• Bob Galerstein, NJ - Drake R8B & Quantum Phaser
• David Hochfelder, NJ - Drake R8B & Quantum QX-Pro Phaser
• Brett Saylor, PA - Drake R8 & modified MFJ-1025 Phaser; TenTec RX-320 with Timewave ANC-4 phaser
• Bill Harms, MD - Drake R8B
• Bruce Collier, PA - Drake R8B - Modified MFJ-1025 Phaser
• Bob Stonier, NJ - Drake R8
• Russ Edmunds, PA - Modified Sony ICF2010
• Michael Temme-Soifer, NJ - Modified Sony ICF2010
• 1000' terminated BOG's at 40 and 220 degrees
• 200' phase wire
• 6' amplified broadband box loop
Being the compiler of the DXpedition chronicles has its perks – I can decide to lead off if I want ! This year’s DXpedition was another success, While we missed Mark Clark, who attended last year, but was forced to bow out shortly beforehand due to work commitments, I was able to recruit Michael Temme-Soifer of Egg Harbor City, NJ, who is an active FM & TV DX’er with WTFDA and also dabbles in AM to join us Saturday evening. He jumped right in using Bruce’s Sony ICF-2010 and seemed quite impressed with some of the TA catches..
This year I finally had my own 2010, a rebuilt and modified one which performed quite well, hearing anything the other 2010 did and most of what the Drakes heard. It’s a little tougher on some of the tighter splits, but I’d also not had much opportunity to play with it on those prior to LBI4. It has passband tuning added, which I want to work with as well.
Rollout of the Southern BOG, which fell to Rob Stonier and I, was much more uneventful than the others had with the Northern one, as can be seen from their accounts following.
This time I’m returning home tempted to make some added efforts to snag some TA’s from home. One of those will be to raise the loop up closer to the floor of the first floor above in the hopes of reducing the horizon blockage resulting from a basement location for my shack. Failing that it may be time to take the 2010 upstairs, even though it is a bit rough-0looking and I’m sure won’t impress my aesthetics-conscious wife.
As I’ve said after each one of the 3 prior LBI’s, even absent good conditions, the camaraderie, good pizza, good beer and lots of time to talk DX is plenty of incentive all by itself to keep coming back !
In some ways, this year’s LBI DXpedition was similar to last year: many of the same European stations were logged, a smattering of Caribbean and northern South American stations were heard, and some new Canadian Maritimes were picked up. What was different was the weaker reception of stations that literally boomed in last year (Norway, Virgin Radio and Croatia), a stronger Spain on 684 kHz that lasted throughout the night, and the reception of Middle Eastern outlets like Farda and Sawa that had eluded us earlier years. The “window” of TA DX seems smaller this year, but good conditions to the south meant there was still plenty to hear. The propagation conditions (A-24 and K-4 the first night) likely had a great impact on these results. While we sweated the solar forecast during the weeks leading up to LBI-4, in spite of those numbers I would still say it was a successful event.
Every year we try to “kick it up” a notch, and this year was no exception. Thanks to Bill’s wireless router and the hotel’s new Internet connection, we were able to participate live from LBI in the IRC medium wave chat room with other DXers in the US, Canada and Europe. That, plus streaming webcam pictures from the site, gave new meaning to the term “virtual DXpedition.” The addition of Dave’s DX Engineering RPA-1 amplifier to Bruce’s 6-foot [Mark Connelly-designed] broadband loop was a real treat – I can see real potential in phasing two of these loops, which is one of my goals for next year.
Good conversation, good DX and 70-degree temperatures combined to make this a memorable weekend. I look forward to next year’s LBI DXpedition!
Our fourth DXpedition to the Jersey shore was successful, with respect to both participation and loggings. We had 7 DXers on Friday night, joined by Michael on Saturday.
I arrived around 2 PM on Friday, a bit too late to help deploy the BOGs, but not too late to run to the town hall with Bob. It turns out that one of Ship Bottom's Finest saw us running out the BOGs and asked us if we had a permit. Of course we didn't, so he told us to go to the town hall and talk to someone. Bob and I, being of course the best looking and most responsible members of our rogues' gallery, decided to go. We met with the town administrator for about ten minutes and explained what we were up to. He was concerned about legal issues, for instance if someone sued the town for tripping over our wires. We tactfully declined to remind him that there was lots of old fencing with rusty nails sticking up right where our wires ran along the fence by the dunes. So we convinced him that we were aware of his concerns and would ensure that the wires did not get in the way of anyone walking around by the rusty nails. Bob and I went out and buried the north wire better at the pedestrian and vehicle entrances to the beach.
