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DXpedition Holiday to Kwazulu Natal
and the Free State

By Gary Deacon

A family holiday to Kwazulu Natal and the Free State began with an enjoyable train trip from Cape Town to Durban. We then drove south in a hired car from Durban to San Lameer on the picturesque Kwazulu Natal south coast. Well known for its year-round tropical climate, this area is one of South Africa's most popular tourist destinations.

Mobile DXing from the Kwazulu Natal Coast

Indian Ocean from Marina Beach
The Indian Ocean from Marina Beach - San Lameer

Stations to the East across the Indian Ocean began to fade in around 1355 hours UTC on the National Panasonic car radio! Listening to strong MW signals from the Maldives, Mauritius, Mayotte, Taiwan and Vietnam while motoring along the coast was unusual to say the least! During one late afternoon around 1420 hours the following week, I heard a word perfect English announcement from the Maldives on 1449 kHz MW while driving along a crowded Durban beachfront!

San Lameer

Situated just past Marina Beach, approximately an hour and a half’s drive from Durban, is the San Lameer golf estate. We spent the next two nights in this up-market tropical paridise which is surrounded by over 195 species of bird - the winged variety that is! I was quite surprised to see troops of impala, reedbuck and bushbuck roaming freely around the golf course!

Deacon
Yours Truly at San Lameer

A good opening to Australia occurred on 22/6, my first night of Dxing from San Lameer.

The FRG7 was connected via a preselector to an 80m long wire antenna directed NW-SE:

666 2140 REUNION RFO St. Pierre in FF w phone-in - very good 23/6

684 1910 MAURITIUS MBC 1 Malherbes in FF - fair 23/6

684 1555 CHINA various locations w ann - good 22/6

720 1840 AUSTRALIA 6WF Perth w discussion - very good 23/6

720 1536 INDIA AIR Chennai in EE w news - fair 22/6

729 1540 AUSTRALIA 5RN Adelaide w jazz mx - fair 22/6

Antenna on ground
San Lameer - Antenna on the ground towards the North West

774 1540 AUSTRALA 3LO Melbourne w phone-in - poor 22/6

801 1538 INDIA AIR Jabalpur in EE w news // 720 Chennai - very good 22/6

828 1902 AUSTRALIA 6GN Geraldton w news // 720 Perth - fair 23/6

882 1845 AUSTRALIA 6PR Perth w discussion - poor 23/6

819 2305 MAURITIUS MBC 2 Malherbes w a relay of Sunrise radio (UK) w ads incl. "Rubicon Estates" - good 23/6 (Presumed - The Sunrise Radio Internet Site advertises an FM radio station in Mauritius as part of its network - also heard on the car radio).

1044 1458 AUSTRALIA 5CS Port Pirie w pops - poor 22/6

1044 1531 INDIA AIR Mumbai in EE w news - fair 23/6

1062 1507 PHILLIPINES DZEC Quezon City w pops - fair 22/6

1116 1904 AUSTRALIA 6MM Mandurah w pops - fair 22/6

1125 1452 AUSTRALIA 5MU Murray Bridge w pops - poor w fair peaks 22/6

Wildlife on the golf course
Wildlife on the Golf Course

1242 1550 AUSTRALIA 5AU Port Augusta w pops - poor under QRM 22/6

1296 1543 CHINA various locations w ann - poor 23/6

1314 1430 AUSTRALIA 3BT Ballarat (presumed) with ads - poor 22/6

1314 1542 INDIA AIR Bhuj in EE w news // 1566 kHz poor 23/6

1323 1454 AUSTRALIA 5DN Adelaide w pops - fair 22/6

1332 1502 AUSTRALIA 3SH Swan Hill (presumed) - poor 22/6

1395 1415 AUSTRALIA 5AA w phone in programme - fair 22/6

1548 1445 AUSTRALIA 4QD Emerald w phone-in - poor 22/6

1566 1538 INDIA AIR Delhi in EE w news - good 23/6

1620 1905 AUSTRALIA Radio 2 Perth/Geraldton w pops - very poor 22/6

Free State - Sunnyside

After our return to Durban, we travelled through the Kwazulu Natal Midlands to the Free State. Our destination was Sunnyside, a guest farm just past the scenic Golden Gate Nature Reserve.

Sunnyside with Sandstone Mountains
Sunnyside with Sandstone Mountains

Indiginous grassland gave way to massive, colourful sandstone formations which shine golden-yellow in the evening sun and from which the area takes its name.

Dxing from the warm tropical climate in San Lameer contrasted to a rather cold, teeth-chattering evening/early morning of minus 7 degrees C in Sunnyside! Africa, and the Middle East were heard with strong signals. Although many of these stations are regularly heard throughout South Africa, the strength and clarity of the DX from this area was excellent. The highlight was the reception of Morocco on 1584 kHz. It was also a novelty to listen to the groundwave daytime signal from Lesotho on 891 kHz on the car radio. (One of the first African stations to send me a QSL way back in ‘74).

