August 2017 Rockwork 4 DXpedition Loggings & MP3's (Part 1)

Gary DeBock

Overall this August 2017 DXpedition has been far and away the most productive Rockwork 4 trip ever, with two Western Australians (531-6DL and 558-6WA) received at decent levels, five stations received on 531 kHz alone (PI, More FM, 2PM, 4KZ and 6DL), 558-Fiji completely restored and reaching S9 levels, an S9 recording of 585-2WEB (confirmed by David Sharp), the best-ever signals from the Kiwis on 531 (More FM), 603, 657, 765, 936 and 1503, monster signals from 585-7RN and 639-5CK, multiple receptions of 1017-Tonga, etc. Even when we needed to dodge the "sleeping squatters" it was a lot of fun to share the cliff with my DXpedition partners Tom and Chuck, especially during the phenomenal August 4th session (when Tom and I both made out like bandits). I'm sure that both of us will remember that wild and wacky session for years to come!
     All of these and the other South Pacific loggings below were received with Ultralight radios and "airport unfriendly" FSL antennas (as in the photo posted at  ). Signals which reached an S9 level are listed with a double asterisk (**). Special thanks is in order for Theo Donnelly, Andrew Brade, James Niven, Todd Emslie, Bill Whitacre, David Sharp and any others who assisted in the identification of the following stations (and especially to my DXpedition partner Tom Rothlisberger, who researched parallel stations for the two Western Australia loggings). You guys rock! 

531  2PM  Kempsey, Australia,  5 kW   Good signal at 1242 on 8-8 with call-in talk format and mentions of SRN member station 2LM at :11 and 1:11 into the recording (thanks to Andrew Brade for listening)

531  4KZ   Innisfail, Australia, 10 kW   On top of the frequency at 1258 on 8-4 with "4KZ Regional News" ID at :08 into the recording. Usually was under PI during the week with its oldies and TOH news format (thanks to James Niven for listening)
531  6DL   Dalwallinu, Australia,  10 kW   ABC conversation format received once during exceptional conditions at 1253 on 8-4; content was matched by DXpedition partner Tom Rothlisberger (using Perseus-SDR recordings) to ABC LR network content on other frequencies. Very long range DX (9,050 miles/ 14,564 km)
531  More FM   Alexandra, NZ,  2 kW   This was a breakout DXpedition for the low-powered urban rock station, which sometimes dominated over the Kiwi co-channel PI and the other four DU's received on this frequency. This local ad string was received at 1255 on 8-1, with a mention of "" at the 26 second point (thanks to Theo for deciphering)
Another good-strength Kiwi ad string at 1342 on 8-1 with mention of the FM affiliate frequency "99.4" at 58 seconds into the recording (thanks to Theo for deciphering)
The usual super-short "More FM" ID (male voiced) is at the 28 second point of this recording featuring the station's typical modern rock format at 1313 on 8-6
**531  PI   Auckland, NZ,  5 kW   The usual dominant station on the frequency, the Samoan (and other Pacific Island) language broadcaster was rocking at an S9 level with island music at 1248 on 8-8
Another island music recording at a powerful level at 1303 on 8-19

558  6WA   Wagin, Australia,  50 kW   Received during exceptional conditions at 1319 on 8-4 (the same morning as 531-6DL was received), this ABC-format speech was once again matched by DXpedition partner Tom Rothlisberger to ABC LR-network content on other frequencies. Received for the first time here in August of 2015, this reception matched the Ultralight radio DX distance record for reception in North America (at 9,138 miles, or 14,705 km) 
558  7BU   Burnie, Australia,  2 kW   This low-power classic rock station in Tasmania was giving the rejuvenated Fiji some competition at times on the morning of 8-9, but in general was losing out. This classic rock recording with Foreigner's "Urgent" was made at 1317 on 8-9; by fortunate coincidence Bill Whitacre had recorded the same song preceded by a "7BU" ID during his San Souci DXpedition down the coast on the same morning
Another classic rock song ("So Lonely" by the Police) at 1303 on 8-9. At the end of the recording there may be a muffled partial ID according to Todd Emslie, but it's too tough for me to decipher (thanks to Todd Emslie)
**558  Radio Fiji One   Suva, Fiji,  10 kW   One of the big surprises of the DXpedition, this formerly weak station is now a South Pacific powerhouse after transmitter and antenna improvements (which were entirely funded by the Japanese government). On most mornings it would reach a very strong level, as in this S9 recording of typical island music at 1318 on 8-8
From the first day of the DXpedition (8-1), it was sounding pretty potent with its island choral music, as in this recording at 1307 on 8-1
On the second day (1302 on 8-2) this strong island choral music pretty much confirmed the station's rejuvenated status
Exceptional conditions on 8-4 further boosted up Fiji's island music recordings at 1307 and 1323
More exceptional conditions on 8-8 provided some of the strongest island choral music receptions of the DXpedition at 1313 and 1323
By the final day (8-9) Fiji had become somewhat of a pest. Here it is at 1315 smothering the frequency, until the 2 kW Tasmanian 7BU breaks through at 1317 with Foreigner's "Urgent" (for about a minute only)

