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Cape Point DXpedition

July 11-15, 2008

by Graham Bell

Vince Stevens, Gary Deacon and I enjoyed a DXpedition in the Cape Point reserve, in the southern Cape Peninsula over 11-15 July 2008. We hired a cottage called Eland (more on this word later) which allowed clear space to roll out BoGs beamed WNW and magnetic north. This enabled us to target LatAm and NA as well as south Australia and SE Asia over the shoulder. We arrived after protracted rains had caused severe flooding in the Western Cape in the prior week but we saw nothing but sunshine and still, warm days, exceptional for mid-winter and Cape Point, which normally blows a treat.

wreck
Wreck of the Thomas T. Tucker (no wonder the compass was not working!)

To our west the sea was about 3.5 km away and 5.5km to the east. Vince, Sonia and I arrived at the same time on the 11th with Gary (plus Sandy and young Nicole) due the following afternoon. Nearly two hours before sunset we had BoGs set up and astoundingly heard Perth 720 and soon after Adelaide 729. The noise floor was low, a feature that characterised the whole four days. Looking back though we were a tad unlucky with the K-indices which were running quite a bit higher than in the days on either side.

The expedition was to be marked by a steady shift each afternoon further north. If we were to hear New Zealand, that first evening was the best shot. But it wasn't to be and following evenings saw conditions shift away from any chance of making the leap. Vince commented that the distance to NZ is nowhere near as far as it is to, say, northern Queensland, where we had both heard 4TI (2 kW) a couple of weeks before, from Fish Hoek. And Vince heard 4QN 630 in Cape Point too. But the aurora makes Kiwis much more of a challenge, as with Hawaii from northern Scotland.

lizard
Local animal

One exciting moment in the early evening was my antenna being jerked out of the back of my receiver. Cape Point is a wildlife reserve and we speculated about what sort of insensitive and un-technically minded buck might have done this. Moving ahead two days we had our answer. Just after lunch Gary yelled out "Eland" as one of the antennae was dragged off. Young Nicole became very alarmed at this as Eland are large buck which do populate the park. There is still some discussion going on about Gary's game-spotting skills as the buck turned out to be three ostriches on patrol. Having had my antenna terminated at about half its 300m length on the first evening I strolled out casually but firmly and steered the trio away from the precious wires. They did not return nor did any other Eland.

For me, being able to log Philippines over the first three evenings was a thrill. Vince and Gary have nailed several of these but I'd only heard one, just a few weeks before. In all 5 came up. We also heard some Japanese stations, one for sure, JOIF 1413.

Vince, Gary and Graham
Other local animals (Vince, Gary and Graham)

The first morning session saw the x-band pretty active but no opening to the US below 1600. We did hear KRND 1630 WY for the first time which was putting in a strong signal with good IDs. It was only on the third morning that the US opened up and even then only a bit. Vince got two on 1460, WZNZ and WTKT. Gary and I heard KGED 1680, neither realizing at first this was not Florida. Only on reviewing the recordings and checking the "The All New Legends" ID, did we twig we'd heard Fresno, California with 1 kW. At over 10,000 miles this was a great catch. Thanks to Patrick Martin in Oregon we already have received snail mail QSLs.

On the whole the US conditions conformed with our experience of a mid-winter anomaly for NA. We would expect to do better closer to the equinoxes and even in mid-summer, or further up the sunspot cycle.
On the Sunday we all took a walk down at the coast to see the Olifantsbosch cottage to scout for a future expedition. The cottage is large and right on the sea. It runs on solar power and we spent much time speculating what a great location it could be. It was a stunning day and we had a fun scramble along the beach and into the bush, taking time to look at two wrecks (Thomas T. Tucker and the Nolloth). I even had a brief dip - mid-winter in Cape Town, thank you very much.


The end

One morning a lady game ranger popped in to explain to us why there was a large fire nearby, all under control. As she walked in the door of the covered veranda she saw all our equipment and went 'oooh.' We weren't quite sure whether this noise indicated shock or admiration but she said nothing else so it will always remain a mystery. Possible it was because she hadn't seen a Frog like Gary's for a long time.

