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Super Aurora Grayland DXpedition
September 10-11, 2005

by Chuck Hutton

I had made plans to go to Grayland Friday 9 Sep and Saturday 10 Sep, local time. On Thursday, I saw the announcements of major solar flares and thought that my timing might be very good to do something I have always wanted to do –DX from Grayland during a supermajor geomagnetic storm.

It happened. The K indices ranged from 4 to 9 (the highest value on the K scale!) during that period, and the A index hit an astonishing 90. I’d call that supermajor. The auroral oval crept all the way into the US; it covered Washington state and visible aurora was sighted in New York state.

No surprise then that I heard not a single station from Japan, China, or for that matter anywhere at all in Asia. There were NO DX signals from anywhere except Australia, New Zealand, and the southern Pacific islands. Even California was weaker than I’ve ever heard: KGO and KFBK were poor-fair and DU DX came through, along with other 10 KHz channels.

I knew I was in for a good time when the Beverage test Friday night found Tahiti 738 in the clear. Off to bed until 4 AM (1100 GMT) to see what would happen…..

At 1100 I awoke to find an amazing dial: no Asia at all, only a few NZ stations (the stronger guys like Radio National on 567 and 675) and a dial full of Aussies. There was a signal on almost all DU channels up to maybe 1200 KHz but fewer (not by much) above 1200. However, after about 1200 signals declined and after half an hour I started to think it was going to become a boring morning. As soon as I thought it, signals came roaring back and it became a night to remember.

Off to sleep some, and then disaster stuck: late in the afternoon the power went off for the entire Washington coast from Aberdeen down to at least North Cove. Should I bother to put out an antenna for Sunday morning? And more importantly, where do I eat dinner? Fortunately the electricity came back in time for me to put the antenna out.

Sunday morning (9-11) I woke again at 1100 to find no Asia, lots of Aussies (including many that weren’t heard 9-10: go figure), but many NZ stations had magically appeared. I soon forgot all about 9-10 as 9-11 was even better.

What The Sun Was Up To

And here’s the auroral oval: note that the oval itself extended to Washington state.

Here’s a curious picture of the southern auroral oval. See the oval extending to the southern island of New Zealand and Tasmania?

All DX was on a 1000’ Beverage (on the ground) at 213 degrees, unterminated.


540 New Zealand Radio Rhema all alone and good.
630 Australia briefly on top of the channel.
720 Hawaii blocking all the real DX.
810 unid DU mixing with KGO.
900 Hawaii in the way again.
990 unid – see the logs.
1080 Hawaii heard with Samoan program
1170 didn’t check – too busy
1260 didn’t check – too busy
1350 didn’t check – too busy
1440 didn’t check – too busy
1530 Australia – in the course of logging most of the 2SM net, this was noted on top of a weakened KFBK.

Plus bunches and bunches of stations in the 2 kW to 5 kW range that hadn’t been heard in Grayland before.

