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[HCDX] Grayland DXpedition Loggings & Comments

Grayland, WA DXpedition - August 20th to 22nd


Some DXers "hang up the headphones" in the Summer, figuring that there is no
DX worth pursuing. My experience, though, says otherwise. Especially from a
quiet DXpedition location, every month of the year offers opportunity for
interesting targets.

This weekend's 3-night DXpedition at Grayland with John Bryant produced
trans-Pacific MW DX from both hemispheres. The geographic regions that were
"in" at any given moment toggled from one to the other within a minute or
two. It would be fascinating to know what propagational mechanism causes DX
to begin the evening "Down Under", flip suddenly to Japan/China/Asia for
much of the night, and then finish with a sudden return to Aussie/Kiwi
mediumwave DX just past local sunrise! Please see John's DXpedition report
for an interesting and detailed account of these fluctuating conditions.

Sunday, August 22nd provided a totally different mediumwave reception
pattern compared to the previous evenings. Once the grayline had shifted far
enough to the west, both Southern and Northern hemispheres propagated
signals to our receivers. On frequencies such as 594 and 828, Australian/New
Zealand and Japanese/Korean/Chinese stations were fighting for our attention
at the same time. Overall signal levels were lower on the 22nd, often making
it difficult to identify anything more than the languages and potential
countries on the frequency.

My DXpedition highlights on mediumwave were the 1 kw Kosrae, Micronesia
station V6AJ on 1503 (a new MW country for me) and catching an elusive local
ID of JOTB Matsue, Japan on 1593.

I spent little time on the tropical bands as mediumwave was so productive.
Most interesting catch on shortwave was an unidentified NHK feeder on 3970
USB, which is likely the 600 watt Sapporo station rather than the weaker,
further south Nagoya outlet. The usual Indonesians on 90 meters such as RRI
Palangkaraya and RRI Ternate provided excellent listening with their strong,
clear signals.

I also found Radio East New Britain (3385 kHz) on late past 1200 with an
excellent quality broadcast of the "New Guinea Top Ten Countdown" of
Melanesian pop music, sponsored by Coca-Cola. A number of advertisements,
promos, and PSAs added to the local flavor. MP3 recordings of this intercept
can be streamed or downloaded from:
http://www.guyatkins.com/files/RENB_3385_long.mp3 (26 minutes, 3.05 Mb) or
just the first half: http://www.guyatkins.com/files/RENB_3385_short.mp3 (13
minutes, 1.54 Mb). The MP3 files are analog copies of my original minidisc
recorded on the ICOM R-75.

John and I set up our usual three Beverage antennas on this DXpedition: 750
ft. terminated wires running southwest and west, and 950 ft. in the
northwest direction. We also experimented with a remotely-adjusted
termination for another western Beverage.

The orientation of the Grayland DXpedition site limits our antenna lengths.
In the past we've extended the wires a few hundred feet further over the
beach during the night but found no worthwhile improvement; the risk of the
wires being caught by passing vehicles on the beach is too great.

My ICOM R-75 was my favorite receiver during the DXpedition, and it proved
to be more flexible in tough DX situations than the Racal RA6790GM. The ICOM
clearly was better with split frequency MW signals thanks to the INRAD
crystal filters in the 1st & 2nd IFs which improve the R-75 twin PBT
control's performance over stock. On the trans-Pacific MW catches in
particular, once again I found myself wishing for PBT on the Racal. The
RA6790GM has great selectivity, but it cannot compete with the audio
recovery and signal readability of the R-75 with its PBT adjusted precisely.
The PBT's superiority is due to its ability to peak crucial voice
frequencies for best intelligibility, when signals are severely overlapping
(often the case with foreign mediumwave stations close to domestic MW
channels). The R-75 is also easier and quicker to tune than the RA6790GM,
with the ICOM's keypad buttons providing a tactile feedback compared to the
membrane keys on the Racal. In addition, if I want to use the full selection
of voice bandwidth crystal filters in the RA6790GM I need to be in CW mode,
adjust the BFO to 1200-1500 kHz, and offset-tune by an appropriate amount
for clear audio.

On signals without co-channel interference however, the Racal is my first
choice for cleaner audio. Particularly with very weak signals having at
least one sideband in the clear, the RA6790GM reveals more nuances of the
audio for better intelligibility. The Racal is also my first choice for
pleasant program listening to moderate and strong signals.



531 NEW ZEALAND 1XPI Auckland, Aug 22 1145 - Beautiful Maori or Polynesian
hymn at tune-in; male announcer in island language with two mentions of
Tonga. Fair to good signal. (Atkins-WA)

558 FIJI R. Fiji 1, Aug 22 1150 - Island music chorus rising out of the
noise at 1150, but inaudible by 1158. At 1232, I found 684 Fiji at a nice
level and parallel with 558, but only briefly. Poor to fair level overall.

