Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sandbaai 1985 - A Sea Gain Dxing Experience !

An appropriate road sign is held up by my dad, standing in front of the Sandbaai dxing cottage in 1985 (Click onto the image for a high resolution).

It would have been my father Arthur Deacon's 85th birthday today. As a tribute to the memory of my dad and his great sense of humour I thought I would introduce this post with a photograph of Arthur holding up an important dxing road sign.

Looking towards the south from the front veranda of the cottage. The bearing of New Zealand lies ahead at the point where the sea "meets" the right hand edge of the house on the left.

Sandbaai (Sandy Bay) is a rustic coastal village, situated 90 kilometres south east of Cape Town. The "champaigne air" town of neighbouring Hermanus is known as the best land based whale watching destination in the world.

A pair of Southern Right whales frolic within 50 metres from the Hermanus coastline.

Situated 100 metres from the coast, the cottage at Sandbaai provided a great dxing opportunity to take advantage of what has become known as the "Sea Gain Effect".

Many interesting distant mediumwave radio stations made it through to this seaside location for the first time during an active period of dxing from 1985 to 1991.


I used to visit my folks at their seaside retirement cottage on a fairly regular basis. I would take along the FRG7 and connect a modest 30 metre longwire antenna to the set via a home-built preselector. The resulting variety of mediumave dx was always a real treat.


Asia and the Far East would fade up just before sunset (March to September). It took me a while to try and identify some of the many stations that used to get through from that part of the world.


It was sensational to hear Australia on mediumwave for the first time. I nearly fell off my chair with disbelief when stumbling onto 1206 kHz one evening. The station turned out to be 6KY Tuart Hill WA which became a benchmark for reception from Australia despite the modest 2 kw output.


South America dominated with strong, clear signals across the entire mediumwave band later in the evening and continued right through dawn and past sunrise with the sun quite high up in the sky at times !


Central America made it through around local dawn.


The Caribbean got through with surprising levels during the early hours.


The U.S.A. made it through on a few occassions around local dawn.


FREQ (kHz)

535 GRENADA Radio Grenada (10 kw)

560 GUYANA GBC Georgetown (10 kw)

610 TRINIDAD NBS Port of Spain (50 kw)

750 NICARAGUA Radio Sandino Managua (50 kw)

790 BARBADOS VoB St. George (20 kw)

790 PANAMA Southern Command Network Fort Clayton (10 kw)

825 ST. KITTS Radio Paridise Basseterre (50 kw)

830 BELIZE Radio Belize (20 kw)

1060 DOMINICA ZGBC Roseau (10 kw)

1206 AUSTRALIA 6KY Tuart Hill WA (2 kw)

1206 PHILPPINES DWWA Quezon City (10 kw)

1242 PHILPPINES DWBL Manila (20 kw)

1425 ECUADOR Radio Portena Guayaquil (500 watts)

1485 ASCENSION ISLAND BBC Relay English Bay (500 watts)

1510 ECUADOR HD210A Guayaquil Time Signal Station (500 watts)

1540 BAHAMAS ZNS1 Nassau (20 kw)

1548 ST. HELENA Radio St. Helena Jamestown (500 watts)

1548 TAIWAN International Community Radio Taipei (10 kw)

1555 CAYMAN ISLANDS Radio Cayman (10 kw)

1600 ECUADOR Radio Union Quito (5 kw)

1602 ASCENSION ISLAND Volcano Radio (1 kw)

Receiver : FRG7 and preselector

Antenna : 30 metre longwire

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