May 19-22, 2008
John Plimmer and wife Dawn
arrive at the cottage a half hour after noon after
setting off from our home in Montagu four and a half
hours earlier. Our co-DXer Vince Stevens has already
arrived and comes over from the bush where he has
already strung up his first beverage. Seefontein cottage
is only 140 km's/90m North from Vince's home QTH of
Cape Town. Everything is ready for us in the powerless
cottage and we unload with Vince's help - he carts
the heavy 90 amp battery and my heavy gear for us,
we have lunch and then doss down a bit to be fresh
for the coming nights work.
By five p.m. everything is
ready, Vince has his three X 300 meter beverages up
and has tested everything and I have my 250 meter
beverage out and the Kiwa MW Loop setup and everything
tests fine. But disaster! I discover when I come to
connect up my Edirol R-09 mp3 recorder that I have
left the line in/line out cable and connectors at
home. Damnation! That may be a critical loss when
it comes to IDing difficult stations. Thankfully,
in the event I manage without the recorder. Just as
I am about to get some early arrivals as the sun dips,
Dawn announces that the hot water gas geyser won't
come on. That means a trip to the farmers house two
kilometers away = damn! Just at the critical sunset
DX time. Vince volunteers that cell phone reception
has become possible with a weak signal, so I try phoning
my host and thankfully get through to her. She explains
what's wrong - the battery to the water booster pump
needs to be connected and the gas geyser is malfunctioning
and needs to be fired up manually - a real Heath Robinson
arrangement! Anyway I get it to work and Dawn has
Vince's 300m beverage terminated at the Ocean
with a 9:1 balun into co-ax
Monday 19th evening session
Local sunset is at ten to six and at quarter to six
the Aussies start coming in and we both soon have
a nice tally of those, but mainly West Coast stations.
Just after six Vince gets a fabulous ID and recording
of Quezon City Philippines followed by Yemen and Libya.
Then follow various Chinese and Taiwanese stations
plus Strasbourg and R. Kosovo. We both doss down at
about ten to be ready for an early morning session
with our sights set on N. America, our main target
for the trip.
Tuesday 20th morning session
Vince inspecting his antenna
farm on a gloomy day
A winter gale with driving rain and some lightning
has hit us overnight and the static on the band is
now horrendous, making it difficult to search out
those faint stations among the many strong Brazilians
coming in. At 0151z I get Harbour Light of Windwards
from Granada. Later, nearer sunrise at 0532z the N.
Americans start coming in, but only East Coast stations.
At sunrise I get a very small 250 watt Brazilian station
very strong and clear. Vince gets a N.Y. station and
a nice catch from the UK. The session ends just after
sunrise with the storm getting worse and the prospect
of a rainy day.
We then battle the notoriously bad hot water system
at the cottage to have a nice hot bath and refresh,
but I only get a luke warm one with brackish brown
water. Vince gives up on the gas geyser and boils
up a huge kettle on the gas stove for his water. Vince
dosses down and Dawn wants to go shopping in Veldrif
25 km's away. We get some nice fresh fish and lousy
sloppy chips for lunch and head back to the cottage.
Tuesday 20th evening session
Vince is fired up and ready to go before sunset and
is lucky enough to get another Philippino, but as
darkness draws on the static is really overwhelming,
S9+10, making it nigh on impossible to get anything,
so we retire early, a bit disappointed. I'm also having
a frustrating time with my 100 CP gas lamp as it keeps
getting the jet clogged and does not give out enough
light for me to read my WRTH with.
Wednesday 21st morning session
The awful storm static is now at it's peak and neither
Vince or I get N. America this session, but Vince
does manage to get Big L in Holland, always a nice
catch, and both of us get some Kenyans and the Indian
Ocean Island stations. Probably my best catch this
lousy session is Paris, France.
Later we head into town again to get some supplies
and I go to the local internet cafe to catch up, then
around to the hardware store for a new gas jet for
the lamp. That also clogs up again after five hours
and leaves me floundering in half light again. First
thing I take the heavy battery over to the host's
farm where there is power to charge it up. The 756
and Kiwa chew 5 amps, so the battery cannot last the
three days like Vince's can, as his Drake only sips
Wednesday 21st evening
Shack with Vince's R8A
in foreground & gas lamp John's Kiwa MW
Loop in background
The storm has raged the last two days and the static
is still awful, so this is my least productive session
- all I got was Mauritius and Reunion. Vince doesn't
fare much better, so disappointed we doss down again.
