Rob Stonier, NJ – Drake R8, Eton E1
Bill Harms, MD – Drake R8B, SDR-IQ; Quantum Phaser
Bruce Collier, PA – Drake R8B; MFJ 1025 Phaser
Brett Saylor, PA, Drake R8, SDR-IQ & Perseus SDR; MFJ 1025 Phaser
Russ Edmunds, PA – Sony 2010
Dave Hochfelder, NY – Drake R8B; Quantum Phaser
Don Moore, IA - Drake R8, Eton E1
Michael Temme-Soifer, NJ
John Ernandez, PA
terminated BOG's at 33 and 213 degrees
• 200' phase wire
• 6' and 8' broadband loops, and 3' copper pipe loop with DX Engineering DXE-RPA-1 preamplifiers
Previous years' results and more pictures can be found on Radiodxing.com.
Once again another LBI DXpedition is history, and it was another good one, with at least 4 new countries added to our previous total, thanks to our having selected an optimal weekend. Conditions weren’t exceptional, but they were quite good. With 3 broadband loops deployed, in addition to the two BOG’s, we had ample antennas to use. I found myself often switching to one of the loops to reduce the noise on the BOG’s. TVI continues to be an increasing problem for us, even using the BOG’s. It is always amazing to take the Sony 2010 down onto the beach where the antennas are, some 75+ feet from the hotel, and to still hear the noise. Ultimately, I believe, our future will move away from BOG’s and more toward BBL’s for that reason. That move should also liberate us from the limitations of having the main lobes of the BOG’s stationary, dictated by the shoreline.
It’s always a pleasure to enjoy the company of good friends at these events, and often, as this time, to meet new ones, with Don Moore joining us from Iowa and becoming our most distant participant ever, and also John Ernandez stopping by for part of the day on Saturday. John lives not far from me, but we had only recently met via email prior to the DXpedition. Don’s prior DX experiences, as well as his fluency in Spanish were most valuable to the rest of us.
For me, the DX highlight was Benin-1566, with strong signals Saturday night. I missed out on personally hearing some of the other new countries.
I wasn’t able to make last year’s LBI, so I was chomping at the bit for this year’s. I wasn’t disappointed. Conditions were very good and we had signals on virtually every TA frequency. Old standbys like British, Spanish, and French TAs came in well, and we were also treated with new and/or rare stations, like Kaliningrad on 1215 and Iceland on 189. The highlights for me were Poland on 225 and Albania on 1215. All told, I logged about 100 stations and 17 countries, so I was very pleased with the DX.
Each year we try out new things, and this year several of us brought software-defined radios capable of recording a large chunk of spectrum for later review. We were thus able to share sound clips to dig out stations we otherwise would not have logged. I enjoyed using the SDR files to log LW beacons. I live in a high-noise urban environment, so I rarely get the chance to hear LW beacons.
Of course, the annual LBI outing is a chance to reconnect with old friends and to make new ones. I enjoyed getting to know Don Moore, who came in all the way from Iowa to take part. Don’s Spanish-language skills were a big help. Our use of the Internet, the #mwdx chatroom and Brett’s webcam and sound feed, allowed others to take part at least vicariously in our DXpedition. For instance, Barry McLarnon (in Ottawa) and I were able to listen to a Friday night high school football broadcast at the same time, though separated by several hundred miles. And Bob Galerstein, who was unable to make it this year, was present with us virtually on both evenings.
Thinking ahead to next year, the SDR’s really create new options for us. We spent most of our time listening for TA’s, and the SDR’s now allow us to DX to Latin America as well, after the fact as it were. I’d also like to record the tropical bands to take advantage of our seaside location, perhaps in the early morning to see if Asian and Pacific stations can make it through. I’m also planning on an 8-foot square copper pipe loop to improve our options on LW and/or to other compass bearings.
LBI-7 goes into the books for me as another very interesting and enjoyable event. After several months of tracking the space weather conditions in search of that “perfect” date, we finally settled on the weekend before Thanksgiving. Given the once-a-year nature of LBI, we wanted to maximize our potential for good reception. I would say that our efforts paid off – the A index was 0 and K was 1 as we started the DXpedition, and the TA stations started to roll in before sunset the first evening. While several people who wanted to come could not make it, we still had seven attendees both nights and two single-day visitors on Saturday. Don Moore, a long-time DX friend from my college days who currently lives in Iowa, attended for the first time and received this year's award for traveling the furthest. Other attendees came from upstate New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Conditions on the first evening started out good, with an early appearance by Sweden on 1179 before 4pm local time with a nice top-of-the-hour ID. A few minutes later we picked up Absolute Radio on 1215 but also detected another station mixing with the UK – this later was identified as the Voice of Russia from Kaliningrad. Nothing like snagging a new country in the first hour to get the juices flowing! Things seemed to cool down fairly quickly on Friday evening, though, with lots of carriers but not as much audio as I would have liked. Long wave was very dead that first evening.
It turns out that Saturday had more in store for us. 1215 had three stations at once, with presumed Albania on 1214.85 adding its carrier to the Russian and UK stations. COPE Spain was also heard there, making it the most "productive" frequency at LBI. Long wave was much better the second night, with Iceland (new last year) making another appearance; other channels yielded much more audio than was heard the previous evening. The highlight for me, however, was hearing Trans World Radio from Benin on 1566, positively identified by Russ and Bill giving the published TWR mailing address. A close second was hearing Poland on 225, with language identified by Dave through a Global Tuner receiver in Austria. Live logs and subsequent analysis of SDR recordings made at LBI-7 showed we heard about 275 individual stations in 46 countries and Canadian provinces on long and medium wave, boosting the total LW/MW country count heard at LBI since 2002 to nearly 60.
Each year I am impressed by how technology continues to play an ever-increasing role in the DXpedition. This year's big advance was in the use of software-defined radios. Several of us used them and, for me, their most notable impact was that I was less concerned with “rushing” to every new station before it disappeared. Knowing that my SDR would be recording the entire long and medium wave band both nights, I felt less pressure to search out as many stations in real-time as possible, and could spend more time ferreting out the details on an interesting channel, trying different antennas or phasing to get a better signal. I brought both SDR and conventional receivers, and let the SDRs act as DX “vacuum cleaners” all weekend while I tuned real-time on my Drake. I filled about 750 GB of disk space that weekend, enough to give me months of listening opportunities back home. In just the first week back after LBI, we had identified seven new stations and one new country on just a single ½ hour-long SDR file. It's definitely a paradigm-shifting way to approach the radio hobby.