Newfoundland DXpedition 5
November 2-17, 1996
by Jean Burnell
have come a long way since that first long-weekend
of DX back in 1991. Each DXpedition brought new
participants along with improvements in our antenna
complement and our shack facilities. The latest
Newfoundland DXpedition took place between November
2 and 17, 1996, at the usual site, known to us as
the 'DX Inn,' at Cappahayden, Newfoundland. The
antenna technology and our accumulated DX experience
translated into a DXpedition of unprecedented success.
I am sure that it was, without
exaggeration, the "biggest and the best"
medium-wave DXpedition that has ever been mounted
in North America. The logs include reports of stations
from 130 countries, and details of reception of
dozens of stations never before heard in North America.
This was the longest event that we have attempted,
just over two weeks, and it involved seven DXers.
On Thursday, October 31, I brought
much of the wire and equipment to Cappahayden from
St. John's. I installed the grounding system, which
is not a trivial matter in Newfoundland. (It is
not without reason that Newfoundlanders refer to
their home as "The Rock.") I also prepared
the room at the 'DX Inn' that would be our shack.
It was windy and raining very hard on the morning
of Saturday, November 2, when I began setting up
the two work-horse antennas of the DXpedition. A
one-kilometer long Brazilian Beverage of 12-gauge
wire was extended along the bluffs and rocky strand
south of the 'DX Inn.' Then a Beverage of thinner
wire and about half that length was pointed towards
Northern Europe and the Indian subcontinent along
the boulder-strewn shore NNE of the 'DX Inn.' It
was well past dark when I finally switched on my
Drake for the first logs of the DXpedition. I heard
the Italian Radiouno station on 1062 kHz signing
off just before 2300 UTC, which left the Turkish
station at Diyarbakir clear for its sign-off a few
The participants on this DXpedition
were in two teams, with myself as the 'roving reporter,'
returning to St. John's every couple of days to
give lectures and consult with my research group.
The first week the visitors were Newfoundland DX-veterans
Neil Kazaross, on his fourth trip, and Bruce Conti,
on his third trip, as well as a well-known TA DXer
on his first trip to Cappahayden, Ben Dangerfield.
Just before midnight local time they arrived. It
was great to see Neil and Bruce again, and it was
a real pleasure to meet Ben. It was not long before
all receivers were attached to the antennas (through
splitters) and both the TA and the Pan-American
DX was rolling in.
I was glad that it was less wet
and windy the next day because the agenda included
more antenna work. Neil and Ben installed a second
European wire, which proved to be almost identical
in reception characteristics with the first European
antenna. I hauled out another one-kilometer South
American Beverage ("the track-wire") that
was aimed towards eastern Venezuela, but I thought
this gave results inferior to the Brazilian Beverage
for all South Americans except some Colombians.
Bruce's efforts were directed towards a third southern
wire, 350 meters of twisted-pair that was used with
the Byan remotely tunable termination device. This
proved to be an important antenna that offered impressive
nulls on the St. John's stations "off-the-back"
of the antenna. It was unfortunate that storm waves
destroyed the ground system on the remote end of
the Byan antenna early in the second week. With
only this exception, the antennas were not broken
by gale-force winds in the first week or lost to
the heavy surf in the second week, even though there
was quite a bit of seaweed caught up on one of the
European antennas! Also, it was exceptional by the
standards of previous DXpeditions that wire was
neither rerouted by large herbivores nor purloined
by 'sportsmen.' The availability of many antennas
allowed Bruce and Neil to put their phasing units
to good use.
There was overlap of the two
teams on the evening of November 9 with the arrival
of two premier Canadian DXers, Dave Clark and John
Fisher. This was Dave's second Newfoundland outing,
and I was glad to finally welcome John, who had
had to cancel plans to attend a couple of the previous
DXpeditions. The shack was a bit overcrowded, but
we certainly had a lot of fun yelling out when the
likes of India (Rajkot) on 1071 kHz and Georgia
(the country, not the state!) on 1044 kHz were spotted.
On the afternoon of Monday, November
11, Jim Renfrew arrived to complete the second team.
