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 Vinces braai
wood. It is raining though, so we dont 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 dont think Im 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. (Im 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 kms
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
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 dont 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 kms
away or 8,000 miles?
Much has been written on this before, but I repeat
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
2.] Good antennas 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
results in GG & ID,fair.
// to 1152 w
nx, at RSA local
sunset. (my only Aussie from the whole Dxpedition,
apart from a brief
appearance of 6WF 720),poor then good later.
& Germany mixing, both with Champions League
Germany mixing, both with Champions League football,poor.
in Greek // 792,fair.
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
nx (very early
evening appearance of Talksport),fair.
x 2 ,good.
1160,04h23,14/09/2011,USA,KSL,Salt Lake City UT,ID,poor.
EE w px on
Russia's advertising business & ID's,fair.
as V-1370, Fox sport, ads, also heard on 16/09,poor-fair.
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 &
as 'The Ticket', ads & sport px, heard all 3
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
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
198 258 09/11/14 ALGERIA R ALGERIAN QUEGLA 2000
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
990 338 09/10/15 GERMANY DEUTSCHLANDER BERLIN 600
999 1719 09/11/14 MOLDOVA 500
1010 438 09/11/15 USA WINS NY NY 50
1017 342 GERMANY SWR CONDRA MAINZ 100
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
1170 2311 09/11/14 UAE R SAWA AL DUBBAYA 800
1180 350 09/11/14 BRAZIL R MUNDIAL RIO DE JANEIRO
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
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
1610 241 09/11/14 ANGUILA CARIBBEAN BEACON 30 YL
1660 418 09/11/15 USA WWRU JERSEY CITY NJ 10 KOREAN
1700 532 09/11/14 USA KVNS BROWNSVILLE TX 1 CLASSIC
MUSIC + TALK
5655 1635 09/11/14 PHILLIPINNES MANILA WKG MARINE
821 MANILA 10
5658 1555 09/11/13 INDIA MUMBAI WKG AIR INDIA 363
8743 1609 09/11/15 INDONESIA UNID PIRATE 0
8828 1613 09/11/15 SINGAPORE VOLMET 10 ALSO HONG
8879 1625 09/11/14 INDIA MUMBAI WKG EMIRATES 350
8903 1715 09/11/15 USA SAN FRANCISCO WKG PHIL 105
SAN FRANCISCO CA 10
8903 1622 09/11/14 CONGO KINSHASA WKG KENYA 560
KINSHASA 10 + NJAMINA
8942 1552 09/11/13 PHILIPPINES MANILA WKG SINGAPORE
11 MANILA 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
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
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
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.
on September 24, 2011