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Fish Hoek DXpedition Report

March 2 - May 2, 2006

by Gary Deacon

The period from the 2nd March to the 2nd May 2006 has produced some sensational reception from Australia.

Fish Hoek (in South Africa)
My QTH in Fish Hoek is situated less than 1 km from the False Bay Coast, from which there is an all water path to most of Australia. This would help to explain the awesome strength and clarity of some stations from Western Australia. For example, 6PR Perth on 882 kHz (2kw) has been heard most evenings here with a huge signal!

The highlights have included unusual reception of stations from the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. Of the 98 Australian stations received, 28 were heard for the first time here in Fish Hoek.

Map of Fish Hoek
Fish Hoek and the Western Cape, South Africa

The most notable have included: 2HD Newcastle on 1143 kHz (2kw), 2WG Wagga Wagga on 1152 kHz (2kw), 3ML Mildura on 1467 kHz (2kw), 4TI Thursday Island on 1062 kHz (2kw), 4LG Longreach on 1098 khz (2kw), 4ZR Roma on 1476 kHz (2kw), 7ZR Hobart on 936 kHz (10kw), 8AL Alice Springs on 783 kHz (2kw), 8TAB Darwin on 1242 kHz (2kw), 8GO Nhulumby on 990 kHz with 500 watts and perhaps the most remarkable of all, 5LN Port Lincoln/4HU Hughenden on 1485 kHz with an incredible 200 watts/50 watts respectively.

The highlight of the season has been the surprise appearance of KTWG Agana, Guam on 801 kHz (10 kw) for the first time in South Africa at a distance of 14 175 km / 8 809 miles. The friendly QSL reply from Operations Manager Leilani Dahilig was a pleasant surprise too!

The following are some distances and compass bearings from Fish Hoek:
Perth: 8 685 km / 5 398 miles (120 degrees)
Hobart: 10 007 km / 6 219 miles (145 degrees)
Adelaide: 10 136 km / 6 299 miles (135 degrees)
Melbourne: 10 332 km / 6 421 miles (140 degrees)
Dunedin: 10 705 km / 6 653 miles (160 degrees)
Sydney: 10 987 km / 6 828 miles (142 degrees)
Darwin: 11 231 km / 6 980 miles (110 degrees)
Brisbane: 11 668 km / 7 252 miles (140 degrees)
Thursday Is: 12 290 km / 7 638 miles (120 degrees)
Agana, Guam: 14 175 km / 8 809 miles (100 degrees)

Antenna bearings
Fish Hoek and the Western Cape, South Africa, showing a few Pacific DX signal bearings

Stations from Western Australia are the most consistent. South Australia and Queensland are heard less frequently. Victoria and New South Wales are not heard that often. The Northern Territory and Tasmania are rarely heard. New Zealand is extremely rare.

Australian stations at a compass bearing of more than140 degrees from Fish Hoek seem to be the most difficult to hear. For example, 1062 4TI Thursday Island (2kw) at 120 degrees and 12 290 km was more consistent than 936 7ZR Hobart (10 kw) at 145 degrees and 10 007 km. Although a rare catch, I would consider 801 KTWG Agana, Guam (10 kw) at 100 degrees and 14 175 km less illusive than 1044 4ZB Dunedin, New Zealand (10 kw) at 160 degrees and 10 705 km.

Cape Peninsula
Cape Peninsula

My conclusion is that polar absorbtion seems to reduce the ability of signals from the more southerly latitudes to reach here. It would appear that quiet ionospheric conditions with very low A/K indices are essential in order to receive dx signals from the south east part of Australia and New Zealand.

Power Supply Cuts
We've recently been subjected to power supply cuts here in the Western Cape. I decided to take advantage of the situation by dxing from my QTH during the absence of local electrical noise sources.

160 Metre BOG
I set up a 160 metre BOG (Beverage on ground) opposite my QTH and directed the antenna at 120 degrees towards Perth. There are no houses along that side of the road for about 200 metres. The vacant land forms part of a nature reserve. I parked my car opposite my QTH and listened with the FRG7 which was connected to the car battery via an adaptor. The awesome reception from Australia during the evening was encouraging to say the least!

Towards the end of the listening session, the power returned and I was pleasantly surprised by the relatively low levels of electrical QRN across the band. The BOG seemed to have the ablility to null out most of the local electrical interference from directions on the sides of the antenna.

