[HCDX] Great DX / End of Cape Cod Era
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[HCDX] Great DX / End of Cape Cod Era

Hello to all.

I've been reading the various comments about TA DX
recently.  Bruce Conti and Ben Dangerfield have been
hearing a lot over the past week.  Neil Kazaross
in IL said that the DX wasn't making it out there
even on nights over the last 2 weeks when I was
hearing Norway-1314 at S9+30 here in Billerica
(15 miles NW of Boston).

Another thing I've enjoyed greatly (in NRC's DX
News and on their reflector) have been the accounts
of employment in radio.  Great stuff ... nostalgic,
heart-warming, sometimes funny and sometimes
leaving a sad feeling that the best days of the
radio business are behind us.  Ben's report from
his recent South American trip was also noteworthy.

Some of you have probably wondered what I've
been doing lately.  My mother passed away early
in January.  Following that period of sadness
for me and the whole family, my brother and I
have been involved in the sale of the house in
W. Yarmouth, MA where my parents had lived in
retirement since 1974.  Yesterday (Friday,
16 FEB), the house sale went through and an
era of my travelling to Cape Cod on a frequent
basis came to an end.  

During the past 27 years of these trips, DXing
has often been a component - from my folks' house,
from my brother-in-law's place in E. Harwich,
and - most frequently of all - from the car at
various beach sites yielding maximum foreign
station signal levels.  Back in the '70s, I
DX'ed with Marc DeLorenzo when he lived around
the corner in W. Yarmouth and from Skip Wolsieffer's
(WA1CML) QTH in Osterville.  More recently I'd drop
in on Vern Brownell (W1VB) in Chatham and on Steve
Clang in Plymouth.

I remember the early days when my parents permitted
me to leave a hulking R-390A in their basement and
wires in their pine trees.  The logs of goodies
like Paraguay-645, China-1525, and Greenland-1425.
Times that my wife and I stayed there for a week
in the summer to enjoy the beach, fried clam dinners,
and the room my mother dubbed "the honeymoon suite".

The house on Trowbridge Path had a lot of good
memories associated with it, but since my mother
had gone to a nursing home in April 2000, it
became ghostly quiet except for when my brother
and I would stop by to maintain things and
gradually empty it out. 

How fitting it was, DX wise, that my trip out
to a favorite beach site in South Orleans, MA
on Friday afternoon (following the closing on the
house) brought conditions that I could only
describe as "legendary".  Virtually every TA
channel had a good, often a huge, signal on it.
Even some of the 10 kHz channel Europeans rolled
over the co-channel domestics, for instance,
SER Spain on 1080 was DEMOLISHING WTIC.  Best
TA DX this side of Newfoundland by my reckoning
... it's going to take me a week to type the
logs !  Peak reception time was between 4 and
6 p.m. EST (2100-2300 UTC) though some early
blasters like 549, 981, 1251, and 1521 showed
up on the car radio as early as 3 p.m. before
I got things set up over at the beach / town
landing near Tar Kiln Road and Route 28.  By
6 p.m. it was raining heavily, so I went over
to the brother-in-law's house in E. Harwich
(where I'd put up a temporary sloper off the
top of a 70' pitch pine tree earlier that day).

DX continued to roll in through the evening.
I slept awhile and then got up about 2 a.m.
(0700 UTC Saturday, 17 FEB) to see if I could
bag the Faroes sign-on on 531 kHz at 0715.
Spain had that channel solidly in control,
indeed they were as strong as adjacent Turks
& Caicos on 530 !  So Faroes went unheard this
time but the other TA's were still booming in.

Longwave and low band medium wave hung in there
incredibly late those early hours of Saturday
morning.  I was getting Atlantic-252 at 5.05
a.m. EST (1005 UTC) and a remnant of Ireland-567
was noted at the same time.  This beats (by 5
minutes) my previous late TA reception time of
1000 UTC when I'd logged UK on 1214 (now 1215)
from Menotomy Rocks Park in Arlington, MA back
in December of 1966.

For another fitting conclusion of my "Cape Cod DX
era", I tested out several loops during stable daytime
conditions.  These included the old and new Gerry
Thomas Quantums, a Kiwa loop, and a homebrew broadband
design.  The results of these tests will be published
within the next month in an article likely to be titled
"Loop Shoot-Out at East Harwich".

On Friday, even though I couldn't make it to the
local Boston Area DXers' meeting because my presence
was required on Cape Cod, DX was still on my agenda
that evening.  I should be able to attend the 16 MAR
BADX meeting with all the noise-reducing transformers
I've been promising.

Though an era has ended, I still expect to take
the 2-hour drive to the Cape a few times each year
for recreation.  I can stay over in East Harwich
sometimes and maybe I can drop in on guys like
Vern Brownell in Chatham and on other DXers a bit
off Cape in nearby Plymouth and Marshfield.  And
who knows where I might wind up retiring 14 or so
years from now.  It's going to be near the ocean
wherever it is, be it Massachusetts, North Carolina,
Florida, or wherever.  (Virgin Islands or Hawaii
if the lottery tickets come through !)

In the mean time, closer to home, I can go out to
coastal sites in Rockport or Rowley for "juiced
up" DX on after-work outings once the weather gets
a little milder and sunset roughly coincides with
(or comes a bit after) my arrival time at the
shore (typically 6 to 6.30 p.m. local).  Sometime
in March I expect to do my first after-work
mini-DXpedition for year 2001.

At home, I can certainly hear some of the bigger
guns (including nearly needle-pegging signals
from Norway-1314 and Saudi Arabia-1521 on a
frequent basis), but for the really excellent
stuff, I have to drive to the seashore.  Luckily
this can be done (during good weather) in less
than an hour from home in Billerica or from work
in North Andover.

So as some people's DX season runs down in March,
mine usually is just getting off the ground then.

Best of DX to all ... Mark

original message:

From: BACONTI@xxxxxxx  
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 14:38:03 EST  
To: am@xxxxxxxxxxx  
Subject: Outstanding TA Conditions  

NRC-DXASers:  A quick spin across the dial last night found awesome 
transatlantic reception conditions (FEB 17 0200-0400 UTC).  Strong signals 
from Algeria-549 parallel 153, Ireland-567, Spain-585, and France-1206 
received straight off the 30-m long east sloping wire; no phasing required. 

Expect more of the same tonight, when I'll put in a more focused effort 
recording for the DXAS.  73 

Bruce Conti - Nashua NH 

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