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Newfoundland 2008 DXpedition Report, Part 2
by Chuck Hutton

1800 foot terminated Beverage at 40 degrees
1500 foot terminated Beverage at 1500 degrees
Perseus receiver


Other than 3 superpower stations, India has not been heard from North America. This is not due to lack of transmitters or lack of power, but rather schedules. Almost all AIR stations leave the air before 1800 UTC with a few staying on a little later. Therefore, they are impossible from the US and extremely unlikely from Newfoundland. Only the 1566, 1134 and 1071 (no longer operating) stations had been heard due to their extended schedule.

However, most of the AIR stations sign on at 0025 UTC or close to that time. While eastern India is in sunlight then, some of the country is in darkness until about 0100. Here’s the 0025 UTC picture:

world map at 0025 UTC

Could any of the less-than-superpower Indians be heard in this half hour window of possibility? Yes, including a 20 kw station!

The key to hearing these Indians was to listen on channels with little or no European activity, since India is 6000 to 7000 miles (10,000 to 12,000 km) from Newfoundland while most of the European stations are around 5000 km.

The party started when listening to 1467 kHz at 0025 Nov 12. At that time, there was no European station on the air and Iran was fortunately off-channel at 1467.330 Hz. LSB reception left a poor (to almost fair on peaks) but lonely signal from Jeypore with 100 kw. This is very close to local sunrise of approximately 0020 and was by far the furthest east of the Indian receptions. The signal was still barely audible until 0100. This reception was repeated several nights, although with a poorer signal. With TWR off at 0000 and Radio Maria not on the air until 0500, India has the channel to itself!

Realizing the window of opportunity, I scanned for other open channels and here’s the result:

648      Indore (Madhya Pradesh) 0025-0031 mixing of 2 stations at poor level: one with talk and the other with Indian music. Back 0045:40- 0046, 0048 and 0049:40-0052:50 with poor level Indian music. 0053:45- 0056:50 almost fair Indian flute music then 0056:50 a few words and  0057 back to music that ran over the hour.
873      Jalandhar (Punjab) with a fair signal on peaks, dominating the Europeans: Spain, AFN Germany and sometimes BBC Radio Ulster. Others (Rossii, Moldova)  were off the air. Iran (often a pest) was nowhere to be found. A program of Hindi music was often on top from 0019 until 0041.
918      Suratgarh (Rajasthan) was amazing. From 0021 to 0034 this station was totally dominant with no sign of Spain or Slovenia under it! The signal was fair overall with periods where it was even better than fair. Indian music and news, with a tremendous AIR ID in English just after 0030 and then a newscast entirely in English.
954      Najibabad (Uttar Pradesh) 0030:07 poor to maybe fair on peaks with an Akashvani id. 0031:30 – 0032:40 & 0034:15 - 0035:10 & 0037:30 - 0038 fair with  India news. In and out until 0102 with some interference from an Arabic station assumed to be Qatar that was ID'ed before and after.
990      Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) 0056 - 0101:50 poor with Indian music usually far underneath Canadian QRM.
1395    Bikaner (Rajasthan): at only 20 kw, this was a shock. 0025:20 tablas and hindi mx appeared and at 0026:11 a very poor Akashvani ID made it. Fair music to 0027. From 0056:05 - 0057:45 music, then 0059:05 - 0059:30 a man talking. To fair level with music until 0100 then at 0106:46 another poor Akashvami id. AIR South in Avadi is near Chennai so is well past local sunrise while AIR North in Bikaner (Rajasthan) is still in darkness and must be the source.
1467    Jeypore 0013:43 poor or poor+  Indian singing, 0015:00 poor talk. 0015:58 poor flute music. Either they were on a few minutes before listed sign-on, or I took bad notes.

I think some of these should be heard again as the path to India is approximately 40 degrees and therefore a very quiet sun with resulting extraordinary high latitude conditions is not needed.

