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Seefontein 8 DXpedition

March 29th to April 1st 2010

by John Plimmer

Vince Stevens and John and Dawn Plimmer attended. Vince arrived first at 11.00 a.m. - we came later at 1.00 p.m. and found Vince busy in the bush erecting his beverages. Our hostess proudly told us she had upgraded the awful gas heater hot water system to a solar system. It was much better than the old gas system, but did not heat up until midday, so I could not bath after the session, but had to wait until lunchtime. Vince kindly helped us unload and brought in the heavy stuff like the 25 kg. tractor battery.

Cottage
Seefontein beach cottage with Vince's Landy

We had lunch and then a nap and only got started on setup later in the afternoon. Weather was ideal, warm and sunny with a light wind. The weather remained good for our entire stay. On reeling out my 350m/1150 ft beverage I noticed that the owners herd of cattle had grown from three to many more. Previously they had kept their distance away from us, so I hoped they would stay away now as well. 5.30 pm we were all set up and tested; Vince and his Drake R8A and my Icom IC-7600 and Perseus, waiting for the early signals from the Far East. Then horrors, I noticed that the cattle had followed us to the seaside cottage and were now trampling though the beverages and their terminations. We tried desperately to chase them back down the road, but not being herders the cattle were not particularly attentive to us.

Anyway eventually they left and we were able to assess the damage. My wires were okay, just stretched a bit here and there. Vince's main beverage to Aussie was okay, but a wire he had set up Southward to catch Falklands Isl. had been stretched and broken. He was soon able to repair it and we were all ready for sunset at 6.46 p.m. local time. First arrival was ABC Perth on 720, followed by the Taiwan gospel stations and RFO Mayotte. The Australians continued to come in well during the evening and a new one for me was 981 Kalgoolie. Signals faded later, so we retired to our beds at 9.00 p.m. local time.

Dunes
View South West to Falklands Isl. from cottage across St. Helena Bay

I don't sleep through the night, so was up at 2.00 a.m. and caught a batch of Caribbean stations including the not often heard R. Paradise, St.Kitts & Nevis. I then dossed down again and rose with Vince at 5.00 a.m. for the morning session. Of course the band is full of Brazilian stations but neither Vince or I am particularly interested in those. We were both waiting for the North American stations, that started appearing at about 5.30 a.m. The only new one I got was a presumed KBGG Des Moines IA on 1700 with no ID but a reference to "ESPN RADIO". The only station I could find on 1700 with ESPN was KBGG, so I am claiming it as a "presumed". Sunrise came at 0500z, but no fireworks were heard.

Meanwhile I had been furiously recording on my Perseus at TOH, but due to the laptop being only used on its internal battery I would be unable to listen to these recordings until I got back to my home QTH. I had a type of transformer to power the laptop off a 12V DC auto battery, but in practice it let out a loud hash of RFI so I decided not to use it. Perseus was powered by a 12V to 5V little power board.

Sunset
Outlook across the Atlantic Ocean from the cottage

Later Dawn and I go to the nearest village, Veldrif 20 km away for shopping. Whilst Dawn shops I go to the local internet cafe and catch up on the news. We head back to the cottage with some lovely fresh fish and chips which we always enjoy. Vince is up from his morning snooze and enjoys his fish with us. This is washed down by some nice local Sauvignon Blanc.

Tuesday evenings session is unremarkable, cursed by very loud static from tropical storms to the North.

Wednesday morning is a good session - I get Chicago and San Antonio not often heard unless conditions are good. I also get "Big L" from Holland which is a nice catch considering my antenna is not pointed to Europe.

The big 100 amp tractor battery now needs charging, so with the help of Vince we take it to the farmhouse one and a half kilometers away and have a chat to Lise, our hostess. She tells us the farming season has been good and the melons they farm prolific.

Succulent
A desert succulent near the cottage

Wednesday evening more Australians come in with the highlights being Broome and Adelaide. I also have some success on the HF aero bands and get the Honolulu WX.

Thursday morning, our last session, my reception goes weak at 5.00 a.m local time. I go and have a chat to Vince and he is going like a Boeing, so I guess my wire has been cut. This turns out to be correct as when Dawn and I reel it in later, it has been neatly cut without disturbing it, perhaps by a rodent and not the cattle I had expected.

So that's the end of the DXpedition and we all pack up and reel in our wires. Vince and I confess what a pleasure it is to come to an interference free site and DX with huge beverage antennas - both Vince and I live in RFI noisy suburbia so Seefontein is always a revelation with tons of signals never head at home coming in = lovely! Although Seefontein situated on the Atlantic West Coast should favour N. America, this time round we did not get too many U.S. stations and one Canadian, whereas we did get more Aussies than expected.