594 0330 MALAWI MBC Radio 1 Lilongwe w pops - very good 29/6

639 0240 KENYA KBC Garissa w pops - good 28/6

675 1940 MALAWI MBC Radio 1 Ekwendeni w ann - fair 28/6

747 1950 KENYA KBC Ngong w pops - good 28/6

756 0316 MALAWI MBC Radio 1 Blantyre w ann and pops - good 29/6

945 2229 ANGOLA RNA Canal A, Cazenga w ann - good 29/6

981 2020 KENYA KBC Voi w pops incl Kenny G - fair 28/6

1053 0234 UNITED KINGDOM Talksport, Droitwich w id - fair 29/6

1089 1935 ANGOLA RNA Canal A, Mulenvos w id - fair

1134 2015 KENYA KBC Kitale w pops - fair 28/6

1188 2228 ANGOLA EP doMalanje, Malanje w ann - good (1 kw)

Clarens
Clarens - 10km from Sunnyside

1233 2015 KENYA KBC Marsabit w pops - fair 28/6

1305 2020 KENYA KBC Wajir w pops - good 28/6

1323 2135 CYPRESS BBC relay Zygi w news - very good consistent signal 27/6

1386 2020 KENYA KBC Maralal w pops - good 28/6

1413 2050 OMAN BBC relay A’Seela - fair 27/6

1422 2100 MALAWI Radio 1 Chitipa w ann - very good over local 27/6

1458 2015 ANGOLA EP do Moxico, Luena w ann and mx - fair w QRM from Mayotte

1530 2055 SAO TOME E PRINCIPE VOA relay Pinheira - very good 27/6

1548 2228 UNITED KINGDOM Capitol Gold London w id and pops - poor under local 29/6

1566 2245 INDIA AIR Delhi w ragas - very good 27/6

1575 2228 UAE Radio Farda w music and id- very good consistent signal 27/6

1584 0400 MOROCCO Radiole relay w id and news - poor 28/6 (5kw)

1593 2202 KUWAIT VOA Relay w news - poor with fair peaks 27/6

Kwazulu Natal - Umdloti Beach

Entrance to Umdloti Beach
Entrance to Umdloti Beach

After our return to Durban and a break from listening I decided to cure my dxing withdrawal symtoms with a late afternoon 25km drive to Umdloti Beach on the North Coast. This relatively small coastal village has sub-tropical tranquil surroundings. The north part of Umdloti Beach has less housing density and turned out to be a good quiet location. I directed the 80m antenna across the beach towards the Far East - a few metres from the shore break. Although the propagation from Australia was limited to 6WF on 720 khz, the strength and quality of the stations received from the Indian Ocean Islands and East Asia was remarkable.

684 1758 MAURITIUS MBC Malherbes w pops incl "Pretty Woman" - fair 5/7

720 1756 AUSTRALIA 6WF Perth w discussion - fair/good 5/7

720 1722 INDIA AIR Chennai w ragas - good 5/7

936 1720 INDIA AIR Tiruchirapalli w ragas - good 5/7

1044 1652 INDIA AIR Mumbai - good 5/7

1080 1650 CHINA CRI in EE w stock market report - poor/fair 5/7

1089 1705 CHINA Liaoning Sat, Shenyang (presumed) w discussion - poor under local 5/7

1323 1655 CHINA CRI Changchun in EE w Chinese lesson px - fair/good 5/7

1357 1804 TAIWAN Family Radio Fanglaio w religious px - good 5/7

1449 1642 MALDIVES Voice of Maldives w ads including NEC Computers - good steady signal 5/7

1458 1505 MAYOTTE Radio Mayotte, Pamandzi in FF - excellent consistent signal 5/7

1467 1452 INDIA AIR Jeypore w ann - good 5/7

1503 1450 TAIWAN Family Radio Fangliao w religious px - excellent 5/7

1530 1500 PHILLIPINES DZME Quezon City w "Jesus Miracle Hour"- very good 5/7

1539 1629 INDIA AIR Panaji w ragas - good peak 5/7

1548 1624 SRI LANKA DW relay Trincomalee w id and news in EE - fair peak under local 5/7

1557 1455 TAIWAN Family Radio Fangliao w religious px - good 5/7

1566 1730 INDIA AIR Delhi in EE w news - excellent 5/7

1566 1734 KOREA HLAZ Jeju w religious px - good peak sharing with India 5/7

1575 1448 MAURITIUS BBC relay Bigara - very good 5/7

1593 1628 CHINA CNR1 w ann - good 5/7

Conclusion

Umdloti Beach
Umdloti Beach towards the Far East

As was expected, the high altitude and internal location of the Free State suited stations from the African Continent and the Middle East while the coastal area of Kwazulu Natal also produced good signals from the Indian Ocean, East Asia and Australia. It was interesting to compare the difference of reception on certain frequencies: A good example was the reception of Angola on 1458 kHz at Sunnyside, mixing with poor/fair peaks from Mayotte. Umdloti Beach on the coast produced a strong, consistent signal from Mayotte with no sign of Angola on that frequency. Dusk MW reception on the car radio in the Free State produced the usual African/Middle East stations while reception from the Far East was best or only possible while driving along the Kwazulu Natal coast.

Published on July 28, 2005

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