October 2020 Rockwork 2 TP-DXpedition Video
About 85 years ago the decision was made to blast an ocean coast route on the side of a towering mountain right on the Oregon coast, in order to allow Highway 101 motorists to stay close to the ocean during their travels. Serious dynamite was used to blast through solid rock 500 feet (150m) above the salt water, with an additional group of turnoffs engineered so that motorists could stop and enjoy the awesome ocean scenery during their travels.
For the past 9 years Mount Neahkahnie on the Oregon coast has offered west coast DXers the chance to chase superb DU-DX in the summer from these turnoffs, breaking New Zealand and South Pacific NDB DXpedition records, as well as becoming an ideal testing ground for compact broadband and FSL antennas. The Rockwork turnoffs have always been identified with DU-DXing in summer weather, since the ocean cliff environment was thought to be too risky for DXing in other seasons, and since all the cliffs seemed to be facing toward the South Pacific. Or are they?
As it turns out Mount Neahkahnie does have a western face, and one of the largest Rockwork turnoffs is located right at the point where the cliff's southwestern face becomes a western face (see photo). When you view the salt water beach below this turnoff, however, you will see that it has an ideally shaped cove facing due west toward the Asian direction-- exactly how how the most popular DU-DXing turnoff (Rockwork 4) has an ideally shaped cove facing in the South Pacific direction. But serious Asian DXing had never been attempted at the Asia-oriented Rockwork 2 turnoff. Was this another transoceanic signal-boosting venue waiting to be discovered, offering TP-DXers the chance to enjoy cliff-boosted Asian signals far stronger than what would seem likely with their small antennas?
To answer this question I decided to visit this Asia-oriented Rockwork 2 turnoff with a tiny antenna indeed-- a 6 inch (15cm) diameter FSL that can be held in one hand. As for the receiver, a modified pocket radio (7.5 inch loopstick C.Crane Skywave) would be used in a live DXing format, and a Sony ICD-SX57 digital recorder would keep a record of any interesting catches. As for the "Asia Cliff" investigative mission, I knew that simple reception of only Japanese, Korean and Chinese signals wouldn't impress anybody, since all these can easily be received at most TP-DXers' home locations. "Big gun" reception of stations like 738-Taiwan and 1575-Thailand also wouldn't convince anyone that the cliff was boosting Asian signals, even with a 6 inch antenna. In my opinion, what would be some pretty convincing evidence would be the reception of any MW station from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar or India. The concept of a 6 inch antenna tracking any of these down would seem to border on science fiction, and had never been seriously attempted or completed on the west coast of the continental U.S. So why not give the Asia-oriented Rockwork 2 cliff this "acid test," and see if it could pull off such a shocker?
Well, the Rockwork 2 cliff did indeed pull off such a shocker last week, tracking down not only a couple of stations from the "exotic" category, but many other astonishing Asian receptions as well. A DXpedition video showing the ridiculously small gear is posted at the following link, offering convincing evidence that such humble equipment had no hope of tracking down such exotic DX without a freakish cliff boost . The "Asian Cliff" has been discovered-- and offers some serious excitement in the future! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tlrX_52shc&feature=youtu.be
Gary DeBock (DXing at the Rockwork 2 ocean cliff near Manzanita, Oregon from October 12-17)