[HCDX]: IRCA's AM DX NewsFlash - EXTRA!
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[HCDX]: IRCA's AM DX NewsFlash - EXTRA!
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I AM JUST USING IT TO SEND THIS STUFF FROM RI - phil b
WELCOME TO IRCA's AM-DX NEWSFLASH - December 8 1999
Vol 5 No 36
IRCA's web site... check it out!!
THIS IS AN AM DX NEWSFLASH EXTRA... DIRECT FROM RI TO YOU
Deadline for next issue = WEDNESDAY, December 22 1999 @ 1400 UTC
Send all contributions to me @ philip_bytheway@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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1999 NF DXPEDITION REPORT by Jean Burnell
This was the eighth major effort at Cappahayden, and as such we seem
to be getting more and more demanding about what we expect to hear. The
incredible 130 country total of the fifth DXpedition is unlikely to be
surpassed without an equally large DXpedition, so we have focused once
more on going for new catches and difficult DX. The DXpeditioners were:
Alan Merriman [AM], Chincoteague, VA, AOR AR-7030 Plus 15 Oct - 23 Oct
John Fisher [JF], Calgary, AB, Icom R-71A 15 Oct - 17 Oct Neil Kazaross
[NK], Barrington, IL, AOR AR-7030 17 Oct - 24 Oct Jean Burnell [JB] St.
John's, NF Drake R8A & Icom R-71A 9 Oct - 24 Oct
As I had my children with me for a couple of days, some logs have
also been contributed by 9-year-old cub-DXer Christopher Burnell [CB]
using a Sony 2010.
The antenna complement at the DXpedition was: Brazilian Beverage: 1
km twin-lead with Byan termination aimed at eastern Brazil. This is
also quite effective for Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina as well as
southern Africa. We extended this even longer for one night. African
Beverage: 390 m unterminated wire towards southern Africa. This was
extended half-way through the DXpedition, and with a wider beam than the
Brazilian Beverage, it really helped with the Africans. European
Beverage: 500 m terminated wire towards northern Europe. Eastern routes
were far from exceptional, so we may not have missed much when this
antenna was clipped short by wave action. Delta (K9AY) Loops: Up to
three such systems were used. By and large these were handy for filling
in the gaps between the Beverage beams, and sometimes these provided
quieter coverage than the Beverages. The ends of the Beverage antennas
connected through noise-reducing transformers to coaxial cables that
brought the signals into the radio "shack." The signals were gently
amplified using Kiwa broadband amplifiers then split four ways using ICE
splitters. Each DXer could choose his antenna at the flick of a switch.
I used a modified MJF-1026 unit for phasing. Al used a unit based on
Mark Connelly's Super-phaser design, and Neil had his zillion-knob
Connelly unit of uncertain vintage (carbon-dating being unavailable at
I like to go to the DX site the weekend before the crowd arrives so
that I can ferry the many spools of antenna wire and coax and other
heavy material such as bottles of drinking water. The hamlet of
Cappahayden does not change much. This time there seemed to be even
fewer human inhabitants, but more aggressive dogs. The best way to make
sure that nothing important has been forgotten is to DX for a night. I
had forgotten part of my delta (K9AY) loop set-up! It would have been
foolish to try to erect it anyway, as the wind was howling at about 100
km/h, and it began to rain heavily. I did stretch out the 1-km long
Brazilian Beverage and the 500-m European wire, but neither was
terminated until the next week. I was stalked by a seal while fiddling
with the latter, and I picked up a jawbone and a vertebra of a baleen
whale on the beach.
Propagation from the East was better than during the full-fledged
DXpedition. I heard stations such as Yemen on 760 kHz and BBC from
Redmoss on 1449 kHz that were not audible a week later. I discovered
that the Brazilian Beverage had snapped about 250 meters from the shack,
which explained a disappointing initial showing from Brazil.
The next Friday I was back in Cappahayden getting the shack set up.
Al Merriman arrived in the afternoon, and I had to zoom back to St.