A highlight for me was Brazil. Although perfectly situated for greyline activity both day and night and not that far away, the way the big ones come blasting in is truly amazing. In the early evening it is like driving around Rio and hitting the auto-tune button. Then there are the low-powered txs, jostling with each other, every now and then one popping up with an id. Radio Jacuipe 1500 is listed with just 250w and Radio Bom Jesus 1570 with 1 kW daytime. We could hear Brazil for nearly 13 hours a day, from before 9 local at night to after 9 in the morning. I also got a real kick out of R Corporación 1380, first time I've heard Chile on AM, although again, both Gary and Vince have been there, done that.

Equipment:

Receivers:
Graham: NRD-545
Gary: FRG-7 and Icom R-71
Vince: Drake R8A
Antennae:
BoG 300m beamed WNW; BoG 300m beamed magnetic north

Logs:

630 AUSTRALIA Townsville 4QN 1505 "wx for Queensland, mixing and in // with 6AL WA (slightly out of sync). ABC QLD ID" ", good peaks." (Vince)
630 INDONESIA Makassar RRI 1525 "local call-in px, mv anchor, s/off 1600 with 'Radio Republik Indonesia'" ", good peaks." (Graham)
690 COLOMBIA Bogota R Recuerdos 0406 "Latin pops, id jingle after each song, " ", fair." (Graham)
700 BRAZIL Sao Paulo R.Eldorado 0456 nx in PP ", poor-fair." (Vince)
711 VIETNAM Thoi Long VoV 1 1555 w ann incl mention of Vietnam ", fair." (Gary)
720 AUSTRALIA Perth 6WF 1409 "ABC nx, notable as its the earliest I've ever heard them. Audible from 1400 with intelligible speech" ", v poor but readable." (Vince)
729 AUSTRALIA Adelaide 5RN 1425 mx & nx ", v weak at fade-in." (Vince)
750 VENEZUELA Caracas R.Caracas 0358 "Presumed, w mentions of Caracas" ", poor." (Vince)
770 COLOMBIA Bogota RCN 0602 "Presumed, mentions of Colombia, Venezuela & Barranquilla" ", fair." (Vince)
774 PHILIPPINES Quezon City DWWW 1602 EE id ", fair." (Graham)
783 VIETNAM Thoi Long Vov 2 1604 phone-in discussion ", fair." (Gary)
790 ARGENTINA Buenos Aires R.Mitre 0420 multiple ID's in SS ", good." (Vince)
810 COLOMBIA Bogota CARACOL 0607 Cadillac/Chev ads & ID in SS ", good before fadeout." (Vince)
820 ST KITTS NEVIS Charlestown TBN 0540 "EE gospel, South African preacher" ", fair." (Graham)
900 ARGENTINA Corrientes R Provincia 0455 "(TENT) in SS with possible ID, mixing w other SS stn." ", fair." (Vince)
900 AUSTRALIA Bridgetown 6BY 1530 //981 ", v poor." (Vince)
900 VENEZUELA Maracaibo R Mara Ritmo 0543 "SS ids, songs, mentions of Maracaibo" ", fair." (Graham)
910 ARGENTINA Buenos Aires R. La Red 0429 wx for Buenos Aires & ID ", fair." (Vince)
930 BRAZIL Aracaju R Liberdade 2012 PP id and mentions of Aracaju ", fair." (Graham)
954 PHILIPPINES Bulacan DZEM 1555 "(Pres) EE Gospel, slow version of Philippino Nat Anthem at 16h02 " ", poor-fair." (Vince)
981 AUSTRALIA Kalgoorlie 6KG 1515 pops & R.West ID ", fair." (Vince)
