UPDATE: Both DXers at the heart of this tale and linked in this article have pulled their original blog posts on this subject and are “moving on“.
As it turns out, the situation isn’t really all that difficult to get your head around, so long as you understand that the fervent desire to activate the most wanted entity on the planet is a full-on disease or a sickness.
Of all the places on Earth, few are more risky for travel by Americans. The region is so unstable that if a nuke popped off there tonight it would be tomorrow’s headlines but it wouldn’t necessarily be “news”. It’s an unreliable, unstable government with a madman at the helm that even China no longer seems to control.
The State Department goes into some incredible detail about all the horrible things that can happen to US citizens who choose to visit:
Travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea is not routine, and U.S. citizens have been subject to arrest and long-term detention for actions that would not be cause for arrest in the United States or other countries. North Korean authorities have arrested U.S. citizens who entered the DPRK legally on valid DPRK visas as well as U.S. citizens who accidentally or intentionally crossed into DPRK territory without valid visas. The Department of State has received reports of DPRK authorities detaining U.S. citizens without charges and not allowing them to depart the country. North Korea has even detained several U.S. citizens who were part of organized tours. Do not assume that joining a group tour or using a tour guide will prevent North Korean authorities from detaining you or arresting you. Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions of U.S. citizens in the DPRK have not succeeded in gaining their release.
And that’s just the first of many paragraphs of detailed, dire warnings that sane people would heed.
The plan that has fallen apart includes details like paying large amounts of cash to officials of the DPRK for “permission” to operate from there.
“Our last major hurdle was that the DPRK was asking for a very large fee to be paid for the permissions at various government levels and ministries to operate from within the DPRK. It is a very common practice for various governments throughout the world to request a fee to be paid for DXpedition permission and licensing. These fees are typically several thousand dollars in many Third World countries. As we would see, the DPRK fee would be considerably more”.
The ARRL needs to end this nonsense before someone in their zeal to activate the most wanted entity on the planet is held for ransom, tossed in a North Korean prison — or worse.
It’s time for the ARRL to do the responsible thing and delete P5 from the DXCC list.
So long as it remains “number one” on that list, there will be continued attempts to do whatever it takes to operate from there. And when things eventually go bad in that pursuit, the blame will rest at the feet of those in Newington.