Dr. Walter Salmaniw DX report from Massett, Haida Gwaii



Once again, I had the opportunity for a quick visit to our cottage on the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii. My wife and I are fortunate enough to have acquired 2.2 acres of oceanfront land near the northern village of Masset, and just a few kilometres from the Canadian Forces HF receiving array also known as a Wullenweber array.

On this occasion, my wife had travelled to Masset the previous week to oversee the final stages of our construction and finishing of our small but impressive cedar post and beam cottage. At the last minute, and with the agreement of my medical practice partner, I snuck away for a 5-day visit, and more importantly (but don’t mention this to Wanda!) a chance to DX from one of the premier sites in the world. Of course there’s a price to pay for the dxing, and that’s some hard work during the day planting spruce seedlings, moving topsoil, troubleshooting potential problem areas around the cottage and visiting with family and friends.

Besides dxing, there's plenty of work at the cottage. Luckily, there’s plenty of daylight to get the chores done!

At this northerly latitude, the sunset around 22:00 local and dawn would commence soon after 04:00. One might think that MW/Tropical band dx would not be very productive, but nothing could be further from the truth. As the tropical bands become less and less inhabited, I have become much more interested in Trans-Pacific MW dxing, and spent the bulk of my time pursuing this activity. I set my alarm each morning at 04:45 and dxed through to after 07:00 local, corresponding to 10:45 to 13:00 UTC. I brought my trusty AOR 7030+ receiver, pre-programmed to all of the 9 kHz AM stations, and my old but very trustworthy and capable IBM T20 Laptop running Windows 98 and ERGO4 computer control for the receiver. One day, perhaps, someone will sell me a no longer useful AOR 7030+ and I could leave it at the property permanently as the receiver does tend to attract the attention of the security officials at the airports. Any takers?

From previous moves, I pre-positioned a box of useful items: tools, miles of strong stranded antenna wire, reference material, connectors, and a small table and chair to provide the necessary facility for a decent dx-shack. I’m still not certain exactly where in the cabin I’ll permanently place the shack. At present, it’s upstairs in a loft, which works, although not that elegantly. The coax is routed through a window down to the ground below. I will plan a more permanent arrangement with underground weatherproof coax and a more sophisticated antenna switching system. I have a permanent Beverage of some 375’ running along our property line due N/S. Not ideal, but aesthetics are crucial, and Wanda will not look out on a million dollar view and look at Ewes or dipoles in the foreground! Temporarily I also erected a 500’ BOG (Beverage on Ground) running W/SW. This is a very interesting antenna. On some days it performed extremely well, while on others was barely of use, presumably due to the vagaries of propagation. On my final night (last night), I decided to move this BOG from a location to the west of our property and residing in the sand dunes on a vacant property to the heavily forested property to our East, but still more or less in the same direction. The results unfortunately were very poor compared to the N/S Beverage. The latter BOG was very noisy and picked up a huge amount of signal (along with the noise) and usually was of no use. The N/S traditional Beverage which at times has also suffered from noise as it’s south termination is a matter of meters to the overhead power lines, was exceptionally quiet this morning…so much so that I wondered whether their was a problem with the gain. Even with that, it consistently outperformed the BOG this morning, which again reiterates the importance of a superior S/N ration rather than more gain. In the future, I hope to have a more permanent array of antennae to choose from—perhaps several EWEs, or Flag/Pennant antennae as well as a Beverage or two for good measure. For now the single Beverage and the BOG will have to do.

What about the results? Well, each morning was very different from the others. On MW Japan is normally always a very powerful performer whatever the time of year. Often the entire band seems to be occupied by the Japanese. Hokkaido Island is especially well represented due to it’s northerly location and closer proximity to the Queen Charlottes, and entirely via water path. With the many parallels available, and distinctive programming style (lots of giggling by YLs), identification was usually pretty simple except for their graveyard frequencies. The first morning was totally dominated by them, especially on the upper half of the band. See figure 1 for my results in graphic format.