1020.1 PARAGUAY Asuncion R Nanduti 0705 many ID's ", fair-good." (Vince)
1026 PHILIPPINES Quezon City DZAR 1558 "Tagalog phone-in px, ID '50 000 watts, DZAR'" ", fair." (Graham)
1030 BRAZIL Olinda R Olinda 1939 PP id and slow pop songs ", good peak." (Graham)
1044 AUSTRALIA Bridgetown 6BR 1559 ABC WA ID (1KW) ", poor." (Vince)
1053 ROMANIA Iasi R Romania 1800 "local id and frequency, news" ", fair." (Graham)
1071 AUSTRALIA Katanning 6WB 1542 w ads ", fair." (Vince)
1080 AUSTRALIA Perth 6IX 1446 w pops ", poor-fair." (Vince)
1150 ARGENTINA Santa Fe R.Brigadier Lopez 0703 full SS ID's & rock mx ", fair." (Vince)
1150 ARGENTINA Santa Fe R Brigadier Lopez 0600 full toth SS id and mx ", fair." (Gary)
1180 BRAZIL Rio de Janeiro R Mundial 0651 PP id and 'Satisfaction' by Rolling Stones ", good ." (Graham)
1190 ARGENTINA Buenos Aires R America 0423 "ad for Banco Galicia, SS" ", good." (Graham)
1206 AUSTRALIA Perth 6BET 1530 w horse racing ", poor." (Vince)
1250 BRAZIL Casimiro de Abreu R Litoral 1915 w ID's ", poor." (Vince)
1296 AUSTRALIA Wagin 6RN 1417 interview ", fading in." (Vince)
1360 BRAZIL Rio R Bandeirantes 2000 ID & football ", fair." (Vince)
1370 BRAZIL Sao Paulo R Da Cidade 0720 "mv PP id 'R Da Cidade, 1370 AM'" ", strong." (Graham)
1380 CHILE Santiago R Corporacion 0632 mv SS id as 'Cadena Portales Corporacion' ", fair peak." (Graham)
1410 USA UNIDENTIFIED 0530 Talk Radio' ID ", poor." (Vince)
1413 JAPAN Fukuoka JOIF 1641 ID & OM/YL talk in JJ ", poor." (Vince)
1440 NIGERIA Yola Adamawa BC 1710 EE report on the need for new Govt. vehicles & ID ", good peaks." (Vince)
1449 AUSTRALIA Mandurah 6TAB 1645 TAB Horse Racing commentary ", poor-fair." (Vince)
1450 ARGENTINA Buenos Aires R El Sol 0459 ID in SS ", fair." (Vince)
1450 BRAZIL Guarapari R Sim 1910 "PP id as 'Sim AM', mentions of Guarapari" ", good peaks." (Graham)
1450 BRAZIL Guarapari R Sim 1958 PP id and mx ", fair." (Gary)
1460 USA Jacksonville FL WZNZ 0523 partially indistinct ann: “1460..Jacksonville's..WZNZ” ", poor." (Vince)
1460 USA Jacksonville FL WZNZ 0600 mv legal toth id 'WZNZ AM 14-60 Jacksonville Florida' ", weak." (Graham)
1460 USA Harrisburg PA WTKT 0503 ID as 'The Ticket' ", poor." (Vince)
1460 COLOMBIA Bogota R Nuevo Continente 0558 "(pres) SS ad for travel agency, mentions of Colombian cities" ", fair." (Graham)
1460 BRAZIL Santo Antonio R Agreste 2010 wv PP id ", fair." (Graham)
1467 THAILAND Pathurn Thani R Thailand 1610 "old pop songs inc 'Bachelor Boy', 'Roses Are Red', anthem s/off 1700" ", good." (Graham)
1470 BRAZIL Sao Jose R Mais Alegria 2007 "choral song, PP id" ", fair." (Graham)
1500 BRAZIL Riachao do Jacuipe R Jacuipe 2029 PP id ", fair." (Graham)
1520 BRAZIL Rio de Janeiro R Continental 2017 PP id and jingle ", fair." (Graham)
1530 PHILIPPINES Quezon City DZME 1602 "ad for Macrobiotics Forever, EE id and anthem s/off" ", good peaks." (Graham)
