Rebel DX Group

DXpedition Funding

This is one Rebel’s observation/opinion, and one Rebel’s only.

The Ham Community at large has it ass backwards and is being played.

DX Foundations have recently spent thousands, no make that tens of thousands, no make that HUNDREDS of thousands – to fail.  The spectacular failure of 3Y0Z has harmed the Ham Radio community deeply.  Deeper than anybody wants to talk about above a whisper for fear of being heard (or blacklisted).  An $800,000.00 DXpedition failed?  How does that happen?  Sounds like a government program.

Because of that specific failure, a couple large Ham Radio Foundations have tightened their purse strings.  That DXpedition lost a shitload of other people’s money and a boatload of future support.  And they’ve made it clear they are not going back to Bouvet anytime soon.  One and done.

And now that failure has a few other DXpeditioneer groups searching for alternative funding sources since those few foundations and hundreds of donors took the hit and closed up shop.

Pay 2 PlayOne source that I am 100% personally behind is the “pay to play” model.  If a DXpedition now has to pay all up front costs out of their pockets because these foundations and clubs choose not to fund, well then the DXpeditioneers should be able to recoup some (if not all) of their costs on the back end.  The days of $25 QSL’s are right around the corner folks.  We saw it with Kosovo Z6 for quick $20 LoTW confirmations (also reported as helping the club buy equipment).  We saw $10 QSL’s for 4B4B Revillagigedo and I haven’t seen any complaints.  If you needed it, you paid the $10 for the confirmation.  I just did it a few days ago with Mount Athos – I worked Monk Apollo on 20M CW – I sent $10.  It’s my prediction if the foundations and clubs don’t make it easier for DXpeditioneers to get funding, the costs associated are gonna’ fall to the people who want that LoTW or QSL card confirmation.  And that group is the group that works the DXpedition.  It’s only fair.  Work the DXpedition – share the cost.  Don’t work the DXpedition – don’t share the cost.  Need a confirmation?  Pony on up to the bar and buy a beer.  Nothing is free.

This pay to play model also opens up another source of funding.  Angel investors.  Notice I didn’t say Angel donors, I said Angel investors.

With a pay to play model for some of the top 10 DXCC locations, large investor(s) can front the loot, then recover (with interest) on the back.  An example may be well known DXpeditioneer “Sam I Am” and a couple of his Buddies need 50K to pull off a destination.  Angel Investor Man fronts the 50K for 120 days at say 18% interest.  Pays 50K up front, gets back $59,000 a few months later.  Sam I Am and his crew make 35,000 Q’s, of where 10K are unique and collect $20 per confirmation.  10,000 QSL’s at $20?  200K.  Do the math.  It’s already been done on a smaller scale, you just didn’t know about it.

Worried about burning that Angel investor?  Nah, nobody was worried about those foundations losing a hundred thousand or more now were they?  That’s a risk the investor takes, not you.

And before you say, “Pay to Play, Angel Investor, that’s not the way it’s done, that’s bullshit”, etc. – well, if I read the Baker update correctly, we just saw the first DXpedition drop 6,000 uniques via FT8.  Now, I don’t like FT8.  In fact I think it’s bad for the hobby, but guess what?  Times are changing.  Those 6K new uniques didn’t work Baker on CW, SSB or RTTY – so that’s 6,000 more folks that will GLADLY send $10 or $20 for confirmations – At $20 each, that’s $120,000.00 just from uniques in the FT8 log.  That’s how you recover an investment with FT8 – whether you (or me) like it or not.

Free LoTW, buro, $1 OQRS – fuhgeddaboudit!  You best be aware you already spent thousands on equipment to catch the fish, but if the foundations and clubs aren’t going to fund the fish, what kinda’ fishing rod you holding in your hands now?

In the meantime while future DX funding gets sorted out, if you want to help the Rebels get to Bouvet, hit one of the donate buttons and we’ll make you infamous on our Rebel Sponsor Page, thanks.  If you’re an investor, get a hold of us, we’re looking for a few more Rebels.

