Hard-Core-DX.com: April 2017 Kona, Hawaii DXpedition Loggings and MP3's (Part One)

April 2017 Kona, Hawaii DXpedition Loggings and MP3's (Part One)

Friday, April 21 2017

>From April 9-12 a Mini-DXpedition was conducted on a 6th floor oceanfront room at the Royal Kona Resort Motel in Kona, Hawaii. This was the first of many long-range DXing trips based upon the performance boost provided by a medium gain FSL antenna-- which was specifically designed to easily pass through airport TSA security checkpoints. A new-design 5 inch (127mm) "Frequent Flyer" FSL antenna was packed inside a matched-size plastic tote within a hand-carry suitcase-- and breezed through TSA security screening in both the Seattle and Kona airports (without even a single question ever being asked). This FSL antenna has inductive couple gain roughly similar to that of a 4' air core box loop (but with a lower noise reception advantage), and was used to boost DX station gain on a 7.5" loopstick C.Crane "Skywave" Ultralight radio. This combination was effective enough to track down many exotic Pacific Island stations (540, 621, 1440, etc.) at S9 levels during transmitter-site sunset skip propagation into Kona, as well as Asian TP-DX of varying strength around local sunrise.

This Kona trip was primarily designed as an anniversary celebration with my wife, so before we took off I had (somewhat reluctantly) agreed that DXing would have a secondary priority to sightseeing over the four days. Because of this there were many frequencies that could not be investigated in Kona, but I knew very well which Pacific island stations were tough challenges in both North America and Japan-- and I was determined to go after them with a vengeance. 540, 621 and 1440 would all receive serious attention in Kona-- not because they were great challenges in Hawaii, but because most DXers in both North America and Japan needed all possible information about them if they were to have any chance of reception at all. Besides this I was eager to try my long-range luck chasing exotic Asians around local sunrise with the innovative FSL antenna, but I knew that east-west propagation was almost totally dependent upon solar activity-- and as it turned out both the A and K indexes shot up after our arrival.

Overall the Kona MW propagation to the Pacific islands was exceptional around local midnight (as expected), but the sunrise propagation was somewhat challenging for long range Asians Perhaps the biggest success of this entire trip was the interest and excitement that the "Frequent Flyer" FSL antenna series (the major experimental project here this past winter) has inspired among DXers who routinely travel to foreign countries and other faraway venues. As I write this Craig Barnes of Wheat Ridge, Colorado is preparing his own 5 inch "Frequent Flyer" FSL- based DXpedition to Hawaii-- and he already has some experience TP-DXing with one of these models at both Kalaloch, Washington and Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Good luck, Craig!

531 6DL? Dalwallinu, Australia Presumably the one with the same-sounding announcer and program as the one on 630-4QN at the time (at 1547 on 4-9; see MP3 for 630-4QN), but it didn't seem to be exactly parallel (maybe a time zone delay?)

540 2AP Apia, Western Samoa This station features a lot of Samoan music (with both male and female announcers), and dominates the frequency in Kona at night as long as it transmits. Unfortunately it doesn't follow the listed PAL sign off time of 1000, but runs past this time routinely, making it tough to track down an exact sign off time during my limited sessions. My guess is that it signs off sometime between 1030 and 1100. The following MP3 is of S9+ level Samoan Christian worship music at 0931 on 4-9. This overwhelming signal was one of the most awesome recorded during the entire DXpedition
Energetic Samoan music at 0956 on 4-12. This is typical of the station's music format
More typical Samoan choral music at 0835 on 4-11 -- a staple of programming in the station's format
The usual male announcer in Samoan at 0845 on 4-11
The usual female announcer in Samoan at 0856 on 4-11

558 Radio Fiji One Suva, Fiji Somewhat of an underperformer considering its South Pacific location and (nominal) 10 kW power level. My guess is that the station has some transmitter and/ or antenna issues. Here is some fair level male speech with island music at 1001 on 4-9, which the strongest signal it managed during the entire trip

558 UnID-TP Once again, this weak signal sounded a lot like the 630-4QN program at the time (1548 on 4-11), so my guess is that 6WA in Wagin, Australia is the most likely possibility

603 HLSA Namyang, S. Korea One of the common Asians which ran the gauntlet of dicey solar activity. It was fairly good at 1521 on 4-12, but was MIA during a couple of days

621 3RN Melbourne, Australia This LR network station would start to fade in just when Radio Tuvalu was about to sign off (around 1000), although it never provided any serious competition for the exotic station. This MP3 was made just after Tuvalu's sign off at 1006 on 4-9

621 Radio Tuvalu Funafuti, Tuvalu A very tough station to track down on the mainland, but certainly a "piece of cake" in Kona. Routinely has sign off at 1003 UTC, preceded by island choral music and the national anthem (sung by the same choral group). Around 0950 a female announcer begins the routine by giving a monolog news broadcast about 5 minutes long, typically followed by an island music song right before the fixed 5-minute sign off routine. The latter two features are included in the following 8 minute recording (at near S9 strength) made at 0955 on April 10
The usual female announcer with her 5 minute news broadcast at near S9 strength at 0955 prior to the sign off routine on April 11. The lady giving the correct pronunciation for "Tuvalu" is at the 11 second point https://app.box.com/s/knpjrxdb40p7hfe9xx7djlwyz3fzf8j3
Around five minutes of typical Island choral music at good-level strength at 0921 on 4-9
Here is a different recording of the female-announced news broadcast just prior to the sign off routine at 0956 on 4-9 (at very good strength)

630 4QN Townsville, Australia This 50 kW station was far and away the strongest Australian signal heard throughout the trip. Unfortunately it wasn't in the same time zone as fellow LR network stations on 531 and 558 in Western Australia, making parallel checks seem dubious. Here is a typical signal at 1543 on 4-9

657 Pyongyang BS Pyongyang, N. Korea This bizarre station was far and away the strongest Asian heard during the trip-- almost like it was a South Pacific semi-local. When solar activity cooled off it could blast in with serious power, such as at 1555 on 4-9
For those who really don't mind wacky-sounding music (this is your final warning), the 3 minute long version of this signal is posted at

693 UnID-TP This mystery signal showed up at 1604 on 4-9, after NHK2 (JOAB) sign off. Obviously there is male speech and some kind of backup music at various times, but I'm totally unfamiliar with stations on this frequency (except for JOAB). Any hints or suggestions? This station only showed up on 4-9; rising solar activity brought in only 690-Honolulu splatter on the other three days

(The rest of this Kona DXpedition report will be posted later)

73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (DXing in Kona, Hawaii)
7.5" loopstick C.Crane Skywave Ultralight +
5 inch "Frequent Flyer" FSL antenna (a new combo photo, including the sleep-deprived DXer, is posted at
https://app.box.com/s/9hx4t2zdykclvh6ma9xotmp5bthp91ee )