LBI-11 / March 2013 Attendees
Russ Edmunds ( WB2BJH ) – Blue Bell, PA –Modified Sony ICF 2010
Brett Saylor ( N3EVB) – State College, PA – Perseus SDR, Drake R8
Chuck Rippel (WA4HHG) – Chesapeake, VA – Perseus SDR, WinRad/Excalibur
Michael Hunter ( W2MHZ) – Neshanic Station, NJ - Perseus SDR
Bill Whitacre – Alexandria, VA – Perseus SDR
16 x 36' north flag with Wellbrook KAZ FLG-100LN amp @37 degrees
900' south BOG (1st night only) @213 degrees
6' corner-fed south broadband loop with Wellbrook KAZ FLG-100LN and DX Engineering RPA-1 amps @213 degrees
Owing to the damage to Long Beach Island caused by Hurricane Sandy, our scheduled November DXpedition was postponed to March. As a result we had a smaller contingent, as well as below average DX conditions. We knew that there had been substantial changes to the beach and the dunes from the storm surge, but that the motel itself had sustained only some wind damage. But other effects were unanticipated.
a few years now, we had been debating whether with the implementation of
broadband pre-amplified loops and flags, we needed to continue using the
'original' BOG's. We deployed only one BOG this year by intent owing to a
shortage of manpower Friday afternoon, however we quickly discovered that the
replacement dune fencing was configured differently, and that it precluded us
from putting out the North BOG, so we put out a South BOG, which, given the
geomagnetic conditions, we likely would have chosen anyway, but it wasn't as
hidden and protected as previously.
Signal comparisons showed that the BOG was noisier and provided nothing that the other antennas didn’t have but with a better S/N ratio. While some of that may be due to the continuing utility repair and restoration work on the island, we were well satisfied with the performance of the 16x36' flag and 6' BBL - so much so that we plan to use two flags next time, one aimed North and the other South, while retaining the BBL for other directions. We will continue to bring, but not necessarily use, one or more BOG’s as things sort out, although not using BOG’s shortens setup and takedown times, and saves wear and tear on DX’ers backs.
Conditions were semi-auroral, with a peak A index of 28 Friday PM. This level of activity usually puts a serious damper on TA signals, without providing any compensating significant enhancements for LA’s, and this proved to be the case. TA’s were mostly Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and not a lot of any of those. LA’s were the usual predominant Cubans with occasional receptions from Colombia and Venezuela. NDB’s were depressed even further than the MW TA’s, and there were no LW TA’s at all. The result was the addition of some new TIS stations to the North, some new domestics to the South, and long-sought Sudan on 1296 for our 71st LBI country logged.
All in all, the usual enjoyable company, and ability to sit and talk DX during the downtimes made it a good weekend even without good conditions.
When the dates for LBI-11 were initially set back in September 2012, little did we know how an unexpected guest - Hurricane Sandy - would impact our plans. After the storm hit on October 29 it was apparent that the DXpedition could not be held in November, thus LBI-11 was postponed and finally rescheduled for the first weekend in March 2013. Fortunately our DX Inn, the Drifting Sands, suffered minimal damage from the storm and local businesses were starting to re-open after the cleanup. Having the DXpedition in early March meant that we had a shot at solar conditions similar to those of October, but it also meant that that only five of us were able to attend.
Owing to the smaller contingent of attendees and the change to the configuration of the sand dunes on the beach due to the storm surge, the decision was made to only deploy a beverage antenna to the south and rely on a north-pointed superloop for TA's. Owing to the poor performance of the south BOG on the first night, we pulled it in Saturday morning and relied on a 6-foot corner-fed broadband loop pointed south on the second night. We had toyed with the idea of forgoing BOG's altogether in the past, and this year's situation provided the impetus. The use of loops vs. BOG's may turn out to be the norm for future DXpeditions at LBI as it is getting harder to overcome the physical and noise problems of using beverages on the beach. One downside to the loops are the broader patterns observed vs. the beverages.
Conditions for the weekend were very mediocre - the A index was 28 and K was 4 - so TA's were suppressed and longwave almost non-existent. Auroral conditions never fully developed, although there were three new Mexican stations logged on 690, 730 and 1570 and a new Puerto Rican on 940. The biggest catch of the weekend was 1295.98 Sudan which was finally ID'd in post-DXpedition Perseus recordings thanks to help from the RealDX Yahoo group. Following a tradition started at LBI-10, Chuck Rippel performed boatanchor surgery Saturday on my SX-190, doing a re-cap and peaking the performance of this classic receiver.
One advantage to having a spring DXpedition is that we only have to wait ~ 6 months for the next one, and LBI-12 is planned to be held this November (barring a repeat of the hurricane).