Due to Pandemic

I’m curious if the Swains DXpedition delay due to a global pandemic was a first in ham radio history event?

The backstory here being that an international team of 10 operators planned to be active from Swains Island as W8S from March 10-25th of this year. Being number 34 on the Most Wanted list made this one highly anticipated and the team planned to be active on all HF bands in CW, SSB, FT8 and RTTY.

But then came breaking news that the operation would have to be canceled due to the Coronavirus. Not that anyone on the team had contracted the virus, but rather the sudden travel restrictions implemented upon entering American Samoa, restrictions imposed by the Department of Health as a result of the outbreak. The Department of Health allows non-residents to enter American Samoa only via Hawaii, after a 14 days mandatory quarantine in Hawaii. This wasn’t workable for the team as it would have extended the time of the excursion by an additional two weeks, and would require re-routing of flights and purchasing new tickets, etc.

The GOOD NEWS is that the operation has been re-scheduled:

Following the disappointing news earlier this week the Swains2020 team is extremely happy that we can announce the new schedule for the W8S DXpedition to Swains Island. The team will be on the island from September 23 until October 6, 2020.

The impact of the deadly Coronavirus continues to be much more serious than simple changes in travel plans. With thousands having died of the virus and the impending collapse of the global economy, the final results from this pandemic have yet to fully materialize.

Still I wonder, as just a footnote in our history, was this a first for amateur radio?

1 reply on “Due to Pandemic”

Previous DXpeditions documenting their planning have had to adjust to quarantine, but mostly of the gear going on and coming off the DXpedition location.

In my DX book reading I did read of one DXpenitioneer who skipped a location due to a local epidemic situation, but I cannot recall where I read it. Was something accounting to DXing 50-60 years ago.

Unfortunately 2020 Swains W8S is unlikely to be unique in being put off due to quarantine requirements. Likely we will see others deferred for the same reasoning.

Personally I have scrubbed my 2020 Dayton Hamvention plans and I’ve been encouraging the expo team for a trade association convention later this year to make sure they have a viable “travel-less convention” option as their Plan-B fallback.




Comments are closed.