The purpose of the GDXF
from Dr. Lutz D. Schmadel, DK8UH, Secretary GDXF (sk)
- Expensive dreams
- Why a 'German' DX Foundation?
- Guiding principles of the GDXF
- Organizational structure of the GDXF
- Internal activities
The time of Grandseigneurs in amateur radio, who practiced on their world trips from many countries DX, are over for decades. Gus Browning, the dazzling Don Miller and Iris, and Lloyd Colvin combined tourist and radio activities in a balanced manner and without the need to allow any shortwave enthusiast at least one contact. Even today, we find adventurers among the amateur radio operators who consider the personal experience of distant lands and cultures to be more important than the elation of being on the other side of a pile-up. Names like Jim Smith, Martti Laine or even our Rudi Klos stand for a development in amateur radio, which has changed again in recent years. The ever increasing number of KW radio operators and DX interested parties makes it necessary to offer the really rare desired goals in ever shorter time intervals. This increasingly requires the implementation of highly complex, personnel- and medium-intensive DXpeditions with huge logistical effort. Many may regret this development of the charm of the lonely radio in a tent and the wire antenna under the palm trees, compared to the almost industrially working QSO factories with parallel high-power machines. However, it is no longer to be stopped.
Who in the present time of KW radio operator to DXer, will probably quickly make the experience that the DXCC trees do not grow as fast as possible in the sky. The first 100 DXCC countries can be reached within a few weeks or even days, and even up to the number 200 there will be few problems. But then comes a time when even with increased equipment and time required, the success rate drops. After reaching the 250th DXCC country, the DX air is getting thinner and thinner. The reasons for this are obvious - there are usually no uninhabited Pacific islands or political structures barely reachable by tourists, which did not allow the amateur radio service at all or at least seriously hampered it. More recently, however, it seems that alien potentates and reactionary military men are learning that amateur radio is not good at espionage at all, but that it is a very useful tool in disaster situations.
Now a remarkable mechanism sets in. On the basis of lists of heavily sought-after countries, there are always radio operators who face a very special challenge - the need for a DXpedition. This is a special form of on-demand radio operation, ie a reaction to the pressure of a large number of DXers. Interviewing the alter ego of a DXpeditioner will reveal that there is a mixture of adventure, self-affirmation, and the search for recognition. Tourist aspects hardly matter anymore. Long-distance travel under sometimes catastrophic conditions will be endured to present a new (and mutual) sense of achievement to the starving DX crowd under the honorable generic term of Ham Spirit. The DXer, sitting in his native Shack, will be able to bring his country level to a stately 300 counters in a few years' time. However, this growth has already been paid for by the fact that a few enthusiasts have sacrificed a lot of time, work and even more money. Dreams are not always cheap.
Some barren islands on the edge of the world, widely unknown to most people, now form the stumbling block to crown the existence of a DXer - the achievement of the Honor Roll. The realization of this dream can only be achieved with the proper use of people, material and even more money. The adventure 3Y0PI (1994), experienced as a century DXpedition, has already been relativized by VK0IR (1997) after just under three years. This gigantism (created by all our pressure!) Is already shifting the alleged hobby DX into mercantile dimensions. At a cost of several US $ 100,000, of course, one has to worry about refinancing - the number of QSOs spent per US $ spent is one of the most important reasons for the whole company. Dreams are not always cheap, but hardly a DXer would like to do without them. We generate a constantly increasing demand, which ultimately can only be satisfied by the price.
Why a 'German' DX Foundation?
It is in line with the solidarity of most amateur radio operators - an integral part of Ham Spirit - to help their friends around the world. For this reason, foundations were created decades ago, which should at least partially cover the high costs of DXpeditionen. These foundations were and are a symbol of the great solidarity community amateur radio. As institutions, they are now more than ever indispensable, as they can already provide support in the planning phase of a wireless company. Smaller donations, the occasionally hotly controversial donations, will usually only flow after the successful conclusion of a Dxpedition. Their scope, of course, remains almost incalculable.
Will there be a German institution in addition to the existing foundations? In the spring of 1996, the founders of the GDXF basically agreed to this question after lengthy preliminary considerations. The German attribute is by no means an anachronistic reference, but merely intended to express an important aspect of the objectives of the GDXF. It is not about the special support of German expeditionaries, but about the support of activities that particularly benefit the whole German DX scene. It would not make sense to spend donations - that is donations from our members - on behalf of a German DXpedition whose signals will not be available in Europe. On the other hand, the GDXF will do its utmost to support the activation of a country that is very much in demand in Germany, even if we expect a high QSL yield. The nationality of the expeditionaries therefore plays no role in the granting of funds. This philosophy is also subject to many similar organizations in other countries. An essential difference to the situation in Germany, however, is that abroad is often a close link between the respective umbrella organization of amateur radio and foundations recognizable. In Germany, however, the DARC provides no material help in the DX area.
Guiding principles of the GDXF
The term Foundation is intended to express that the GDXF is solely committed to service the DX case. It is not a club of the usual kind. It asks for contributions, or even donations, and yet gives the payer only a return - the feeling of having served by our own sacrifice our common hobby.
The GDXF is a pure service organization. It endeavors to use the funds entrusted to it in trust exclusively and directly for the promotion of DX activities. Of course, this will often happen through the direct granting of financial resources, but many other forms of funding are conceivable. DX can also be supported by helping in the DX country itself. Providing a reasonable antenna or better transceiver can suddenly make a rare country QRV. One will be able to offer assistance by assuming printing costs for QSL cards or by providing human resources - for example in QSL management. Logistical help of various kinds is conceivable, e.g. by the fact that experienced DXpeditioners make their knowledge available. From the planning of the optimal itinerary to the procurement of the necessary documents to the consultation on a sensible use of frequencies and airtime depending on the propagation conditions, etc. are tasks in which the GDXF can and wants to help.
