Hong Kong 7.5 inch Loopstick European, African and Middle East DX
What happens when you find yourself in an overcrowded city with almost every ocean beach either inaccessible, restricted or with dubious security? Well, you definitely need to "think outside of the box"-- or your entire DXing trip will be wasted.
Hong Kong was definitely the toughest DXing venue I've ever faced, and there were no quick solutions to its serious issues of overcrowding, lack of privacy and huge high rise buildings almost everywhere. My brother in law kindly offered to let us stay in a flat on the 12th floor of a high rise apartment building in Shatin (miles away from any salt water), which would save us the cost of a motel, but it looked like a nightmare for any serious DXing. To add to the misery Mainland Chinese stations occupied most all of the MW frequencies, and Hong Kong itself featured 5 local pests, which seemed to be strategically located on the frequencies of 567-Laos, 621-AIR and 675-Turkmenistan.
Since setting up the 5 inch FSL next to any salt water seemed to be highly unlikely a modified (7.5 inch loopstick) CC Skywave Ultralight was pushed to the absolute limit with daytime DXing trips to the polluted salt water of Macau, Hong Kong's (awesome) plunging ocean cliff of Cape D'Aguilar and the ocean harbor areas-- but daytime DXing can only get you so far. At night in the outdoor areas the 7.5 inch loopstick could pull in China and the Southeast Asian nations, but that was about it. There seemed to be a 500 mile barrier for any long range DX, and the 5 inch FSL was still sitting in its plastic tote after 4 days. I couldn't even track down Japan!
The breakthrough came on the 5th day, when I discovered that if I stuck the hot-rodded CC Skywave outside of the jail-like security window on the 12th floor of the high rise building I could totally escape the noisy RFI, and finally receive some long range DX around sunrise. My Japanese DXer friends Hiroyuki Okamura and Satoshi Miyauchi had given me a list of powerful Middle East, African and Eastern European big gun MW stations to try for, and as long as my hand didn't get cramps from holding the radio outside the window for too long I was going for them all! The first of these stations to be received was 1413-Vesti FM in Grigoriopol, Moldova, in weak Russian at 2205 UTC on 4-6, followed by a strong signal in Pashto from 1413-BBC in Oman at 1828 UTC on 4-7. During the same early morning session 1548-TWR in Grigoriopol, Moldova was received weakly in presumed Bulgarian at 1903, and finally 1431- Radio Sawa from Djibouti (in East Africa) managed a good signal in Arabic with a "Radio Sawa" ID at 2143. Tracking down all of these long range stations on a 7.5 inch loopstick in downtown Hong Kong was a huge thrill, and none of these stations would have been received without the advice of the Japanese DXers, who deserve special thanks-- along with the language assessment experts on Real DX such as Mauno, Jari S. and C.K. Raman. You guys really rock!
1413 BBC A'Seela, Oman (800 kW) BBC foreign service program in Pashto featuring a male/ female format with strong interval music from 8 seconds to 23 seconds: (thanks to C.K. Raman for the language and station identification) https://dreamcrafts.box.com/s/a3z0gtbvmyd434lrjjck24akzvsx3knl
1413 Vesti FM Grigoriopol. Moldova (500 kW) Russian language at a modest level at 2205 on 4-6 (thanks to Mauno and Dmitry for the language and station identification) https://dreamcrafts.box.com/s/2q53deb3drgar4vr0gmjkul0nywi7zba
1431 Radio Sawa Djibouti (600 kW) Female in fairly strong Arabic at 2143 on 4-7 with "Radio Sawa" ID at 5 seconds (thanks to Chuck and Bill W. for the language and station identification) https://dreamcrafts.box.com/s/tuke49dichs8erpycbb9mivkr9dx45fo
1548 TWR Grigoriopol, Moldova (500 kW) Presumed Bulgarian at a modest level at 1903 on 4-7 after apparent sign on at 1900 UTC (thanks to Jari S. and Mauno for station information) https://dreamcrafts.box.com/s/xsg8essm13gv0zhc8rwhqm5cuxc99hdq
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (DXing in Hong Kong from April 2-9)
7.5" loopstick C.Crane Skywave SSB Ultralight (stuck outside a window on the 12th floor of a downtown high rise apartment building, as in the attached photo)