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Townsville, North Queensland, Australia

October 1-3, 2004

By Craig Edwards - 'DX Crocodile Hunter'

After three productive “one night stands” during August and September at my favourite campsite 50 km north of Townsville I figured it was time for an extended stay. So the wife and I headed off and set up the DX HQ tent on Friday lunchtime with plans to stay there until Monday morning.

Putting up the EWE
Setting up the EWE right on the edge of the Pacific

At this later time of the year I decided to camp right on the shore of the beach as this would give me a 100 metre buffer from the swamp. After all it is the start of the Crocodile mating season – last thing we wanted was a horny male croc looking for some action. It was good to move the tent as our normal spot is normally covered in fallen leaves and considering that death adders love this habitat and they are now out of winter hibernation, I didn’t fancy coming across any of these critters. My main concern was eastern taipans, I had to put the EWEs out in sand dune scrubland which they are rather fond of. They are also active daytime hunters and are too just out of hibernation.

Sunset Day 1
On the first day of high school you used to worry with anticipation. Will I be able to make friends? Will I get bullied? Will there be any girls who like me? Akin to this is the anticipation a DXer feels before session 1 of day 1 of any DXpedition - Is this the right spot? What about the noise? What about conditions? Does the tape deck work? And MOST OF ALL is the antenna right? Especially as I’m persisting/compromising by using the EWE rather than the beverage. Well I was pleased with the early appearance of regulars as soon as WWV on 2.5MHz started to give some RF, namely the Mexicans on 1570 and 1700 and KHPY 1670. Having successfully harvested the higher end of the band the past few one nighters in August and September I headed under 1 MHz. This produced WWL 870 and some new west coasters for me like KCBS 740, KJRB 790, WBAP 820, KGET 970 and KFWB 980. But the huge highlight for me was my first ever Alaskan - KICY 850. I’ve been trying to land Alaska for years and it’s been virtually impossible from the Coorong or my odd visit to Victoria.


Sunset Day 2
Well low and behold, with KICY putting in a solid signal and even making KOA tough to log, up pops my second ever Alaskan - KENI 650. Another couple of new west coasters for me like KFMB 760 and KYAA 1200 rarely logged due to WOAI being a regular. Managed to add CHMB 1320 which is again rare due to usual dominance of KCTC. The amazing reception of a North American on a 9kHz split frequency of KLOK 1170 was not only a sign of good conditions, but also a sign of the amazing reception to come the following and final evening.

Problem critters up here in the tropics

Sunset Day 3
With one night to go I was already satisfied with my haul of new stateside stations. So I decided to totally focus on the Australian 9kHz split frequencies to see what might pop up. A few frequencies could be ruled out like 4QN 630 kHz 50kW my local ABC station here in Townsville, 4AT 720 kHz is a semi local ABC station which can be heard on a midday band scan, 900 kHz was splatterated out by 4TAB 891 kHz also here in Townsville, 4RO 990 kHz which is very strong here in the evenings, 1260 4MW just up north in the Torres Strait Islands and local 4KZ on 1620 kHz. So this only left 810, 1080, 1170, 1350, 1440 and 1530 to monitor which was very manageable. Funnily enough 810 was not producing any Aussie stations but RRI Merauke of all things at very much armchair level! Well I’m delighted and still amazed to report that the remaining frequencies all produced stations which at times totally dominated the Australians from around 0700-0830 – it was the most enjoyable 1½ hours I think I’ve had apart from the breakthrough European morning at the Coorong in 1993. I logged KRLD 1080, KFAQ & KLOK 1170, WTOU 1350, unid with FOX on 1440 and KFBK 1530. Just to top the end of the evening off, there was the rare appearance of east coasters WHAM 1180, WQEW 1560 and WTNI 1640 which I logged for the first time. Well in 3 nights 21 new North Americans – all in all a top weekend!