We got to the dials later than we hoped for because of this incident and because it always takes longer to set up than you think, particularly with four antennas and eight radios. Friday evening was a good mix of low-band, low-latitude TAs and some LAs. On Friday or Saturday we didn't hear much from the northerly TAs like Virgin on 1215, Norway on 1314 or Croatia on 1134.
On Saturday afternoon Bruce and I went to the north end of the island to Barnegat Lighthouse and climbed up to the top. Bruce fantasized about dropping a 175 foot vertical wire from the top and using that next year. We'll see… We got back in time to hit the dials right before 4 PM, and I was blown away with the DX that rolled in with the sun still shining: the Saudi on 1521, R. Sawa from Djibouti, R. Farda from UAE, Albania, were the highlights. The band was open for TAs for a few hours after dark and then tapered off, but it opened up to the south later in the evening. The highlight after midnight was excellent copy of a soccer game in Spanish on 1140, Morelia vs. someone else. We ID’ed it tentatively as the 1000-watter from Morelia on 1140. Viva Monarcos!
On Saturday we also deployed a sloper from a third floor room down to the beach. We aimed it at Brazil and Africa, and we found it was highly directional - to the west ! I had excellent copy on WOSU, Columbus, Ohio. We fed the sloper from the motel end, or the western end, to save on coax runs, but maybe if we feed it from the eastern end next year it will be more directional in the direction we actually want. Maybe the antenna gurus out there can enlighten us.
Good DX, good friends, beer, pizza, spring-like weather: all in all an excellent weekend!
I guess I’ll start off w/vital stats and such.
Equipment: Drake R8B, MFJ1025 phaser w/mods, Big bottle of Cutty Sark (to attract Scottish stations, of course---need 2 or 3 bottles next year as none were heard.)
Stations on the “most wanted” list finally heard: R. Sawa 1431 and 1548, Grenada on 535, Algeria 252.
Station on that list STILL not heard: Iceland 189. Grrrr……
This was the 4th LBI Dxpedition, and my 3rd. Last year, we had fabulous conditions
28 days out---this year, it was much iffier---if that’s a word? Solar
prediction was for a “slight possibility of an event”---not what
you want. Fortunately, all was well, and in fact we had a 90 minute sunset session
on Saturday that was, as Mark Connelly says, “a salad bar of signals”---hets
on EVERY channel and multiples on many, with fabulous audio on some new ones,
including Portugal 1035 and Iran 1503! Again, we dodged a bullet, as a solar
flare did occur the day after we left and shut TA’s down completely for
a day or two. Stations farther north were not good—Norway 1314 was 30
over s9 last year and barely listenable this year. But lower latitudes were
better than last year, giving us Middle Eastern stations we could only log as
“tentative” last year. Conditions faded around 9pm both nights,
leaving just the “normal” stuff at listenable levels. It gave us
a chance to scout around a bit—Dave went to 60 meters, then several of
us chased a presumed 1kw from Mexico Saturday night, and I did a little tropical
band and beacon chasing. I didn’t know it at the time, but Jean Burnell
and friends were doing a parallel Newfie Dxpedition the same weekend, and by
their early reports it seems they had more auroral conditions than us, likely
because of their much higher latitude. Mark Connelly also ran a parallel effort
from Massachusetts and reported similar catches to ours.
Because of possible business issues, I wasn’t sure I’d make it til about 2-3 weeks out, so I volunteered to sleep in radio room 1, rather than possibly get stuck paying a deposit on a room if I had to cancel. I’ve always been nervous about letting $10-15K worth of stuff in there overnight anyway. Bill Harms wanted to try for TP signals at local sunrise---he’s been getting snatches of something on 738 after local sunrise at his home in Maryland. I said “no problem—I’ll get plenty of sleep when I’m dead”. Of course, I went to bed at 2:30 and at 5:30 there was Bill knocking on the door. I thought “I’ll be a @#$%^*, he WAS serious”, and got up and tuned around w/him for a few minutes before hitting the sack again. He saw carriers on his spectral display on 738, but no audio to speak of.