John's to collect my children from school and bring them down to
Cappahayden. They were disappointed not to be stalked by a seal, but we
did find another whale vertebra and half a dozen pieces of baleen
(machete-sized, but flexible whale teeth). My first log was Tanzania on
1377 kHz, not a bad start! We were DXing when John Fisher arrived. He
picks up the narrative
While this may have been my third trip to the East Coast Mecca of
DXing, Cappahayden, Newfoundland, time has not jaundiced my appreciation
of this great location.
As with my last trip in 1998, I was fortunate to have been able to
have my visit coincide with a business trip to Germany. So rather than
have to deal with an 8-hour time difference and jet lag in Germany, I
was able to split the trip in half, making my transition to German Time
easier. (That's my story, and I am sticking to it!). In fact, when I
heard in late Spring that I would be making this trip, I sent off a note
to Jean, asking if he would be interested in a weekend of DX. His reply
was that he had been thinking of having another DXpedition, so invites
were sent and the plan was set in motion.
Every time that I have been to Newfoundland, the weather has been
almost as exciting as the DX. This year was no exception. I saw on
Friday morning's weather report in Toronto that there were high wind
warnings for Atlantic Canada, so I expected a rough ride on the flight
in. When I landed and picked up the rental car, I got the first taste
of the wind that was awaiting me. The woman at the counter told me that
I may want to avoid an area near the University since some streets were
closed because the roof was blown off the Aquarena. When I got in the
car and tuned on the radio, I heard that there had been hurricane-force
winds of 140 km/h on the south shore (where I was headed) and that the
winds tonight would be gusting over 100 km/h. Well those winds stayed
with us all weekend and made putting up the K9AY loops for Jean and Al a
real challenge. However, I tip my hat to the pilots of the planes that
flew in and out of St. John's airport; they really know how to handle
these windy conditions. The take off and landings were as smooth as any
that I have had in calm conditions. While I was only at the DX Inn for
47 hours, reception conditions provided for a little bit of everything.
On the first night, reception was so-so; Europeans were in with fair
signals, South America was OK, and we could hear Kenya on 1386. A check
of the MW bands in the morning revealed improving conditions to deep
South America and my first logging of HCJB on 690. On Saturday
afternoon, central Europe and North Africa was coming in stronger,
providing me with my first receptions of Belgium 1188 and Algeria 1422.
But the real highlight this afternoon was an African station on 1062
that had all three of us, listening and taping intently. All
indications were that this station was from Nigeria, however, it took us
until the next night to confirm this. By early evening, stations in
Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay were making a good showing. Many of the
Argentineans were new for me, including 630, 1030 and 950.
But by far the highlight of the night was hearing a station on 530
with a British-accented announcer in English under Radio Visi
ón on the
southern Beverage. Could it have been Falklands?
On Sunday afternoon before I left, I went for a short drive in the
countryside. After passing through "The Barrens," a zone of sub-arctic
tundra with only rocks, a few short trees and ponds, I reached the
hamlet of Portugal Cove South and the sign to Cape Race and its
lighthouse. Only 20 km to Cape Race the sign said, so it should only be
a short drive. The road started off as a gravel road, turned into a
more rocky trail and then it really started to degenerate. After about
6 km, it was little more than two tire paths over the rock and grass.
At times it was hard to tell where the road stopped and where the field
took over. I finally reached the end of the road. My rental car had
scraped over the rocks to get here and there was the lighthouse was
finally in view. After all that, when I got a little closer, I saw that
the lighthouse was surrounded by scaffolding and plastic - a
reconstruction project. So much for getting a nice photo of a remote
lighthouse on a desolate Atlantic point!
Sunday evening left only a few hours of DXing before I had to leave,
but they were good hours. In all of my trips to Cappahayden I had never
experienced really good conditions to Southern Africa. There were a few
glimpses of Lesotho and Botswana, but never anything really solid. Today
that changed. It started off with strong signals from Guinea on 1386
and quickly led to Angola 945, a weak signal from Senegal on 765 (so
they are still on, but not very strong), a killer signal from Mozambique
on 1206 and a possible unauthorized relay of Merlin Network One on 1485------------------------------------------------------------------------
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