Monday, October 5, 2015

TX3X - very difficult to work, and their operating pattern doesn't help

Is TX3X the most difficult-to-work dxpedition ever? I only ask the question because it seems impossible to log them. This is in part due to conditions. But it's also got to do with common sense, or the lack thereof, on behalf of the TX3X team. For the past two mornings, when they have been audible (and thus possibly workable) on 20 metres CW, they have abruptly gone QRT. This seems to be a trademark of this dxpedition. Sudden QRX, QRT and disappearances without explanation. To be fair, some of these were caused by severe wind which has hampered them to some extent.

However, this morning when they had action on both 20 metres CW and 17 metres CW into EU, they abruptly went QRT on both those slots, but for some unimaginable reason they remained on 20 metres SSB, with most of EU unable to copy them. That's poor form. For several mornings now, I have listened to their signal build on 20 cw only for them to suddenly pull the plug.

Overnight (our night time) they were inactive for several hours. When they finally did appear on several band slots, with EU stations working them, they migrated down to the lower bands even though they had a decent EU rate. Meanwhile, they continue to exploit the easy openings to Japan/Asia and the USA. There are still very few EIs and indeed UK stations who have managed to work them - and those who are in the log generally have super stations.

I don't normally give out too much about dxpeditions. These are hams who have paid their own money to go to a remote location to activate it for our benefit. However, in this case it seems that there is something of a lack of experience and expertise. The openings on 20 metres into western EU are relatively short - there's a chance in the morning and there's a second chance around tea time here in Ireland. TX3X don't seem to appreciate that. Several disgruntled EU ops have complained about the persistence with SSB over CW on the cluster today. I have NEVER heard them on SSB since the beginning of the dxpedition. And even the big stations have only heard them weakly. On CW, however, I have heard them several times. As I write this, they have stations on 40m CW, 40m SSB and 20m SSB. The USA and Asian stations are having a great time. The EUs are really struggling to get logged, albeit with the exception of the southern EU stations in the likes of Spain and Italy, who seem to have propagation to the whole world at all times of the day, night, and year, in all conditions!

The above video shows their signal on 20 cw a few mornings ago, and just when they were strong into EU, they were working the JA stations. An example of naivety in relation to openings?

Just as I published this post, at 12.35pm local time, they are back on 20 metres CW, but their signal is really, really light. This is not a dxpedition for western Europe I'm afraid . . .

Edit: Now, at 13;00 local time (12:00 UTC), they are on 28 Mhz SSB looking for Europe!!! What madness.


  1. Funny thing I went to their website after reading your post to see what was there… was down! Go figure eh.
    73 Mike

    1. Mike,

      I am frustrated with this one. I don't wish to be harsh on them. They are battling poor weather conditions as well as poor band conditions. I do, however, feel that their timing is bad. They are not exploiting the EU paths. It's possible that they are sacrificing these paths for the easier Pacific rim stuff to keep the QSO count up. Either way, it's now four full days into this activation and I don't have them in the log. I'm starting to panic! As of writing this at 20:23 UTC their website is still offline........ :(

    2. I just check the website now 20:30 UTC and it's up and running!!

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  3. ....and I thought it was just me.

    Planning laws mean I run a moderate station and I've heard them only weakly and never above 14023. SSB has been inaudible.

    I never criticise people who have spent a bucket load of their own cash to give many people a new one so I'm inclined to put it down to conditions - both ionospheric and weather at their end. The MUF in North Western Europe has barely reached 17m over any path, let alone one of the most difficult paths we have from here.

    The guys out there are a bunch of seasoned campaigners who ought to know what they are doing but I'm little surprised at some of their strategies, as you rightly say.

    I've not given up yet but I'm not hopeful - at least its not an ATNO, I worked and confirmed TX0DX in the year 2000 on 15m CW.

    Those were they days...

    1. Erm... should have said my call is G0ORC

      Vince G0ORC

    2. Vince, glad to hear that you have TX0DX in the log. That was long before I got my ticket! 20 metres, both CW and SSB, was decent yesterday (Saturday) but they QSY'd from CW and faded on SSB. This is tough going! Conditions are muck - you are right - which doesn't help. Fingers crossed for today.


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