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Ocean City State Park DXpedition

February 7-8, 2005

Text and photos by Guy Atkins

What a difference a week makes! One week earlier, trans-Pacific MW reception was at the best level since the amazing reception of last September and October. A few of us in the Pacific Northwest listen for TP hets or audio from our Victoria, BC and Tacoma, WA area homes for signs of Asian or Down-Under signals. Last week we were wishing we were at Grayland or another coastal DXpedition site, knowing that our good conditions inland were equivalent to excellent reception at the coast.

I couldn't get away until Sunday the 7th (UTC), and unfortunately the propagation conditions were degraded due to a recurring sunspot region and associated geostorms. Still it was an enjoyable trip, with sunny weather and spectacular ocean sunsets. The DX highlight was morning longpath African reception on 60 meters lasting far past local sunrise.

Mediumwave was almost entirely DU; the only Japanese station heard was JOAK Tokyo on 594. All signal levels were modest, without the strong, long reception that characterizes better openings. On this DXpedition, it was common for a station to rise above the noise for a half minute or less, and then fade back into the muck for long stretches of time.

Sunset
Clouds gather for a dramatic Washington State coastal sunset

Except for the longpath Africa reception, the tropical bands were below average. The Papua New Guinea regionals were at low levels on the 7th, and stronger the next night. However, the weaker Indonesian targets like RPDT2 Manggarai (2960) and RSPK Ngada (2899) were totally absent.

Ocean City State Park is north of the well-known Grayland DXpedition site, and across Grays Harbor on the sandy, flat Ocean Shores pennisula. Most visitors head straight for the resorts and casinos of the pennisula, but the smart ones do their gambling by stringing out a Beverage antenna and DXing! An empty logbook is cheaper than an empty wallet if things don't work out...

Mediumwave

558 FIJI R. Fiji One, Feb 7 1445 - Low level island music of acoustical guitar and choral singing; woman announcer in pres. Fijian. Noted parallel to 639 and 684, all with weak signals. I found it interesting that all three frequencies began and ended their long fades into the noise at the same time, and then rose again at 1454. More guitar and choral singing over the top of the hour. (Atkins-WA)

594 AUSTRALIA 3WV Horsham, Feb 8 1550 - Poor-fair, with woman announcer in English, and parallel to 738 2NR Grafton. (Atkins-WA)

Campsite flooding
Recent heavy rains flooded a local access road in front of the "DX Central" campsite

594 JAPAN JOAK Tokyo, Feb 8 1523 - First and only Japanese MW station of the DXpedition, in at a poor-fair level. Man and woman with talk in Japanese interspersed with English comments; seemed to be discussing aviation or flight. Even without a northwest Beverage, the Japanese and other North Asian stations are usually heard on a west Beverage antenna (although at weaker level) if propagation permits. (Atkins-WA)

639 AUSTRALIA 8RN Katherine, Feb 7 1502 - Two men with talk or interview in English, talking about movies and taking phone calls. Parallel to 4RN 792. Fair, and competing with Fiji R. One on the frequency. Also heard 2/8 at fair level. (Atkins-WA)

639 FIJI R. Fiji One, Feb 8 1505 - Better reception than last night 2/7, with a fair-good signal on peaks. Beautiful island vocals and instrumentals, and song introductions by man in Fijian, parallel to 558 and 684. Fiji giving way again to 8RN Katherine by 1515. (Atkins-WA)

684 FIJI R. Fiji One, Feb 8 1509 - Heard during a brief peak with island music and male announcer in Fijian, parallel to 639. Poor. (Atkins-WA)

729 AUSTRALIA 5RN Adelaide, Feb 7 1513 - Woman announcer with mention of 'ABC news and sports' at tune-in; advertisement or promo, and then signal took a nose dive. Poor-fair. (Atkins-WA)

738 AUSTRALIA 2NR Grafton, Feb 8 1544 - Woman announcer with talk in English, poor level, but clearly parallel to 594 3WV Horsham. (Atkins-WA)

738 TAHITI RFO Papeete, Feb 8 0500 - I checked a number of times for audio from this South Pacific regular, but never heard more than a strong het. This is unusual, given the presence of audio from other MW stations in the South Pacific region. (Atkins-WA)

Clam diggers
Locals and visitors alike enjoy digging for clams at the ocean's edge

774 AUSTRALIA 3LO Melbourne, Feb 8 1612 - Fair during very brief peaks, with man and woman announcers in English. Parallel to 891 5AN Adelaide. (Atkins-WA)

792 AUSTRALIA 4RN Brisbane, Feb 7 1519 - Aussie-accent announcers in English with talk, parallel to 639. Fair. (Atkins-WA)

