A little-known aspect of amateur radio to those not in the hobby is a “DXpedition.” DX is ham jargon for distant communication. A DXpedition is a group of intrepid amateur radio operators who travel to a far-flung, seldom-visited location. Funded by fellow amateurs and equipment manufacturers, the expedition lands, antennas are erected, and transmitters are turned on. Then, hams worldwide try to make contact to “log” the remote and rare entity.
At this point, North Korea is the number one rarest contact in the world. Coming in second is Bouvet Island near the Antarctic. A couple of years ago, a group of amateurs failed to make landfall on Bouvet when their boat developed engine problems. The next attempt comes in 2023.
Bouvet Island has taken on somewhat of a moonshot celebrity in amateur radio circles. Judging by the enthusiasm, one might think all the house-bound hams, secluded in their radio shacks, are packing their bags to go along. Not likely. This trip to the most remote island on Earth is a genuine adventure, rigorous and dangerous, requiring careful planning, training, and expense. Bouvet is one of those places to which the planet does not grant easy access.
The undertaking is by no means on the scale of Devla Murphy’s three-month slog with a mule through the Ethiopian highlands or the scaling of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary. But, for amateur radio operators, the DXpedition to Bouvet is a vicarious way to participate in an adventurous quest and maybe dream a little.
Allen Brown – Callsign AB4KY
Photos: Norvegia Expedition, Bouvet island – 1927 – First known modern landing.