Fish Hoek map
The two DX locations

I have also been listening from another quiet location between the Fish Hoek sports complex and Peers Cave, situated approximately 2 km towards the west, where local electrical noise sources are virtually non-existent across the band. (Peers Cave is a stone age cave site where the remains of the famous 12 000 year old Fish Hoek Man was discovered with a collection of stone age tools).

The ALA1530 loop antenna
The ALA1530 loop antenna at my QTH also has the ablility to receive Australia with good results. Stations heard on the 3/4 were received with the ALA1530 from home.

The loggings

(stations heard for the first time in the loggings section are indicated with an asterisk *)

531 1845 AUSTRALIA 6DL Dalwallinu w "Brown Eyed Girl" // 720 - poor under QRM - 7/3

558 1912 AUSTRALIA 6WA Wagin w phone-in px - good - 7/3

585 1855 AUSTRALIA 6PB Perth w news, id as "ABC News Radio" and a line up for the "Breakfast Program" fair - 7/3

Fish Hoek Beach looking south
Fish Hoek Beach looking south

594 1815 AUSTRALIA 3WV Horsham w phone-in - fair - 2/5 *

603 1833 AUSTRALIA 6PH Port Hedland w ABC news - poor 15/3

612 1704 AUSTRALIA 6RN Dalwallinu w news - fair 21/3

630 1750 AUSTRALIA 6AL Albany w phone-in (1sec delay from // 720) - fair 21/3

630 1925 AUSTRALIA 4QN Townsville w mx - fair 28/3

639 1720 AUSTRALIA 5CK Port Pirie (presumed) w phone-in - fair 2/4

648 1656 AUSTRALIA 6GF Kalgoorlie w mx and ABC news at 1700 - fair 23/3

675 1755 AUSTRALIA 6BE Broome w phone-in px (1 sec delay from // 720) - poor 7/3

684 1800 AUSTRALIA 6BS Busselton w ABC news read by John Logan - poor/fair 7/3

693 1926 AUSTRALIA 5SY Streaky Bay (presumed) w phone-in px - poor 2/4 *

702 1655 AUSTRALIA 6KP Karratha w mx // 720 - poor but clear under local Radio 702 - 21/3

711 1812 AUSTRALIA 4QW St. George w phone-in - poor 2/5 *

Simons Town
Looking south across Fish Hoek with Simons Town in the distance

720 1704 AUSTRALIA 6WF Perth w ABC news - excellent steady signal for most of the evening 21/3

729 1925 AUSTRALIA 5RN Adelaide w mx - very good 2/4

747 1705 AUSTRALIA 6SE Esperance w promo for "Health Matters", id as "The Best Songs Of All Time - Radio West" - good 23/3

756 1705 AUSTRALIA 6TZ Margaret River // 747 - poor 21/3

765 1809 AUSTRALIA 5CC Port Lincoln (presumed) w mx incl "Build Me Up Buttercup" - fair 2/5

774 1823 AUSTRALIA 3LO Melborne w phone-in px - good 2/4

783 1906 AUSTRALIA 6VA Albany w ads including "Albany Better Electrical and Gas" - good 29/3

783 1930 AUSTRALIA 8AL Alice Springs w ABC news - poor under 6VA - 29/3

792 1802 AUSTRALIA 4RN Brisbane w id as ABC Radio National - 3/4 *

dx location
A close-up view of the dx location opposite my QTH in the middle

801 1830 GUAM KTWG Agana w id as "Stay tuned right here - The Cornerstone - KTWG" and Christian programs. Noted for the first time during the previous evening (21/3). Really pleased to hear the station id this evening (22/3).*

810 1710 AUSTRALIA 6RN Perth w interview - good 21/3

828 1704 AUSTRALIA 6GN Geraldton w ABC news - good 21/3

837 1922 AUSTRALIA 6ED Esperance w mx // 720 - poor 2/3

864 1825 AUSTRALIA 6AM Northam w mx // 747 - poor 21/3

873 1705 AUSTRALIA 6DB Derby w ABC news and wx - very poor *

882 1722 AUSTRALIA 6PR Perth w ads including "John Hughes - WA's most trusted car dealer" and phone-in px excellent steady signal heard most evenings - 21/3