Jim was 'radio-active' in record time, a feat that
was celebrated by an inadvertent baptism of beer!
In the second week significant forays were also
made into the short wave bands, and, in particular,
good signals from Indian regional stations, Nepal,
and Bangladesh were noted. Against all advice, I
extended one more (unterminated) antenna though
some rough terrain to the west of the 'DX Inn' in
the hope that this might be employed as an off-the-back
African Beverage. Its signals were poor and interference-ridden,
so the wire was retrieved the next day. Dave and
John left before the last weekend. Jim and I brought
in the wires and packed up the equipment after a
final, particularly grueling night during which
the kettle succumbed to the constant use, and this
caffeine-dependent DXer had to struggle to stay
alert without the assistance of Coffea arabica.
In order to DX, I'll gladly put up with the wind
and the snow, the exertion of extending and retrieving
long antennas over uncompromising ground, and even
an errant moose, but I'll not DX without coffee
It is difficult to pick DX highlights
because there were so many! However, since the other
participants managed to choose some, I should try
to do so, too. Particular satisfaction for me came
from finally hearing some stations that I have chased
for a long time: the Voice of Lebanon on 873 kHz,
the VOA relay on Rhodes on 1260 kHz, the All India
Radio outlets on 1071 and 1134 kHz, and ZBVI on
780 kHz. On the other hand, who can deny the thrill
of hearing four Paraguayans, a number of stations
from the Ukraine, a 5-kW station from Jerusalem
(1080 kHz), previously unlogged 250-watt stations
in Brazil (1380 kHz and 1540 kHz), or a Uruguayan
through a local pest (930 kHz)?
The DX was exhilarating, and
the camaraderie amongst the DXers made the experience
greater than the sum of its parts. But there are
others whose assistance should not be overlooked.
I am very grateful to Mark Connelly for his generosity
in terms of both equipment and his time. The logs
were improved significantly by his assistance with
the typing and his careful proof-reading. My wife,
Stephanie Kaiser, gave me a lot of help with the
equipment and supplies. I am grateful that she let
me "go and play with the boys" when there
were so many overdue jobs I could and should have
been doing at home! Finally, I thank the Lawlor
family, Theresa and Albert, for opening up their
house to us. The 'DX Inn' is actually the back of
their home, which used to be a 'bed-and-breakfast.'
They are no longer in that business, but they re-open
their rooms exclusively for us. I think they must
amused by our peculiar sleep-by-day-and-up-all-night
lifestyle and our criss-crossing of the countryside
with miles of wire. Perhaps they just want to humor
a bunch of grown men who are excited to travel great
distances to listen to stations that are inaudible
to normal people, in languages none of them understands!
Participants and Equipment
The participants, their dates
of participation (UTC) and receivers:
- Jean Burnell, St. John's, NF - Nov 2-17 - Drake
R8A, Icom IC-R71A
- Ben Dangerfield, Wallingford, PA - Nov 3-7 - Drake
- Bruce Conti, Nashua, NH - Nov 3-10 - Drake R8A
- Neil Kazaross, Barrington, IL - Nov 3-10 - Drake
- Dave Clark, Toronto, ON - Nov 9-14 - Drake R8,
- John Fisher, Calgary, AB - Nov 9-15 - Icom IC-R71A
- Jim Renfrew, Rochester, NY - Nov 11-17 - Drake
Four terminated Beverage antennas:
- approx. 1 km towards Brazil and South Africa
- approx. 1 km towards Venezuela
- 2 x 600 m towards northern Europe & India
- One remotely tunable 'Byan' antenna 350 m towards
Ancillary equipment: antenna
splitters, phasing units, cassette recorders, coffee...
Musings from participants
First, many thanks to Jean Burnell for all the work
in preparing the site for our arrival on Saturday
night. Neil Kazaross and I arrived at St. John's
airport at about the same time on Saturday, November
2. Ben Dangerfield was arriving on a later flight,
so we picked up the rental car and headed into the
city for a sampling of local brew and to find some
extra supplies. Then it was back to the airport
to pick up Ben, and off we went to Cappahayden for
what was to become another record-breaking DXpedition.
