The Future of DXpeditions?
I was actually kind of shocked several times lately attending various DX Conventions and DX Club Meetings. The age of the crowd was a real eye opener. It seemed like all of the “luminaries” and “famous” DXpedition Leaders were close to 70 years old – perhaps even past 70 years old.
There were a few standouts – up and coming young DXpeditioners in their 30’s or 40’s – but the count was 2, and they were far out numbered by the older gentleman.
A while back I created this chart:
And it shows a classic “S Curve” – which can be a life cycle of sorts. In fact, it has been associated with technology – and a field I have spent my entire career in – the Database Technology sector. Here is a Wikipedia article on the topic:
At first, I found this alarming, but then I realized that my “scope” was very narrow – and did not take in many variables and considerations that I think you must. I just thought “geez – this crowd is getting older by the day” and “who will they pass the baton to?” and “wow – there seem to be very few DXers in their teens, 20’s and 30’s”.
But my opinions have been colored by my narrow view of just the ARRL’s DXCC program (which most definately has an older crowd), and just DXpeditioners and DXers in the US. In all cases, the US DXers and DXpeditioners way outnumbered the non US attendees.
This then raises the question “Why are most of the large and very rare DXpeditions led by US DXpeditioners?”. I don’t really have an answer. Is it because the DXCC program is run by a US amateur radio organization? It seems so. But I also have seen what seems like a sharp uptick in activations in the IOTA program, so maybe my myopic view of “just DXCC” is why my opinion has been “clouded” in the past. The DXCC program after all is only one aspect of the world of DXing.
I have heard that the growth in the ham radio and DX community will occur outside of the US, and I can see that light.
But even with that “hope”, I then wondered about the statistics of many of the more rare DXpeditions and who funds these projects and what the share of Q’s are per continent. It makes me wonder if non US DXpeditioners will pick up the slack when the US DXpeditioners rate of DXpeditions slows down – and I am sure this will happen – at least large DXpeditions to ultra rare places. Combined with cost and access – I am sure that FT5ZM was a sort of “bell weather” – yes – we will see some more epic scale DXpeditions, but I feel very strongly that the days of these are numbered.
Then I wonder “for the DXCC program, how will the ARRL react – if and when we do move past the maturity stage of the DXpedition S Curve?”. And I expect that we are at the end of the maturity portion of this curve DXpedition wise.
I don’t have any real answers here – just questions and just musings. I do know that as the Baby Boomers age – just like many other things in the world – they will leave a vacuum behind to fill.
And as the saying goes “Nature abhors a vacuum” . . . .