COVID-19 Fears Spur DXpedition Abandonment

Sadly, for the 11m and Ham communities, Coronavirus (COVID-19) looks destined to derail most dxpedition activity in 2020.

How DXpeditions are Affected

The 4 main issues causing the abandonment of DXpedition activity across the globe appear to be:

1.  Travel Restrictions

Countries around the world are increasingly adopting sweeping measures to stem the spread of the virus, including shutting down airports, ports and completely sealing their borders. 

Flights are cancelled.  Boats are cancelled.  Trains are cancelled.

No one is allowed in, and no one is allowed out. 

2.  Social Distancing

This means separating yourself (staying at home, avoiding crowds, refraining from touching, etc.) from others to stop or slow down the spread of the virus. 

The objective here is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, and others who aren’t infected.

Social distancing means DXpeditioners, furthermore, cannot combine to achieve an activity.

3.  Mandatory Quarantine

Even if they could get into a country for the purpose of DX work, there’s now a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for anyone entering most countries.

For DXpeditioners, this adds another 2 weeks onto the itinerary and would significantly increase costs.

4.  Self-Isolation

Also referred to as ‘Self Quarantine’, this means you must stay at home to prevent the possible spread of the virus to other people and not allow visitors into your home either — particularly if you’re showing signs of illness or have been in contact with someone who is.

For 11m IOTA and IWI enthusiasts, the exciting new ‘World Islands Festival’ planned for June 2020 will still go ahead at this stage, however, participation will most certainly be down on expectations.

The World Health Organisation’s insistence on ‘social distancing’ to prevent the spread of the disease, means that DXpedition work here will be limited to 1-man-teams.

Unless travel restrictions, including mandatory quarantine, are lifted, Team 43’s annual dx adventure into the Pacific area is also at risk.

Still on the subject of mandatory quarantine, and in the ham community, a recent DXpedition to Tarawa (West Kiribati) was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Kiribati Ministry of Health told the wannabe-DXpeditioner he’d need to be quarantined for 14 days in Honiara, Solomon Islands, before getting medical approval to continue on to Kiribati.

Travel restrictions imposed on individuals entering American Samoa as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, too, caused Swains Island W8S DXpedition organizers to postpone that DXpedition also.

Team members were unable to comply with a 14-day mandatory quarantine in Hawaii where a curfew is also in place to prevent the spread.

Of course, some low-key DXpedition work is still possible for those willing to risk the elements.

Localised dx adventure by single operators from nearby DIFM or RSGB recognised coastal islands, inland water islands, lighthouses, castles and fortresses, etc. is a realistic option that can help whet the appetite of avid dx adventurists.

Provided you meet social distancing recommendations, being in the outdoors may also help keep you in good spirits.

While the DXpedition world has taken a massive hit from COVID-19, it’s important to keep things in perspective.

While the abandonment of DXpeditions is an inconvenience for our hobby, there are far more serious matters at stake for humanity given the COVID-19 epidemic is seriously affecting the lives of millions.

The health and wellbeing of everyone should be the only consideration and if one of our favourite past times must be placed on hold to ensure people are safe then so be it.

To everyone in the 11m and ham communities, including your families and friends, we at the Dx Adventure Radio Club (DA-RC) extend our thoughts and best wishes to you at this very dark time.

73 de Darren, 43DA001