The Far East At Newfoundland Local Sunrise

In the 60’s, a few trans-polar receptions of Far East signals occurred. I don’t remember the details, other than that Pyongyang-655 was heard. Until Bruce Conti managed to hear Japan 747 a few years ago, I don’t think there were any other TP receptions from the east coast.

One of our goals for the 2008 DXpedition was to pay some attention to TP DX. We even set up a special unterminated Beverage on a north – south axis to give ourselves another possibility. Too bad it was noisy, being almost underneath a power line. We took it down and used our 40 degree, 1800’ Beverage instead.

Great high latitude conditions kept me up late every night, so I did not do any live listening at local sunrise. Instead, I did recordings at the top and bottom of the hour from about 0800 UTC to 1000 UTC. At 0800, only the very northern tip of Japan is in darkness. By 1000, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, eastern China, Taiwan and Far East Russia would be in darkness.

Below you will see that local sunrise in Newfoundland is around 1030 UTC: the first picture is 1000 UTC and the one below is 1100 UTC.



On the other side of the world: the first picture is 0800 UTC and the second one is 1000 UTC.

Far East 0800 UTC

Far East 1000 UTC

A quick check of the Japanese powerhouse frequencies (594, 693, 747, 774 and 828) showed nothing for Nov. 10. Ditto for Nov. 11. Same for Nov. 12, 13. No recordings from Nov. 14 due to a glitch.

Should I even bother to listen to the recordings from Nov. 15, the last morning of the DXpedition? Oh, why not? It will only take a few minutes to see that again nothing was heard.

And nothing was heard at all. Until I checked 981 kHz, that is. Wow! That is the CNR theme music I heard at poor-fair levels! Shock set in, as I knew there must be more to hear. And there was…..

819      NORTH KOREA Pyongyang KCBS 0930:50 poor with operatic music. 1000 poor with Korean talk followed by pips. Frequency was off at 819.073 kHz.
972      SOUTH KOREA Dangjin KBS: at 0930 fair in apparent Korean. At 1000 a slow set of pips and a set of 4+1 pips but I don't know which was Korea and which was China or Russia or ??
981      CHINA Changchun (Jilin) 0930 fair at best with clear Chinese talk. 1000 poor but sure CNR theme music and ID. A bit of echo was heard, indicating (just like my receptions from the west coast) a non-synchronized network.
999      NORTH KOREA Hamhung KCBS noted on 998.920 at 1000, very poor  with just a few notes of audio. Off channel as always.
1035    CHINA CNR1, various sites, 1000 UTC poor with growl from slightly off frequency station(s) and assumed 5 short and 1 long pips, although the deteriorating signal made a few pips tough.
1053    SOUTH KOREA jammer, various sites: if they want to know, their jammer prevented anyone in Newfoundland from hearing North Korean transmissions. Noted 0930 and 1000 with the brain-jarring jammer noise.
1062    UNID 1000 some sort of musical sounder or theme, hopefully to be identified by someone in the Far East.
1071    UNID 1000 someone with the last of their hourly pips, but nothing else.
1089    CHINA Liaoning assumed 0929 - 0931 poor or a little better with Chinese. 1000: standard Beijing time check.
1098    TAIWAN (?) 0930 fair carrier but only bits of audio. 0958 - 1001 poor Chinese but not good enough to say whether it is Mandarin, Cantonese, Amoy or ?? Low growl also present.
1107    UNIDS 0959 on 1106.970 & 1107 with poor audio. Not a channel I expected to hear TP's on.
1125    CHINA 1000 poor – fair with standard  Beijing time check.
1134    JAPAN NCB Tokyo and SOUTH KOREA Kimpo KBS: 0929  f Japanese, mixed with seeming Korean. 0959 - 1001 mix of the two with quiet instrumental music and talk.
1143    UNID 0930 poor with music too poor to identify. A shame, as anything here would be interesting.
1170    SOUTH KOREA KBS Gimje the chanmpion of the TP signals: 1000 UTC fair, on top of WWVA with the KBS World Radio theme music and a handful of KBS World Radio ID's in slightly accented English.
1188    UNID with pips at 1000, no possibility of an ID.
1206    CHINA 0859  fair to poor with Korean? About 20 Hz low. 1000 fanfare at poor level and 1000:55 fair in what seemed Chinese but should be Korean.
1251    UNID 1000 poor Chinese talk. I'm not sure if this is Voice of Russia in Chinese (the schedule is confusing and I'm not sure if they sign on at 1000 or 1100) or China.
1251    UNID  poor on 1250.960 with bits of audio.
1278    JAPAN Fukuoka RKB 0900 poor - fair Japanese. 1000 RKB theme music and several ID' at fair level and all alone. I give them second place behind Korea - 1170 for best signal.
1278    CHINA Hebei dominated by RKB but just enough signal to have the language confirmed as Chinese by Hiroo Nakagawa. 0930 mixing with Japan but not heard later.
1287    SOUTH KOREA MBC Cheongju / Gangneung (10 kW each) 0900 poor with the very distinctive MBC chimes! Perhaps the biggest shock of the TP sunrise DX. I have not heard this MBC outlet from the west coast so hearing it from the east coast was unimaginable.
1305    UNID 1000 poor music at the top of the hour - likely South Korea.
1323    UNID 1000 poor talk.
1323    UNID carrier on 1322.950.
1332    UNID 1000:20 poor or slightly better talk seems Asiatic but I can’t tell what.
1359    CHINA CNR, various 1000:08 poor piece of CNR theme music heard. Very tough, as a poor signal and a bit of nearby Loran almost covered it.
1377    CHINA Xingyang CNR 1000 to poor-fair peak.
1413    JAPAN KBC Fukuoka 0900 poor or a little better. By 0928, fair with KBC theme music. 0958:04 and 0958:11 fair with KBC ID's. They were tied for second place with 1278 Fukuoka.
1422    UNID 1000  poor talk, probably not going to tell me anything.
1467    UNID 0958 - 1001 poor or slightly better talk.
1476    UNID 0958 - 1001 poor talk.
1557    TAIWAN (seemingly) 0958 poor - fair Chinese and religious music up to  the hour.
1566    UNID just a bit of poor talk at 1000:50. This should not be South Korea as they are not on the air until 1100.
1584    UNID 1583.035 poor carrier at 1100.