846 AUSTRALIA 2RN Canberra, Feb 7 1525 - Briefly peaking above the slop, with a male announcer interviewing a woman, apparently about her visit to Africa. Parallel to 639. Fair signal. (Atkins-WA)

846 KIRIBATI T3K1 R. Kiribati, Feb 7 0950 - Old US country music at tune-in; female announcer in pres. I-Kiribati lang. with possible mention of 'frequency'. Into log drumming music with male choral vocals. A fair signal, but it took the inevitable nose dive before the top of the hour. (Atkins-WA)

891 AUSTRALIA 5AN Adelaide, Feb 7 1529 - Woman announcer with news updates, including Pope John Paul's health. Man with weather forecast, and ID as 'ABC Adelaide' at 1535. Adelaide faded down at 1540, to be replaced by an EZL music station (2XW The Breeze, Wellington?). Fair-good. (Atkins-WA)

Beverage terrain
Erecting Beverage antennas through the dense pine tree growth, swamps, and hilly terrain is a challenging activity

891 UNIDENTIFIED , Feb 7 1540 - Fading up to replace 5AN Adelaide, with Beach Boys music and female announcer in English. Sounded Kiwi... perhaps 2XW The Breeze in Wellington, NZ? Fair signal before fading into noise. (Atkins-WA)

1098 MARSHALL ISLANDS V7AD Radio Marshalls, Feb 7 0940 - Nice island choral music fading up from the noise, with a few moments of a male announcer in pres. Marshallese before fading down again. Fair signal while it lasted. (Atkins-WA)

1548 AUSTRALIA 4QD Emerald, Feb 8 1602 - Woman announcer reading news items; poor level and frequent fades. However, during a short peak 1548 was found parallel 3WV Horsham on 594. 'ABC Radio...weeknights' heard at 1605. (Atkins-WA)

1575 THAILAND VOA Ayutthaya, Feb 7 1555 - Man and woman VOA announcers with special (slow) English. Very low level, but in the clear. Gone by 1558. I heard this station much better from home last week. At the coast, VOA 1575 is often a powerhouse. (Atkins-WA)

Shortwave

AUSTRALIA 2310, 1012-1018, VL8A Alice Springs Feb 7 Bluesy country music and male vocals by Joe White to 1016 announcer in English. Into old British comedy routine. Fair-good signal, and parallel 2325 VL8T Tenant Creek (fair) and 2485 VL8K Katherine (fair). (Atkins-WA)

New mobile shack
The family minivan converts into a cozy DXpedition headquarters

BOTSWANA 4930, 1709-1730, VOA Feb 7 Very good longpath signal at Botswana sunset. Man and woman announcers in African language giving news items from around Africa, and mentions of many regional locations. Brief mabira music selection 1711, and back to news or political talk. Woman with mention of 'Washington DC' at 1713, followed by '909 AM' and 'shortwave 11975 and 17895 kHz' , and what sounded like 'Voi Amerika' or similar at 1714. Man with 'Washington, DC' at 1729, and 'This is the Voice of America' by woman in English at 1730, and into English programming with mention of upcoming features and news. Surprisingly strong at more than two hours past local sunrise. Also heard VOA Botswana at a very good level on 2/8 at 1657 with VOA NewsNow report on human rights in Laos. (Atkins-WA)

BOTSWANA 4930, 0338-0346, VOA Feb 8 Various news items in English read by different male announcers, including a US envoy travels to Pakistan, fighting in Afghanistan, and others. 'VOA News' IDs 0343. Good signal as Botswana sunrise approaches. (Atkins-WA)

BRAZIL 4885, 0520-0531, R. Club do Para Feb 7 Brazilian music to 0529 ID by male announcer with promo and mentions of meter band and frequency. Good signal. (Atkins-WA)

CONGO 5985, 1713-1750, R. Congo Feb 8 Fair to good level at Brazzaville sunset (1715). Male announcer in African vernacular; into French at 1723 with 'Ici Brazzaville, Congo' ID at 1731. Enjoyable Soukous music selections starting at 1732, but unfortunately by 1740 the signal was weakening and getting noisy. However, Congo was still listenable with a fair signal even past 1800 (10am local time PST). Strongest on southwest Beverage. (Atkins-WA)

GABON 4777, 0538-0605, R. Diff. TV Gabonaise Feb 7 Very good signal of French pop music and male announcer in French. Fading considerably at 0550, and almost gone by 0555. However, signal improved somewhat at 0558. ID at 0600 and into presumed news, with mentions of Libreville and Gabon. (Atkins-WA)

INDIA 3223, 1611-1614, AIR Shimla Feb 7 Tentative; with woman in English. Barely above threshold level. (Atkins-WA)

