Friday, February 6, 2009

Noordhoek DXpedition Ultralight Loggings : 12th,13th and 16th January 2009

Noordhoek is the last remaining truly rural area and country village in the Cape Peninsula. This pristine position on the coast provides the dxer with a great opportunity to hear MW stations from across the Atlantic.

Local dx records reveal the astonishing reception of Tristan de Cuhna's 40 watt AM signal which made it through here on 3 290 kHz during a cold winter evening in the 1970's, resulting in one of the world's rarest QSL's !

The scenic view from the north end of Noordhoek Beach, approximately 2 km from the dx location.

I was fortunate to receive 56 MW radio stations from the U.S.A. / Canada during the excellent reception conditions experienced at Noordhoek on the 12th, 13th and 16th January 2009.

The use of an ultralight radio for the first time in order to hear the T/A signals was particularly interesting. Surprising results were achieved within the first five days of dxing with a small but very capable Sony SRF-M37V pocket radio.

Sony SRF-M37V Ultralight

The radio does not have an external antenna input, so I simply wrapped a few turns of the beginning end of a 220 meter BOG (Beverage on ground) antenna around the set. The antenna was set up along the left hand side of a gravel road which is directed towards the north eastern part of North America.

A view from the dx location reveals a clear run towards North America (Hamilton ON and Buffalo NY are directly ahead and aligned at the identical bearing via the great circle path).

Vince Stevens was also in attendance during the first morning of 12th January and agreed that this was one of the best openings from North America we had experienced !

Vince used an Eton E100 Ultralight but soon switched over to his main receiver, a Drake R8A, in order to take advantage of being able to record from the latter receiver while the dx was rolling in. I purchased a mini Y-adapor from a local electronics store in Noordhoek the following day. This proved to be a vital addition when listening and recording simultaneously from the ultralight.

Back to the Sony SRF-M37V : The reception results were encouraging and quite astonishing for such a small receiver !

With the exception of tentative loggings of 850 KOA Denver CO and 1160 KSL Salt Lake City UT, the most distant U.S. station recorded was 1040 WHO Des Moines IA (over 14 136 km / 8784 miles) * Audio clip on the right hand side of the web page.

There were six personal / South African firsts from the U.S.A. / Canada with the use of the the 220 metre BOG.

The astonishing reception of eight additional radio stations from the U.S.A. (over 12 500 km to 13 200 km away) with just the tiny 2" / 5cm internal ferrite antenna was also a real surprise !

Noordhoek beach, towards the south.

The Loggings : Freq (kHz) and Time (UTC)

660 0425 WFAN New York NY Commercial for “Turbo Tax” fair 16/01

670 0231 WSCR Chicago IL (presumed) Commercial poor 16/01

680 0320 WRKO Boston MA “We are Boston's Talk Station AM 6-80 WRKO” and the Bill Cunningham Show fair 12/01

690 0347 CINF Montreal QC Discussion in FF poor 12/01

700 0554 WLW Cincinatti OH Commercial fair 12/01

710 0320 WOR New York NY Talkback fair 12/01

720 0231 WGN Chicago IL “WGN Newstime 8:31” time check, wx and “News Talk 7-20 WGN” id fair 16/01

730 0555 CKAC Montreal ON Discussion in FF poor 12/01 * personal first

760 0407 WJR Detroit MI WJR id poor 12/01

780 0311 WBBM Chicago IL "WBBM Newstime 9:11” id and time check fair 13/01/09

790 0343 WNIS Norfolk VA (presumed) Talkback poor 16/01

The dx location with Chapmans Peak in the background.

810 0550 WGY Schentectady NY “The Lutheran Hour” fair 12/01

830 0401 WCRN Worcester MA CBS News, promo for “The Ed Stoltz Experience” and WCRN id good 12/01 * personal first * Audio clip on the right hand side of the web page

830 0408 WEEU Reading PA w Jim Bohannon talkback “echo” effect // WCRN ( a tentative, logical possibility after checking all stations broadcasting on 830 kHz with this show) fair 16/01

840 0314 WHAS Louisville KY Talkback fair 12/01

850 0220 WTAR Norfolk VA “ News, Talk and Sports. AM 8-50 WTAR, Norfolk” and sports comm poor/fair 16/01

850 0425 KOA Denver CO a possibility here, under WTAR with talkback - poor 12/01

860 0309 CJBC Toronto ON YL ann in FF fair 16/01 * personal first

870 0334 WWL New Orleans LA Talkback poor 12/01

880 0259 WCBS New York NY Traffic Report and “WCBS Pin Point Weather” fair 12/01

890 0332 WLS Chicago IL “The Big Eight Nine – WLS” station id fair 12/01

900 0340 CHML Hamilton ON Old Time Radio programme fair 12/01

930 0326 WBEN Buffalo NY Talkback poor 12/01 * personal first Thanks to Vince who managed to id the station for the first time in addition to receiving a QSL !