1540 USA Waterloo IA KXEL 0518 Castrol & schneiderjobs.com ads & midnight trucking network ", poor-fair." (Vince)
1550 USA UNIDENTIFIED 0510 talk about rubbish ", fair." (Vince)
1550 BRAZIL Guaruja R Guaruja Paulista 0827 PP t/check and id ", fair." (Graham)
1570 BRAZIL BM de Itabapoana R Bom Jesus 2011 PP id and songs ", fair peak." (Graham)
1570 MEXICO Cd Acuna XERF 0429 full ID in SS ", fair." (Vince)
1580 COLOMBIA Bogota R Mar 0149 "ezy Latin pops, SS ids" ", fair." (Graham)
1590 COLOMBIA Envigado R Nuevo Continente 0558 full id in SS with call letters ", fair." (Graham)
1610 ANGUILLA Caribbean Beacon 0405 religious sermon ", poor." (Gary)
1620 US VIRGIN IS Frederiksted WDHP 0410 BBC nx ", fair." (Gary)
1620 USA College Station GA WTAW 0535 "discussion, under WDP (pres)" ", poor." (Gary)
1630 USA Fox Farm WY KRND 0253 "Latin songs w tuba, SS ids as 'La Grande', full id toth" ", good peaks." (Graham)
1630 USA Fox Farm WY KRND 0500 ranchero music and dramatic full TOH EE call letter and SS id ", fair." (Gary)
1640 USA Biloxi MS WTNI 0410 (pres) with ESPN Radio ID's ", poor-fair." (Vince)
1640 USA Biloxi MS WTNI 0355 discussion (pres) ", poor." (Gary)
1640 DOMINICAN REP Santo Domingo R Juventus Don Bosco 0608 mx ", poor." (Gary)
1650 USA Cedar Falls IA KCNZ 0540 sports nx & 'The Fan' ID's ", ." (Vince)
1660 USA Marco Island WCNZ 0544 Drew Mariani show & ID for WMYR and WCNZ at TOH ", poor-fair." (Vince)
1660 PUERTO RICO Canovanas WGIT 0401 full id in SS ", fair." (Graham)
1660 USA Marco Is FL WCNZ 0600 toth call letter and Relevant Radio id followed by “Catholic News Weekend Review” ", fair." (Gary)
1660 USA Jersey City NJ WWRU 0400 Korean w full TOH EE call letter id ", fair." (Gary)
1670 USA Dry Branch GA WVVM 0215 Latin pops and Viva ids ", good." (Graham)
1680 USA Fresno CA KGED 0453 “ The All New Legends ” slogan incl “ KGED Legends “ ids and adult nostalgia mx ", fair." (Gary)
1680 USA Fresno CA KGED 0531 "wv 'The All New Legends', songs by The Association, Lenny Kravitz, Engelbert Humperdinck" ", fair." (Graham)
1680 DOMINICAN REP San Pedro de Macoris R Senda 0255 "SS SoPs and full id toth, distorted" ", good." (Graham)
1680 DOMINICAN REP San Pedro de Macoris R Senda 0355 mx and SS ann. Nat Anthem at 0400 and s/off at 0403 ", fair." (Gary)
1680 USA Monroe LA KRJO 0554 gospel mx (pres) ", poor." (Gary)
1690 USA Avondale Estates GA WMLB 0517 YL presenter announced / played “ You Needed Me “ by Anne Murray ", poor." (Gary)
1700 MEXICO Tecate XEPE 0523 "sports comm ,“San Diego 1700 “ id and talkback" ", poor." (Gary)
1700 USA Brownsville TX KVNS 0354 “American Pie ” and “ Never My Love ” incl “ Classic Hits Radio Online.com “ ann. ", good." (Gary)
1700 USA Miami Springs FL WJCC 0540 (pres) SS w discussion and mention of Honduras and Guatemala ", fair." (Gary)

(published on August 14, 2008)

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