Comments are open, but keep it relatively clean.  And one more thing – the entire content of our Website can only be posted in other forums, DX rags, social networking outlets, etc. with the Rebel DX Group’s express written permission.  You can link to our Website, posts, or pages all day long, just don’t repost the content without permission.

N0UN

9 thoughts on “DXpedition Funding”

  1. Hmmm makes me think. DXPedition goes Business Case, career as a professional DX’er sounds rather attractive:-). At least this article will start an interesting discussion. I for myself would have no problem to pay for the QSO confirmation. But what if the DXPedition fails ? Who carries the the financial loss ? The Angel Investor ? That’s a risk. How many big DXpeditions have totally failed in the last 10 years and what was the total loss in dollars ?

    Anyhow I wish you the best of Luck for the activation of Bouvet ! Stay safe guys.

    73 de HB9VQQ
    Roland

  2. Interesting! I miss the days of paper QSLs. I’d stuff five bucks in the envelope for a rare one.
    Like everything else, postage has gone way up around the world and now comes the birth of LOTW. I’m sure that program saved the ARRL, financially.
    As for dxpeditions, the spirit is sincere yet it has become a business.
    73

  3. Charge what you want, when you make the QSO, it goes in your own log and no one can take that away from you. As for the confirmation, no one is forcing you to send money for a confirmation, I say support the DXpeditions if you wan them to continue to happen!

  4. I’ve seen the place myself – and the pictures and stories don’t do it justice. It’s beautiful on a nice day, but as we say here in Alaska, “If you don’t like the weather…wait 20 minutes because it’ll change.” It’s rare for such a remote place to have an automated weather station – but I witnessed that station reporting 25 knots when there was a katabatic wind blowing 65 on the protected side of the Island. Since there are very few ship meteorological observations available in that part of the world, the weather forecasts seemed to share the same optimism of that cold, little, understated weather station. It’s certainly possible that some guys could get on the island and make some Q’s, but at what cost? The golden rule of DXpeditioning must be that you come home with as many guys as you left with.

    As far as the rest of the funding discussion: if I had big ideas, no sea experience, and only 50 donors, I’d be advocating a new funding paradigm, too.

    Vaya con Dios, Paul / W7IV

    “The Sea – this truth must be confessed – has no generosity. No display of manly qualities – Courage, Hardihood, Endurance, Faithfulness – has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power.”

    Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski”

    “…being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.”

    Samuel Margaret Johnson

  5. Stupid copy and paste from FB. Here’s my original comment.
    ———————————————-
    This is one Ship Captain’s observation/opinion, and one Ship Captain’s only.

    I have been very hesitant to speak to the topic of the 3Y0Z attempt because I was a late comer to the team and because these types of discussions rarely end well. To be perfectly clear, I had nothing to do with the planning, fundraising, or leadership of the Expedition, and I certainly don’t speak for them. There are some things I think I would do differently next time, and there are about 1000 things that I learned for my next expedition.

    I’ve gone to sea my whole life. I’ve worked on dozens of ships, all over the world, in all kinds of weather. I probably have 5000 days at sea. The Southern Ocean is nothing to trifle with, even in Summer. I felt self-conscious joining this team while wondering what my contribution could be, but soon realized that a knowledge of ships and the sea, weather, rigging, mechanics, marlinspike seamanship, nautical Spanish, and project management came in fairly handy. Through all the little post-shipyard boners and normal daily shipboard maintenance issues, I was able to help out my shipmates by interpreting what was going on when the big red blob was coming our way on the weather map – or there was smoke coming from the Engine Room.