Seems LBI wouldn’t be complete without a little drama---LBI2 featured the entire motel browning out to 91 volts the 1st night----this year, Bob and I were 5 minutes away from completing the Eurobog, all 1000 feet of it. We had just finished burying it deep under the vehicle entry path to the beach, when up pulled Officer Not-So-Friendly wanting to know what we were doing and did we have a permit? Um, nope. Didn’t the last 3 years either… He told us to go to city hall and talk to someone and that we’d likely be told to roll up the wire. The thought of no BOGS and having to go with just the broadband loops was NOT appealing---I could see our weekend getting ugly quickly! So we dispatched Dave and Bob to city hall---mainly because they were voted MLTGE (Most Likely To Grovel Effectively), and they got our clearance! I’ll say this---Ham Radio helped---the local hams are active and helpful on the island, apparently, because the city guy likened our activities to hams and mentioned the good relationship they had with the city personnel there. Thank you, LBI hams!! Next year, we’ll call in advance in get a permit!
All in all, a good weekend with good conditions, good friends, mostly good food (NO one on LBI can make pizza---it’s worth the drive to Manahawkin to Pizza Hut!). Thanks to Russ for compiling and editing the logs and musings----looking forward to LBI5!
LBI-2005 was great experience. It was fun renewing friendships with other DXers. We had some interesting and spirited discussions about DX club politics as well. In the spirit of using current high-tech tools, we added an internet connection to our tools with a wireless router as well as a web cam. With the internet connection we were able to communicate live with DXers throughout North America and in Europe on the Star-Chat #mwdx chat room. Conditions overall were fair and seemed to favor the lower latitude station. There were a couple of good opening for an hour or two at a time. At sunset on 11/6 stations were coming in fast and strong. I was hoping that we could get some loggings of lower powered stations on the regional channels, but alas, the opening did not stay up all evening. Of interest were loggings from Egypt (I think) and of VOA Sao Tome. The Maritime Province stations were booming in through much of the time, with CHCM on 740 blowing away CHWO for example. I am already looking forward to next year.
LBI-4 could be titled, "raising the bar of camaraderie." We seemingly hit the ground running, from the better organization heading into the weekend, to the setup of the beverages and consumption of beverages, along with the level of humor. To get a flavor of this, go to Brett's radiodxing.com web site, and see the top picture after clicking on LBI- 4 photos.
LBI-4 almost didn't happen. While stringing the north beverage with Dave, our
friendly local constable from the Town of Ship Bottom pulled over in his SUV,
got out, and questioned our intentions. While it was tempting to say we were
spies (with thoughts of the Cappahayden locals feelings of the Newfoundland
DX'Peditioners of a few years ago), we tried to explain the hobby. His response
was to get permission from the
town hall. After we filled in everyone in both radio rooms, Dave and I drove the short distance to the building, where the town supervisor, after our explanation, was befuddled at what we were doing. He never heard of such a thing! After talking about safety and insurance despite our assurances of our previous three DX'Peditions, he left it with, "Go
ahead and do what you're doing, but check in beforehand next year. Deal. We needed to get back, as it was approaching 4pm and the TA's were starting to roll in!
Eight or so radios were wired in two rooms using the setup skills of the group. The quality of these skills is illustrated in another LBI-4 photo - that of the pile of wires behind the radios. This picture quickly became the wallpaper on many of our PC notebooks.
This gave me the thought of how our equipment has evolved through just four years at LBI. A potpourri of radios and no computers has progressed to almost everyone using one of the Drake R8 series of radios, phasers and using a wifi net for DX tips. It also led to a DX distraction, as I checked my personal email, downloaded a provocative picture, and shared it periodically with Bruce and Dave, who were sitting on either side of me.
The big disappointment of last year, no middle east other than Saudi Arabia - 1521, was quickly conquered early on Saturday. Radio Farda 1575 was at armchair level at 4:32pm. Also received, though weaker, were the Sawa stations of Djibouti 1431 and Kuwait 1548. Many Europeans were received, including new ones not picked up last year. But the Euro conditions of LBI-3, when we had hours-long s-35 signals from NRK and Virgin Radio, were not duplicated.
Every DX'Pedition has its disappointment, and this one was no different. While listening to the same "futbol" game on numerous channels, we thought it was from the XEX network of station in Mexico. This initial belief was reinforced by Dave having excellent reception of a weak powered Mexican broadcasting a different game. However, a check of the WRTH showed a Cuban station on each of those frequencies. We later concluded the game was, indeed, coming from Cuba. Shouts of &*#%$$#@*! Fidel permeated the room.
While at the Sunday morning breakfast, we commented on how this was the best attended DX'Pedition in years. And, even with the friendships we have, we were happy to have new and young blood in Michael, who heard about our DX'pedition, lived about a half hour away and joined us Saturday night.
Bring on LBI-5!!