NFDX report, part 2 of 8
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NFDX report, part 2 of 8
This message is sent by WA1ION@xxxxxxxxxxxxx (Mark Connelly )
"It seems only my abominable lack of proficiency in Portuguese
limited the number of Brazilians I could put into the log, at least
not without extensive further reviews of my tapes. Much the same
could be said for my Spanish, considering the incredible number
of deep South Americans from Uruguay and Argentina that were there
for the picking. In spite of bothersome and uncharacteristically
high static levels that we experienced on two of the nights I was
present, the equinoctial season surely was an important contributing
factor to the ideal trans-equatorial propagation that was evidenced
every day. Only Chile, a much sought-after target for us all,
was distinguished by its absence.
"Most of my DXing from home has, for some years, been focussed
on the Tropical Bands, with Asians and Africans being favoured
targets. And so, hearing All India Radio, at times with a
steamroller signal on 1566 kHz, was a special treat, notwithstanding
its high power transmitter; likewise for my singular catch from
South Africa. The crowning touch for me, and I think for the
others of our DXpedition team too, fittingly came on the final
evening. East Africa constitutes a long and relatively difficult
path, even on the Tropical Bands. Just imagine our collective
reaction (manifest in the extreme by my own personal outburst
of exuberance!), when Kenya Broadcasting Corporation opened up
its General Service morning transmission with a good steady signal
on 1386 kHz. This was an opening to be exploited to the fullest
and within minutes, Jean and I set about looking for other
parallel channels. The fact that several more KBC signals were
poking through on other predominantly QRM'ed frequencies was the
"The old adage which attributes the whole as greater than the
sum of the parts certainly holds true in my mind. I think our
collective achievement during Newfoundland DXpedition-IV is a
tribute to the common sense of purpose, teamwork and good old-
fashioned comradeship amongst a group of truly dedicated and
experienced DXers. To Jean, our host, and to Mark, Bruce, Neil
and Jim whom I met for the first time in person, I say thanks
and let's do it again!"
Upon Mark Connelly's arrival, some of us noticed that the
Drake receivers were given preferential treatment. The table
that Jean and Stephanie purchased for the DXpedition had become
the exclusive domain of the Drakes. Next time, guys, I'm bringing
a Drake R8A to reserve my place at the table ! Actually, it was
all in good fun. Space was tight with the 6 DXers and equipment
sharing the same room. But we all worked well together, regardless
of the limited space and other adversities, as Mark attests in his
"I arrived in Newfoundland on Thursday, 12 October. Other DX
team members Jean Burnell, David Clark, Bruce Conti, Neil Kazaross,
and Jim Renfrew were already on the scene. Some had been at the
Inn since Sunday the 8th. The Cappahayden site had been set up
with the usual European, (east) Brazilian, and Deep South America
Beverages. About 10 km / 6 miles north of the DX Inn, a site in
Renews (near the lighthouse) was used again. In 1991, that site
provided superb African reception. The two main "guns" at Renews
were Beverages pointed towards northern Africa and towards southern
"On Thursday evening, I tuned the band on the car radio as I
drove Route 10 along the rugged and beautiful coastline from
St. John's to Cappahayden. Northern Europeans such as Norway-1314
and Sweden-1179 were strong at times, but they were sometimes covered
by Spaniards running considerably less power. Early on, highband
USA domestics such as WBBR-1130, WEZE-1260, WNRB-1510, and WQEW-1560
were very strong. It was evident that conditions were a good deal
less auroral than during the total high-latitude blow-out of the
November 1991 DXpedition. However, high-latitude stations had
considerably less punch than in October 1993 when blockbuster
signals from Finland-963, Faroes-531, and other far-north
transmitters were abundant. The conditions, therefore, were
intermediate between those of the two previous autumn DXpeditions.
That was good news in a way: any northern countries lost to poorer
propagation on these routes would be offset by better reception of
African countries that were heard in 1991 but were absent in 1993.