In our system, audio is heard from a 6 to 10 level, with 6 being barely audible, 7 being able to discern what the language is only, 8 meaning a fairly easy copy, 9 an excellent copy, and a 10 armchair copy, like a local AM station. 5 and below means no audio is heard, and only a het at varying strengths. You can notice that many of the Japanese stations are heard with very good copy. KUT on 1737 happens to be the 50 watt aeronautical beacon located in Kutubu, PNG. This beacon is a regular on the west coast and I’m always thrilled to here the K-U-T Morse beacon. It was heard on three of four mornings. Much rarer is the GA beacon on 1725 from Goroka, PNG. This was heard on one morning only. Both and N/S Beverage and the SW BOG performed well the first morning (20 July).

The second morning (21 July, figure 2) showed good lower band openings including Russian Far East LW transmitters on 180 and 279 kHz, which always surprises me owing to the lack of darkness this time of the summer. The usual Japanese were present along with a few Koreans and Chinese. Our fall and winter usually provide the strongest reception of the latter two countries. I thoroughly enjoyed tuning into an American accented preacher on 999. No Ids were heard, so I’m wondering about either a Filipino station or possibly HLCL Korea, with an English religious program. After the excitement had died down, I searched the LW band for voice aeronautical beacons and came across two on 260 (Middleton Is), and 358 (Sitka) around 13:34 UTC a couple hours after dawn. The North wire only worked well that morning.

{mosimage}

I considered the third morning (22 July, figure 3) to be the best up to that point. Again the upper band did well. Again, the Japanese were strong. A lovely ID was heard for KBS 1 on 1314 at 13:00 UTC. Some DU snippets were audible as well, including what I’m suspecting was 2GL Glen Innes, NSW Australia with the program “Saturday night Country” at 12:14. The normally super-powerful JOUB Akita on 774 with NHK2 programming was dominated by 3L0 Melbourne with a local ID at 12:46.

{mosimage}

The most bizarre morning was this morning July 23, 2006 (see figure 4). I have not heard the solar indices yet, but suspect that conditions were disturbed. With a few exceptions, the Japanese stations were largely absent. The N/S Beverage felt very anemic. There were signals, but most were quite attenuated compared to the previous mornings. My newly repositioned BOG was useless. There were many more DU stations, as well as a few Hawaiians. I enjoyed 783 at 13:00 with the BBCWS news in English, and presumably from 2YB, Wellington NZ. KNUI 900 could be heard with Hawaiian music under a cochannel. The upper half of the band was anemic compared to yesterday. After 13:15 I noted 650 KRTR, Honolulu IDing as only “The New 650”. 670 KPUA, Hilo was also noted at the same time with network sport talk programming, but a local ID at 13:25.

{mosimage}

In case you thought I had neglected the SW bands, I hadn’t. At other times of the day I would listen a few minutes here and there, as well as after the MW band had faded. I heard Shiokaze in English on 9485 at 13:00 to 13:30 Friday with absolutely armchair copy. Also their UTC late afternoon/early evening program (actually their local morning program) was also received at 20:30 UTC on 9785. I haven’t seen anyone else in North America log this one. I did my usual PNG bandscan this morning, and sad to say before 12:00 I only heard Radio Central 3290, Radio Western 3305, Radio Manus 3315, and Radio East New Britain on 3385 on the 90 meter band. None were particularly strong.

