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Seefontein 10 DXpedition

September 13-16, 2011

by John Plimmer

As I am packing my last things late on the night before our departure I get a frantic phone call from our hostess Lise. She says the road to the cottage has been blocked off by contractors who are going to re-do the badly broken road. She says we must convince the guards to let us through. Next morning we arrive at noon and the guards are friendly and let us through to the cottage some half mile down the road. Soon we are getting our equipment set up and running out our various beverages. Present are John Plimmer and his wife Dawn, plus veteran DXer's Vince Stevens and Gary Deacon.

Details of Seefontein cottage can be seen at the Seefontein website. Being electrical free we are all kitted out with batteries, a huge 100 amp job in my case as all my gear uses 5 amps per hour. This is a very heavy item for an old 73 year old so Gary and Vince usually help. Gary arrives late as usual and is only ready as the sun goes down. The great drawcard of Seefontein is that there is no electricity and RFI around for several kilometers and the land is flat allowing for various long beverages to be strung out in various directions.


I have brought my Kiwa MW loop along after it had malfunctioned on the previous two trips. I found a fault in the wiring to the power cable and soldered that neatly. This time out it performs flawlessly and outperforms my long 350m BOG on the European stations with a superb performance. 1600z we are all ready and fired up – no MW yet but a few interesting aeradio stations. Each of us has a BOG beverage on ground covering New York and another covering Europe.

Just after 1600z AIR Nagpur and CBS Fanglio Taiwan come in giving promise of a good evenings DX. Later come in the Aussies: Perth and Geraldton giving promise of a good listen from there. Alas it doesn't come to fruition and we get hardly any Aussies as compared with the last trip this time round. We break for dinner and Dawn has a nice curry lamb stew from the food store in Veldrif and we wash that down with a fine Pinot Noir red from the Hemel en Arde valley at Hermanus. Nothing spectacular that evening so we all doss down.

Wednesday morning session and I get nothing exciting so go longwave and get some nice Brazilian NDB beacons and Poland on the LW. As sunlight approaches the North American stations start coming in at first light at 0420z. Vince gives me a heads up on a clear signal from Salt Lake City KSL and then things warm up as sunrise approaches with the Caribbean and Bahamas coming in. Well after sunrise at 0450z I get a clear ID on KVNS from Brownsville TX. So we shut down have breakfast and a bath in the lukewarm brown brackish water and take a sleep.


I discuss lunch with the lads and say today is the best day to braai (barbeque) and that tomorrow will bring rain and wind according to the forecast. Vince the braaimaster want's our traditional fish and chips lunch to day though and opt to take his chances with the weather and braai tomorrow. So Dawn and I go to town (Velddrft) and we get them fish and chips and I go check out things at the internet cafe. We had found conditions average last night and Walt Salmaniw from Canada reports average conditions there as well.

For lunch the lads have the lovely fresh fish and chips and I have lovely Woolworths pork pies that Vince has brought for me as a rare treat from Cape Town. Yum yum, I wash them down with a glass of my favourite Nederberg Sauvignon Blanc.

The afternoon is wiled away and Gary, a talented professional musician, has brought along his guitar and gives Vince some lessons. The evening session starts with some more SW aeradio stations followed by a nice catch of a low powered Indian MW station from Srinagar. Later I blow the dust off the Kiwa loop and get some nice European stations and two great UK catches not heard before: Sport Talk Droitwich and R5 Moorside Edge.

John with his Icom IC-7600 and the Kiwa MW Loop on top of the stool

Thursday morning session and I get many French stations on the Kiwa and at first light comes in three New York station's on the long BOG. Vince and Gary are satisfied with their U.S. catches not heard before.

Dawn and I head for town as usual and Vince asks me to get the braai wood, although the weather doesn't look promising. Dawn and I go to St. Helena Bay to look at some coastal houses that are on offer at good prices. No wonder the prices are good, the place is badly overdeveloped and badly laid out among factories and shanty towns, so we go back to Velddrift to get lunch and Vince’s braai wood. It is raining though, so we don’t get the wood and head back to the cottage, where we find the weather has cleared and Vince is disappointed we haven't brought the braai wood. So he and Gary head to the village five kilometers away to get some from the local cafe.