576 AUSTRALIA 2RN Sydney, Aug 20 1341 - Exotic Middle Eastern music and
female vocals at good level, and parallel 792 4RN Brisbane as well as 8RN
Katherine on 639. Orchestral music in a similar style 1348. (Atkins-WA)

594 AUSTRALIA 3WV Horsham, Aug 22 1212 - Australia Olympics coverage by two
announcers in Aussie English, parallel to 684 8RN 2KP Kempsey. Poor, and
signal soon replaced by other low-level stations in the sonic muck. Noted
later at 1334 with more Olympics at good level. (Atkins-WA)

594 UNIDENTIFIED , Aug 22 1245 - At 1250, John and I heard music on this
frequency that sounded East Indian or Tibetan; it may have been a Chinese
outlet, but the CNR shortwave frequencies were not in parallel. Could it be
the Indian East External Service from Chinsurah (1 megawatt), peaking just
past East Indian sunrise? The signal faded just after 1250, and JOAK Tokyo
took its place. (Atkins-WA)

594 JAPAN JOAK Tokyo, Aug 22 1255 - Earlier in the hour, a real muddle on
this frequency with 3WV Horsham mostly dominating with Australian team
Olympics coverage. A tantalizing unidentified station (India?) made an
appearance at 1250, but JOAK appeared alone on 594 just prior to 1300. Male
talk in Japanese, then NHK1 time pips at 1300 and into news read by woman
announcer. Fair to good. (Atkins-WA)

639 AUSTRALIA 8RN Katherine, Aug 20 1347 - Noted at a poor-fair level
parallel to 2RN Sydney 576 and 4RN Brisbane 792 with Indian native flute and
drums. (Atkins-WA)

666 NEW CALEDONIA R. New Caledonia, Noumea, Aug 22 1333 - Good signal at
peaks, with male and female talk in French, relaying R. France International
and parallel 738 Papeete, Tahiti. Promo of some sort 1338. It's nice to hear
Noumea again! (Atkins-WA)

684 AUSTRALIA 2KP Kempsey, Aug 22 1218 - Olympics coverage with Aussie
accent announcers in English, and parallel to 594 3WV Horsham. Poor, and
faded down to mix with other unidentified stations. (Atkins-WA)

684 FIJI R. Fiji 1, Aug 22 1224 - Nice bits of island choral music and hymns
heard during fade troughs of 2KP Kempsey, and at times mixing equal level
with the Australian. At 1231 I found parallel 558 Fiji rising up nicely in
parallel with 684. Poor-fair, but good level with island string music and
vocals at 1313 recheck. (Atkins-WA)

702 AUSTRALIA 2BL Sydney, Aug 21 1304 - Good signal of Olympics coverage,
and mentioning medals for Aussie soccer team. Parallel 774. (Atkins-WA)

738 NEW ZEALAND Radio Pacific, Christchurch, Aug 21 1308 - Possibly this
news talk station with female in English, beneath 2NR Grafton carrying ABC
Olympics coverage. Fair. (Atkins-WA)

738 AUSTRALIA 2NR Grafton, Aug 22 1350 - Olympics commentary by female
announcer, parallel 594 3WV Horsham. Fair to good. (Atkins-WA)

738 TAHITI RFO Papeete, Aug 21 0433 - Weak signal just past Papeete sunset;
female announcer in French. (Atkins-WA)

774 AUSTRALIA 3LO Melbourne, Aug 21 1003 - Presumed this stronger of the two
Aussies on 774; female announcer in Aussie English with news of Iraq, before
signal faded into the mush again. Poor-fair. (Atkins-WA)

783 NEW ZEALAND 2YB Access Radio, Aug 21 1328 - Folk music to 7-note
xylophone music stinger and male announcer in English at 1229 ('Listen to
the Irish Radio Program every Sunday, here on Access Radio...with news from
Ireland and local news with Travis Davis, who will tell you what's happening
and news from pubs...'), 1330 ID again including 'Access Radio 783 AM,
celebrating the ethnic diversity of Wellington'. Good signal. (Atkins-WA)

828 JAPAN JOBB NHK2 Osaka, Aug 22 1155 - Male announcer in Japanese at good
level, mixing with 3GI Sale, Australia. Interesting conditions at this time
with stations from both hemispheres audible. (Atkins-WA)

963 UNIDENTIFIED , Aug 22 1357 - Low level signal briefly peaking to fair
with gospel music. Noted only on southwest Beverage antenna. Possibly
Southern Star, Christchurch, New Zealand, a religious network. (Atkins-WA)

972 SOUTH KOREA HLCA, Aug 22 1317 - Female talk in Korean at a good level,
but only briefly at 1320. Tentative. (Atkins-WA)

