Down Under Success!
John H. Bryant <bjohnorcas@...>
Once again, ultralighting came to the rescue! Despite deploying the Wellbrook Array, the mediocre Trans-Pacific DX conditions reported widely elsewhere would have garnered me a very mediocre and depressing morning. Using my Winradio 313E, and starting two hours before dawn, I noted over 40 channels with various levels of hets, prior to dawn enhancement. Most were below 1116. I even had threshold audio on a dozen of the usual suspects: 702, 738, 756, 774 (JJ at about 1130), 891, 1017, 1028, 1098, 1116, 1134, 1287 (prob.JJ) 1512 and 1611.
As dawn enhancement began at 1145, I noted more threshold audio on 648, again on 738 (DU). On 774, NHK was coming in well enough that I tried all three Ultralights that I had hooked to the array. (National SRF-39, DT-200VX mod., E100) The E100 was the best, overall, and I happily listened to a few phrases of Japanese during, I think, a language lesson. That was my first-ever TP with an ultralight receiver. Felt real good! Soon after that, the JJ faded away and pre and post dawn were both exclusively DU. They were all at threshold or just above, with 8 or ten rising to language recognition level. Each of those was DU, about 1/3 NZ and the rest Aussie. None were at a level to be receivable on the Ultralights, even hooked to the array.
Then I stumbled upon 891, right at dawn (1215) and it was at (just) listenable levels. I tried the E100, expecting 891 to be swamped by whatever was on 890... or by splatter from that dastardly Canadian on 900. Not so, Tonto! There sat the DU, coming in almost as well on the E100 as on the 313E. I then tried the DT-200VX and the National SRF-39 and got the DU on each, with somewhat reduced S/N. Happily, 890 is pretty much an open frequency after Mr. Sun knocks out the 890 Chicago station about an hour before our dawn... and the array was looking due SW, away from the Victoria station on 900... My ship had come in!
It took me a while to figure out what was going on, but happily, conditions stayed stable for over 15 minutes. There were actually two stations on 891 and I was hearing each quite well. They were 5AN, ABC Adelaide and 4TAB Townsville. Each would dominate for two or three minutes with very little interference from the other. Then, almost like flipping a switch, they would reverse. 4TAB was running their usual horse racing programming, with race calls and betting payouts. I heard mention more than once of TAB. When 5AN was in, it was running the some talk/public affairs and some popular music. I heard mention of "Morning Melody," possibly the program name. The music to my ears, though, was hearing them go to ABC News at 1230, with an ID as "ABC ADELAIDE!" After that, I had a brief celebration, dancing around the campfire, shouting various Chickasaw war hoops and generally acting stupid. It felt REAL good!
At 1230, dawn had happened 15 minutes earlier and I knew that things would likely close down within 20 more minutes or so. It was time to try for the Hawaiians, now that dawn had diminished their continental co-channels. I heard three potential Hawaiians before things faded out at 1245. 760 (prob. KGU) had relig. talk by a female preacher (this matches their format); 1110 (maybe KAOI?) had trucker talk and 670 (maybe KPUA) was running a news program called "Wall Street Journal This Morning." It may be very difficult to determine whether any of these were Hawaiians, since they are all syndicated programs and the propagation only seems to work from about 1220 to 1245. I'm here for three more mornings, so..... maybe a local commercial or PSA at the half hour???
I did get one opportunity to compare the 12" x 1" ferrite booster bar to directly connecting the Ultralight radio to the Wellbrook array. I couldn't hear any audio at all on 891 with the ferrite, while I had 100% intelligibility with direct connection to the array. During the DX session here at the beach, there was no sign of overload of the Ultralights that were connected to the array.
Well, now I can complete that article on adding a MW antenna input port to portable radios :>)
Reporting live from the Local Tavern and wi-fi hotspot in Grayland, Washington,
WinRadio 313E, Ultralights
Wellbrook Array to SW and NW
Grayland, WA, USA