Not highlights, but still bright lights

531     UNID with a sports event but I couldn’t say what game 1200 Sep. 10. None of the candidates seem likely: 2PM with their EZL, 4KZ with talk or adult contemporary, or 1XPI with island languages. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
540     NEW ZEALAND Radio Rhema 1XC Tauranga 1326 Sep 11 good+ IDs, then all alone on the channel with not a trace of any other station. Amazing. Not  previously logged from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
549     AUSTRALIA 1059 Sep. 10 with rugby game totally in the clear at many points with a fair to good signal. This must be 2CR Orange, NSW as it’s the only Aussie on the channel. Odd to hear this so strong and clear, as there’s only been two previous logs from Grayland and is new to me. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
549     NEW ZEALAND Invercargill, calls unknown, parallel to 1125 and 1503, fair 1144 Sep 11. Odd that Australia was all alone Sep 10 and NZ was all alone Sep 11. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
558     AUSTRALIA 4AM Atherton 1426 Sep. 10 excellent at times with talk,  tele-talk and music. 1427 “time now to return on ABC (or BBC) grand film to London – the ?? series – and songs you love”. A few minutes later, they were in a tele-talk program. Not // the 2SM net. But….. a few minutes later, I happened to notice it was // 1125 and 1098 with a country music show which means this must be the SC net. Can anyone confirm this? I don’t see a country music program on the SC web site. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
567     AUSTRALIA 1410 Sep 10 mix of country mx and choral mx at fair-poor levels. 4JK Julia Creek is the only real Aussie possibility. The other station is likely NZ National Radio but no ID heard. First log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
576     AUSTRALIA 2RN Sydney ABC National with New Orleans music at almost enjoyable levels 1213 Sep. 10. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
576     AUSTRALIA 2RN Sydney ABC National 1410 Sep. 10 very good with a radio drama way on top of music from Southern Star. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
576     AUSTRALIA 2RN Sydney very good 1246 Sep 11 with jazz program. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
585     AUSTRALIA 2WEB Bourke NSW 1246 Sep 11 with good+ 2WEB ID’s, promo and calls. What a signal – only 5 kw. Not previously logged from Grayland. First log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
585     AUSTRALIA 7RN Hobart with the ABC National jazz program 1246 Sep 11 way under 2WEB the DX crusher. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
594     AUSTRALIA frequently heard 3WV Horsham, Victoria fair to good 1105 Sep. 10 with sports event but more interestingly a poor EE station way underneath that I didn’t get an ID on. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
594     NEW ZEALAND Radio Rhema 1329 Sep 11 with mx way under Australia that after several tries I decided was indeed Rhema parallel to 540. The hardest of the Rhema stations to log tonight. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
603     AUSTRALIA 2RN Nowra NSW 1255 Sep 11 a mix of two fair signals, one of which was // ABC National on 576 so must be 2RN. (CH-WA Sep2005)
621     AUSTRALIA 3RN ABC National, Melborne, Victoria fair with talk about population levels 1107 Sep. 10. One previous Grayland log but new to me. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
621     AUSTRALIA 3RN Melbourne 1256 Sep 11 with an excellent signal (!) from the National program. One previous log from Grayland, and here it was tonight at an excellent level. Wow. Second log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
630     AUSTRALIA 4WN Townsville, Qsld amazing 1300 Sep 11 with Australian news. Usually even with and sometimes over the domestics. Not previously logged from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
639     AUSTRALIA 2HC Coffs Harbour assumed as the EZL music fair at 1115 Sep. 10. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
639     UNID EE way under Coffs Harbour 1115 Sep. 10 with what sounded like a sports event. No clue who this was – maybe NZ National Radio as the sometimes-heard 8RN is ABC National and this was not // 621. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
639     FIJI Drasa 1209 Sep. 10 with good choral singing. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
648     NEW ZEALAND R. Rhema, religious mx mixing with Australia sports, fair, 1211 Sep. 10. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
648     AUSTRALIA 2NU Tamworth, NSW good+ (!) with rugby. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
648     NEW ZEALAND R. Rhema, Gisborne 1042 Sep 11 good or better with modern Christian mx. Every now and then, it must have been the best station on the band. How can it do that with only 5 kw? (CH-WA Sep 2005)
657     AUSTRALIA ? 1221 Sep. 10 poor talk, should be 2BY Byrock NSW but I can’t prove it. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
657     AUSTRALIA 2BY Byrock assumed the one with the mention of Radio Australia 1307 Sep 11. New. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
666     UNID putting a decent het of several hundred Hz on the channel 1310 Sep 11. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
666     AUSTRALIA 2CN Canberra 1313 Sep 11 with sports talk (“England are 10 runs in the lead”), this would be a cricket score I suppose (CH-WA Sep 2005)
666     AUSTRALIA weak mx under the sports station above at 1313 Sep 11. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
684     FIJI 1230 Sep. 10 poor with choral mx // 639. (CH-WA Sep 2006)
702     AUSTRALIA 2BL Sydney 1119 Sep. 10 very good with sports game. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
720     HAWAII KUAI 1234 Sep. 10 excellent with Hawaiian mx and keeping me from getting any DU DX. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
729     AUSTRALIA 5RN ABC National, Adelaide excellent with New Orleans music. Something way under, maybe NZ’s National Radio. Second log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