Here is a complete listing of my loggings (in chronological order):

SRI LANKA 15475, 0341-, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Jul 20 Wonderfully warm programming. Very old fashioned with wooly audio, and wishing everyone a good Thursday morning. Greetings to listeners in Bangalore, and also Dubai. Exclusively western music, including 'I believe in music, I believe in love'. S5 to S6 signal with some obvious deep fades, but perfectly listenable, even if over 13000 km to Ekala!. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

OMAN 15575, 0349-, BBCWS Jul 20 Excellent reception with sports report about the British Open and the problem with the hot dry weather. Apparently to South Asia. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

BELARUS 11930, 0400-, Belarussian Radio Jul 20 After open carrier, jingle at 03:59:30, interval signal once at 0400 and ID...not Radio Belarus or Belaruskaya Radio. I thought they said Radio Stalitsa, but it sounds in fact more like 'Radio Fax' or the like. S7 to S8 signal. They mentioned the evacuation of Belarusian citizens from Lebanon! Time check at 04:12 and ID. I'm sure they're saying 'Radio Fact' (probably as opposed to Radio Fax). (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

GREAT BRITAIN 11770, 0419-, BBC Jul 20 Ukrainian service heard at good to very good levels with talk of the governmental problems in Ukraine. 500kw via Rampisham. Parallel to slightly weaker 9895 (300 kw Woofferton) and 9560 (300 kw Skelton). (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

AUSTRALIA 2325, 1311-, VL8T Tennant Creek Jul 20 Very good reception with a call-in car show. Nothing on 2310 Alice Springs, nor 2485 Katherine. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

INDONESIA 2960, 1318-, RPDT Manggarai Jul 20 A real treat and a regular on the dxpedition circuit with female announcer taking calls in Bahasa Indonesian. Giggling. S5 signal a good hour after local sunrise. Some ham type interference. Not heard the following 3 mornings. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

TAIWAN 9485, 1321-, Shiokaze program Jul 20 Superb reception at S9 + 20 in Japanese today with lists of names over piano. Very weak cochannel, but barely audible so not a problem. This went on until 13:26:20 and then into their canned ID and information for Shiokaze. Many mentions of Shiokaze, and Tokyo, tampa and kHz. No mentions of email or www that I could here. Off precisely at 13:30. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

See below for their English broadcast on July 21st.

INDONESIA 3345.02, 1333-, RRI Ternate Jul 20 Solid S5 to S6 reception with standard Indo programming with a lone female announcer and into Indo music. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

CHINA 3900, 1337-, Radio Hulun Buir Jul 20 Don't recall seeing many loggings from this station. S5 signal strength with EZL vocals. Listed in the ILG as only 2000w, although DBS shows 7.5 kw. Sounds more like the former. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

INDONESIA 4604.96, 1343-, RRI Serui Jul 20 Nice signal with a male DJ taking calls from listeners. Mentioned 'Timor'. Answers his calls with 'Allo', and 'yes' (I think). (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

VIETNAM 4739.71, 1347-, Radio Son La 1 Jul 20 Usual distorted signal with some days much worse than others, and today is pretty bad. Local language it seems rather than Vietnamese. Fair to good only. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

INDIA 4970, 1358-, AIR Shillong Jul 20 Inspirational Christian vocal until 13:59:45 when a female cut-in with the end of the program and ID for the NE svce of AIR. Ad at 14:00. English programming. Fair only. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

SOLOMON ISLANDS 5019.87, 1404-, SIBS Jul 20 BBCWS at 14:04 with ID at fair to good level, and international news. Lots of adjacent splatter, all the way from CNR on 5030. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

JAPAN 6120, 1422-, ?RFI Jul 20 Unlisted French transmission with mostly African news at excellent strength. Many mentions of 'we are all Nigerian', Morocco, Cape Town, etc. Radio du Monde mentioned at 14:40, so I suspect this is RFI, but my ILG lists RFI in Vientnamese at this time from Yamata. Transmitter location sure fits. Off in mid-sentence at 14:55 with no announcement. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

RUSSIA 7220.43, 1444-, Radio France International Jul 20 English program on this off-frequency. ILG lists Chita in the Russian far east as the site with 500 kw to Asia. Some adjacent splatter. Wonder if this is a punch-up error since being so far off frequency is a rarity for Russian transmitters. USB to avoid het. Otherwise very good reception. ID for RFI at 14:49 on 90.3!. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