Jean had already erected the Brazil Beverage and
a European Beverage, and had tables all set up in
the radio room for us to get started. It wasn't
long before the room was buzzing with radio activity.
To start the next day, the first
thing on our minds was to get a good hot meal before
proceeding with antenna work and DX. We had planned
on going to the traditional "DX restaurant"
in Fermeuse. However, the restaurant had other plans,
preparing to close for the winter, only open limited
hours in the evening -- during DX prime time. So
we headed further north to Cape Broyle for our early
dinner. However, this seemed unacceptable. On the
following day, when Jean went back to St. John's
to work, we decided to do some exploring further
south along the Avalon Peninsula's "Irish Loop"
highway, and found a great place in Trepassey which
quickly became the new "DX restaurant."
Specialties were baked and fried cod, a traditional
"Jiggs dinner," which Ben sampled, and
cod tongue which we didn't get to try only because
they were out of this Newfoundland delicacy for
the week. In addition to a good meal and a visit
to the local grocery store for the nightly rations
of junk food, the trips south gave us group photo
ops under the "Caribou Crossing" sign
along the highway through a stretch of open grazing
Neil and I did have one day when
we relapsed to just "survival" food rather
than going out for dinner. On the day Ben departed,
I had a hearty meal of dry Cheerios and beer while
Neil scavenged whatever else was left over from
past nights, so we could get started with the DXing
extra early -- now that's more like "real"
Weather was typical of past autumn
DXpeditions; rainy, windy, and cold. On Sunday,
November 3, we were out working on antennas in the
rain and 40 mph winds. Nothing new there. Hard to
imagine Jean rolled out the Beverages alone in even
worse weather, but such is the character of many
a DXpeditioner. Actually, weather improved significantly
by week's end; sunny with temperatures reaching
15 °C or better, perfect for some sightseeing,
including a trip out to the Cape Race lighthouse
and the many scenic ocean views along the way. Of
course, being DXers, we also scoped-out remote sites
for future DXpeditions, with good potential for
Africa, deep South Americans, Central America, and
possibly trans-Pacific DX, and a good distance away
from the 1348-ft (411-m) tall Loran C antenna. Yes,
this DXpedition wasn't even over, and we were already
discussing plans for "NF-DX VI."
Now on to the DX. Among the highlights
from the first week were the ability to hear Norway-1314
practically all day and catching Norway parallels
at night, DXing UK "locals" three hours
before Newfoundland sunset, chasing Iran sign-ons,
Neil's 200-watt Latvian, hearing Greece across the
dial, finding Mali under the local CBC station on
540, and northern catches from Finland, Greenland,
and the Faroes. November 9-10 was the last night
of DXing for Neil and me, and perhaps the most exciting.
We got started late this time (not the usual 3-4
hours before sunset), after a day of sight-seeing.
Neil was determined to hear Chad on 840, based upon
reported reception of this in Europe. Both of us
spent time monitoring 840 as Africa went into darkness.
Neil was the first to catch it with an unequivocal
parallel to short-wave, later replayed on tape as
evidence of this difficult catch.
Then just as Neil was losing
it to Brazil, I started picking it up on phased
wires, not quite as strong, but again parallel short-wave
and differentiated from St. Lucia and Brazil. This
was just the beginning. Soon, Dave Clark and John
Fisher arrived on the scene with Jean. Almost immediately,
Dave got his receivers set up and locked on to 1566
and 5010, waiting for signs of India. And sure enough,
India did manage to get through Switzerland on 1566
parallel short-wave. Then Jean and Neil, being on
their toes, checked for the India powerhouse on
1071, and clear as day the frequency provided us
with Hindi music. My turn came later, while monitoring
1044 for Kenya, when Georgia faded up for a brief
interlude of music unequivocally parallel short-wave.
"Georgia! 1044! Parallel short-wave!"
I yelled, and we were all on it like Newfoundland
hunters spotting a caribou on the last day of hunting
season. This was typical of the teamwork that led
us to a new milestone in medium-wave DXing with
at least 113 countries heard in the first week.
