Grayland, WA Ultralight TP's for 4-4

Gary DeBock

Walt certainly picked the right date to return to Victoria. Yesterday's DU propagation was long gone, and the anemic Asians that did manage to show up didn't stick around for long. There was a lackluster sunrise enhancement which brought up some second-tier Asians from 1315-1400 but none of these sounded especially healthy. What was energetic was the wind and rain-- which pounded the makeshift ocean beach DXing site to make up for the calm weather of the previous three days.

A predawn check of TP carriers at 1030 revealed the distinct possibility of an infamous Grayland shutout session, with neither Asians nor DU's managing any carriers. By 1230 the NHK big guns on 594, 693 and 774 did show up weakly, though, so the Ultralight DXing gear was set up as usual on the ocean beach at 1300. It was probably a mistake. Stiff wind kicked up in addition to the steady rain, while nothing on the band except for 1566-HLAZ was especially strong. In search of DU propagation one of the hot-rodded PL-380's was set up on 531 kHz around 1315, and a signal on the frequency around 1320 provided some hope-- until some distinct Japanese speech was made out from JOQG. About this time the stiff wind was shaking the entire DXing setup so viciously that I wondered whether the 15" FSL (about $1 K in construction cost) would survive the session. Two of the "Science Fiction PL-380's" threatened to go airborne, and fly away to Mars. Although 531-JOQG, 558-HLQH and 603-HLSA were managing fair to good peaks they were doing much better than the soaked and shaken DXer, who couldn't see the wisdom in finishing out this dead-end session. In Chinese the number 4 has the same sound as "death," and I reminded myself that today's date was 4-4 (meaning that the Chinese would consider this date especially prone to disasters). That was enough motivation for me to pack up all the DXing gear at 1355, and make a quick retreat back to Puyallup.

Overall the 4-day Grayland DXpedition wasn't bad at all, though. The first day (4-1) had exceptional Asian propagation, and after listening to my 1377-UnID TP recording made at the end of the session a couple of Japanese DXers say that it sounds like RRI Toli Toli (not bad for a 3" x 4" antenna). The DU propagation yesterday was very good (congratulations to Walt for his 1152-6PNN reception), and it was a thrill to receive 531-4KZ not only on a "Science Fiction PL-380" model but even on a stand-alone 7.5" loopstick C.Crane Skywave Ultralight. Antenna A/B test recordings for all of these different antennas were made, so DXers can actually hear the difference between receiving 531-4KZ on a 15" FSL, a 3" FSL Tecsun PL-380 and a 7.5" loopstick CC Skywave. Antenna testing was the main objective of the trip, and from that standpoint it was highly successful!

73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)

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