LBI-10 / 2011 Attendees
Dave Hochfelder ( N2HTA)– Albany, NY – Drake R8B & Quantum Phaser
Russ Edmunds ( WB2BJH ) – Blue Bell, PA – 2 Modified Sony ICF 2010’s
Rob Stonier ( WE2Z ) – Hawthorne, NJ – Drake R8
Brett Saylor ( N3EVB) – State College, PA – Perseus SDR, TenTec RX-320, Drake R8, Collins R-390A
Chuck Rippel (WA4HHG) – Chesapeake, VA – Perseus SDR
Jim Chenard – Blairstown, NJ – Drake R8 ( Friday night only )
Kris Field – Philadelphia, PA – Drake R8
Michael Hunter ( W2MHZ) – Neshanic Station, NJ - Drake R8, Perseus SDR
North BOG: 1000’ terminated @ 33 degrees
South BOG: 850’ terminated @ 213 degrees
16x36’ pre-amplified flag
6’ pre-amplified Broadband Loop
It’s hard to believe that this has been our tenth DXpedition to LBI! Every year I get stares from friends and coworkers when I tell them that I’m going “down the shore”--in November. One thing I really like about the LBI outings is their inclusiveness. Over the past ten outings we’ve had a total of about 20 DX’ers participate. So the high point of any LBI gathering is renewing old friendships and making new ones, no matter what conditions are like. (I especially appreciate Chuck aligning my Drake, which was 60 or 70 cycles off frequency, without my knowing it.)
Now that we have a baseline of DXpeditions extending over most of a solar cycle, LBI 10 ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack. We had decent signals from the usual TAs like France, Spain, Algeria, and the UK, but we didn’t penetrate further east than coastal Europe and North Africa. On the first night we had very good reception of three or four Iranians and on the second night the Saudis were very strong, but we didn’t hear any new countries on the broadcast band. The southern BOG was dominated by Cubans, as usual. Brett and Russ trolled around the LW utilities like NDBs, NAVTEX, and DGPS, so maybe that will put another few countries or states on the list.
One of the interesting trends since we started doing this in 2002 is the changing technology we deploy. At LBI 1, I had a Sony ICF-2010 and the top of the line radios brought by other DX’ers were Drakes. Nobody had laptops. At LBI 10, most of us had Perseus rigs (Drake for me…), most of us had laptops and an IRC chat room to “shout” our logs to each other in real time, and Brett brought something like half a dozen radios and computers for recording NAVTEX and other utilities. It will be interesting to see what the gear looks like at LBI 20.
It’s hard to believe that this was the 10th consecutive LBI DXpedition. I’ve been to every LBI since #2, and have enjoyed watching it grow into an annual event that’s as much about the social connections as it is about actually listening to the radios.
Conditions were “average”, definitely not as hot as two years ago but still yielding some interesting catches. The highlight was definitely the multiple Iranian stations that were heard parallel to 1503, with an excellent recording of an ID on the first night. The other TAs were “garden variety” but I still have many hours of Perseus recordings and, as in past years, there are probably a few gems still hidden there.
Deployment of the antennas went well this year, and the local police patrolling the beach didn’t even stop to ask what we were doing this time (maybe the WGBW AM 1590 “Honorary Tower Site Supervisor” Tshirts, courtesy of Mark Heller, convinced them we were legit?) This marked the last year for the 6-foot Connelly BBL loop – too many trips to the beach and accidental drops from the car during the loading and unloading rendered it non-functioning by the end of the weekend. I wanted to set it aflame and launch it into the surf Viking-style, but the others convinced me that may not help our image with the local law enforcement so we unceremoniously left it next to the garbage can upon our departure. But I am happy to say that I plan to have a new version of a 6-foot loop ready to deploy next year.
Another highlight was the field repair of my classic R390A by Chuck Rippell. Chuck quickly diagnosed the cause of the blown fuses and replaced the power supply only to find that the replacement supply was mis-wired and only putting out a fraction of the high voltage required. Some bad words, and a few modifications with a soldering iron later, and the radio was singing like it did 55 years ago when it left the Collins factory. Thanks, Chuck!
As we do every year, one of the topics at breakfast was “loops vs. BOGs” and again, as in previous years, the jury is still out on whether a loop-only DXpedition would be a good idea. I guess as long as our backs hold out we’ll continue to string out and bury the nearly half-mile beverage wires.
This was my first LBI trip and the strongest impression I had was what a great bunch of guys you are. When I think back on how my DX’ing has pretty much a solitary late night hobby, it was quite an experience for me to participate in such a well organized group activity.
My first goal for next year is to make certain that my Friday schedule is clear so I can arrive earlier and participate in antenna set up. I felt like a slacker for arriving late in the afternoon.
Using a SDR has the advantage of allowing stations missed to be heard later and to have a “do-over” on bandwidth and audio settings to clarify the recording. Next year I will be more careful in the amount of time allocated to recording (actually increase it) as I had fairly short snippets of stations that would have been interesting to identify.
Going through the audio files is pretty tedious, but is rewarding when live conditions are bad and you can recall good conditions from the files. To catch up, I took the files on a business trip using my laptop with headphones to listen in the hotel. I resolve to finish sooner next year.
The loop antennas were impressive, and I am inspired to finish my flag antenna project.
As good as the Perseus is, I still like the audio provided by the conventional receivers like the Drake.
Thanks to Chuck for bringing the old Drake on frequency. That radio hasn’t been opened since I bought it about 20 years ago. For years I didn’t use it often as I had a preference for the NRD-525. Since I have been listening more I have come to like the Drake. And now, thanks to Chuck, it doesn’t have the low frequency rumble anymore.
Wrestling with log books while sitting on a camp chair has its limitations. I wonder why the WRTH isn’t available in a electronic form yet? Speaking of which, Barnes and Noble sent a notice this week that the WRTH is delayed. I hope it doesn’t suffer the fate of the Passport to World Band Radio.
Little did I think when I was one of 4 DX’ers who decided to hold a one-night DXpedition on Long Beach Island ten years ago that it would become an annual event, with as many as ten DX’ers on hand, nor that I would end up having been able to attend each of them. With 8 DX’ers this time, attendance and interest was again strong and included one first-time attendee in Mike Hunter, and one who had only paid us a brief visit before, Kris Field.
Conditions were at best average, although we anticipated more owing to low geomagnetic indices the preceding week and some promising receptions in the days prior. The highlight was the reception of 4 IRIB-1 outlets all in // early Friday night with Middle Eastern singing. Conditions unfortunately deteriorated from then on, and for this DXpedition we have more loggings of NDB and DGPS beacons than regular MW and LW broadcast stations.
Despite the conditions, the company was as always enjoyable. Antenna experiments were conducted, some receiver repairs made, and some future equipment organization improvements identified – once again both radio rooms were characterized by jumbles of wires, preamplifiers, splitters and assorted radio equipment and supplies.