891 1804 AUSTRALIA 5AN Adelaide w ABC news and wx - fair w QRM 3/4

900 1906 AUSTRALIA 6BY Bridgetown w ads - poor 21/3

918 1758 AUSTRALIA 6NA Narrogin w ads - fair 21/3

936 1908 AUSTRALIA 6TZ Fitzroy Crossing (presumed) w continuous country/rock mx - poor/fair 21/3

936 1858 AUSTRALIA 7ZR Hobart w wx - poor 31/3 *

963 1842 AUSTRALIA 6TZ Bunbury w mx - good 21/3

to Perth
Looking towards Perth from the DX location between the sports field and Peers Cave

981 1923 AUSTRALIA 6KG Kalgoorlie w ads including "Travel World Kalgoorlie" and Radio West id - good 24/3

990 1900 AUSTRALIA 6RPH Perth w BBC news - excellent steady signal heard most evenings - surprising for 2kw! 29/3

990 1820 AUSTRALIA 8GO Nhulumby w phone-in - very poor under 6RPH - 29/3 *

1008 2005 AUSTRALIA 4TAB Brisbane w racing results - poor/fair under Maputo, Mozambique - 24/3 *

1026 1943 AUSTRALIA 3PB Melbourne (tentative) w phone-in - poor under Chimoio, Mozambique - 2/4 *

1026 1724 AUSTRALIA 6NW Port Hedland w id as "The Spirit" and mx // 1512 kHz - very poor 18/4

1044 1904 AUSTRALIA 6BR Bridgetown (presumed) w ABC news and wx - very poor - 24/3

1044 1944 AUSTRALIA 5CS Port Pirie w ads including "Jamestown Furniture And Electrical" and id as "Classic Hits 1044 - 5CS" - fair 2/4

Across dunes
Looking north across the dunes towards Peers Cave

1053 1947 AUSTRALIA 2CA Canberra w ads and id - poor/fair - 2/4

1062 1918 AUSTRALIA 4TI Thursday Island w dramatic on-location report of cyclone damage in Innisfail - id as "ABC Far North" at 1929 UTC by the male presenter. Great to hear 4TI as the tx is the most distant of all the Australian stations (7 638 miles or 12 290 kilometres from Cape Town) - poor/fair 21/3 *

1062 1958 PHILIPPINES DZEC Pasig w National Anthem and id - poor 21/3

1071 1710 AUSTRALIA 6WB Katanning w mx - good 15/3

1080 1735 AUSTRALIA 6IX Perth w id jingle "This is my city - good times and great music - 10-80 AM and 67 FM - 6IX" good 21/3

1098 1945 AUSTRALIA 4LG Longreach w id as "Stonehenge - It's your station - All the great songs - 4LG", followed by "Lost In France" by Bonnie Tyler - fair 24/3 *

1098 1727 AUSTRALIA 6MD Merredin w promo for "Health Matters" and "The Best Songs Of All Time - Radio West id - fair 21/3 *

1116 1835 AUSTRALIA 6MM Mandurah w ads including "Inkspot Printing" and mx - id's as "6 double M" - good 21/3

1125 1748 AUSTRALIA 5MU Murray Bridge w ads including "Bakers Delight" - id as "11-25 - 5MU" - good 2/4 *

1134 1818 AUSTRALIA 3CS Colac w "New Day Victoria" and id as "11-34 - 3CS" followed by "Broken Wings" - fair 2/4 *

1143 1936 AUSTRALIA 2HD Newcastle w wx and id as "Newcastle - 2HD" - poor but clear - 2/4 *

1143 1839 AUSTRALIA 4HI Emerald w id as "The Best Songs Of All Time Central Highlands And The Coalfields - 4HI" - poor 24/3

1152 1826 AUSTRALIA 2WG Wagga Wagga w ads including "Wagga Motors" - poor 2/4 *

1161 1758 AUSTRALIA 5PA Naracoorte w phone-in - good 2/4

1188 1704 AUSTRALIA 6XM Exmouth w ABC news - poor 22/3

1197 1858 AUSTRALIA 5RPH Adelaide w BBC relay of interview - good 2/4 *

1206 1820 AUSTRALIA 6BET Perth w racing results - fair w good peaks 9/3

1215 1650 AUSTRALIA 6NM Northam w phone-in px - poor 21/3

1224 1823 AUSTRALIA 6RN Busselton w interview - good 12/3

1233 1722 AUSTRALIA 2NC Newcastle w phone-in about relationships - poor 2/4 *

1242 1905 AUSTRALIA 3GV Sale w news, wx, id jingle and mx including "Lola" - fair 2/4 *