I have been setting the Perseus SDR at the TOH around sunrise and get five good recordings over the three mornings. I created furore last time out in March when I declared the Perseus useless. Several of the cognoscenti disagreed with me, so I put Perseus to tests at home and found after very thorough testing that indeed Perseus recordings did indeed match the wonderful Icom IC-7600 recordings done on the Edirol. So this time round at Seefontein I was particularly careful to see that Perseus was properly set up and tested it against the big Icom, and all was just as it should be. But at the end of the sessions on Friday I ran the recordings for Vince and Gary to check some stations – they simply were not heard on Perseus. After I got it home I checked out my recordings and found only ONE of all the U.S. stations and nothing at all not already heard on the Icom. So Perseus was a great disappointment again and I don’t think I’m going to waste my time with it anymore. I have now lent it to Vince to see if he can get better results from it.

Vince twiddling the dials of his Drake R8A

Thursday evening sessions has nothing spectacular so we sleep and get ready for the last Friday morning session, which turns out to be the best. Vince gets a bonanza of really great U.S. catches with which he is well pleased and I pick up a few more New York catches. I also get Ulster on the Kiwa and am really amazed at how that very old piece of equipment performs – pity for all that Craig doesn't make them anymore.

After the sun is well up, we call it a day and all profess that it has been a great DXpedition and we are all well satisfied with our results. For myself I have ten new exotic stations unheard of before and Vince is very happy with his great U.S. catches. Gary is well pleased with his European catches and his fabulous U.S. catches on his amazing 220m BOG, so we all get involved in the tedious job of packing up the gear and bringing in the long wires. Thankfully for Dawn and I young Gary again volunteers to wind in my long wire, which he does with little effort, a huge task for Dawn and I as no one tells you that all your muscles have turned to aspic by the time you reach seventy and what is simple for a young person is a huge chore for the elderly. (I’m pushing 74 now)

Nine thirty and we are all packed up and ready to go, so I take the keys and go to settle up with our hostess Lise on her farm three km away.. She has upped the rates from R75 pp.nite to R100pp/nite, but thats still a bargain at E10 pp or US$14pp. We all set off for what should be a straightforward trip home, but at the roadblock outside the farm the Toyota will not go properly after the stop. It will not rev more than 2000rpm and can't get faster than 40kmph. Damnation – I crawl to the nearest village five km away and stop and call my insurers roadside assistance. This turns out to be a real graft, as the operator has never heard of the village where I am nor heard of the nearest big town where a tow truck could come and help. I tell the op that VREDENBURG is the nearest big town about 50km away, After fiifteen minutes he calls back to say he has a tow from the town of VREDENDAL which is about three hundred km’s away. I howl at him and his ignorance and he descends into silence and says he will try again. Meanwhile half an hour has gone by and I decide to try the engine again. Bingo, it fires up perfectly and revs fully, so I tell the op to suspend the tow until I phone again, and drive perfectly to the nearest town of Velddrif. Mysteriously all is now well and I drive to pick up the cat along the way.

Gary with his trusty Icom IC-R71

We arrive at the cattery in Swellendam safely and collect the cat which, as usual howls piteously and poops and makes the car stink. Monday I call at my Montagu local Toyota dealer and he finds the engine running perfectly, but says on modern computerised engines they sometimes malfunction, and stopping the engine allows the computer to reset itself and the car will run perfectly after a restart. Wish that piece of wisdom was in the handbook!!!

Vince and Gary get home to Cape Town at noon after an easy drive, but we don’t get home after the delays until five p.m. quite exhausted.
So another great DXpedition was had by all and everyone is well satisfied. It is great that we have such a wonderful spot free of RFI on the seaside. We are very fortunate.