"It was about 9 PM local (2330 UTC) when I arrived at the DX Inn.
This was the first time I had ever met David Clark and Jim Renfrew.
We, of course, knew of each other through our DX activities and
frequent e-mail correspondence. It was great to meet Dave and Jim
in person to share conversation and "communal" DXing at what is
arguably the best DX QTH in North America.
"On this trip, all of us met at least one of other DXpeditioners
for the very first time in person. The six of us took over all the
rooms at the DX Inn. The room chosen as the "DX shack" got quite
crowded with people and gear. Some DXers were there up to a week
away from their families and hometown friends. Some had worked
very hard to put up Beverage antennas under challenging weather
and terrain conditions. Occasionally, the sewer pipes didn't work.
Moose collided with Beverages at least once. Hunters were prowling
the woods, sometimes shooting "for the hell of it", it would seem.
Good food and adequate sleep were in short supply. One would expect
that some of these factors would cause arguments and dissension
among the "troops". This was most definitely not the case.
The six of us got along as well as if we had gone through college
together and knew each other's families. When it was DX time,
the group operated as a well-oiled machine. We all bounced
suggestions of "hot" frequencies and ideas about unidentified
stations off each other. Off hours (such as lunchtime at the
local eatery in Fermeuse) were times of animated discussions
of many topics, not always related to radio. The people I met
came from different and interesting walks of life and they all
had much to say. This was certainly not a gathering of single-
minded, one-dimensional techno-nerds.
"Daytime was often "Tool Time" in Cappahayden as a gaggle of
gadgets went through "battlefield testing". Gerry Thomas and
Dallas Lankford may not have been with us, but their innovations
of delay-line phasing and noise-reducing transformers helped our
DX efforts in a big way. Bruce Conti did some very worthwhile
experiments with the new Steve Byan remote Beverage-termination
system. The system worked very well and Neil went home all fired
up to set up such terminators on his Beverages in the suburbs of
Chicago. Jean did some tests with his newly-acquired JPS ANC-4
and the results were promising. The unit reduced LORAN chatter
and served to quiet the hash from local power lines.
"Each DXpedition has certain similarities, yet each is a unique
experience. From "Newfie 4", I'll remember the local-like reception
of India-1566 that we all enjoyed listening to for quite a while.
The music was a great source of auditory pleasure. Every time I DX,
I want to find something worth listening to for entertainment value.
The Africans certainly did it for me in 1991, British locals were
a highlight in 1993, and the awesome signal and programming from
India-1566 did the trick for me in '95. This time around, I also
got a charge out of Israel-1206 and South Africa-846; these were
first discovered by the May 1995 crew (Bryant / Burnell /
Funkenhauser / Hakiel). The in-your-face signal from Radio
Tropical-1190 in Natal on Brazil's eastern tip seems like it
will be a sure thing for me to get the next time a heavy aurora
finds me on Cape Cod or Cape Ann. Ditto for that Brazilian split
on 1435. The run of east Africans towards the end of the DXpedition
will be indelibly etched in my memory. Newfoundland newcomers
David Clark and Jim Renfrew went crazy like kids let loose in
a candy store. Their skill and enthusiasm materially improved
our country-count. One would think that the rest of us - veterans
of previous efforts - would be jaded. This could not be further
from the truth. We ho-hummed some of the pest Spaniards, of course,
but we still scanned each channel with a sense of wonder and
fascination. Time and time again, the hard work done by the
early-arrivers paid us all bountifully. The stations heard on
the southern Beverages were so different from what was heard
on the northeastern ("Euro") Beverages that you'd think you were
listening to two different bands on two different nights from
locations hundreds of miles apart. The directionality of these
antennas was astounding. The 1 km Brazil Beverage gave receptions
that one could convincingly claim to be made from a boat within
view of the lights of Fortaleza. As in 1991, the number of strong
250-watt highband Brazilians was mind-boggling. Some DXers, such
as Neil, sat on messy Brazilian graveyard frequencies and bagged
multiple stations in succession on a single channel. I must admit
that this is DXing above my level of endurance. Hour after hour
of listening to low-fidelity reverberated Brazilian Portuguese
shouting rising and falling through a swirling maelstrom of
similar metallic-audio stations and a din of static crashes
takes a level of skill, patience, and fortitude beyond what
I have to offer the hobby. Luckily, although it's a dirty job,
someone stepped forward to do it. I concentrated more on TA's
myself, always looking for new possibilities to hear back home.