    I know there is a lot of politics involved, but I can say that 3Y0I’s problems will only start if they get enough money to try. Without any malice, and with regard to the aspirations of this group, I wouldn’t, for a minute, consider it safe or responsible to take a small boat 1800 miles out in the South Atlantic with civilians aboard, then try to land radios, food, fuel, antennas, generators, tents, and survival gear in rigid inflatables, on an exposed beach, lug it up onto a glacier and then reverse the whole process. As to the original (and I hope rhetorical) question, “An $800,000 DXPedition failed? How could that happen?” There were 1000 failure points on the way to the island and the team overcame them all…but for that one which was out of our control. What happened to the BETANZOS could have happened to any vessel.

    I’ve seen the place myself – and the pictures and stories don’t do it justice. It’s beautiful on a nice day, but as we say here in Alaska, “If you don’t like the weather…wait 20 minutes because it’ll change.” It’s rare for such a remote place to have an automated weather station – but I witnessed that station reporting 25 knots when there was a katabatic wind blowing 65 on the protected side of the Island. Since there are very few ship meteorological observations available in that part of the world, the weather forecasts seemed to share the same optimism of that cold, little, understated weather station. It’s certainly possible that some guys could get on the island and make some Q’s, but at what cost? The golden rule of DXpeditioning must be that you come home with as many guys as you left with.

    As far as the rest of the funding discussion: if I had big ideas, no sea experience, and only 50 donors, I’d be advocating a new funding paradigm, too.

    Vaya con Dios, Paul / W7IV

    “The Sea – this truth must be confessed – has no generosity. No display of manly qualities – Courage, Hardihood, Endurance, Faithfulness – has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power.”

    Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski”

    “…being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.”

    Samuel Johnson

  6. 1. Do you know the new Ship captian ? NO
    2.Do you know the new crew members and their qualifications ? NO
    3. Do you know radio team leader and his Souther Ocean experiance as Sailing and Ship Captain ? NO
    4. Do you know his qualifications ? Background ? or nautial miles done ? NO
    5. Do you know radio crew experiance in COLD zones and Sub Antarctic area ? NO
    6.Do you know that Ship they want to use, was alrady 3 times around Bouvet ? NO
    7.Do you know that 3y0z team was THE ONLY ONE TEAM who not touched the shore on Bouvet from about 20 + years ? MAYBE YES
    8.Do you know that Dom /who landed on Bouvet/ already told this over a year ago to one of the 3y0z teamleader, that using only helicopters and TAXI pilots is a worst ever decission made? NO
    9.Do you know specific landing plan ? why they want to go end of the winter time ? where is the lading place and why ? what equpiment they will use ? NO NO NO , you don’t .. sure you don’t becouse they not share this to public for many reasons.

    Dear Paul This answer is not agains you , its about COMPLETLY DIFFERENT TEAM , IDEAS, SHIP, MENTALITY, AVG. AGE OF THE TEAM , EQUIPMENT, OPERATION PLAN, RESCUE PLAN , PLAN B-C-D, AND many many more things … which 3y0z team members already lerned on their trip.

  7. DXpeditions to rare locations are the only way for the avid dxer to gain his ATNO I am an average dxer and donate to any dxpedition to an entity that I need. I realize that most dxpeditions require the participants to fund half of the projected cost. Baker KH1/KH7Z had a budget of $400K. With 10,000 uniques, would I pay $40 for a QSL from KH1/KH7Z? Absolutely! I think dxers would be glad to pay $40 for an ATNO from Bouvet. That means the ham community would pay for the dxpedition only if it succeeded. The participants who fund the dxpedition would be taking a chance if their dxpedition failed, but gain the probability that they would recoup all their upfront cost if they succeeded. I like it! The dxpedition creates a product and that customers pay a reasonable amount for it. It is a win-win proposition if the dxpedition succeeds. The only drawback is for the dxpedition participants if it fails.

  8. Agree 100%. Its supply and demand, and I those who can’t pony up at least $10 for such a rare counter need to rethink why they can buy 10’s of thousands in ham gear, yet whine if they have to pay $10.

    I always give $100 or even $200 for an ATNO – and I think I’m a cheap skate.

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