765     AUSTRALIA ? poor talk and fair Led Zeppelin 1247 Sep. 10; 2EC Bega? (CH-WA Sep 2005)
801     AUSTRALIA / UNID 2RF Gosford in Italian fair 1113 Sep. 11. Unid underneath in EE. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
801     AUSTRALIA 2RF Gosford 1220 Sep. 11 mass in Italian, fair. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
810     UNID DU on top of an aurora weakened KGO 1351 Sep 11. This would be either 2BA Bega NSW or 4YA National Radio but I didn’t go check the parallels. Either would be new. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
819     NEW ZEALAND 1YZ Rotorua 1352 Sep 11 fair and best ever for me, // to 567. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
846     UNID 1123 Sep. 10 fair with what sounds like English a capella folk singing. Maybe 2RN (ABC National) but apparently I didn’t check for parallels. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
855     AUSTRALIA  4QO / 4QB 1255 Sep. 10 poor with a man talking including  mentions of Australia. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
864     AUSTRALIA 2GR Toowoomba 1259 poor with man and woman talking together then pop mx with no news. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
864     NEW ZEALAND 4ZA Invercargill 1356 Sep 11 poor but easily paralleled to the ZB network on 1008. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
873     AUSTRALIA 2GB Sydney at good level with talk, pips, ID and news. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
891     AUSTRALIA 5AN Adelaide, S. Australia 1256 Sep. 10 with good talk program. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
891     AUSTRALIA 4TAB Innisfail parallel with 4TAB on 1008 at 1308 Sep. 10. While 5AN was way on top, 4TAB was clearly follow-able. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
891     AUSTRALIA 5AN Adelaide excellent with BBC news at 1401 Sep 11. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
909     NEW ZEALAND Southern Star, Napier fair+ religious mx 1402 Sep 11. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
927     AUSTRALIA 4CC Gladstone with fair country mx 1317 Sep 11. It wouldn’t stay up at the same time as 666 to see if they were parallel. Rare. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
936     AUSTRALIA 1302 Sep. 10 fair with BBC news. I don’t think this is Hobart but rather  4PB Brisbane ABC Newsradio as the BBC WS lists 4PB but not Hobart, and because it was // 972. Mixing with another English stn. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
940     HAWAII Honolulu best ever 1430 Sep 11 with talk about Queen Liliuokalani and very good mx. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
963     AUSTRALIA 4WK Warwick, Qsld 1350 Sep. 10 fair-poor and seemingly parallel 1134 and the 2SM net. I’m almost 100% sure, but it was a tough one and I didn’t spend enough time to be sure. Not previously logged at Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
963     NEW ZEALAND Christchurch Southern Star 1159 Sep 11 poor-fair religious mx. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
972     AUSTRALIA 5PB Adelaide with good ABC News Radio ID 1304 Sep. 10 and then the “Star Stuff” science program. Awesome signal for only 2 kw! First log from Grayland.  (CH-WA Sep 2005)
972     AUSTRALIA 5PB Adelaide ABC Newsradio 1355 good with talk, 2 short low and 1 long high pips, BBC WS news. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
972     AUSTRALIA very weak country music 1335 Sep 11 so it must be the 2SM stations. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
981     UNIDS 1403 Sep. 10 dueling mx and news, 1404 a very poor “you are listening to ???”.(CH-WA Sep 2005)
981     UNIDS 1403 Sep. 10  poor+ mix of news and music. 3HA and/or 2NM and/or Southern Star? I should have taken time to look for parallels. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
990     UNID English accented talk about exorcism and possession at good+ level 1410 Sep. 11. Given the conditions I would expect Hawaii, but they are listed as “business talk”. Does that mean talk about business or normal talk shows? With this signal, I can’t see it being 4RO Rockhampton. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1008   AUSTRALIA / UNID 4TAB Brisbane 1307 Sep. 10 good with horse racing news. Someone way under with what sounded like old fashioned ballads. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1017   AUSTRALIA 2KY Sydney 1411 Sep 11 with good signal and a version of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” followed by “Here on the Easy Mix” mention. Good enough to be entertaining. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1026   NEW ZEALAND Southern Star, Invercargill poor-fair and – after a few relistens to the recording – I believe I caught music // 909 1405 Sep 11. No competition from anyone else. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1035   NEW ZEALAND 2ZB Wellington fair at times 1417 Sep 11 with a man talking but not parallel 1008 so 1008 must have been one of the Aussies. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1053   AUSTRALIA 1311 Sep. 10 2CA Canberra assumed the one well in the clear with a fair signal at times of oldies. Amazing as there are no previous Grayland logs. First log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1080   UNID 1428 Sep 11 talk in what sounded like an island language but in 2nd place to Portland so I could be wrong. Hawaii is newstalk and the DU stations are not ethnic, so I have no clue what I heard. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1089   AUSTRALIA unid weak stn 1419 Sep. 10. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1098   AUSTRALIA 4LG Longreach 1420 Sep. 10 poor // 558. Assumed since it is the only SC net affiliate. First log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1107   UNID 1316 Sep. 10 with fair-poor rock mx with a techno-space sound. Only an SBS ethnic station is listed, so who might this be? I’d have to bet 2EA with something unusual because otherwise I’m going to kick myself for not checking SW // to see if this is Papua New Guinea. 2EA has an “Alchemy” program listed – sounds like it might feature odd music. