Southeast Asia – The Black Hole of DXpeditions

In going over my logs and DX Marathon results, I can’t help but notice a trend that’s existed for a very long time – the lack of sizeable DXpeditions to Zone 26.

While there are DXpeditions to this area they are usually 1- or 2-man “holiday style” efforts with minimal equipment and antennas and correspondingly weak signals.

I’m thankful for them – they’ve provided me with many New Ones – but they aren’t the attention-getting operations like the recent 3B9, 3D2, T32, etc. mega-DXpeditions that allow casual DXers to work them for the first time and experienced DXers to get them on additional or lower bands.

Recent DXpeditions to Spratly (9M0L, 9M4SLL), Timor-Leste (4W6A), Rodrigues Island (3B9C) and East Kiribati (T32C) were nothing less than phenomenal in the number of contacts they made, allowing DXers worldwide to work them on multiple bands. They had strong signals with simultaneous bands on the air and they knew how to make the best use of band openings to maximize their effectiveness.

Even casual ops who don’t consider themselves DXers were able to work these rare locales.

Most African countries are well-represented – a big DXpedition to one or more of them is always in the works. Ditto for islands in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

I think Zone 26 must have just enough small DXpeditions to make them “unjustifiable” in terms of cost/effort that a large DXpedition would require. If that is the mindset among DXpeditioners, I think they’re wrong.

I’m sitting right at 300 DX entities yet I’ve never worked XU (Cambodia) or XZ (Burma). Of those entities in Z26 that I have worked, it’s mostly on one band. I’ll bet many DXers – especially those on the East Coast – haven’t worked them either.

How about it, DXpeditioners?



  17 comments for “Southeast Asia – The Black Hole of DXpeditions

  1. November 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Well I don’t think like living in a black hole… There is no HAM radio allowed in XZ right now, so don’t expect any expedition to go there. If that’s true we had no big dxpedition coming to Vietnam (or Laos or Cambodia) for at least 3 years, several stations like XV1X or XV9NPS are retired and can be active a lot of time at the right hour (which I can’t do)…

    • November 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      No ham radio was allowed in Spratly, Yemen or Desecheo… ;-)

      Burma/Myanmar is opening up in many ways, so maybe someday soon. Navassa would be nice too and efforts are underway to activate it.

  2. November 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    3w2j is now active and should have a nice signals since they operate from 3W2REH shack. Yan,

    • November 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      I heard them on 10 last night but they never heard me even though few others were calling. Maybe QRN at a higher level than my signal?

      • November 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        Around Saigon as in Can Tho QRM is really heavy on 10m. FM and AM phone, radars, digital comms (military ?) with rapidly varying levels sometime saturating the AGC and blowing your ears off your head…

  3. November 27, 2012 at 11:05 am
  4. Simon Luttrell
    November 29, 2012 at 2:19 am

    As far as getting XZ ham operation, I moved from my Phuket, Thailand home to live and work in Myanmar about a year ago – with the sole aim of re-establishing ham radio in Myanmar.

    Progress is slow, but I’m making the right government contacts…..

    Simon HS0ZIB – G6JFY

    • November 29, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Simon, this month’s issue of DX Magazine mentions efforts also being pursued by HS0ZCW in getting Myanmar on the air. I wish you both the best in that endeavor!

    • Charly
      February 17, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Simon has put out two contradictory reports about his ham activities in Burma; one with a call sign and request for QSL money and donations and the other on his blog on which he states that he can not get a Burma ham license.
      Simon has a Web site inviting investors to send money to help him build a hotel in Burma and, thankfully, has a link to inform American citizens that they can not invest in Burma.
      Just the facts.

      • Charly
        February 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm

        Simon also has a web site…

        but his comes up with a delete notice saying he is moving to “the capital city of Yangon” although that city is no longer the capital, and although earlier, when Simon said (Simon says) he was moving to the real, new capital officially spelled Nay Pyi Taw and Naypyitaw, he did not mention that foreigners are not allowed to live there.

  5. Simon Luttrell
    December 1, 2012 at 1:52 am

    John – I can’t easily get mail delivered here in Burma. Can you give me a summary of HS0ZCW’s article? I don’t want to duplicate efforts!

    Thanks – Simon

  6. Charly
    February 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    There are many HS or E2 legal licensees on the air regularily in Thailand. There is a new station installed with a 200 ft. rotating tower with an 80 meter beam on top with stacks below from a quiet location. E21EIC is very active and operates the Thai buro very well. HS0ZJU downloads his logs weekly to LotW. The club station, HS0AC, is on 20 CW very often. Although Thailand has nearly 300,000 legal hams, few are on HF, but over 40 more native Thai just upgraded to HF.
    Thailand has significant restrictions on ham radio, including import and type acceptance limits on gear and complex licensing process. Feb 2013, no six meters, nothing above 146., and only the bottom 25 kc of eighty and one-sixty.
    Any nation’s ham may operate the club station but must live in Thailand to obtain a Thai call (foreigners get HS0Zxx, no exceptions).
    There are two national clubs (RAST is main) and one bi-monthly ham magazine (in Thai language). Bangkok has a huge district selling any radio part, yes any. RAST web site is in English and Thai.
    Look at Club Log for recent DXpedition results to obtain currently active Thailand call signs.

  7. Charly
    February 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    About Zone 26… Cambodia has a few ham residents and many tourists on the air often. Vietnam has about same situation. A license can be obtained in both nations.
    LaoPDR (Laos) has recent deep limits on ham radio and it was not easy ever. Basically, no licenses in Laos, although at least one operator has a limited-length legal permit as of Feb. 2013.
    Burma (Myanmar) currently does not allow ham radio. The last operation was a DXpedition in 2004. Anyone today who says he has a Burma ham license will have to publish the document on the Web to avoid stories of recent fakes. A Myanmar/Thailand Friendship DXpedition has been proposed to the government, with no answer to date.

  8. February 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks for all that info, Charly – and for the 17m QSO back in June. I was unable to find a site/blog for Simon. Perhaps he’s removed it.

    I think I’ve been to the area of Bangkok you mentiond. I bought a Magnavox D2999 receiver there back in 1990 to listen to the VOA and BBC while overseas.

    Best wishes and thanks again for your very interesting input.

  9. Charly
    February 17, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    More Zone 26…
    The Andaman and Nichobar Islands, VU4, belong to India and have no resident active hams by Feb. 2013. The last operation was led by National Institute for Amateur Radio via a combined hamfest and license permits to attendees (some went instead to VU7 that time), including foreign hams.
    Foreign hams with a VU2 or VU3 license are permitted in one stated location (mainland home station–nearly impossible to get anyway) and have not been able to get VU4 permits independently. Part of the Andamans and virtually all of the Nichobars are off limits to all, and even a visit to Andaman capital city, Port Blair, requires a permission obtainable upon arrival. Foreigners without “inside help” just can not get a VU4 license, so VU4 is basically limited to India citizens, and then only with a specific permit.

    Piece of China… I do not know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.