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View Diary: How many countries outside the one of your birth, have you been to, with poll. (116 comments)

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  •  Not that it matters… (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner

    …in an informal and transient poll such as this, but the phrase "does it count" has appeared in several comments and I thought I'd suggest a method of arbitration on the subject with which I'm familiar.

    One of the pursuits in my hobby of amateur radion is to "work", i.e. to make contact with, hams in as many countries as possible. There's an award, managed by the American Radio Relay League, called DXCC (DX Century Club) which is the benchmark by which success in "chasing DX" is measured. DX roughly means distance, but in context refers to working hams in countries other than your own, which may be as close as a couple of miles or in the antipodes. Century Club is because the basic award is for working 100 countries.

    In the early days of rado and, by extension, amateur radio, the notion of a country was pretty simple—does it have a capital and is there postal service. As competition among hams to work the most, or all, countries, it became necessary to have some standards and definitions. Recognition of the flux of political entities required periodic "purging", if you will, of countries which no long met the various crietera onto a "Deleted" list.

    So, my suggestion would be to follow the precepts the ARRL has developed and published in their DXCC list (PDF file, if that matters to you). I will warn you that the answers to most of your questions lie therein (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man are all separate "countries". More immediately curious are that Alaska and Hawaii count as separate countries, as well.

    There is a whole set of parameters that the ARRL uses to make such determinations. Some of them involve separation by large bodies of water (thus Alaska and Hawaii), some by reason of separate diplomatic status within a larger entity (such as The Vatican and the headquarters of The Sovereign Military Order of Malta), and some by the flux of politics (DDR is on the deleted list, as is the hegemonous Yugoslavia—South Sudan has been on, then off, then back on the list because of regime changes).

    It's a fascinating (to geeks like me) and the bottom line is there are currently 340 "countries" in the world on the active list. I've worked about 325 of them. I was on the Honor Roll at one time (within ten of the total) but technically am no longer, as the list has changed. My attitude, however, is once HR always HR, even if not currently current. Yes, I've achieved HR on DK, as well, ha, ha.

    LRod—UID 238035
    ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired
    My ATC site
    My Norm's Tools site

    by exatc on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:54:13 AM PST

    •  I should add… (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BFSkinner

      There are a whole bunch of entities on that list that you can't or don't want to "visit". Places like Scarborough Reef and the Spratly Islands are not only uninhabited but are extremely difficult even to get to. Others of that ilk include Peter I Island, Heard Island, and several others.

      Surprisingly, amateur radio is legal in almost every political entity in the world. Some haven't always been (Albania was a dark hole for many years, as was China) but about the only one I know of today is North Korea.

      So, while there may be 340 countries on the DXCC list, there are probably more like 250 that have airports and hotels which might better constitute a "legitimate" country in BF's query. I just wanted to give you a different perspective.

      Oh, and by the way, in the days of the Soviet Union, the fifteen republics all counted as separate countries from Russia. The DXCC list didn't change much with the fall of the USSR.

      LRod—UID 238035
      ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired
      My ATC site
      My Norm's Tools site

      by exatc on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:13:10 AM PST

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