A couple of technical notes are
worth mentioning. As in past DXpeditions, active
antenna splitters were used so antennas could be
shared by all. However, when doing some troubleshooting
of one splitter that exhibited low output level
(traced to a faulty power connector), it was learned
that the splitters result in about 2 s-units of
signal loss. During the day, we measured signal
levels on one antenna connected through a splitter,
and then directly to the receiver. Some of the loss
may have also been due to the extra cable length
from the splitter to the receiver, but I don't believe
it affected any of our DXing. The benefit of isolation
provided by the splitters which allowed antenna
switching and phasing to be performed on shared
antennas without interfering with others was worth
the 1 or 2 s-units. Requisite implementation of
noise reduction / ground isolation transformers
helped, not only by reducing noise pick-up from
the house, but also by improving antenna efficiency
/ impedance matching, such that any loss due to
the splitters would be even less apparent. Of course,
use of Beverage-length wires is what really makes
the difference trivial.
A Byan remote-controlled termination
was used with about 1500-feet aimed toward Brazil.
Unfortunately, conditions toward Brazil were less
than optimal. But the Byan was still effective,
especially when phased against one of the other
wires for Africa. The Byan also coupled into the
Brazil wire which ran in parallel. When the termination
was turned on or off, it produced dramatic differences
in my nulls with other wires phased. I nulled CJYQ-930
St. John's with the Brazil and "track"
wires while Neil was using the Byan, and when he
switched it off, I lost the null, further evidence
of the effectiveness of the Vactrol termination.
As in past DXpedition experiments, it was found
that a single 250-ft ground radial at the termination
was inadequate. Additional radials were required
to improve the Byan antenna performance. Unfortunately,
the 6000 feet of twisted pair I ordered never arrived
for more extensive Byan antenna experiments. It
was apparently returned by Canadian customs agents
due to a "lack of documentation" according
to the supplier in California. It was a somewhat
unusual situation anyway; me placing an order for
wire in the US and asking them to ship it to an
exotic location in Canada.
And that, believe it or not,
is a capsule of NF-DX V, my third visit to the "DX
Inn" of Cappahayden. Sorry about the long dissertation,
but when you spend eight nights DXing with some
of the best in the business in such a superior location,
there's no shortage of things to write about. So
I'll stop now, simply by saying, "Looking forward
to NF-DX VI!"
Now that I have been securely home in good old
Wallingford, PA, for almost a week - back to reality
I call it - I can take time to reflect on my five
wonderful days up there in rainy, windy Cappahayden.
I have had great DX experiences like first hand
tuning for TA's in 1943, 1944, and 1945 while chasing
Germans (enemy soldiers, not stations) across Europe,
or like the fabulous DX years of 1963, 1964 and
1965, but last week tops them all.
I flew up via Toronto on Sat.
Nov. 2nd with apprehensions about going through
security with my assorted DX equipment, but the
only place I had to prove that the R8A was indeed
a radio was here in Philadelphia. No one even cared
about the phasing unit (which I couldn't use after
all up there because of a defective splitter connection).
I did have to walk a mile through the Toronto airport
both going up and coming back, all the while lugging
the R8A in a small carry-on bag. My flight into
St. John's via Halifax landed on time at 9:30 PM,
and Bruce and Neil came along to pick me up. Somewhere
after 11:30 we arrived at Cappahayden where Jean
was there to meet us, having already put up one
European wire and the Brazilian wire. They helped
me get connected, and shortly after midnight we
were doing our thing. We DXed until around 2:30
am. Like all newcomers, I was overwhelmed so began
with an end-to-end band scan, logging along the
way all the stations I was familiar with. In the
next few days, I became more and more selective.
Sunday we all drove up toward
St. John's for fish and chips, then returned to
string the other antennas. I went with Neil along
the "beach" route putting up a second
European wire...all rocks, wind and rain, with a
cliff on one side and rough surf on the other. We
didn't finish until around 3:00 PM, and when we
did get to the radios the TA's were booming in with
huge signals. Each day we hurried back from lunch
as soon as we could, and each day the TA's were
already there - as early as 1:00 PM local time.
After Sunday we ate our mid-day meal at a great
restaurant in Trepassey, down the other direction.