Vince with Drake
Vince and his Drake R8A - many a good catch

Vince gets all his wires in much earlier than usual and is home in his Cape Town shack by 11.00 a.m. - Dawn and I only get home in the afternoon at 1.30 p.m. as we have a much longer distance to travel to Montagu, and we then have to go to Swellendam 60 km away to fetch our darling cat. Alas, we find the hot water electricity geyser will not switch on as it has shorted. Being the Thursday afternoon before the long Easter weekend I phone my electrician with trepidation. He tells me all the artisans have gone off for their long weekend and he will have to recall one to fix my hot water at double overtime rates = hell! I have to agree and they only finish at 6.00 p.m. = ouch!!

John with Perseus
John furiously working the Perseus SDR in the powerless cottage

So, after the new style of DXing, many days at the home QTH are spent going over the Perseus .wav files and the Edirol .mp3 files. This is my first DXpedition with Perseus, so going over all my TOH recordings was a first as well. I had held back for two years before buying a Perseus and thought it debased the true DX experience. I must now admit to being absolutely enthralled at being able to go over the full spectrum of an active band days after the session and was quite thrilled with the great catches the .WAV files revealed. So now I am sold on Perseus like all you others who have had it for ages = way to go!

However, Perseus is not a miracle machine and of the 47 good logs I got, only 9 were from Perseus. Many of the great catches I got on the Icom and Edirol .mp3 recorder were not even heard on the Perseus .wav's, leading me to the conclusion that Perseus is less sensitive than the Icom by quite a long way. I also think that the recording process of the .wav's introduces more noise, rendering many of the recordings useless when compared to the Icom and Edirol recordings. However, on receiving Vince's logs I was able to add another three US stations to my log from the Perseus .wav's..

Vince had some good sessions and produced many enviable logs.

RADIO's - Vince Drake R8A John - Icom IC-7600 and Perseus SDR
ANTENNA's Vince 300m beverage to Australia and over shoulder to N. America plus 300m pointed to Falklands Isl.
John 350m/1150ft beverage pointed to Australia and over shoulder to N. America

LOGS

John Plimmer

Freq Tme Station Town Country Kw Comment
361 2357 ASN ASCENCION 1
558 1800 6WA ABC NX WAGIN AUSTRALIA 50 PERSEUS
612 1800 6RN DALWALLINU AUSTRALIA 10 PERSEUS
670 12 R GLOBO - ADS CURITIBA BRAZIL 2
675 1720 6BE BROOME AUSTRALIA 5 FAINT
702 1806 6KP ABC // 720 KARATHA AUSTRALIA 10
720 1638 ABC PERTH AUSTRALIA 50
729 1611 5RN ABC ADELAIDE AUSTRALIA 50 BUDHIST MEDITATION
740 2350 R SOC DA BAHIA SALVADOR BRAZIL 100
800 4 TWR BONAIRE 100
810 1745 6RN ABC PERTH AUSTRALIA 20
810 253 SIGN ON EP XAI XAI MOZAMBIQUE 50
820 2350 R PARADISE - RELIGIOUS NEVIS ST KITTS 50
828 1845 6GN ABC GERALDTON AUSTRALIA 10
882 1810 6PR PHONE IN'S PERTH AUSTRALIA 10
918 1653 6NA NARROGIN AUSTRALIA 2 TALK
981 1711 6KG ROCK MUSIC KALGOOLIE AUSTRALIA 2 TKS VINCE
990 1649 6RPH - BBC NX PERTH AUSTRALIA 5
1000 300 WMVP - CHIC BULLS CHICAGO USA 50 PErseus
1010 500 R BAHIA SALVADOR BRAZIL 5 PERSEUS
1010 500 WINS NY NY 50 Persus
1040 231 R CAPITAL SP BRAZIL 100
1080 1800 6IX PERTH AUSTRALIA 2 PERSEUS - THE GREATEST HITS
1100 2329 R GLOBO SP BRAZIL 150
1116 1826 6MM MANDURAH AUSTRALIA 2
1130 500 WBBR "NY, NY" USA 50 PERSEUS GLOBAL TRANQUILITY
1170 0500 WWVA Wheeling WV USA 50 Perseus
1200 500 WOAI SAN ANTONIO TX USA 50 PERSEUS 8800m/14000km
1220 2340 R GLOBO RDJ BRAZIL 150
1296 1652 6RN ABC WAGIN AUSTRALIA 10
1323 1824 BBC WS ZYYI CYPRUS 200
1350 2338 SUPER R CRISTAL SALVADOR BRAZIL 10
1359 1648 WYFR FANGLIO TAIWAN 250 GOSPEL
1377 1815 R FREE AFRICA MWANZA TANZANIA 50
1395 339 BIG L TRINTELHAVEN HOLLAND 10
1404 1819 6TAB HORSES BUSSELTON AUSTRALIA 4
1449 1822 6TAB HORSES MANDURAH AUSTRALIA 2
1458 1643 RFO PAMANDZI MAYOTE 5
1500 429 WFED WASHINGTON DC USA 50
1520 500 WWKB BUFFALO NY USA 50
1540 2328 ZNS1 CALYPSO SONGS NASSAU BAHAMAS 8
1557 1639 WYFR KOUHU TAIWAN 300 GOSPEL
1557 1813 FRANCE INFO NICE FRANCE 300
1610 408 CARIBBEAN BEACON ANGUILA 30 `
1660 436 WWRU - KOREAN NEW JERSEY NJ USA 10
1700 441 PRESUMED - KBGG DES MOINES IO USA 1 PRESUMED - ESPN RADIO - YOU ARE ON 1700
4319 1553 AFN DIEGO GARCIA 10
5598 402 NEW YORK AERO "NY, NY" USA 10 WKG VARIOUS A/C
5634 1606 SINGAPORE/BRISBANE BRISBANE AUSTRALIA 10 AERO WKG VARIOUS
5765 1552 AFN GUAM 10
6649 431 ATLANTICO AERO 10 WKG EL AL 041
6676 1544 WX AERO SINGAPORE 10
8828 1639 WX HONOLULU/HONG KONG HONOLULU HAWAI 10 AERO WX
8861 448 ATLANTICO AERO 10 WKG TGM51

