DXPEDITIONS - THE NEXT LEVEL
Cal White - WF5W
Now that we all have read, digested and taken into account all the issues presented in the You Can Do a DXpedition, article,
it may be time to take the next step.
You have gone on DXpeditions
You are now familiar with all those things needed to make a DXpedition successful
You know what to carry how to travel, etc.
You have picked your ham friends and know who and who you canít travel with.
You're tired of sleeping on camp beds and two star hotel sagging mattresses
You like your friends, but are tired of sleeping in the same room and listening to snoring, vapor (i.e. farting), etcÖ. getting too old for that.
You like to have your XYL along and want her to share some of your experiences and have fun with you.
THE NEXT LEVEL
Pick a location with your friends. It should be during a time that a good contest is in the running. BUT, it does not have to be the Antarctic, the Sahara or some very rare IOTA. It can even be in the Caribbean, the Black Sea or some other nice location that is not rare, but not common either.
Recognize that you're not Martti Laine, or one of the Astronauts on a mission. Youíre just average Joe Ham, wanting to have his hobby mean something and have fun and enjoy life.
NOW: Pick a travel partner. Pick one of those lofty firms that specialize in renting Luxury Villas around the world. And I mean all around the world. Put a pin in any map and you will find such accommodation. They can point you to local car leasing, boats, restaurants, and all can be taken care of with your plastic prior to your arrival.
You will be surprised at the cost of such accommodations. In most cases, it is less than the cost of a good hotel in the same area. On your computer, you can take a virtual tour of the villa, talk to the manager about ham antennas, and what they will expect and what kind of support you can expect.
You may have to e-mail the local housing association regarding what you want to do for antennas. BUT itís all doable and the rental firms will help you all the way.
Have at least a couple of meetings with your crew before you go. Make sure you have not duplicated too much of your gear, but do have the appropriate gear for the type competition you're going for. That is the grist for the first meeting.
Then, have a semi-formal dinner party just before you go. That makes for the final Hooray and gives the trip that special send off. Remember that what you're really doing is ramping up your feelings about ham radio and this life hobby you hold so dear. It just makes sense. Youíre going on a luxury ham vacation, so act like it.
To be picked up on arrival at the location of your choosing. Expect to have a local person act as your concierge for any and all questions you may have.
Expect to have DSL in the Villa, local phones, flat screen TVs, private swimming pool full bath accommodations in each bed room suite, some with whirlpool jets. You most likely will have TVs and VCRs in those rooms.
NOW: Stop for a minute and think what your XYL will be thinking about such a vacation (to her). Think what she will say the next time you want to go off somewhere for a DXpedition.
Guaranteed, she will say: "When do - WE- leave?"
Some Extra thoughts that have a bearing on your DXpedition
NEW: Travel regs have changed. Your travel bags have to be less than 62 inches including length/wide/side. If you have sports bags (like those that will carry the big antennas like a set of skis) 50 pounds is the standard. Double check any foreign airlines you may take to see that they honor that weight. Some do NOT -- to your peril.
You MAY, I say MAY, have to pay more. Some airlines insist that the oversized sports bags carry an additional charge of $100 each way. In any event the bags cannot be over 112 inches or no airline will carry them - period. Now some airlines donít even look at the normal sports bag. But be prepared to have all of those bags opened at each location where you stop. Stow away that extra couple of hundred bucks, just in caseÖ
Something that works to keep costs down and keeps fairness in your trip expenses:
Appoint one of your crew as the Treasurer. He should be one of your computer gurus with a spreadsheet. On arrival at the destination, have each member of the party give him $100.00 cash. He will then take care of all expenses (sans the ladies shopping trips), you give him the bills you spend and at the end he will take all into account and either give you back some funds or bill you for a bit more. That really works!!! No worry about who buys what, no worry about who has wine and who does not. It just takes one more little issue out of the vacation mix.
Make sure you have at least tried to find a local ham to e-mail/talk to. The guy living where you are going can be invaluable in so many ways. Hams are hams, and all seem to share that special camaraderie. They can, for the most important part of the trip, guide you to your villa set up special meetings with local hams, arrange for you to either meet with or talk to groups that want to know more about amateur radio.
They know the local area, where to shop, where to go and who to buy from.
Take a little something from home for that person, not an expensive gift, but something that is unique to your home area. He/she will appreciate it. That will make your experience richer knowing that you have been a good Ambassador for ham radio.
E-mail the local chamber of commerce of the offices of the city/county where youíre going. They have a variety of data that can be useful to you and they want to help! That may even be the place you find the local ham.
Last but not least, be a good house guest. Clean up after yourselves. Take all the tape, wire, twist ties, guy ropes, etc and put it in the garbage or take it home. Leave the place as you found it. Thatís also part of being the good Ambassador. You ARE the ham radio guy to the folks around you in your new found country. Their impressions of hams will partly come from what they see in you.
What this is all about is getting your ham radio hobby back in the running for the most interesting and fun part of life. You can do all the cruises you want, see all the pyramids, churches, canals, etc. BUT none of those things put the sparkle in your eyes like this, our special hobby.
NOW, get on the computer, find that luxury accommodation in that far away place and start planning the ultimate DXpedition !!!!
C U on the AIR.
Cal White - WF5W
You can do a DXpedition - Part 1
You can do a DXpedition - Part 3
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