The cod was fresh and the Jiggs dinner (corned beef
and cabbage) quite tasty. Then we could DX the next
10 to 12 hours and nibble on snacks if hungry
The guys were great: Bruce with his technical skill
and easy going thoroughness, Neil with his gift
of gab, his TA savvy, and his persistence on Chad
and Brazilians. He and I enjoyed a nip of Scotch.
And Jean, of course, was on top of all of it. I
marveled at his language detection ability. He and
I also share an interest in world travel and raising
a family! We all worked together as a team, each
one of us contributing to the effort.
It would be hard to list the
highlights. I certainly enjoyed sitting on 1476
in mid-afternoon with Dubai on top like a local,
and Azerbaijan, Guildford and Iran each clear and
distinct behind. Or Athens on 1386 to confirm my
home reception of early September plus a parallel
on 981. And Jordan on 1494, another I had heard
back home but couldn't ID. For that matter, it was
fun to hear TA's on all the even TA frequencies,
not just 1530 and 720 as at home.
Jean drove me back to the airport
on Thursday morning, taking me up to Signal Hill
first to the Marconi tower. Took the rest of my
pictures there, having taken several of the site
and the guys. Got home tired but happy on the evening
of Thursday, Nov. 7th.
Overall I must say that even with all of the
high expectations that I had on the DXpedition,
the quality of what I heard was beyond my wildest
dreams. Even though I have been on numerous DXpeditions
in Ontario and in the Rocky mountains, this was
by far the best. I certainly gave myself away as
a Newfoundland "newbie" by my frequent
queries of "What is this?" and "You
won't believe this signal!." Highlights of
the week (DX wise) had to be Gambia on 648 (and
especially Dave Clark's screams of anguish, when
we told him about our log as he phoned in from the
Toronto airport), Georgia on 1044, Lebanon 873 and
Suriname 820, all of which were first time logs
Always an important part of any
DX gathering was the time spent away from the radio
dials. Seeing the barren countryside of the Southern
Avalon peninsula for the first time was a real treat.
I can only imagine how impressive it must be in
Spring when the icebergs float past. In spite of
absolutely numbing unemployment in the area since
the fishing industry collapsed several years ago,
I was impressed by the friendliness of the local
residents. From the Lawlors who owned the DX-Inn
to the Devereaux's at the Trepassey Motel, everyone
was always very friendly and willing to chat up
us strange folk with the wires. In fact, when I
was on the plane out of St. John's to Calgary and
mentioned to the person next to me that I stayed
in Cappahayden, he asked if I had met the Lawlors
and the Devereaux's! It certainly is a small world.
A number of factors contributed
to any DX success that I had. Great antennas, location
and propagation go without saying. But there were
two other factors, I think. One is being surrounded
by experienced MW DXers. Bruce and Neil on the first
night and Jean, Dave and Jim were a wealth of experience
and knowledge, which was of great help. A second
contributor, I think, was having a good working
knowledge of the short-wave bands. There were many
times where it was possible to parallel a rare MW
station by knowing its SW frequency. Georgia, Lebanon
and Suriname pop to mind. Overall, it was an exceptionally
enjoyable and fruitful week, thanks in large part
to the organization and hospitality of our host,
Jean Burnell. Now that I have the bug, I will be
looking forward to NF-DX VI.
After my initial DXpedition experience at NF-DX
IV in October, 1995, it was great to be part of
a return engagement for NF-DX V. It was a pleasure
to see Jean again, who was kindly waiting at the
airport for my mid-day arrival on Saturday, the
9th. I was treated to an afternoon tour of Signal
Hill until it was time for us to return to the airport
to pick up John Fisher arriving on a later flight.
Of course, we had to check out the even-channel
TA's on Jean's car radio on the way to Cappahayden.