**567  RNZ   Wellington, NZ,  50 kW   The ex-big gun has sounded relatively modest after the demolition of its old tower, but it could occasionally sound fairly strong, such as during this typical male-female conversation at 1239 on 8-6

**576  2RN   Sydney, Australia,  50 kW   This RN network big gun really pounded in during favorable Australian propagation (such as at 1315 on 8-9, during this music recording) but could lose out to the 2.5 kW Kiwi station Star during NZ-favored conditions

576  Star   Hamilton, NZ,  2.5 kW   Buried by the Australian big gun 2RN until the 7th day of the DXpedition, the "dwarf Star" finally showed up at 1327 on 8-7 with Christian music // 657
**585  2WEB   Bourke, Australia,  10 kW   One of the most amazing signals of the entire DXpedition, this rock music pounded in at an S9 level at 1335 on 8-8, soon after propagation had collapsed to most stations. Program Director David Sharp matched the song with his log, and in his e-QSL letter he noted that the recorded signal "is the strongest I have heard, to date, from the United States."
585  7RN   Hobart, Australia,  10 kW   In a snarl with co-channel 2WEB much of the time, it tended to have better performance overall than its 576 parallel. This typical ABC RN-network speech was received at 1243 on 8-3

**594  3WV   Horsham, Australia,  50 kW   Usually dominant over the lower-powered Star co-channels, this LR network big gun could really pound in when conditions favored it, such as at 1245 on 8-2 with typical ABC talk program

594  Star   Timaru/ Wanganui, NZ   5 kW/ 2kW   Although the low powered Kiwi network was occasionally competitive with the Oz big gun 3WV, it rarely dominated the frequency. One of those unusual times was at 1302 on 8-6, when its "Star News" had the edge over Australia

603  2RN   Nowra, Australia,  10 kW   Never before decently received at the "Kiwi Cliff," exceptional Australian-slanted propagation at 1255 on 8-4 pushed this RN network female speech (// 576) far above the usual Kiwi big gun Radio Waatea. It was MIA on other days
**603  Radio Waatea   Auckland, NZ,  5 kW   Significantly stronger than in recent years (throughout the week), this Maori network powerhouse managed its best signal ever at 1303 on 8-8 with island music and Maori chants
Samoan island music at very strong level at 1256 on 8-1, and at 1312 on 8-6
Mixing with 2RN during unusual Australian-slanted propagation at 1254 on 8-4

612  4QR   Brisbane, Australia,  50 kW   Rare appearance here // 594 during unusual Australia-slanted conditions at 1312 on 8-4
639  2HC   Coff's Harbour, Australia,  5 kW   SRN format call-in talk program at good level (not // 891) at 1310 on 8-3, previously heard running commercial ads
**639  5CK   Port Pirie, Australia,  10 kW   A big surprise with huge ABC network signals // 891 at 1307 on 8-7, this South Australian station was occasionally heard mixing with Oz co-channel 2HC on the other days

**657  Star   Wellington/ Tauranga, NZ,  50/ 10 kW   Another Kiwi blowtorch with its best-ever signals during this trip, the Christian hymn music broadcaster was pegging the S/N readout with this music and Irish-accented sermon at 1215 on 8-1
More powerful signals with "Star News" at 1304 on 8-1, and with Christian music at 1250 on 8-2 and at 1310 on 8-5

666  2CN   Canberra, Australia,  5 kW   Unusual appearance at the "Kiwi Cliff" during Australian-slanted propagation at 1320 on 8-6 // 594

675  RNZ   Christchurch, NZ,  10 kW   The strongest RNZ frequency overall during the trip, it has replaced 567 after the demise of the latter's old tower. This recording was at 1326 on 8-4

**702  2BL   Sydney, Australia,  50 kW   The Oz LR network big gun usually had the edge over the Kiwi big gun Magic, such as during this ABC talk program at 1310 on 8-8

**702  Magic   Auckland, NZ,  10 kW   In a snarl with 2BL on most mornings, the Kiwi oldies broadcaster could occasionally take over the frequency completely when conditions strongly favored New Zealand (such as at 1309 on 8-19, on the way to Lincoln City)
**702  Magic-2BL Mix   When propagation favored both Oz and NZ (such as at 1320 on 8-4) the snarl between the Auckland oldies broadcaster and 2BL could turn catastrophic. Magic's "Peace Train" song was pretty ironic


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