RUSSIA 15260, 1622-, Voice of Eritrea Jul 20 listed in ILG as Thursday's only in presumed Tigrinya with impassioned talk by a male. Fair to good reception. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

MALAYSIA 15295, 1624-, Voice of Malaysia Jul 20 Fair to mostly good reception in the clear in Arabic. I recall years ago that this was quite a dx catch. They must have been running much lower power then, and were slightly off frequency. Bang on now with listed 200 kw according to ILG. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

TANZANIA 11735, 1628-, Radio Zanzibar Jul 20 Very nice reception in Swahili, with 'Zanzibar' heard in presumed ID at 16:30. Lovely African EZL music. Salaam eh leykum at 16:30:40. Checked after 17:00 and found a mess of cochannels. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

CHINA 6950, 2108-, CNR 1 Jul 20 Mandarin programming at strong levels and parallel to Radio Free Asia jammer on 7105. Interesting how despite the middle of summer and daylight path all the way (Shijiazhuang is at sunrise), reception is so strong. I suspect this is largely in part due to solar minimum. Don't mistake this one for an exotic pirate!. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

CHINA 9600, 2112-, CRI Jul 20 English broadcast at fair to good levels from listed Kashi and 500 kw to Europe, but heard pretty well here. Parallels heard include 7190 (fair), and 9800 (poor). 7285 is fair also in English but a different program feed than the first two? Program ID's as 'China Drive on CRI' at 21:38. Seems to be a local program for English speakers in China (?). (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

CZECH REPUBLIC 11600, 2143-, Radio Prague Jul 20 ID in English from a 'hot, hot, hot Prague'. Highs of 37 degree C. Beer and water sales are way up. Good reception. 9410 is barely audible. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

ROMANIA 11940, 2148-, Radio Romania International Jul 20 An old friend that I haven't heard for some time. Only at poor to fair level in English...not really good enough to enjoy. Too bad as Prague is well heard on 11600 at the same time. 15465 is barely audible in parallel. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

SYRIA 9330, 2153-, Radio Damascus Jul 20 Fair to good reception with Arabic music. Parallel to weaker 12085. About a S7 signal. I still remember driving across northern B.C. in our VW Westfalia listening to the same station on my Phillips D777 SW car radio at very good levels, thinking I must the only listener in this part of the world! The transmitter cut for almost a minute at 21:57, then came back. 12085 is marred somewhat by CODAR interference. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

CANADA 9625, 0305-, CBC Northern Quebec Service Jul 21 After Quebec weather, Northern Lights music program. Good over another cochannel station (either Radio Finland or Radio Fides listed, but probably Finland). (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

SPAIN 9690, 0307-, CRI Jul 21 English programming from China Radio International with various relays. This one from Noblejas, Spain at good level. Parallels include Cuba on 9790 (slightly delayed, excellent reception), 13750 (fair, direct from Kashi, China), 15110 (Kashi, poor), 15120 (Beijing, fair), and 15785 (Xian, fair/good). CRI news program. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

TAIWAN 9485, 13:00-, Shiokaze program Jul 21 Superb reception this morning in English. CNR was audible before the start of the program, but not a problem (here at least) once the program started. Fascinating start to the program with their description of the purpose of the program. By 13:03:45 went into the list of the abducted citizens starting in 1914 birth year. I rechecked at 13:24 and the years were up to 1979. The same information as at the beginning was repeated at the end of the program. When giving the internet information, he says 'dot toe' for dot. Ends with 'thank you for listening. See you next time.' Off at 13:29:50. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 4890, 1352-, NBC Karai Service Jul 21 National programming from Port Moresby with EZL (ABBA) music. After an early start at after 4:00 am, it's nice to lean back, close your eyes and be serenaded by PNG! 3 minutes to 12 time check, and end of program (actual time was on 13:56, …clocks run a little fast in PNG ;-) . Sign-off with all the MW and SW frequencies, followed by the NA at 14:00. They always leave the open carrier on. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