It was readily apparent conditions were going to
be interesting when we heard, amongst others, the
likes of Vatican and São Tomé fighting
it out on 1530, and the Saudi blanketing 1520. Upon
our arrival, it was good to see Bruce and Neil again
as they were staying over until the morning of the
10th. It was also nice to greet another NF-DX IV
fellow-participant, Jim Renfrew, who arrived on
Monday, the 11th. I had to depart midday on the
Thursday the 14th, while John was departing on the
15th, leaving Jim and Jean to finish off "the
kill." I should add that perennial Newfoundland
DXpeditioner Mark Connelly was with us in spirit
this time, although he certainly did do a lot a
parallel monitoring on medium wave from his excellent
coastal sites closer to home and this made for interesting
comparisons of reception patterns.
And now for some observations.
Turning first to short-wave, early evening reception
of sub-continentals was again a highlight (including
a tantalizing tentative log of the local Azad Kashmir
Radio on 3664.9) and a worthy area of focus on the
Tropical Band frequencies. The Indian signals are
much stronger and hold up much later (well-past
transmitter sun-rise) in Newfoundland, as compared
with my home experience in Ontario.
November 10th UTC evening was
perhaps the best date for the early evening All
India Radio stations, along with a very nice 0015
UTC s/on of Radio Nepal, on the Tropical Bands.
Signals were superior on our European beverages,
indicating a relatively high latitude direct path.
This would seem to correlate well with the period
of very quiet geomagnetic conditions prevailing
from 1800 UTC on Nov 9th through 0300 on Nov 10th
when the consecutive 3-hour Estimated Planetary
K index values were: 1-1-0-0. It's quite revealing
that the corresponding high latitude (as measured
at College, Alaska) 3-hour K index values for this
period were: 0-0-0-0. Thus, while we did have some
interesting SWBC logs, there is no getting around
the fact that the primary focus for us at Cappahayden
is international medium wave DX. Except for a period
of moderate geomagnetic disturbance when conditions
were active at times during the period Nov 13-15,
conditions were otherwise mostly quiet and stable,
with Estimated Planetary A Index values as low as
2 on a number of days within the two-week DXpedition
period commencing November 3rd. This meant that
there was no major "auroral" occurrence
that might have significantly enhanced trans-equatorial
reception from Africa, let us say, while potentially
wiping out signals from northern Europe on medium
wave. That fact, combined of course with the cyclic
lows in sunspot numbers as we transition from Cycle
22 to Cycle 23, meant that as a general rule, we
enjoyed good to very good reception prospects from
virtually all possible target areas. Taken together,
these propagation factors probably helped us add
about a half-dozen new countries to our "all-time
MW heard-in-Newfoundland" count which I'm guessing
will stand at about 140 when all the logs are sorted
out. Furthermore, when I departed on the 14th, the
total countries confirmed during NF-DX V alone was
about 120, a significant jump from the previous
high of 95 garnered in Oct/95, recognizing of course
that we had more participants and a cumulatively
longer duration to work with this time.
From a seasonality perspective,
a one-month difference from October to November
did make a noticeable difference in some medium
wave reception patterns (and there was certainly
less QRN to contend with this time). Propagation
conditions being typically more volatile, i.e.,
greater propensity towards active or stormy geomagnetic
field, closer to the equinox contributed to spotty
high latitude reception in Oct/95. While there was
nary a whisper from the Faroe Islands station on
531 kHz last year, this time we enjoyed excellent
reception one morning in particular at 0715 s/on,
and we heard Greenland (another absentee last year)
on 4 of the 5 possible channels. The AFRTS station
at Lajes in the Azores operates with only 100 watts
on 1503 kHz, but it was heard very well indeed,
while logging our second and third AIR medium wave
stations was exciting too! Now that we've heard
all 3 megawatt heavy hitters, the going gets tougher
in the future. Reception from the Middle East and
near-Asia was notably better this time too.
Contrariwise, although big gun
stations from Argentina and Brazil (plus a few from
Uruguay) were still to be heard, high-band reception
of low-power, mid- and deep-southern signals bore
no comparison to the spectacular, (near) equinoctial
reception we enjoyed in 1995. Graveyard (250/500
watt) Brazilians were abysmal, and once again, our
collective efforts to log Chile were frustrated.
Nonetheless, logging three more stations from Paraguay
was a big breakthrough, while hearing the 1 kW Radio
Apinte from Suriname was a South American highlight.