INDIA 3315, 1615-1620, AIR Bhopal Feb 7 Noted in passing, with fair signal of woman and man announcers in Hindi. (Atkins-WA)

INDIA 3365, 1620-1633, AIR Delhi Feb 7 Presumed, with English announcers; orchestral music 1625, and woman with mention of India at 1632. Weak, noisy signal at 1+ hour past local sunrise. (Atkins-WA)

INDIA 4760, 1647-1653, AIR Port Blair Feb 8 Presumed, with sub-contintental vocals over/under TWR Swaziland. Good signal and best on west Beverage. (Atkins-WA)

INDIA 4920, 1702-1705, AIR Chennai Feb 8 Exotic subcontinental music, with male announcer in Hindi or Tamil at 1704. Much stronger than faint Xizang PBS (China) signal co-channel in background. (Atkins-WA)

Tsunami sign
Communities surrounding the Grays Harbor vicinity display these tsunami evacuation route signs

INDONESIA 3976, 1120-1127, RRI Pontianak Feb 7 Male announcer with poss. talk of regional politics, with mentions of Indonesia and Pakistan. Female Indo vocals at 1127. Excellent signal, but some co-channel ham interference. (Atkins-WA)

INDONESIA 4000.1, 1125-1135, RRI Kendari Feb 7 Two Indonesian announcers with talk and occasional mentions of Kendari. Good signal. The notch filters on the 756Pro are the best I've ever encountered, and did a great job on the big het that's usually present on this frequency. (Atkins-WA)

INDONESIA 4604.95, 1135-1147, RRI Serui Feb 7 Male announcer with 'RRI Serui' ID at tune-in, followed by brief news items with mentions of Indonesian cities and pauses in-between. Orchestral anthem at 1142, and into C&W style Indonesian music and vocals. Excellent signal. (Atkins-WA)

INDONESIA 4925, 1145-1201, RRI Jambi Feb 7 Playing a mix of Indonesian pops and US music; male announcer with 'RRI Jambi' ID 1159 and into Love Ambon tune briefly, then more pop music at 1200. Good signal. (Atkins-WA)

MADAGASCAR 5010, 1617-1633, R. National Malagasy Feb 8 Probable. Man and woman with discussion or interview in heavily African accented English, over/under AIR Thiruvananthapuram in Hindi. Good signal, but very difficult to follow due to the Indian at equal level. Language changed to pres. Malagasy 1628 with announcements by a man; brief drumming, then woman in French at 1631with possible mention of 'Malagache' beneath AIR's subcontinental music. I was surprised to hear English on this frequency at tune-in; unfortunately the level was so low I couldn't make out the subject or topic. (Atkins-WA)

NEW ZEALAND 3935.07, 1116-1121, ZLXA Levin Feb 7 Tentative. Threshold level of female announcer in English (seemed Kiwi accent) with monotone talk. Very weak with occasional ham QRM. Only audible on southwest Beverage antenna. (Atkins-WA)

NIGERIA 4770, 0510-0537, R. Nigeria Feb 7 Very tentative. I first tuned 4770 at 0510 and found a weak signal with threshold English language. Later checks revealed an African-sounding language as sunrise approached Lagos. The signal never improved, but stayed threshold. Gabon 4777 also in at a very good level. (Atkins-WA)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 3205, 1018-1031, R. West Sepik Feb 7 Two men in English with a discussion on PNG economics; many mentions of 'Kina'. Poor to fair signal. (Atkins-WA)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 3260, 1031-1034, R. Madang Feb 7 Male announcer in Pidgin with mentions of Madang at 1032 and 1035. Poor signal. (Atkins-WA)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 3275, 1035-1039, R. Southern Highlands Feb 7 Enjoyable PNG sing-sing music with female chorus and guitars; announcer in Pidgin. Too bad the signal was such a low level; tonight is a poor PNG propagation evening. (Atkins-WA)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 3315, 1041-1048, R. Manus Feb 7 Announcer in Pidgin with US pops tunes; seemed to be a music countdown program. 'R. Manus' ID noted at 1106 recheck. Fair. (Atkins-WA)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 3355, 1057-1101, R. Simbu Feb 7 PNG pop music 1057; male announcer at 1059 with announcements in Pidgin; 'R. Simbu' ID at 1100 with mentions of 'province'. Suddenly off without fanfare at 1101*. Other PNG stations still on, though. Poor-fair signal. (Atkins-WA)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 3385, 1048-, R. East New Britain Feb 7 Male announcer in Pidgin with slow, casual talk. Time check in English 'five minutes until 9 o'clock' at 1055; phone number and poss. quick ad for restaurant. Initially a poor-fair signal, but a recheck at 1107 revealed a good level with Pidgin language hymn and male chorus. (Atkins-WA)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 3905, 1105-1111, R. New Ireland Feb 7 Presumed. Male announcer in Pidgin with mentions of 'tok tok' and 'come up long hearim...'. Poor level signal, with strong co-channel ham QRM from the New England Weather Net. No evidence of RRI Merauke on the frequency. (Atkins-WA)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 4960, 1112-1116, Catholic Radio Network Feb 7 Talk or interview about Catholic and family planning issues. First noted at 1035 with Christian contemporary music. Poor-fair level, but seemed to be slowly improving. Also heard at 1707 on 2/8 with choir music; weak signal. (Atkins-WA)

