Most DXers are aware that Hong Kong is extremely overcrowded, with the highest population density on the planet. When the British administration turned the territory over to China in 1997 its residents became somewhat unwilling participants in a deal beyond their control, and expressed their dissatisfaction with Beijing's rule in notorious "Umbrella" demonstrations in 2014. Beijing's response to Hong Kong's dissatisfaction has been to use the "Tibet and Sinkiang" solution-- flood the enclave with Mainland Chinese supportive of Beijing's one-party rule. This has made a bad housing situation much worse.
For a DXer looking to set up gain antennas on salt water beaches, Hong Kong is about as bad as it gets. Almost every beach is either privately owned and/ or restricted, and the ones that aren't are typically overcrowded, with almost no privacy and dubious security. Although I had brought along a 5 inch "Frequent Flyer" FSL antenna and 4 foot PVC base, because of the difficulties mentioned above these were only deployed on 1 night out of 7-- to a public park on the Hong Kong waterfront.
It was an interesting experience, in more ways than one. Groups of Chinese onlookers stared me down at their leisure, with several of them curious enough to sit and watch. Park joggers ran right next to my makeshift DXing setup, causing me to grab the "Frequent Flyer" FSL before it took a terminal flight. Concentrating on security made concentration on DXing pretty tough, but during the 90 minute session (starting an hour after local sunset) I was able to record Southeast Asian stations from 531-729 kHz, using the gain boost from the 5" FSL antenna during sunset skip from Vietnam to Bangladesh.
Overall the waterfront experience was a memorable one, but it retrospect, I would have to conclude that Hong Kong is the perfect DXing environment for a 7.5" loopstick-enhanced Ultralight, which for me tracked down decent signals all the way from Japan (729-JOCK) to Africa (1431-Djibouti), including 1413-Oman, !413-Moldova and 1548-Moldova. An FSL gain boost works wonders when almost all your DX is long range, but in Hong Kong a lot of the interesting DX is short range, and a hot-rodded Ultralight is definitely the most convenient tool for the job-- especially when you don't want to be the "center of attraction" on a public beach.
With a 7.5" loopstick CC Skywave SSB Ultralight I could do almost everything I wanted to do in Hong Kong-- stick it away in a backpack to make daytime DX trips to Macau and HK's awesome Cape D'Aguilar, investigate sunset skip across Southeast Asia in the evening, and stick it outside the jail-like security window on the 15th floor of our high-rise apartment to track down long range signals from Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East around sunrise. The overall DXing results from the trip were much better than expected, given the severely overcrowded venue, the overload of Chinese signals on almost every MW frequency and the impracticality of deploying gain antennas on salt water beaches.
In retrospect, Hong Kong is far from the ideal DXing venue, but it is a great place to investigate the exotic Southeast Asian stations, eat some awesome food and enjoy a fascinating culture. For a DXer with a sensitive AM-DXing portable (or a hot-rodded Ultralight) willing to get up around sunrise enhancement, it will give you all the long range DXing excitement you can handle!
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (DXing in Hong Kong from April 2-9)