Notwithstanding our exploits with the Gambia stations,
as well as Namibia, African signals in general were
less prevalent this time. I never managed to re-log
the 500-watt Ascension Island BBC relay - relatively
easy last year - not to mention my game-plan to
go after St. Helena on 1548. It's funny how one's
perspective of "superior" conditions evolves
with a return visit to The Rock!
The extent of Jean's efforts
to organize and host these "Cappahayden capers"
can only be truly appreciated by those of us who
have had the privilege and opportunity to attend.
We should each be so lucky that there will be a
NF-DX VI in our future.
In Scripture, the Suffering Servant (considered
by many Christians to be representative of the coming
Messiah) is described as one who will be "a
light to all the nations, to the end of the earth"
[Isaiah 49:6]. There is nothing like an experience
of Newfoundland to get a full appreciation for the
diverse and distant nations that can be found on
the radio spectrum ... and we had the experience
of hearing stations that were at the end of the
earth (or not far from it).
I am very appreciative of the
insights DXing gives me as a world citizen, allowing
me to live a little closer to my global neighbors
through the radio medium. I enjoy the strange languages
(and the growing ability over the years to understand
a little of them), the interesting music, and the
alternative political perspectives. Newfoundland
really enhances the DX experience!
I'm not sure what the team total
country count is after five of these Newfoundland
events, but I know that I've heard 114 after two
times there. One evening, I realized that I had
already heard 8 new countries that day, including
Moldova, Ceuta/Spanish Morocco, Burkina Faso, Madeira,
Sicily, Channel Islands, Jordan and Cyprus. Back
home in Rochester it has taken me twenty years to
hear 50 countries, and I'm lucky if I hear even
one new one in a given year.
I was the last one to make it
to Cappahayden, on Monday, November 11. As I was
driving down the coast in my rental car, I was already
messing with the radio in the heavy rain. Of course,
I could only tune TA's on even frequencies, but
I managed to hear VOA São Tomé fighting
with the Vatican on 1530, and it was still daylight.
As the week went on, I learned that some TA's could
be heard all day long, even at local high noon,
including Norway 1314, Ireland 252 and UK 198. The
real action began around 1630 UTC, which left little
time for other than sleep and a lunch in Trepassey
each day, before getting back to DXing.
Bruce, Neil and Ben were long gone when I arrived.
As was the case last year, within minutes after
I said "Hello" to Jean, Dave and John
the radio was unpacked, and I was hooked up to the
Beverages. It was a good sign that the Qatar 954
tentative logging of last year was the first to
be logged this year, with a definite parallel to
7210 short-wave. In fact, finding short-wave parallels
was a very fruitful way to identify weak stations
this year. I got a number from the Middle East,
Asia, Africa and Brazil in this way.
Conditions were definitely favoring
TA's this year, but there were a number of interesting
logs from South America. We heard two new ones from
Paraguay on 720 and 730 (the 720 R. Pata'i Puku
is not listed in the WRTH!), heard a strong signal
from an unlisted station on 670 in Suriname, and
from reviewing my tape back home I heard a 500-watt
Brazilian on 1530, Rádio Cultura de Guanambi.
Arriving late had its advantages, because some rarities
had already been flushed out for an easy log. The
disadvantage was that the weather was much worse
in the second week, with gale force winds and snow,
and this left little motivation for patrolling the
antenna wires, some of which were found mangled
by the elements when Jean rolled them in on Sunday.
One of the more challenging experiences was DXing
from 0900-1000 UTC, when the terminator is moving
west over the Caribbean basin, and signals rise
up for a just a few moments before Newfoundland
daylight takes over. The last new log of the week
was La Voz de Carabobo 1040 at 1002 UTC. At this
point Jean said the DXpedition was all over, and
that we both looked like Carabobos. Having lived
in Venezuela, I should have realized that Jean knows
his Spanish, because I learned later that the word
means "funny face" or "clown."
After seven days of limited sleep I am sure that
is exactly how we looked.
A special thanks to Jean (and
his family) for making this all possible. I hope
to return! I also learned that the Lawlor family
only opens the DX Inn only for us, so they deserve
our very special thanks for making these accommodations
on DXing.info on August 14, 2005