John and Vince
The two DXer's at Seefontein8 - John Plimmer and Vince Stevens

Vince Stevens

530 04h50 30/03/2010 FALKLAND ISLS "FIRS, Port Stanley (PRESUMED)" "w BBC WS relay - sport nx, only on NE-SW beverage (also on 01/04 @ 04h40)" poor w QRM from Botswana 531
530 05h04 31/03/2010 ARGENTINA "R.Republica, San Justo" in SS w ID & mx poor
550 04h54 30/03/2010 URUGUAY R.Colonia ID in SS good
600 04h30 30/03/2010 CUBA "R.Rebelde, Urbano Noris" "in SS w ID's, nx, many mentions of Cuba & Havana" poor-fair
660 04h20 30/03/2010 USA WFAN (PRESUMED) w sports scores poor
670 04h45 30/03/2010 CUBA "R.Rebelde, Arroyo Arenas" //600 poor
720 16h41 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6WF Perth Rock n roll mx & local fade-in fair-good
729 16h42 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 5RN Adelaide Talk on child abuse fair
730 03h29 01/04/2010 COLOMBIA "R.Lider, SF de Bogota" ID in SS poor
747 16h43 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6SE Esperance ads fair
747 03h43 30/03/2010 NETHERLANDS Radio 5 Zeewolde talk in Dutch then piano jazz mx fair
810 16h44 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6RN Perth under R.Mozambique w talks poor
828 16h44 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6GN Geraldton Coldplay song fair
882 16h46 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6PR Perth Phone in px on health good
891 16h18 31/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 5AN Adelaide "briefly faded in over lesotho, w phone ins //720" poor-fair
963 16h56 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6TZ Bunbury (PRESUMED) ads in EE mentioning 'power of attorney' poor
981 16h58 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6KG Kalgoorlie "ads for Roly Industries & National Gold Nuggets & Jewellery, then pop & rock mx" poor-fair
1000 04h56 30/03/2010 USA UNIDENTIFIED "w sport , most likely WMVP Chicago " poor
1010 05h17 31/03/2010 USA WINS New York ID & mention of wins1010 website poor
1017 18h21 29/03/2010 GERMANY SWR Wolfsheim in GG w talks (nx?) fair
1020.1 03h30 31/03/2010 PARAGUAY "R.Nanduti, Asuncion" in SS w many mentions of Paraguay good
1030 03h52 01/04/2010 ARGENTINA "R. del Plata, Buenos Aires" ID's & mx good
1040 03h25 31/03/2010 BRAZIL "R.Capital, Sao Paulo" ID in PP poor-fair
1050 04h58 31/03/2010 USA WEPN New York ESPN Radio. com ID's & sport results fair
1080 16h45 30/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6IX Perth ID & pops poor-fair
1098 17h13 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6MD Merredin // 981 w Status Quo track poor
1110 04h03 31/03/2010 ARGENTINA "R.de la Ciudad, Buenos Aires" "in SS w nx, temperatures, ID's" good
1170 05h19 31/03/2010 USA WWVA Wheeling WV Clear ID then Coast to Coast phone in px (QSL'ed already via email) fair briefly
1296 17h17 29/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 6RN Wagin talks good
1395 16h55 30/03/2010 AUSTRALIA 5AA Adelaide "talks, mention of Adelaide & phone in" poor
1440 04h12 30/03/2010 LUXEMBOURG RTL Marnach in GG w mentions of Stuttgart & Rhineland poor-fair
1550 04h56 01/04/2010 CANADA CBE Windsor ON "As it happens' px, ID's as ""Radio 1""" poor-fair
1560 05h30 31/03/2010 USA UNIDENTIFIED "w mention of 'Sporting News Radio', sports talk & phone ins, most likely KGOW Bellaire TX " poor
1590 05h13 30/03/2010 USA UNIDENTIFIED "w Coast to Coast AM and ads, narrowed down to possibly WALG Albany or WVNA Tuscumbia based on stations running C2C from the South Eastern states." poor
1600 05h14 01/04/2010 USA WWRL New York talkshow & ID fair briefly

(published on April 19, 2010)

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