The GDXF is neither a replacement travel fund nor an elite club of top DXers. Our funds must be managed sparingly while being used in accordance with the wishes of as many of our donors as possible. There will certainly be no subsidy for an easy and cheap tourist destination. On the other hand, we will not spend all available funds on the most wanted DXCC country # 1. Here, GDXF carries out a cost-benefit analysis on a case-by-case basis, with the aim of providing a serious opportunity for the serious DXer to work a new country. Scale for a grant is neither the top DXer in the Honor Roll nor the absolute DX beginner with indoor antenna. Assistance should be spread so that an optimum of DX-interested radio amateurs can be helped to a sense of achievement.
The GDXF can only support activities that have been presented in detail before the start of the DXpedition. By granting donations, the GDXF expressly demands compliance with its principles. This includes, among other things, a flawless QSL policy. Thus, for each DXpedition sponsored by the GDXF, it is a duty to answer every incoming QSL card - provided it is not a duplicate QSO on the same band in the same fashion. Direct QSLs must also be sent directly within a reasonable time if the postage costs have been provided in a suitable form (SASE, stamps, IRCs, green stamps). QSL wishes through the QSL bureau can be fulfilled in the same way. The GDXF will not support any activity that sends QSL cards only as a kind of consideration for a donation. It is expected that the support of the GDXF will be expressed by printing its logo on all QSL cards.
Organizational structure of the GDXF
The GDXF was founded on May 4th 1996 by 12 German DXers in Lampertheim, Germany. When it comes to advising on organization and working methods, the basic principle was to keep administrative burdens extremely low. As much as possible, more than 95% of the premium income should go into the funding. This has the consequence that the board should consist of relatively few members, who must be involved as much as possible in the necessary work. The work for the GDXF is done exclusively on a voluntary basis and of course without any payment.
Externally, the foundation is represented by its president. The secretary as his deputy is responsible for the entire correspondence, organizes the meetings of the executive committee and the general assembly. The representative for the members takes over the administration of the member file and supports the treasurer, who alone is responsible for the financial area. In 2005 three more advisors were admitted to the board because of the strong membership growth. These seven board members will be assisted by more (at least five) directors on all aspects of examining and approving applications for funding a proposed DX activity. The directors should be as self-experienced and active DXers as possible. The Board of Directors and the Directors are each elected or appointed for a term of office of three years.
Every amateur radio operator can become a member of the GDXF. He must notify this in writing by a statement to the board. Once a year the board proposes the desired amount of the contribution - better: the donation. This is a contribution framework that can be arbitrarily exceeded. With the payment of this amount, the member acquires the unrestricted right to vote at the general meeting. The GDXF will not exclude a member who is temporarily unable to make his donation in full. The members are expected not only to provide financial support, but also to provide moral aid to the GDXF. It is intended primarily to the advertising of new members, for example, by using the logo of the GDXF or by disseminating promotional material when shipping their own QSL cards. In addition to the regular, personal memberships, the GDXF also endeavors to provide corporate members whose contributions do not necessarily consist of paying a special contribution. Membership may be terminated annually by notification to the Member Representative. Up to a maximum of 5% of ordinary members may be appointed as members for life on payment of a multiple annual fee. Further details are regulated by the statute and rules of procedure of the GDXF.
The members of the GDXF come for the most part from Germany. You know each other through many radio contacts with each other or as competitors in the pile-up of a DX station. A personal contact should be given through the annual general meetings, which are preferably organized during the Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen. The GDXF is also present there with a booth, which should serve the advertising of new members, but in particular the contact many DXers.
Once or twice a year, the GDXF Journal is (has been) distributed among its members, teaching about club activities and providing up-to-date information. The same purpose is served by our homepage, which can be accessed online at www.gdxf.de. In addition to useful statements you will also find important links to other informative websites. In parallel, the GDXF operates a Mailing List for the exchange of information and opinions of its members. Contact with the GDXF can be easily made.
A very special service is our paperless QSL Service. Paperless, therefore, that the participants in this service no longer need to send their own QSL card, but can only send their QSO data to the secretary of the GDXF by e-mail. A complete list of all QSOs of all participants is sent to the QSL manager of the DXpedition, who checks the data against his log, all QSL cards for the GDXF members are issued and sent back in a package to the GDXF. The sorted and formatted data files guarantee fast and secure processing by foreign QSL managers. Often it is the participants of our QSL service who receive the desired QSL cards as a priority. In Germany, the cards are put in appropriately labeled envelopes and sent to the participants of the QSL Service in Germany and the surrounding states. 12 normal letters up to 20g only require a cost of € 10. Agreements on the QSL Service is aimed with all GDXF supported DXpeditions. This is especially true for QSL managers overseas or in countries with uncertain postal service. The financial savings compared to own shipping with the usual supplements and the return postage can easily exceed the actual membership fee in one year.
Just a few years after its foundation, the GDXF has become a strong syndicate of the German DX scene. Based on our experience, similar foundations have been launched in Finland and Switzerland. The number of members already exceeds 400 in 2005, making GDXF the largest DX Foundation in Europe independent of a national umbrella organization. In 2006, the year of the 10th anniversary of the GDXF, the ambitious goal of Project 500 has already been realized. In 2009, the 600 mark was skipped and there is a steady increase.