SOLOMON ISLANDS 5019.9, 1737-1740, SIBC Feb 7 Honiara still in at a good level with BBC news relay in English, 2-1/2 hours past local sunrise. Panel discussion about economies of Middle Eastern countries. (Atkins-WA)

SOUTH AFRICA 3255, 0314-0318, BBC WS, Meyerton Feb 8 Two men with discussion in English about USA farm exports; fair signal and parallel to 5975 with a slight delay. Only audible via the backend of the southwest Beverage antenna. (Atkins-WA)

SOUTH AFRICA 3320, 0303-0312, R. Sonder Grense Feb 8 Two men with lively discussion in Afrikaans. Fair to good, and improving as sunrise approaches South Africa. (Atkins-WA)

SWAZILAND 4760, 1647-1652, TWR Mpangela Ranch Feb 8 Male preacher in African vernacular, over/under AIR Port Blair's sub-contintental vocals. Fair-good level and best on southwest Beverage. (Atkins-WA)

SWAZILAND 4774.95, 0409-0420, TWR Mpangela Ranch Feb 8 African choral music that sounded like a hymn at tune-in; religious organ music 0413; brief talk or meditation by man in what sounded like the German language (per WRTH sked), and into a series of short hymns by choir with organ accompaniment. Language switched to English at 0430, also per schedule. Faint signal. (Atkins-WA)

TAJIKISTAN 4965, 1603-1612, V. of Russia, Yangiyul Feb 7 While searching for R. Christian Voice, Zambia, I came across Voice of Russia on the frequency. Female newscaster with world news, VOR ID at 1607, and into light jazz. 'VOR World service' ID again at 1609 and 1611 by male announcer. Good. (Atkins-WA)

ZAMBIA 4910, 1634-1708, ZNBC Radio One Feb 7 Male announcer in African language, with sermon; numerous mentions of 'Janni' or 'Juani' and 'Patmos', which was likely a Bible story relating to the apostle John who was imprisoned on the Island of Patmos. Announcer with voice-over organ music at 1656; hymn and choir 1658; 2+1 time pips at 1700. Female announcer with possible ID and mentions of Lusaka 1701, followed by news items read by a man, mentioning Zambia, Angola, Malawi, and other locations. Choral anthem or national song at 1704. Bassy modulation. Very good signal, with AIR Jaipur faintly in background 1634-1650 with sub-continental music. Surprisingly strong even at 1 hour 40 minutes past local sunrise and peaking at 1705, which is Lusaka sunset. Still in at a fair to good level at 1735 recheck, 2+ hours past SR with fast-paced advertisement mentioning many African music styles such as makossa, soukous, mbqanga, hilife, and others. Also heard 2/8 with a good signal. (Atkins-WA)

ZAMBIA 4910, 0327-0338, ZNBC Radio One Feb 8 Fading up nicely with Afropops music and cheery male announcer in vernacular at 0330; mentions of Zambia and 'ZNBC'. I heard a clear mention of 'Radio Three' just before 0333; perhaps a promo for another network (?). 2+1 time pips at 0400 and into short vocal selection by female chorus. Good signal. (Atkins-WA)

ZAMBIA 4965, 0346-0355, Radio Christian Voice Feb 8 Tentative. Weak signal of Black Gospel music; traditional African choral music (hymn?) at 0348, but signal lost to the noise by 0355. (Atkins-WA)

ZAMBIA 4965, 1706-1715, R. Christian Voice Feb 8 Presumed. Woman in English giving web address ('www..' something) at tune-in; Christian contemporary music 1707; short prayer or devotion 1712, and into Black Gospel music. Weak signal, nearly two hours past local sunrise. (Atkins-WA)

Guy Atkins
Puyallup, WA USA
DXing at Ocean City State Park, WA
mod. ICOM IC-756Pro & mod. ICOM R-75
Kiwa MAP / ERGO
750 ft. southwest and west Beverage antennas

Published on February 11, 2005

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