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1125   AUSTRALIA 5MU Murray Bridge 1420 Sep. 10 poor // 558. Assumed since it is the only SC net affiliate. First log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1125   NEW ZEALAND Napier Radio Sport fair and a little better than the parallel on 1503 1140 Sep. 11. New to me, but previously logged by John Bryant. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1134   AUSTRALIA 2AD Armidale NSW 1327 Sep. 10 good at times // 2HD 1143 with the 2SM country music show. Fair with ad saying “call 15-15-33” at 1335. Not an unusual station, but the best ever reception for me. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1143   AUSTRALIA 2HD Newcastle 1325 Sep. 10 nice! with a mention of “all time country favorites on Country Music Radio” then – you guessed it -  country music. Not often heard, and never heard like this before! (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1152   FIJI Rakiraki 1330 Sep. 10 good choral mx. Nice signal for only 2.5 kw. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1152   AUSTRALIA 2WG Wagga Wagga 1330 Sep. 10 good ID for a nice surprise, taking turns with Fiji through the night. Not previously heard at Grayland. First log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1188   AUSTRALIA 1335 Sep. 10 fair-poor country mx // to 1134 so this is the 2SM net and therefore 2NZ Inverell NSW. Not previously logged at Grayland. Only 2 kw! (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1206   AUSTRALIA fair+ and approaching good 1336 Sep. 10 with country music // 1134 so yet another 2SM relay: 2GF Grafton NSW. New to me but logged a handful of times by other Graylandistas. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1233   AUSTRALIA 2NC Newcastle, NSW 1136 Sep. 10 fair with a sports event. No ID, but it’s the only Australian. New for me but occasionally heard by others at Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1242   AUSTRALIA 1308 Sep. 10 – I figured I might as well check 1242 for a 4TAB relay as I’d heard several other 4TAB’s, but instead there was some female pop singing at a poor level. No way to tell if it was 4AK Toowoomba, 3GV Sale or 5AU Port Augusta. Too bad – all would be nice catches. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1251   AUSTRALIA 2DU Dubbo one of the weaker 2SM net stations but still there to be paralled 1335 Sep. 10. Only 2 kw & not heard previously at Grayland & not much of a signal. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1251   NEW ZEALAND R.Rhema, 1XG Auckland poor but parallelable with 648 which is now my Rhema reference point for paralleling. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1251   NEW ZEALAND 1XG Radio Rhema, Auckland 1329 good+ (wow!) and parallel to Rhema 540 which I was using as the reference point for Rhema parallels. Almost too much to believe. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1269   AUSTRALIA 2SM Sydney NSW 1335 Sep. 10: spun the dial up from 1251 to 1269 and yes there was 2SM itself doing fair at times. New to me and only logged once at Grayland by Bruce Portzer (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1287   AUSTRALIA 2TM Tamworth 1336 Sep. 10 – yet another 2SM relay poor but easily paralleled. Not often heard. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1314   AUSTRALIA 1138 Sep. 10 poor-fair with horse race results. I initially assumed this was 2ZW on the 2KY network, but I suppose it could also have been 3BT Ballarat as they relay Sports 927. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1341   AUSTRALIA poor EE talk 1140 Sep. 10 but I could not make out the words. Assuming 3CW is 100% ethnic, this should be 2HH Newcastle NSW on the 2KY network, but I did not try to parallel it. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1404   AUSTRALIA 2PK Parkes NSW 1338 Sep 11 to fair peaks // 1557 with the 2SM network and mixing with New Zealand. New and only 2 kw. I’m happy. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1404   NEW ZEALAND 4XL Invercargill 1339 Sep 11 fair+ with modern religious mx. New. Good enough to serve as a reference point to look for more Rhema stations. First log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1449   AUSTRALIA 1336 Sep. 10: I couldn’t get quite enough to be sure it was // the 2SM net. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1460   UNID 1432 Sep 11 religious mx, normally on top of a very weak channel.  Hoping for Hawaii, but no ID. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1500   UNID 1128 Sep. 11 in the clear with talk that sounded Korean. Normally Hawaii would be here but they are talk, so who’s this? (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1503   NEW ZEALAND Wellington / Christchurch Radio Sport 1141 Sep 11, fair with sports talk // 1125. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1530   AUSTRALIA 2VM Moree NSW 1347 Sep. 10 briefly even with KFBK! Easily paralleled to 1134 and happily logged. Only 2 kw. First log from Grayland. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1557   AUSTRALIA mix of mx and talk, both poor+. The talk sounded like a horse race but could have been some other sports event. The mx is likely 2RE Taree with the 2SM country music show. I really have no clue on the sports – it shouldn’t be NZ’s ZB Talk Radio which leaves only the somewhat unlikely 500 watter 5?? in Renamrk, S. Australia.
1566   AUSTRALIA 3NE Wangaratta 1146 Sep. 10 good (!) with “Da Doo Run Run”. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1611   AUSTRALIA with poor mx 1150 Sep. 10 parallel to 1629. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1629   AUSTRALIA with poor mx 1150 Sep. 10 parallel to 1611. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1639   AUSTRALIA Armidale and or Brisbane fair-poor with mx and a clear Radio 16 ID but no local mention I could catch 1154 Sep. 10. Each is only 400 Watts so this is my lowest powered DU reception so far. (CH-WA Sep 2005)
1701   AUSTRALIA R. Brisbani 1156 Sep. 10 poor-fair with mx and talk, best ever heard. (CH-WA Sep 2005)

Posted on January 13, 2007

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