Previous trips had been very beneficial in putting the spotlight
on stations that were subsequently hunted down successfully from
sites along the Massachusetts coast. Off-frequency stations
(non-9-kHz TA's and non-10-kHz Pan-Americans) are a big interest
of mine and I took note of every one I could find. The old-plan
channel Angolans that are marginally audible at home through a
gauntlet of slop came through with crystal clarity on the big
"The logs from this and previous Newfoundland DXpeditions are
every bit as valuable a reference as the World Radio-TV Handbook
when I go out on mini-DXpeditions to Rockport, Rowley, and Harwich.
"The waning hours of the DXpedition on Saturday night included
popping open some Black Horse Ale to celebrate. A photo, audio
interview, and video session added some levity and then it was
right back to business with a wild ride through Kenya that might
go down as the Big Event of the October 1995 trip. By Sunday
morning (15th October), the show was over and Bruce, David,
and I had to depart the DX Inn in the pre-dawn hours for the
nearly 2-hour drive back to the St. John's airport. Jean,
Neil, and Jim did the antenna dismantling as the rest of us
jetted home. The DXpedition was a resounding success.
The friendships renewed and begun will endure long after the
log reports have been published, read, digested, and filed away
in dusty archives. "Newfie 4" was a great experience. Other
DXers, wherever they may live, should join up with some of their
buddies to try similar activities. It will add an important
social dimension to this often solitary hobby."
"Let's do it again!" has been the common call after every
Newfoundland DXpedition. The alumni of this and past DXpeditions,
along with more new faces, will undoubtedly join forces again in
the future for totally new and exciting Newfie experiences.
Upon departure, with the echoes of a thrilling week of DX fresh
in our minds, we dreamed of someday purchasing the Lawlor's
Hospitality Home and turning it into a permanent DXpedition
site. May these accounts and the extensive loggings inspire
others to do as Mark has suggested, and turn their dreams into
reality through the culmination of more DXpeditions both here
and abroad! 73 & good DX.
Jean Burnell: ICOM R-71A, Drake R8A.
Dave Clark: Drake R7, Drake R8.
Mark Connelly: Drake R8, Sony ICF-2010 w/ Gerry Thomas filter mod.
Bruce Conti: Lowe HF-225 Europa.
Neil Kazaross: ICOM IC-R70.
Jim Renfrew: Sony ICF-2010 w/ Kiwa filter mod, and later with
Drake R8 purchased from Mark Connelly.
1 km / 3280 ft Brazil Beverage (165 degrees)
600 m / 2000 ft "Track" (deep South America) Beverage (175 degrees)
549 m / 1800 ft European Beverage (45 degrees)
518 m / 1700 ft European Beverage (45 degrees)
300 m / 1000 ft Eastern Brazil Beverage (150 degrees), with Byan
488 m / 1600 ft African Beverage (110 degrees)
450 m / 1500 ft South African Beverage (130 degrees)
244 m / 800 ft European mini-Beverage (45 degrees)
60 m / 200 ft European longwire (65 degrees)
(Bearings are +/- 5 degrees)
MWDX-5 phasing unit, DL-1 phasing unit, Mini-MWT-3 regenerative
preselector, JPS ANC-4 noise canceller, Industrial Communication
Engineers (ICE) Models 112-4 (courtesy John Bryant) and 112-4A
active RF splitters, antenna switches, noise-reducing transformers.
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