As we enter the fourth day of the TXØDX operation, it is now time to share another inside story with the DX audience. Many have wondered why this operation kept a relatively low profile before it hit the bands.
The truth is that the group decided to go to the Chesterfields during what is normally the worst weather season. The possibility has been very high all along that this operation might not happen, or that a typhoon might cut short the operation at any point. While the team is not yet safely home, they have at least made it this far, and can only pray that the weather continues to hold for the rest of their stay.
Why did they take this high risk, knowing that they might have to sneak in between typhoons to pull off the operation?
It needs to be understood that FK8GM, JA1BK and OH2BH have actively worked the Chesterfields initiative since the beginning of 1998 when the DXCC 2000 revision of the rules was launched. They systematically worked out a detailed plan that had to be carefully managed step by step. This included some major breakthroughs along the way, as well as some research trips to New Caledonia.
You may recall their "team-building activity" at FW8ZZ last year. And by now you have probably heard about the IARU's overwhelming approval of ARANC's membership application, welcoming this proud community of some 130 hams into the framework of the worldwide fraternity. But you might not be aware of their successful efforts to prove that even the world-renown National Geographic Society can make mistakes on their maps! These are the kinds of efforts every potential new DXCC counter requires--simply because they are being considered for inclusion on that sacred list!
Each of these milestones--and many untold smaller steps--represents an accomplishment in their own right. But the group simply felt that the ultimate reward for their efforts would be to bring a major DXpedition to life from the Chesterfields at the very minute it becomes a new DXCC entity, regardless of the weather or the cost of doing so. Now that they have done it, all agree it was worth the effort.
But there is even more to this story. JA1BK and OH2BH together share a long history of DX research and seeking out the next new one. It is no surprise, therefore, that ALL the new countries created by the DXCC 2000 rules bear the fingerprints of these two. In just the past two years, we have seen several new counters: H4ØAA, FOØMIZ (Australs), FOØMIZ (Marquesas), P51BH, E44DX and now TXØDX. And one only needs to turn back a few more pages of the history books to find BV9P and BS7H.
The job is now complete, as there are no more new ones remaining to be mined from the latest rules. These two have scratched the last one from their list. So now both JA1BK and OH2BH, co-organizers of TXØDX together with FK8GM, are considering this their farewell DX operation!
With this DXpedition, they wish to thank the DX audience for their interest and support over the years. Now that they have completed their list of new countries, they simply feel that the job is done and it is time for them to join the masses of DXers who spend more time with their loved ones and enjoy the DX hunt from the other end of the pileup.
But they never say never. Keep an eye on these two because they might just as easily spend some of their "DX retirement" time in places like North Korea as Waikiki Beach. Sometimes it's hard to teach an Old Timer new tricks!