One of the biggest and most expensive expeditions in recent times was the 3Y0J activation on Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic. The initial plan was to be have 12 stations active for most of the month of February 2023 with a target of 200,000 contacts.
The reality was that they had a lot of difficulty getting the equipment onto the island due to the rough seas and they only managed to operate a few stations for a week which left many disappointed.
What intrigued me was the overall cost of the expedition. Unless I am missing something, I work out that each contact made cost in the region of $38!
Let's have a look...
According to the 3Y0J website, they raised $715,000 USD to fund the expedition which I find incredible in itself. A breakdown of the funding sources can be found on the 3Y0J website.
It just seems like a huge amount of money just for people to say that they made a contact with someone on this remote island. I don't know if all of this money was spent but for now, let's assume the bulk of it was.
Then we have the number of contacts that were actually completed... 18,833... which is 9.4% of the target planned.
If we divide $715,000 by 18,833 then we get an average cost of $37.965 which we can round up to $38 USD per contact.
No doubt there were quite a number of people who had more than one contact so the cost of each contact per person is even higher.
If the initial target of 200,000 contacts had been achieved then the average cost per contact would be $3.58 USD.
I can't help wondering if a time will arrive in the next few years where an expedition will no longer be viable because of the costs involved? How much is too much?
As I said on twitter, I've two contacts in the log SSB and good 'ol ft8, but not pushed about paying for LOTW or a QSL, I think once in the my log, that's good enough for Me, plus I recorded the SSB QSO!
I don't know enough about the happenings of 3Y0J but looking at the station plans on website, I think they underestimated getting gear to the Island, to me that looked their biggest challenge!
I think the future of DX-peditions is not looking good, it wasn't the case that 3Y were not active, and they were, the DQRM prevented allot of stations not making contact, this is where future DX-peditions will struggle, as it's out of their control of anyone, it's out of everyone's control, you have to just sit there and listen or switch off.
Since listening to the DQRM on HF, I've decided to remove the main HF yagi from mast and just concentrate on the higher bands, I've no interest in listening to that kind of operating, it really gets you thinking about the low level of intelligence of some folk, on the radio.
De Ei2iP, Robbie
It's worse if you look at the uniques. There were some 8591 uniques, each a potential ATNO, unless these operators already had Bouvet. The cost per unique is $83.
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