1242 1915 AUSTRALIA 5AU Port Augusta w ads including "One Stop Carpets" and mx - fair 2/4

1242 1938 AUSTRALIA 8TAB Darwin w promo for "The New TAB Sports Bet Multi", id as "This is Radio TAB Australia" and European football scores - fair peak 29/3 *

1251 1904 AUSTRALIA 2DU Dubbo w news and wx - poor/fair 2/4 *

1260 1802 AUSTRALIA 6KA Karratha w id as "The Spirit" and mx // 1512 kHz - poor 27/4

1278 1725 UNIDENTIFIED w an old time radio episode of "The Lone Ranger" - poor (heard Briefly) 30/4

1296 1810 AUSTRALIA 6RN Wagin w interview - excellent steady signal for most of the evening 12/3

1305 1835 AUSTRALIA 5RN Renmark w Radio National id - fair 3/4 *

1314 1829 AUSTRALIA 3BT Ballarat w phone-in and id as "Sports 927" poor w brief fair peaks *

1323 1814 AUSTRALIA 5DN Adelaide (presumed) w mx including "Blowing In The Wind" - fair *

1332 1712 AUSTRALIA 3SH Swan Hill w id including a mention of hits from the 70's, 80's and 90's and "More Than A Woman" by the Bee Gees - poor/fair 2/4

1341 1823 AUSTRALIA 3CW Leopold w ann in Chinese - poor 30/4

1377 1754 AUSTRALIA 3MP Melbourne w ads - poor 30/4

1395 1848 AUSTRALIA 5AA Adelaide w phone-in concerning the restoration of sea rescue vessel "Archie", which used to operate in South Australian coastal waters - excellent peak 2/4

1404 1842 AUSTRALIA 6TAB Busselton w racing results - good 29/3

1422 1806 AUSTRALIA 6GS Wagin w id as "AM 14-22 - Radio Great Southern, broadcasting to you from Wagin in WA" followed by ads including "The Sanctuary Golf Resort, Pelican Point, Bunbury" - fair over New Panhelenic Voice, Johannesburg - 29/3

1431 2032 AUSTRALIA Vision Radio Kalgoorlie w "Vision Radio Network" id, ann and religious programs - poor/fair - 28/3

1449 1842 AUSTRALIA 6TAB Mandurah w racing results - excellent 29/3

1467 1653 AUSTRALIA 3ML Mildura w id as "The Easy Mix in Mildura. 14-67 AM" and mx - fair peak 30/4 *

1476 1834 AUSTRALIA 4ZR Roma w news and id - poor 6/3

1476 2059 PHILIPPINES DXRJ Iligan City w id, organ/surf mx fanfare followed by VOA news relay at 2100 hours UTC - fair 24/3

1485 1820 AUSTRALIA 5LN Port Lincoln/4HU Hughenden w phone-in // 4QD Emerald 1548 kHz - interesting and quite remarkable as the tx power is listed as 200 watts and 50 watts respectively - poor 2/5 *

1494 1833 AUSTRALIA 2AY Albury w news - poor 6/3

1521 1735 AUSTRALIA 2QN Deniliquin w ads, id as "Solid Gold Hits 2QN" and mx including "Up Where We Belong" - poor 30/4

1512 1835 AUSTRALIA 6BAY Morawa w mx and id's as "The Spirit" - good steady signal 9/3

1539 1939 AUSTRALIA 5TAB Adelaide w betting code information - good 2/4

1548 1829 AUSTRALIA 4QD Emerald w id as "ABC Local Radio Queensland" - good peak 24/3

1566 1827 AUSTRALIA 3NE Wangaratta w id "Across Northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales, you're listening to the Solid Gold Hit Network" and ads including "Reese, Stockdale and Leggo" estate agents. Station id as "Solid Gold Hits - 15 double 6 - 3NE" - fair with good peaks 6/3

1593 1745 AUSTRALIA 3RG Radio Italia Melbourne in Italian w phone-in px - poor w fair peaks 30/4 *