Dawn has been amusing herself meanwhile with a portable
CD and knitting herself a pair of striped winter socks.
Thursday 22nd last morning session
This last session starts a bit better and soon we
are both getting some nice catches: me a 2 Kw Italian
from Vincenza, France Bordeaux, several Spaniards,
then Virgin Islands and Anguilla. At first light I
end off the session with WWL New Orleans and San Diego
1700. Vince gets Paraguay, Uruguay and KVNS Brownsville.
Then it's the dreary job of packing up and taking
down the beverages. We finish at 10.15 and head for
the four and a half hour drive home without incident
and Vince is a bit later having more antennas to bring
in. Of course we were disappointed over the bad reception
through the static on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the
Monday and Thursday sessions made up or it and we
went home satisfied.
Vince Stevens - Drake R8A and 3 X 300m beverages
774 190508 16h02 PHILIPPINES DWWW Quezon City, w clear
sign off ID x2 in Tagalog & nat anthem, fair w
780 220508 05h22 PARAGUAY R.Primero de Marzo Asuncion,
ID, ann, phone-ins, mx, fair
792 190508 16h06 YEMEN YRTC Al Hiswah, in EE w nx
& ID's, into AA at 16h30, fair-good w static
792 190508 16h11 LIBYA LJBC Sirte (Presumed) w nx
in EE about relations with Tunisia. Talk of 'Homeland',
brief fair peak, mixing with Yemen
1026 200508 15h34 PHILIPPINES DZAR Quezon City, w
ID & list of affiliate stations, in Tagalog, weak
1044 190508 15h50 AUSTRALIA 5CS Port Pirie, w Men
at Work song //1242, fair-good
1053 200508 02h40 UK TALKSPORT Synchros, w phone in,
poor w heavy static
1224 220508 04h00 SPAIN COPE various txers. Not sure
which outlet I was hearing, in SS w nx , wx etc, good
1250 220508 05h33 URUGUAY R.Centenario Montevideo,
w ID in SS, ann & mx, fair
1250 220508 05h22 USA UNIDENTIFIED (suspect either
WTMA or WHNZ) , w ad for Mosquito Coast sunblock,
then into the Phil Hendrie show, poor
1305.04 210508 15h45 UNIDENTIFIED (Kenya?) in EE w
Gospel px on the Word of God (at 16h26), poor-fair
1360 210508 03h20 USA UNIDENTIFIED, w brief peak thru
static, sport comm: 'will it be another unforced error'
1395 210508 03h05 HOLLAND BIG L Radio London, Trintelhaven,
w pops, fair w static
1430 220508 06h18 UNIDENTIFIED w continuous pops (The
Smiths, Cult etc), suspect a South American stn,
1548 190508 17h03 AUSTRALIA 4QD Emerald, w nx, mixing
with local station R.Islam, poor
1600 200508 04h42 USA WWRL NY, ID, ads & political
px, fair-good at times
1700 220508 06h11 USA KVNS Brownsville TX, w ID, clear.
Many other UNID's heard but not
noted, including some interesting graveyard channel
Americans on 1490, which were too weak to identify.
Also a few of the more regular Western Australians
(ie 6WF 720) were heard on the 13th but not logged..
The Seefontein trip from May
19-22 was unfortunately dogged by bad weather, causing
extreme static interference which all but made listening
impossible for at least 3 sessions..
And thanks to the PAL & EMWG
for clarification of various bits of information..
John Plimmer - Icom IC-756PROIII, Kiwa MW
Loop and 250m beverage over the shoulder to N. America
and pointed at Australia and my trusty WRTH 2008
WA,AUSTRALIA,10,"ABC local radio"// Perth"
747,1640,08/05/19,EE,ABC ID -
poss 4OS,TOOWOOMBA QU,AUSTRALIA,10,could also have
been 7PB Hobart
1008,152,08/05/22,SS,SER R. GIRONA,GIRONA,SPAIN,10,
1179,100,08/05/22,SS,SER R VALENCIA,VALENCIA,SPAIN,50,
1377,16,08/05/22,EE,R. FREE AFRICA,MWANZA,TANZANIA,50,
Light of Windwards,CARRIOCOA,GRANADA,5,GOSPEL
DO POMBAL,BRAZIL,0.25 KW song "We'll always
love you" very strong"
REEF BC, BBC NX",ST. CROIX,VIRGIN ISLES,1,
(published on June