What’s interesting is what I did not hear. There was absolutely nothing heard below 819 and the action really started in the top half of the band. How can I receive Japan on 1278 and 1413 at fair levels but hear nothing from the superpowers on 594, 693, 747, 774 and 828? It’s interesting that 1278 and 1413 are both from Fukuoka. Fukuoka has a bearing of 357 degrees while Tokyo and Sapporo are at 347 degrees. Fukuoka is as far north a path as is possible from Japan and the rest of the country has a bit less “over the pole” path. My guess is that Fukuoka (and the Koreas and China) just missed the inner edge of the extremely small auroral zone during this period of extremely low solar activity. Most of Japan was swallowed by the auroral zone.

The NOAA picture below helps to show the relationships. This map is centered on the geographic North Pole, so it is not correct for me to draw a straight line between Fukuoka and Newfoundland (the rightmost yellow line) or Tokyo and Newfoundland (the leftmost yellow line). Ignoring any small distortions that result, the paths cross through the auroral zone (in yellow). Unfortunately the picture below is from August 04 2009 rather than November 2008, but remember the center of the auroral zone doesn’t normally move much and it is the outer edge of the doughnut that moves. So it seems fair to say the Fukuoka path is right in the middle of the doughnut hole and the Tokyo path is at least closer to the auroral doughnut. All this ignores frequency: 1278 and 1413 may have propagated differently than the low-band powerhouses with Fukuoka fortuitously bouncing under the aurora up to a point over the doughnut hole and then back under the aurora while poor Tokyo’s ionospheric reflection point happened to be right in the aurora.

Coming soon: Volume 3, with Mozambique on 1260 and 1206 and various southern Africans, 10 kw Iranians, and more.

Published on August 27, 2009

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