950 0410 WPEN Philadelphia PA Sports Talkback including a mention of the “University of Penn" fair 13/01

990 0311 UNIDENTIFIED Discussion poor 16/01

There are a large variety of birds in the area - from black eagles to several species of sunbird, wetland and sea birds.

1000 0340 WMVP Chicago IL with ESPN id and promos fair 12/01 Also at 0252 UTC with NBA Chicago Bulls vs Cleveland Caviliers commentary - good on 16/01

1010 2234 WINS New York NY Commercial for “6th Avenue Electronics” and id “WINS Newstime 10:34” fair 12/01

1020 0230 KDKA Pittsburgh PA KDKA id and news fair 13/01

1040 0326 WHO Des Moines IA w news item concerning president Geoge Bush's farewell bid to the nation, five days before Barak Obama was to be sworn in - fair peak 16/01 * Audio clip on the right hand side of the web page

1050 0410 WEVD New York NY “Game Night” with Amy Lawrence and "10-50 ESPN" id very Good 12/01

1060 0238 KYW Philadelphia PA Commercial for “Wally Park” and “KYW Accu-weather” fair 16/01

1070 0305 UNIDENTIFIED Sports Commentary poor 16/01

1080 0239 WTIC Hartford CT “WTIC 10-80” id, news and wx poor 16/01

1090 0250 WBAL Baltimore MD Talkback fair/good 16/01 * also barefoot

Surfing at Noordhoek (Nope, that's not me. I'm comfortable with body surfing and a boogie board though).

1100 0353 WTAM Cleveland OH Talkback good 13/01 * also barefoot

1110 0415 WBT Charlotte NC WBT id poor 16/01

1120 0235 KMOX St. Louis MO “Traffic and weather together every 10 minutes, mornings and afternoons. Always informative. Always KMOX”. good 16/01

1130 2215 WBBR New York NY Financial news at fade-up id as “Bloomberg 11-3-0” fair 12/01

1140 2231 WRVA Richmond VA News fair 12/01. Also at 0350 UTC with a huge signal via the ICOM R71 on 13/01 : Audio clip on the right hand side of the web page * also barefoot.

1160 0415 KSL Salt Lake City a possiblity here with Talkback poor 13/01

1170 0250 WWVA Wheeling WV Religious px poor 16/01

1180 0250 R. Marti Marathon Key FL SS ann fair 16/01

1190 0300 WLIB New York NY Pubic Service msg and id “Your praise and inspiration sation 11-90 WLIB” very good 16/01 * also barefoot

1410 0410 KQV Pittsburgh PA commercial and id - poor 16/01
* personal first

Google satellite image of KQV's impressive five antenna tower array. A favourable night time pattern using all five towers would have contributed greatly to the reception of the 5 kw signal at Noordhoek.

1420 0402 WHK Cleveland OH id as “WHK Cleveland” - pleased to catch the id of this station after a careful listen back to a recording of the reception -very poor 16/01 * personal first

1440 0325 UNIDENTIFIED Sports Commentary poor 16/01

1460 0325 UNIDENTIFIED Sports Commentary poor 16/01

1500 0246 WFED Washington DC News good 13/01 * also barefoot

1510 0244 WLAC Nashville TX Talkback, id at 0300 UTC and Fox News good 13/01 * also barefoot

1520 0322 WWKB Buffalo NY Talkback fair 16/01

1530 0250 WCKY Cincinatti OH “CBTS” ad and "15-30 Homer" id good 13/01 * also barefoot

1540 0300 WDCD Albany NY “Finally, a station worth listening to, Golden Radio 15-40 WDCD, Albany” fair 13/01 * also barefoot

1550 0353 UNIDENTIFIED announcement included “15-50” but could not catch an id poor 13/01

1590 0324 UNIDENTIFIED Sports Comm poor 16/01

1600 0012 WWRL New York NY Talkback fair 13/01

1660 0220 WWRU Elizabeth NJ Discussion in KK fair 16/01

A visit from mother duck and chicks at Chapmans Peak Caravan Farm during a review of the DX recordings.

In conclusion, on behalf of Cape dxers John Plimmer, Vince Stevens, Graham Bell and myself I would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to dxers John Bryant, Gary DeBock and Guy Atkins for their generous collective contribution of the ultralight recievers. It's thanks to these guys that we've become truly addicted to this fascinating new aspect of dxing !

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