Footnote: well how do we get those amazing MW catches up to 12,000 km’s away or 8,000 miles?
Much has been written on this before, but I repeat it here:
1.] Position position position as the famous Conrad Hilton said. A seaside coastal position right on the shore to take advantage of the “sea gain” effect that greatly enhances MW signals by the sea. Also no electricity around for RFI and the ability to run out long beverage wires. Hence Seefontein DX site.
2.] Good antenna’s like the long 1000 ft beverage, or my amazing Kiwa MW Loop.
3.] Skill and experience of the DXer to dig out those rare stations in the jumble of the band.
4.] Lastly the radio – a good one is nice but my pal Gary Deacon has proved that a good ultralight can pull in what a serious radio does.

Vince Stevens Logs

710,03h29,14/09/2011,USA,WOR,New York,ID,poor.
747,20h21,13/09/2011,NETHERLANDS,R.5,Zeewolde,Talks in DD,fair.
756,03h34,14/09/2011,GERMANY,DLF,Ravensburg,Football results in GG & ID,fair.
756,18h45,14/09/2011,ROMANIA,R.Romania,Lugoj,in // to 1152 w
783,20h20,13/09/2011,GERMANY,MDR Info,Leipzig,Talks in GG,poor.
828,16h00,13/09/2011,AUSTRALIA,6GN,Geraldton,ABC nx, at RSA local
sunset. (my only Aussie from the whole Dxpedition, apart from a brief
appearance of 6WF 720),poor then good later.
900,20h16,13/09/2011,ITALY,RAI,Milano,football comm in II,fair.
972,20h12,13/09/2011,SPAIN,RNE,various txers?,Spain & Germany mixing, both with Champions League football,poor.
972,20h12,13/09/2011,GERMANY,NDR,Hamburg,Spain & Germany mixing, both with Champions League football,poor.
981,19h10,14/09/2011,GREECE,ERA Spor,Athens,talk in Greek // 792,fair.
999,17h00,14/09/2011,MOLDOVA,R.Pridnestrovya,Grigoriopol,Talks w
mentions of Bulgaria in E Europe lingo, coming in very early. Later,
signal improved to very good S9+20dB,fair.
1017,17h30,14/09/2011,IRAN,IRIB,Zahedan,ID in presumably Farsi
1053,19h39,13/09/2011,UK,Talksport,Droitwich,football nx (very early
evening appearance of Talksport),fair.
1053.03,17h11,14/09/2011,ROUMANIA,R.Iasi,Uricani,ID x 2 ,good.
1089,19h40,13/09/2011,UK,Talksport,Moorside Edge,football nx, //1053,fair.
1160,04h23,14/09/2011,USA,KSL,Salt Lake City UT,ID,poor.
1215,19h31,14/09/2011,RUSSIA,V.of Russia,Bolshakovo,In EE w px on
Russia's advertising business & ID's,fair.
1370,04h46,15/09/2011,USA,WVIE,Pikesville MD,ID as V-1370, Fox sport, ads, also heard on 16/09,poor-fair.
1430,04h30,16/09/2011,CANADA,CHKT (tentative),Toronto ON,Ad in Asian lingo but using some EE words (microwave, television, radio etc).
Presumed to be CHKT as there are only 2 other West Coast N.Am ethnic stations, one carries Vof Russia & the other is less than 1KW. Only heard briefly,poor.
1458,03h47,16/09/2011,UK,Sunrise R..YL DJ talk & telephone
1460,04h32,15/09/2011,USA,WTKT,Harrisburg PA,IDing as 'The Ticket', ads & sport px, heard all 3 mornings,poor.
1560,05h00,16/09/2011,USA,KGOW,Bellaire TX,Full ID, also heard on 14/09. Sport px.,poor-fair.

UNID USA stns noted on 760, 850, 880, 1010, 1040, 1050, 1130, 1170,
1250, 1410, 1420, 1450, 1470, 1480, 1510, 1520, 1540, 1620, 1630, 1660, 1670, 1680, 1700.

Rxer - Drake R8A
Ant - 2 Beverages of 400m in length, one aimed at NYC, the other
pointing North.

