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Newfoundland DXpedition 6

November 24-29, 1997
by Jean Burnell

On Saturday, November 22nd, seven-year-old Christopher and almost-four-year-old Emily accompanied me to the familiar DX venue at Cappahayden, with the car laden with the makings of a DXpedition: many rolls of antenna wire, coaxial cables, ground rods, food, receivers, cassette recorders, etc.

We set up a Beverage antenna along the sea shore towards northern Europe (ca. 600 m), and, aided by Christopher, I arranged the ICE antenna splitters, the coax cables, the switches, and my two receivers in the "shack." Christopher punched in the frequencies that I requested on my Drake R8A as I searched for a poor connection that seemed responsible for the lack of signals coming from our one Beverage. However, it did not take long to ascertain that the problem was not the antenna or any of the hardware in the shack. The problem was propagation - there wasn't any from northern Europe. It was likely this would have been the best night to be looking for signals from the south, but I had no antenna aimed in that direction, and it was getting late for the children. We headed back to St. John's in order to meet Neil Kazaross, who was scheduled to arrive from Chicago. When we arrived home we were greeted by an enraged Neil on the answering machine. He had missed his flight due to the inability of US Air to identify St. John's, Newfoundland, as a bone fide travel destination, so he would not arrive until the next night.

It was good to see Neil finally! One cannot find for a more intense and skillful DX companion, so it was with considerable anticipation and excitement that we headed for Cappahayden the next morning. We installed a Beverage just over 1 km in length towards eastern Brazil. On every previous Newfoundland DXpedition the Braz-Bev had been the major conduit for southern DX, and this time we used twisted-pair wire that was terminated into a "Byan" system. (To make a long story short, remotely tuning this very long wire turned out to be disappointing until five or six 30 to 70 m radials were deployed some days later.) Transatlantic propagation continued to suffer from the solar event that I had noted on the 22nd. Therefore, on this DXpedition even more than on previous efforts, the Braz-Bev was the mainstay of our operation, whether it was unidirectional or not. Neil and I have a similar DX philosophy: go for hard stuff. It is certainly flashy to report that over eighty, or even over one hundred countries were heard on medium wave in a week, but we've done that. Therefore, we decided that we were going to concentrate on stations previously unlogged in Newfoundland (and likely unlogged in North America). We decided that our best bets, considering conditions and available antennas, were going to be in Brazil, so the logs below contain many "new" Brazilians of which most are low-powered. Of course, many of the bigger Brazilian stations (e.g. Rádio Capital on 1040 kHz) were heard, but by and large we did not waste time making notes about these.

I should also point out some other highlights. It was my impression that signals from the "deep south" of South America were not as good as on previous DXpeditions. This made it especially exciting to log previously unheard stations Emisora del Siglo from Montevideo on 1410 kHz and Radiodifusora Misiones from Posadas, Argentina, on 670 kHz in the same evening. I also managed to dig out Radio Continental from Buenos Aires by phasing out some of the huge signal from my local on 590 kHz, VOCM. Neil noticed a signal on 1620 kHz that turned out to be a new Argentinean religious station, Radio Esmeraldas, that has since been heard by others in Canada and the USA. We also managed to log Peru (Radio Unión) on 880 kHz, and we had a weak signal on 900 kHz that was likely Radio El Sol, also from Peru, but as this was tentative it does not appear in the log.

We also extended two Beverages approximately 1 km in length at remote sites. These were off the road, and entailed DXing from my car. We had little time to DX with these, due mainly to the really rotten weather. One antenna was at a site only ten minutes by car from Cappahayden. It was aimed at the bulge of Africa. When we did try this antenna we were met with static crashes of midsummer proportions on top of pretty mediocre TA conditions. We only made one serious log with this antenna, but it was a beauty: Dutse, Nigeria on 1026 kHz! Ironically, the most surprising log of the DXpedition was Damagun, Nigeria, on 756 kHz, that we heard on the Braz-Bev from Cappahayden. The other Beverage was near Trepassey, and it was aimed at western South America. Propagation was not in our favor when we used this antenna. We did not hear much-sought-after Chile or Peru, Bolivia, or Ecuador on this antenna, although plenty of shorter-haul DX was available from the Caribbean. What was most remarkable about this antenna was the local-like reception of every Bermuda station it afforded an hour or more after our local sunrise. In fact, we had intelligible audio on 1160 kHz at noon by groundwave with this antenna, and carriers were detected for some other Bermudans. These two antennas demonstrated considerable potential, so both sites will be used again on future DXpeditions.

Finally, I would like to thank Horacio Nigro in Montevideo and Gabriel Ivan Barrera in Buenos Aires for their assistance in ID'ing stations from Uruguay and Argentina

DXpedition Log

Published on DXing.info on August 14, 2005

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