Military Order of Malta was one of the latter for them. There were a number of generally negative comments and even a few caustic rants on the local [DX-Chat] reflector. QRPers and even some QROers were pretty downbeat when they were unable to make it into the on-line log. “The band was open to us, but they were only working Europe! ”

To their credit the DXpedition leaders did identify a target area. The DXpeditioners had mentioned beforehand that they would aim to work stations outside of Europe, and during some stretches, they did. Once a target area is defined, each and every opening on any and all bands should be utilized until a balance of QSOs is established. When a few Qs are made to the target area indicating an opening, and subsequent Qs to that area are not made, something might be amiss.

At #79 worldwide on the DX Magazine Top 100 List, SMOM is a moderately rare commodity. It is off the charts in Europe and the Eastern USA, but it’s as high as #44 in Asia and #30 on the West Coast of the US.

The rarity of this counter brought to bear some less than well thought out strategies. For example, a much larger than usual number of DXer wannabes were forgetting all their training, and calling repeatedly on the DXpedition frequency. Of course, this procedure is counterproductive. This behavior seemed curious: Why was it worse than during other recent events?

One of the more important tasks for a DXpedition team is to instill confidence in the pursuing hordes. Perhaps it was the stress of needing a new one, or not being confident of making the grade in such a short time. Because of the short duration of the DXpedition – only parts of four days – the operation never graduated from Phase I to Phase II. While easily accommodating many of the more experienced and well equipped DXers in the first few days, there were few of the less frenetic days later – Phase II and Phase III – to accommodate the remainder of the masses.

In addition to the short duration, there was Europe on the SMOM doorstep. Considering the number of open bands to the various close-in areas in Europe, just looking at the overall numbers and percentages can be misleading. Making Qs on 30M, 40M, 80M, and 160M is a luxury for Europe that leads to less of the intended targeting of “outside Europe.”

When you are only one hop from that many active DXers, things can be very difficult. Working past the Wall becomes nearly impossible without considerable persistence. Europe from the Pacific is the converse. Even when Europe is targeted, it is often difficult to make the numbers. There are successful strategies for handling such situations, but they are more difficult when the demand for multiple band-slots is accommodated.

Once any DXpedition has been completed, it is important for all participants to do a post-expedition evaluation of what went well and what didn’t. More experienced DXpeditioners will look more carefully at the criticisms with an eye toward improving their future performances.

In the end, there are probably as many views as participants – on both sides of the path. How the DXpedition performed isn’t as relevant to you as whether or not you worked it.

From [**DXC Chat]:  “It just seems if you have a goal to work them all then you should at least be afforded the chance to achieve that goal sometime in your lifetime.” Afforded the chance? What do we call this?

Being a successful DXer is about doing the best you can to get what you need in a respectable manner. You have no right to a QSO. If you didn’t make it this time, another chance will come – always!

Next week, I may talk about an easy way to gain a relative advantage in the pileups.

(c) 2012, Wayne Mills, N7NG