John Plimmer logs

RX Icom IC-7600 and 350 m bog pointed to Perth and over shoulder to New York.
Kiwa MW loop

Freq Time Date Country Station Town KW's Remarks
225 304 09/11/14 POLAND PR1 SOLEC KUJAWSKI 1000
326 327 09/11/14 BRAZIL PAF NDB PAULO AFONSO 0 325
350 307 09/11/14 BRAZIL VTR NDB VITORIA 0
360 308 09/11/14 ASCENCION ISL ASN NDB 0
366 310 09/11/14 CVL NDB UNID 0
603 310 09/11/15 FRANCE FRANCE INFO LYON 300
666 1645 09/11/15 REUNION RFO ST PIERRE 20
710 441 09/11/16 USA WOR NY NY 50 HEALTH TALK
720 1618 09/11/13 AUSTRALIA ABC 6WF PERTH 50
792 311 09/11/15 FRANCE FRANCE INFO LIMOGES 300
810 1804 09/11/13 AUSTRALIA 6RN ABC PERTH 20
828 1614 09/11/13 AUSTRALIA ABC 6GN GERALDTON 10
864 323 09/11/15 FRANCE FRANCE BLEU PARIS 300
880 445 09/11/15 USA WCBS NY NY 50
900 335 09/11/15 ITALY RAI RADIOUNO MILANO 800
909 2326 09/11/14 UK R5 BBC MOORSIDE EDGE 200
999 1719 09/11/14 MOLDOVA 500
1010 438 09/11/15 USA WINS NY NY 50
1053 2246 09/11/14 UK TALK SPORT DROITWICH 500
1053 1722 09/11/14 ROUMANIA R LASA URICANA 400
1100 251 09/01/15 BRAZIL R GLOBO SAO PAULO 150
1160 423 09/11/14 USA KSL SALT LAKE CITY UT 50 TKS VINCE
1170 2311 09/11/14 UAE R SAWA AL DUBBAYA 800
1180 350 09/11/14 BRAZIL R MUNDIAL RIO DE JANEIRO 50
1206 2309 09/11/14 FRANCE FRANCE INFO BORDEAUX 300
1224 1645 09/11/14 INDIA SRINAGER 20
1314 2304 09/11/14 ARMENIA R FARDA GAWA 1000
1323 1659 09/11/15 CHINA JL ENGLISH LESSON 800
1323 1640 09/11/13 CYPRUS BBC ZYYI 200
1341 347 09/11/16 UK R LISNAGARVEY BBC ULSTER 100
1377 2257 09/11/14 FRANCE FRANCE INFO LILLE 300
1377 1634 09/11/13 TANZANIA R FREE AFRICA MWANZA 50
1431 2255 09/11/14 R SAWA DJIBOUTI 600
1540 440 09/11/14 BAHAMAS ZNS1 NASSAU 8
1548 2238 09/11/14 UK GOLD LONDON 97
1557 2233 09/11/14 FRANCE FRANCE INFO NICE 300
1566 1600 09/11/13 INDIA AIR NAGPUR 1000
1593 2230 09/11/14 KUWAIT R FREE IRAQ 150
1660 418 09/11/15 USA WWRU JERSEY CITY NJ 10 KOREAN
5658 1555 09/11/13 INDIA MUMBAI WKG AIR INDIA 363 MUMBAI 10
8743 1609 09/11/15 INDONESIA UNID PIRATE 0
8879 1625 09/11/14 INDIA MUMBAI WKG EMIRATES 350 MUMBAI 10

Gary Deacon logs

To avoid more duplication from Europe, I've concentrated on the loggings from North America.

Highlights included the reception of 1370 WVIE Pikesville MD, 1410 WNGL Mobile AL, 1470 WSAN Allentown PA and the tentative logging of 1430 CHKT Toronto ON (All personal firsts).