1035 SOLOMON ISLANDS SIBC Radio Hapi Isles, Aug 21 0950 - Solomons making a
brief appearance; male Pidgin announcer and island music with drumming and
female chorus. Fair during peaks. (Atkins-WA)

1098 MARSHALL ISLANDS WSZO Majuro V7AD, Aug 21 0745 - Marshalls making a
brief appearance with female island vocals and chorus; male announcer in
presumed Marshallese. 1098 peaked at a fair level for a short time just past
Majuro sunset, but I did not notice WSZO return for another showing later
throughout the evening. (Atkins-WA)

1188 JAPAN JOKP NHK1 Hokkaido, Aug 22 1201 - First noted 1201 with female
Japanese talk, then signal gave way to a male announcer in English (possible
Olympics coverage) and both were at equal level at 1203. Presumed JOKP rose
to the top again at 1207, only to fade away again, giving way to *two*
unidentified stations this time (English talk and island choral music). A
three-way traffic jam on 1188! (Atkins-WA)

1206 CHINA Yangbian RGD, Aug 20 1232 - Per Pacific-Asian Log, presumed this
with Korean language male & female talk. Mentions of Shandong (a Chinese
region) at 1235. Very good signal during peaks. (Atkins-WA)

1197 UNIDENTIFIED , Aug 21 1016 - A real jumble on 1197--first noted female
talk in Japanese, followed by Aussie or Kiwi-accent English mixing with
Chinese. Poor level for four minutes, then deep fade. (Atkins-WA)

1422 JAPAN JORF Yokohama, Aug 21 1030 - Bouncy female announcer in Japanese
to 1033, then signal faded away. Tentative, but JORF is the only Japan
station listed in PAL for 1422. (Atkins-WA)

1503 JAPAN JOUK Akita, Aug 21 1035 - Female talk in Japanese at tune-in;
after the signal returned 1038 from a fade, Asian orchestral music and talk
heard with flute music 1043. Unidentified station began mixing at 1044, then
Japanese language again 1059 with NHK network ID. Fair during peaks, and
only on Northwest Beverage antenna. JOUK likely, as it's the strongest by
far Japanese station shown for the frequency. (Atkins-WA)

1044 - South Pacific island style music heard briefly 1044, then soft
religious or EZL female vocals in unid. language with piano accompaniment at
1048. Male singer with old time Gospel song 1049, and woman in
Polynesian-sounding lang. with prayer or brief talk 1052. At 1055, definite
island music heard again, with male announcer in English apparently closing
out an evangelical program (mentions of 'broadcasts...thousands won to
Christ'). Upon reviewing the recording, it sounds like the announcer is
giving the program name as 'Jesus Can Save Radio, with James R. Hiney'.
Shortly after this phrase he mentions 'Continue With Christ is broadcast in
association with...'. I did a Google search for these possible program names
but could not locate any clues. The beautiful island choral music peaked and
went off at 1057, then silence for four seconds prior to a different male
announcer saying, I believe, 'V-6-A-J'. The possible callsign is *extremely*
weak and much lower level than the earlier programming, and no further
content after that was heard. I didn't notice it until reviewing the
minidisc. Bruce Portzer's latest Pacific-Asian Log shows English & Kosran
languages for V6AJ, and a sign-off of 1100*. The music sounded very similar
to Cook Islands native church hymns that I heard during a 1993 trip to
Rarotonga. Best on Southwest Beverage. I also noted a very short peak of
island music and drumming August 22 at 0803 on 1503. Very pleased with this
1 kw station, and potentially a new MW country for me. (Atkins-WA)

1566 SOUTH KOREA HLAZ Cheju, Aug 21 1144 - Huge signal from this FEBC
station. Serious talk or sermon by male in Japanese. Noted each night around
this time. (Atkins-WA)

1575 THAILAND VOA Ayutthaya, Aug 21 1248 - Very good to excellent signal of
male announcer in SE Asian language (Lao, Vietnamese, Khmer, etc.). Male
vocals in lang. 1249, and 'VOA' ID at 1252. This signal popped up suddenly
just past Bangkok sunset. (Atkins-WA)

1593 JAPAN JOTB Matsue, Aug 20 1312 - Male announcer in Japanese; mentions
of Tokyo and 'NHK' at 1313. Monotonous reading of cities and temperatures
(thanks to John Bryant for tip on weather info); upon reviewing MD, I found
a weak but clear 'JOTB Matsue' ID at 1319. JOQR Niigata synchro could be
heard in background at the same moment with 'JOQ...' call letters; at first
I thought it was an echo effect on the Matsue ID. Signal level varied
between poor and fair. I never would have noticed this ID if I was still
using cassettes for recording, as it would be lost in the tape hiss.
Minidisc and MP3 recordings provide much better S/N ratio for weak signal
capture. (Atkins-WA)

1629 AUSTRALIA 4DB Dalby, Aug 20 1240 - Tentative. Continuous country rock
music at a very low level, often fading into noise level. Female announcer
with Aussie accent 1251; into 'Small Town, Saturday Night' tune. 4 time pips
heard at 1300, but no other audio heard due to fading. Best on SW Beverage.