DX Tent
DX HQ right on the beach

580 0753 KJAL Pago Pago, American Samoa. Christian Experience program, a regular one this weekend but never very good due NBC PNG splatter on 585 1/10 (CE)

650 0925 KENI Anchorage, Alaska. Well after hearing my 1st ever Alaskan on the 1st night of the DXpedition, how good is this, my 2nd ever Alaskan on the 2nd night. Poor with political newstalk then on half hour “News Radio 650 KENI” ID 2/10 (CE)

660 0820 KTNN Window Rock, AZ. Fair with Midnight Trucking Network show 1/10 (CE)

670 0900 KBOI Boise, ID. Good here with KBOI Ids and Road Star news 3/10 (CE)

Hydrating at 0400 UTC – 3 hours prior to signals coming in

740 0828 KCBS San Francisco, CA. Poor with Dr DJ with talk show and ‘all news all the time’ ID 1/10 (CE)

760 1030 KFMB San Diego, CA. No sign of usual KGU, “760 KFMB” ID and then talk radio 2/10 (CE)

790 0840 KJRB Spokane, WA. Poor with sports talk show and IDs 1/10 (CE)

820 0809 WBAP Fort Worth, TX. Nice fade up with this playing Midnight Trucking Network shows then local ID “News Talk 820 WBAP” 1/10 (CE)

830 0933 KHVH Honolulu, Hawaii. Regular on this channel but never strong, ads with 70’s pop music and “AM 830 KHVH” ID 2/10 (CE)

850 0855 KOA Denver, CO. Fair here with talk and local Arizona ads and ID, then fade up of stn I was very excited about 1/10 (CE)

A Coastal Taipan

850 0900 KICY Nome, Alaska. Finally heard this elusive radio country after a decade trying for it. Fade up over KOA with EE ID on the hour then into Russian news commentary. After so long trying, it was funny to hear this in Russian regularly over the 3 nights of the DXpedition 1/10 (CE)

870 0905 WWL New Orleans, LA. Fair with ads and CBS news 1/10 (CE)

970 0913 KGET Bakersfield, CA. Fair on peaks here talk back show and heaps of IDS 1/10 (CE)

980 1140 KFWB Los Angeles, CA. Poor with CNN news & IDs mixing with KDBV 1/10 (CE)

1080 0755 KRLD Dallas, TX. All over the top of 2MO on peaks with talk back, female DJ, CBS news 3/10

1170 0735 KFAQ Tulsa, OK. Amazing propagation at this time with no sign of 2CH, just KFAQ into talk back with ‘Talk Radio 1170 KFAQ Standing Up For What’s Right’ IDs over KLOK in SS 2/10.

1170 0755 KLOK San Jose, CA. Brief fade ups here with ID at 0800 under KFAQ 2/10 (CE)

1180 0937 WHAM Rochester, NY. Good here over KERI airing preacher. Reading from National Science Foundation then ID on hour 3/10 (CE)

A Coastal Death Adder

1200 0720 KYAA Soquel, CA. Rare to hear this with oldies under usual monster signals from WOAI 2/10 (CE)

1320 0940 CHMB Vancouver, BC. Commentary in CC over the top of KTKZ playing oldies 2/10 (CE)

1350 0745 WTOU Akron, OH. Fair here mixing with 2LF, talk radio with ID then CNN Radio News update 3/10 (CE)

1380 0944 KTKZ Sacramento, CA. Dominant on the channel here with Morning in America over Mexican and another unid talk station 1/10 (CE)

1380 0954 XECO Mexico City, Mexico. Typical great tunes here but dominated by KTKZ 1/10 (CE)

1410 0740 XECF Los Mochis, Mexico. Surprisingly good here this afternoon over usually dominant CFUN. 1/10 (CE)

1440 0715 ???. Dominant over News Radio Canberra with interview with General in Iraq by Fox News 3/10 (CE)

1530 0730 KFBK Sacramento, CA. Good here over cochannel 2VM – amazing!!. Talkback show on family issues 3/10 (CE)

1540 0910 KXEL Waterloo, IA. Nice signal mixing with KREA in Korean. Talk back show on family issues then ID and ads. 2/10 (CE)

1550 0851 KRPI Ferndale, WA. Interesting signal this – Punjabi morning prayers 3/10 (CE)

1560 0836 WQEW New York, NY. Good with Radio Disney, no sign of usual KNZR & KTXZ. Rare appearance of an East Coast station (Marti excepted) – exceptional evening 3/10 (CE)

1640 0758 WTNI Biloxi, MS. Good hear on peaks with ‘Talk Radio 1640 WTNI’ ID over usually dominant KDIA. 2/10 (CE)

1700 0725 XEPE Tecate, Mexico. First signal to come in each afternoon along with XERF 1570 & KHPY 1670. Great Latin tunes with very few announcements 1/10 (CE)

(CE) Craig Edwards, Townsville QLD. DXing from the DX Tent at Balgal Beach campsite, 50km north of Townsville, Icom R75 running off 12V, pre-amp, EWE to North America.

(published on November 12, 2004)

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