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Newfoundland DXpedition 5


November 2-17, 1996
by Jean Burnell

Newfoundland DXpeditions 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 moments later.

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 again!

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 R8A
- Bruce Conti, Nashua, NH - Nov 3-10 - Drake R8A
- Neil Kazaross, Barrington, IL - Nov 3-10 - Drake R8A
- Dave Clark, Toronto, ON - Nov 9-14 - Drake R8, Drake R8A
- John Fisher, Calgary, AB - Nov 9-15 - Icom IC-R71A
- Jim Renfrew, Rochester, NY - Nov 11-17 - Drake R8

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 Brazil

Ancillary equipment: antenna splitters, phasing units, cassette recorders, coffee...

Musings from participants

Bruce Conti:
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 land.

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" DXpeditioning!

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!"

Ben Dangerfield:
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.

John Fisher:
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 for Cappahayden.

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.

Dave Clark:
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.

Jim Renfrew:
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 available.

DXpedition Log

Published on DXing.info on August 14, 2005

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