1602 1817 AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND UNIDENTIFIED w anns by female presenter - very poor (heard briefly) 6/3 *

1611 2022 AUSTRALIA 6GS Wagin w ads including "The Sanctuary Golf Resort, Pelican Point, Bunbury" and mx - poor but clear - 24/3

1611 1840 AUSTRALIA Radio 2 Broome, Kalgoorlie and various locations w mx - poor 28/3

1620 1845 AUSTRALIA Radio 2 Perth and various locations w mx - poor 28/3

1629 1845 AUSTRALIA Radio 2 various locations w mx very poor 28/3

1638 1847 AUSTRALIA 2ME Sydney or 3ME Melbourne in AA ? - very poor 6/3 *

1647 1908 AUSTRALIA NTC Radio Canberra (presumed) w mx - poor (heard briefly) 6/3 *

Receiver FRG7

Antenna 160m BOG at 120 degrees and ALA1530 (3rd April 2006)

QSL Highlights

4TAB Brisbane 1008 kHz. Polite e-mail verification with coverage area and Radio TAB Network frequency info. v/s Van Richards-Smith, Chief Engineer (VK4ZVZ)
4TI Thursday Island 1062 kHz. Full data e-mail verification and coverage map. Really pleased with this verification as this is the most distant of the Australian AM tx's from Cape Town. v/s Jo Lindsay, Communications Officer, ABC Transmission Public Relations.
4LG Longreach 1098 kHz. e-mail verification. v/s Matt Stephens, Station Manager.
4HI Emerald 1143 kHz. e-mail verification stating that I was listening to the Miner's Overnight program. v/s Trent Towsen, Program Director.
4ZR Roma 1476 kHz. Brief e-mail verification v/s Trent Towsen, Program Director. Also received a reply from Kerri Collins, General Manager who stated that she had also received a recent notification of reception and a CD from Japan.
Vision FM Kalgoorlie 1431 kHz. Friendly full data e-mail verification for e-mail follow up of reception at Millers Point on 12th August 2004. Part of the reply:
"We are pleased to confirm that you indeed heard Australia's Vision Radio Network (then called "Vision FM") on 1431 kHz, emanating from a 500w transmitter in Kalgoorlie, WA; I recollect receiving and reply to a reception report from South Africa over a year ago - perhaps it was yours and the reply went astray in the mail. At the time I was quite surprised that the signal got that far, highlighted now by the clarity of your audio grab ... "
v/s Phil Edwards, Broadcast Operations Manager
6GS Wagin 1611 kHz. e-mail verification included that they have been receiving quite a few reports lately. v/s Norm Chilcott, Operations Manager.
7ZR Hobart 936 kHz. e-mail and postal verification stating that this is the first report from Africa. v/s Graham Himmelhoch- Mutton, Transmissions Supervisor, Master Control.
8TAB Darwin 1242 kHz. Polite full data e-mail verification included an attachment of a race sheet relating to that evening's coverage of four events from South Africa. v/s Van Richards-Smith, Chief Engineer (VK4ZVZ).

Guam postcard QSL back
QSL from Guam

KTWG Agana 801 kHz. Postcard and e-mail verification. Really pleased with the friendly reply from the Pacific! v/s Leilani Dahilig, Operations Manager. The e-mail reply:
"Dear Gary,
WOW! Thanks so much for your email! I am thrilled to hear that you have been able to pick up our signal! I went over our program log for yesterday, March 23, as well as enjoyed listening to the clip of audio you sent, and I am happy to confirm your reception report. I am especially tickled with the station ID your sent, as the voice is that of my daughter, Kirsten -14 years old. She will love it that someone so far away has heard her voice. If you are interested, please check out our website at ktwg.com
Lately I have received several reception reports from Finland, Iceland, and surrounding areas, but you are the first from South Africa! Please send me your mailing address so I can send you a post card. I love the picture of your daughter-she's a beauty!
I'm pleased to see that you were able to get quite a bit of understandable audio during your reception of our signal. We are a non profit Christian radio station utilizing a 10000 watt transmitter. Please let me know of future receptions. Blessings to you and yours in South Africa!.. Leilani - KTWG "

Gary Deacon
Fish Hoek
South Africa

(published on May 28, 2006)

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