Saturday, September 24, 2011

DXpedition Resources

DXpedition Resources

Picking Your DX Destination:
You should pick your DX destination just like you would any other vacation - you need to think about the things that are important to you, and make sure your DX Destination meets your criteria. Here are some things to consider when selecting your DX Destination:
o Are you willing to bring all your own equipment, antennas, coax etc.?
o How many people are traveling with you?
o Does the location need to be XYL/YL "friendly"?
o What quality of accommodations do you want: economy or deluxe?
o Do you need to be near typical tourist facilities? (Beach, sports, shopping etc.)
o Is this a radio-only trip, or a dual radio-sightseeing trip?
o Are you willing to cook your own meals?
o Are there health issues that need to be considered?
o Price: examine total price of lodging+airfare+meals+transportation+ham radio costs

DXpeditioners Guide:
o Leave the QTH in the same (or better) condition than you found it
o Be a good will ambassador to everyone you meet
o If there is equipment there, treat it likes its yours - repairing/replacing equipment is the single largest cost to owner of a Rent-a-QTH
o Do not modify antennas, station, or equipment unless given explicit permission
o If you break something, offer to pay for it!
o Be kind to the neighbors so other hams can follow in your footsteps
o Out of courtesy, become a member of the local radio club, and pay your dues for a year

Critical DX Vacation Planning Items:
o Airline tickets - reconfirm your flights, especially when overseas
o Local transportation requirements at DX location
o Airline luggage limitations for each leg of flight (some flights may be on very small planes)
o Health Considerations (vaccinations, personal medication, etc.)
o Travel documents: passport, visa
o Amateur radio license
o Importation of equipment into foreign country
o Suitability of antennas and equipment at QTH
o Packing/shipping equipment
o Customs requirements for your home country (e.g. in the USA, if the equipment is new, you should either carry your original sales receipts when you travel abroad, or go to a U.S. customs office with your equipment and get the Customs Form 4457, Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad). Otherwise you may be subjected to import taxes!
o Detailed ham equipment list

You are personally responsible for obtaining your ham radio license. For the Rent-a-QTH's, your license can often be arranged for you. As with other information in the web site, I have no further insight into licensing than the information provided. The best place to start looking into licensing is the ARRL Overseas Operating Web Site. Also, the OH2MCN web site has a lot of licensing information. Warning--Licensing can often take months to accomplish! Allow as much time as possible to process your license.
CEPT Countries: Many DXpedition locations are covered under the CEPT agreement, which greatly eases the requirements on licensing. NOTE: Importation of equipment is NOT covered by the CEPT agreement--you must still take proper action to make sure you can bring your radio equipment into the country.
IARP Countries: An agreement between a number of countries in North and South America for allowing hams to use their existing license. NOTE: Importation of equipment is NOT covered by the IARP agreement--you must still take proper action to make sure you can bring your equipment into the country.
Reciprocal Licensing for USA hams can be found on the ARRL web site

Travel Documentation
Passports: Most DX countries require a valid passport for entry, and in most cases, the passport needs to be valid for 6 months after the time of entry.
Visas: Some countries may even require a visa before arrival. Consult your travel agent regarding travel documents, visas, etc. For most common tourist countries, you will be issued an "airport visa" at the time of entry - no advance paperwork is required.

Money Matters:
Changing Money: While many travelers still take travelers checks, one of the better ways to get local currency is with ATM machines, which are nearly everywhere. An ATM machine gives you about the best exchange rate you can get, even including your bank's usage fee. Only drawback is a typical $300 limit per day. Also pay with credit cards as much as possible, again to get the best exchange rate and for purchasing protection. Unfortunately, many off the beaten path locations only accept cash.

Announcing (Publicizing) Your DXpedition:
Getting the news out that you're going on an expedition is a key part of building the excitement and awareness of your operation. It also allows you to let others know about what frequencies, modes, and bands you will be operating on, as well as your QSL information. The following list has most of the major DX News Bulletins:
Announce your DXpedition to everyone! Click on the following link to easily Email most of the DX Publications listed above������ (currently the ARRL DX Bulletin and are not included in this Email notification)

Announcing Your QSL Information:
In addition to getting the word out to the DX newsletters, you should also submit your call and QSL information to the major on-line callbook servers and QSL manager databases. Here are a few of the major QSL and Callsign databases:
Need a QSL Manager? Bob Schenck, N2OO/9M6OO/V85OO, announced the formation of "The QSL Manager's Society". This will be a web based "organization" that will act as a "point of contact" for quality QSL managers, and for DXpeditions or DX stations looking for one. It will also provide a central source of information useful to any QSL manager. Please visit the web page at:

DXpedition Sponsorship:
If you are going to a very rare location, you may be able to secure funding from the following foundations. Frankly, most of the locations listed on this web site do not fall into the very rare category. If you have not sought sponsorship before, in reality, only a small percentage of the cost of the operation ever gets covered by sponsorship. Most expedition costs are covered via the operators, and to some degree, with donations enclosed with QSLs (but even that is decreasing too with higher usage of SASE's). You may also be able to obtain sponsorship from the major equipment manufacturers, as they may be willing to loan you equipment.

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