2310 AUSTRALIA VL8A Alice Springs, Aug 20 1409 - 'ABC Radio' ID by woman
announcer, and into Olympics coverage. Good level and parallel 2325 (good)
and 2485 (also good). (Atkins-WA)

3260 PAPUA NEW GUINEA R. Madang, Aug 20 1159 - Caught this one just in time
for sign-off, with log drums, ID and frequency announcements in Pidgin by
male announcer. National anthem and off 1201. Very good signal. (Atkins-WA)

3315 PAPUA NEW GUINEA R. Manus, Aug 20 1201 - I tuned into Manus just in
time to catch the final notes of the PNG national anthem, and the Bird of
Paradise call. No sign of NBC relay after sign-off as noted earlier in the
week. Excellent signal. (Atkins-WA)

3320 SOUTH AFRICA R. Sonder Grense, Aug 21 0415 - Male and female announcers
in Afrikaans; poor signal but seemed to be slowly improving, at Meyerton
sunrise. (Atkins-WA)

3325 INDONESIA RRI Palangkaraya, Aug 20 1414 - Excellent, powerful signal at
1-1/4 hours past local sunrise with male announcer and many mentions of
Palangkaraya. (Atkins-WA)

3345 INDONESIA RRI Ternate, Aug 20 1419 - Phone interview between male
announcer and caller. Very strong signal, almost as clear as Palangkaraya.
Conversations seemed to be about the Greece Olympics. (Atkins-WA)

3365 PAPUA NEW GUINEA R. Milne Bay, Aug 20 1208 - Very strong signal with
male DJ in Pidgin playing hard rockin' PNG melanesian music. Another PNG
outlet on late (not parallel 4890), perhaps for the Friday night youth
audience? The following PNG signals were noted earlier at 1145 on August 21:
3260, 3325, 3365, 3385, and 4890. (Atkins-WA)

3385 PAPUA NEW GUINEA R. East New Britain, Aug 20 1205 - On late tonight
with female announcer in Pidgin, and R&B pop tune. At 1212, ad for PNG
Motors 'Buy and Fly' promotion with '3000 Kina spending money' for chance to
win trip to the soccer finals. Excellent signal, and not parallel 4890. On
August 21 at 1215, East New Britain was at local quality level, featuring
the 'New Guinea Top Ten Countdown' with the latest Melanesian pop tunes and
male announcer in Pidgin, and local ads. Station promo announcement as
'R-N-B FM, one great song after another' with children's voices. Mentions of
FM and shortwave outlets and PO Box at 1236, with 'good night & God bless'.

3960.9 INDONESIA RRI Palu, Aug 20 1423 - Powerhouse signal with lagu populer
of male vocals. Phone interview at 1437. (Atkins-WA)

3970 USB JAPAN NHK, unidentified outlet, Aug 20 1433 - Male announcers in
Japanese with Olympics coverage and background crowd noises; sounded echoey
like an indoors swimming competition. Surprisingly good signal for 300 watts
at 1-1/2 hours past local sunrise. More likely this is the 600 watt Sapporo
station (closer to Grayland via great circle route) than the 300 watt
transmitter in Nabeta (Nagoya) further South. (Atkins-WA)

3976 INDONESIA RRI Pontianak, Aug 20 1450 - Female announcer with voice-over
somber music, reading a poem or drama. EZL music at 1456. ID at 1500 and
mention of frequency and meter band by female, followed by ad or promo.
Strong signal well past sunrise. (Atkins-WA)

4910 ZAMBIA ZNBC, Aug 21 0422 - Poor but improving signal at Lusaka sunrise,
with male announcer in unid. African language; mentions of Zambia and
possibly Lusaka at 0428. (Atkins-WA)

7260 VANUATU R. Vanuatu, Aug 20 0945 - I was hoping for Vanuatu, but no sign
of it was found on the frequency, only a low-level unid. station playing
flute and orchestral music. This is possibly Mongolian National Radio, but
the language at 1000 sounded Russian, not the Mongolian as listed in DBS. No
sign of Vanuatu August 21 or 22, either. (Atkins-WA)

Guy Atkins
Puyallup, WA USA
DXing at Grayland, WA
750 ft. SW & W Beverages, 950 ft. NW Beverage
mod. ICOM R-75 / mod. Racal RA6790GM / Timewave DSP-59+

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