SOLOMON ISLANDS 5019.88, 1403-, SIBS Jul 21 Particularly strong signal this morning with BBCWS english news. Sure wish they had local programming overnight. They sign-off comparatively early then relay the BBCWS overnight. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

GABON 17630, 1410-, Africa Number 1 Jul 21 Fair reception with African hi-life music. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

IRAN 15085, 1748-, VOIRI Jul 21 German programming at fair level. Parallel 11855 at good level. At same time VOIRI in Russian is well heard on 7175. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

TANZANIA 11735, 1756-, Radio Zanzibar Jul 21 Strong S9 to S9+ reception with mild transmitter hum, but otherwise excellent modulation. Great audio! A real pleasure to listen to and an example of what broadcasters should strive for! Tanzania-Zanzibar mentioned at 17:59 then IS (drums), time pips, and then into English (from Swahili). 'The time is 9:00', and into news. When I rechecked at 18:15 they were no longer in English. Some splash noted from VOA via Morocco, so LSB best. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

TAIWAN 9785, 2029-, Shiokaze program Jul 21 I haven't seen anyone report their morning transmission. Not in English today (but was local last night) at fair level. I believe in Japanese at only fair level with identical Shiokaze sign-on. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 3290, 1332-, Radio Central Jul 22 Fair to good reception on past their normal sign-off at 12:00. EZL western music. Only other 90 meter PNGs audible were 3305 Radio Western (poor), 3315 Radio Manus (good) and 3385 Radio East New Britain (fair to good). (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

INDONESIA 3345.04, 1337-, RRI Ternate Jul 22 Powerful reception with very poweful modulation, and a female announcer repeatedly saying 'Don't Forget', which I think is the title of the song which they then aired (a local artist)....yes, just as I type this you can hear 'Don't forget' in a song otherwise in Bahasa Indonesian. Pretty close to a 5-5-5 signal. Sounds like a live recording from an auditorium since there's a hollowness to the broadcast. Also a male announcer, but the female does most of the talking. Ternate mentioned a number of times at 13:59. Still booming in. No news or ID at 14:00...only a continuation of the same broadcast. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

HAWAII 650, 1316-, KRTR, Honolulu Jul 23 'The all new 650 AM'. EZL oldies (like 'Feeling Groovy'). In the clear at mostly good reception. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

HAWAII 670, 1322-, KPUA, Hilo Jul 23 Sporting news radio with public affairs announcements. No positive ID but matches format for KPUA. Yes! Nice ID at 13:25 for KPUA. Then into Sporting news radio feed. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

ALASKA 620, 1325-, KGTL Jul 23 'New York, New York', at fair level. 'Jeff Rollins with you' at 13:28, but no ID, then right into 'It's the right time of the night'. Local ID at 13:34. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

KAZAKHSTAN 12150, 1353-, Family Radio Jul 23 Slow English scripture reading at very good level. Listed at this time in Mandarin from Almaty with 500 kw. Very nice signal! Back into Mandarin at 13:56. At 13:58 'www.familyradio.com', Family Radio IS. At 14:00 program resumed in Mandarin. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)

RUSSIA 12055, 1401-, Voice of Russia World Service Jul 23 Very good reception in English. To Asia at this time, from Novosibirsk. Parallels include 17645 (Moscow to Asia) good, 15605 (Moscow to Asia) fair/good, 9745 (Chita) fair under cochannel Voice of Han Taiwan, and 11755 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan) poor/fair with huge splash from BBCWS via Thailand. (Salmaniw, Masset, B.C.)


Doctor Walter Salmaniw lives and works as a G.P. and Pediatrition in Victoria on Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. When he is not bringing life into the World, or healing the sick, he is coaxing exotic DX from an impression fleet of traditional and PC based radio receivers. Walter can be reached via this website for at his e-mail address: s a l m a n i w {at} s h a w [DOT] ca



Donate

funny bullet 18Running a website and
staying on top of the scene
takes time and money. 
Help keep the light burning
and fund our mad-radio-science lab!