710 0329 U.S.A. WOR New York NY w ad - fair 14/09

850 0413 U.S.A. WTAR Norfolk VA w comedy programme - poor/fair 14/09

880 0425 U.S.A. WCBS New York NY w ad - poor 14/09

1010 0349 U.S.A. WINS New York NY id and time check "WINS news time 11:49" - fair 14/09

1050 0450 U.S.A. WEPN New York NY w talkback - good peak 14/09

1130 0310 U.S.A. WBBR New York NY w sports commentary - poor 16/09

1160 0424 U.S.A. KSL Salt Lake City UT w ad for "Big Ed's steakhouse" - fair peak 14/09

1170 0224 U.S.A. WWVA Wheeling WV w Roy Masters' "Foundation Of Understanding" programme - poor 15/09

1180 0350 U.S.A. R. Marti Marathon Key FL w SS ann - fair 15/09

1190 0447 U.S.A. WLIB New York NY w contemporary gospel programme - fair 14/09

1370 0450 U.S.A. WVIE Pikesville MD w ad and id "You give us 20 minutes. We'll give you the world - V1370" followed by "Fox Sports Tonight" - fair peak 15/09 * personal first

1390 0450 U.S.A. UNIDENTIFIED w ad - very poor 15/09

1410 0500 U.S.A. WNGL Mobile AL w id " ... 14-10 WNGL Archangel Radio ... " - very poor 15/09 * personal first

1430 0446 CANADA CHKT Toronto a possibility w multicultural talkback programme - fair peak (thanks to Vince) * personal first

1460 0432 U.S.A. WTKT Harrisburg PA w promo for "Fox Sports Tonight" and id as "Fox - Sports - Radio" and "14-60 The Ticket" - poor 15/09

1470 0438 U.S.A. WSAN Allentown PA w part of promo " ... to participate go to fox1470.com. Search 'No cash' ..." and id " ... Sports Radio AM 1470 The Fox ... " - very poor 15/09 * personal first

1480 0440 U.S.A. UNIDENTIFIED w talkback including the subject of workers' rights - talkshow host's first name was Alan - poor 16/09

1500 0501 U.S.A. WFED Washington DC w news - fair 14/09

1510 0405 U.S.A. WLAC Nashville TX w wx and id " ... I'm meteorologist Mark Woolsey from the weather channel on your official ... station Fox News Radio 15-10 WLAC ... " followed by an ad for a testosterone supplement "Ageless Male" - fair 14/09

1520 0454 U.S.A. WWKB Buffalo NY w the talkback presenter's quick response to an unhappy caller "You don't have to listen to me ... stop whining and tune me out!" fair 14/09

1530 0444 U.S.A. WCKY Cincinatti OH w baseball game highlights - fair peak 15/09

1540 0200 U.S.A. KXEL Waterloo IA w id and "Overcommer Ministeries" religious programme - fair peak 14/09

1540 0200 BAHAMAS ZNS1 Nassau w ann "AM 1540 ZNS1 The National Voice. That was the programme 'Jesus Is Still The Answer'. It's 10:00 pm. This is the Bahamas Radio Network". followed by id jingle - fair 14/09

1550 0505 CANADA CBE Windsor ON (presumed) w news - very poor 14/09

1560 0438 U.S.A. KGOW Houston TX (presumed) w discussion - poor 14/09

1600 0445 U.S.A. WWRL New York NY w talkback - fair 15/09

1610 0440 ANGUILLA Caribbean Beacon w religious programming and address ann " ... Pastor Scott, Post Office Box 1 Los Angeles California, 90053-0001, U.S.A. " - excellent peak 15/09

1620 0504 U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS WDHP Fredericksted w BBC news relay - poor 14/09

1660 0429 U.S.A. WWRU Elizabeth NJ w ann in KK - good peak 15/09

1670 0435 U.S.A. WFSM Dry Branch GA w "Fox Sports" promo - poor 14/09

1700 0441 U.S.A. KVNS Brownsville TX w id "Your home for Dallas Cowboys football - KVNS" - good peak 14/09

Receiver : Icom R71E

Antenna : 220 metre Beverage antenna directed towards East Canada.

Published on September 24, 2011

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