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Seefontein 6 DXpedition
May 19-22, 2008

by John Plimmer

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.

beverage on beach
Vince's 300m beverage terminated at the Ocean with a 9:1 balun into co-ax
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 hot water.

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.

Vince inspecting antennas
Vince inspecting his antenna farm on a gloomy day
Tuesday 20th morning session
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 1 amp.


Shack with Vince's R8A in foreground & gas lamp John's Kiwa MW Loop in background
Wednesday 21st evening session
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.

Logs

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 static
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. (SF)

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.. Vince

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

Frequency,Time,Date,Language,Station,Town,Country,Power,Remarks

666,1608,08/05/21,FF,R. REUNION,ST PIERRE,REUNION,20,

684,1616,08/05/21,FF,MBC R.,MAURICE,MAURITIUS,10,

684,1621,08/05/21,CC,FJIC,,CHINA,1200,

702,1545,08/05/19,EE,ABC 6KP,KARRATHA WA,AUSTRALIA,10,"ABC local radio"// Perth"

710,510,08/05/20,EE,WOR,NY NY,USA,50,TKS to Vince

747,1636,08/05/19,EE,CHINA R INT,YN,CHINA,100,

747,1640,08/05/19,EE,ABC ID - poss 4OS,TOOWOOMBA QU,AUSTRALIA,10,could also have been 7PB Hobart

864,322,08/05/21,FF,FRANCE BLEU,PARIS,FRANCE,300,

870,455,08/05/22,EE,WWL,NEW ORLEANS,USA,50,

960,108,08/05/20,PP,R DIFUSORA,MACEID,BRAZIL,10,

990,318,08/05/21,AA,R. SAWA,CAP GRECO,CYPRUS,600,

1008,152,08/05/22,SS,SER R. GIRONA,GIRONA,SPAIN,10,

1044,1559,08/05/19,EE,5AU,PORT AUGUSTA,AUSTRALIA,2,commercials

1130,116,08/05/20,PP,R NACIONAL,RDJ,BRAZIL,50,

1134,1915,08/05/19,CC,CNRI,OH,CHINA,1200,

1134,305,08/05/02,EE,KBC NX,KITALE,KENYA,50,

1179,100,08/05/22,SS,SER R VALENCIA,VALENCIA,SPAIN,50,

1206,51,08/05/22,FF,FRANCE INFO,BORDEAUX,FRANCE,300,

1233,246,08/05/21,AA,RMC,CAP GRECO,CYPRUS,800,

1242,1605,08/05/19,VV,CAN THO,THOI LONG,VIETNAM,2000,

1278,1930,08/05/19,FF,FRANCE BLEU,STRASBOURG,FRANCE,300,

1305,41,08/05/22,SS,RNE5,BILBOA,SPAIN,20,//1314

1314,39,08/05/22,SS,RNE5,CUENCA,SPAIN,20,

1323,216,08/05/21,EE,BBC,ZYYI,CYPRUS,200,

1341,33,08/05/22,SS,OCR,ALMEIRA,SPAIN,20,

1377,216,08/05/20,FF,FRANCE INTER,LILLE,FRANCE,300,// 1557

1377,16,08/05/22,EE,R. FREE AFRICA,MWANZA,TANZANIA,50,

1400,151,08/05/20,EE,Harbour Light of Windwards,CARRIOCOA,GRANADA,5,GOSPEL

1413,1948,08/05/19,VV,R KOSOVO,DRENAS,SERBIA,1000,

1458,146,08/05/21,FF,RFO,PAMANDZI,MAYOTTE,5,

1485,6,08/05/22,II,RAI,RADIOUNO VICENZA,ITALY,2,

1503,1641,08/05/20,CC,RTI,FANGLIO,TAIWAN,600,

1520,433,08/05/20,EE,WWKB,BUFFALO NY,USA,50,

1539,1810,08/05/19,AA,VOA,AL DHABBAYA,UAE,800,

1557,1618,08/05/19,EE,"WYFR "FAMILY R.",KOUHU,TAIWAN,300,gospel

1560,543,08/05/20,PP,R. EDUCADORA,RIBEIRA DO POMBAL,BRAZIL,0.25 KW song "We'll always love you" very strong"

1575,1615,08/05/19,AA,R. FARDA,AL DHABBAYA,UAE,800,

1600,445,08/05/20,EE,WWRL,NY NY,USA,5,

1610,537,08/05/22,EE,THE CARIBBEAN BEACON,,ANGUILA,25,GOSPEL

1620,411,08/05/22,EE,"WDHP REEF BC, BBC NX",ST. CROIX,VIRGIN ISLES,1,

1660,425,08/05/20,KK,WWRU,JERSEY CITY NJ,USA,10,KOREAN

1700,600,08/05/20,EE,SAN DIEGO 1700,TIJUANA,MEXICO,10,XEPE

(published on June 18, 2008)

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