Rockwork Cliff DXpedition-- Ultralight + FSL Loggings

Gary DeBock

     The 11th annual Rockwork Cliff DXpedition was one for the record books with 6 DXers side by side at the plunging cliff, setting up multiple broadband loops and FSL antennas 500 feet (150m) above the pounding surf. For a four day trip everyone seemed pleased with their results, with Tom, Chuck, Bruce and Jeroen chasing DU's with SDR's and Craig and I using live DXing portables. 

     We were honored to welcome Bruce and Jeroen for the first time, and congratulations to Tom for once again breaking his own South Pacific NDB-DXing record for a west coast DXpedition (with 79 beacons from Australia, NZ and the Pacific islands). The Ultralight + FSL results weren't bad for a four day trip, with the 1 kW 936-Chinese Voice managing its best-ever signal, and four DU's showing up on 531 kHz alone. Tom and I had the cliff to ourselves on the 5th and 6th, with both days providing phenomenal Longwave propagation for Tom's South Pacific NDB-DXing.  The 5th also featured superb Australian MW propagation, which should allow Tom to add slightly to the Seattle group's Australian totals (531-4KZ was logged with Ultralights). All loggings below were made with 7.5 inch (19cm) loopstick CC Skywave and XHDATA D-808 portables and 8 inch (20cm) diameter FSL antennas. DU signals received at S9 levels are indicated with a double asterisk (**). 


531   2PM   Kempsey, Australia   5 kW   Good strength with Covid case report for Newcastle, Port Macquarie and the local area at 1247 on 8-5; usually dominant over 4KZ, but typically under the Kiwi station PI


531   4KZ   Innisfail, Australia   5 kW   The usual TOH news announcer at very good strength all alone at 1303 on 8-6 with mention of "Queensland" at 6 seconds


531   More FM   Alexandra, NZ   2 kW   Despite reports of a shift to FM the low power Kiwi modern rock station was still very much alive at 1244 on 8-6, with an ID at 59 seconds


**531   PI   Auckland, NZ   5 kW   The S9 laughing ladies in an island language completely dominate over the SRN music on 2PM at 1303 on 8-4


**558   Radio Fiji One   Suva, Fiji   10 kW   Island music regular hit an S9 level at 1257 on 8-5 with a native language ID at 7 seconds, "Radio Fiji One, na domoiviti."

Rapid native language ID (at 13 seconds) and island music (with S9 peaks) at 1310 on 8-5

More island music at a powerful level at 1304 on 8-5


558   UnID-Australia   Interview-style female DU English under Fiji from 6 to 26 seconds at 1310 on 8-5; both Tom and I agree that this sounds like 6WA (a semi-regular at the cliff), but Fiji was just too strong to dig out enough content to match the ABC archives


567   RNZ   Wellington, NZ   50 kW   An underperformer for the power level, this station rarely matched the signal level of its 675 parallel. Typically plastered by Seattle splatter.


576   2RN   Sydney, Australia   50 kW   Another distinct underperformer for its power level, it provided weak parallel checks for 585-7RN, but never matched the Tasmanian's signal level. Occasionally mixed with a presumed 576-Star.


585   2WEB   Bourke, Australia   10 kW   This was a breakout DXpedition for "Outback Radio," with the 8-5 session the best in recent memory. At 1306 on 8-5 a man was giving the weather forecast, with a female "Outback Radio, 2WEB" ID at 14 seconds

"Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson rocking along at 1325 on 8-5

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" somewhat dominant over 7RN and the domestic splatter at 1240 on 8-5


**585   7RN   Hobart, Australia   10 kW   Once again an overachiever for the power level, this Tasmanian station routinely outperformed its 576 parallel, such as at 1309 on 8-4


**594   3WV   Horsham, Australia   50 kW   One of the few Oz big guns that played the part, it was pounding in over the Star synchros at 1246 on 8-5

Star usually pestered the Oz big gun on the “Kiwi Cliff,” though, with an ID at 17 seconds despite a strong signal from Horsham at 1240 on 8-4


594   Star   Timaru/ Wanganui, NZ   5/ 2 kW   Commercial ads at good strength all alone at 1324 on 8-3


603   Radio Waatea   Auckland, NZ   5 kW   Maori island music and male speech // 765 at very good strength at 1302 on 8-3


639   2HC   Coff’s Harbour, Australia   5 kW   SRN call-in talk // 531 at good level at 1309 on 8-5 over UnID music (probably 5CK)


639   5CK   Port Pirie, Australia   10 kW   Female interview matching ABC South Australia podcast material over 2HC at 1305 on 8-6


**657   Star   Wellington/ Tauranga, NZ   50/ 10 kW   This Christian music broadcaster was one of the strongest Kiwi stations, such as at 1231 on 8-3 with a promo at 18 seconds, “Playing the Christian music you love to hear”

More Christian music at an S9 level at 1240 on 8-3

The two transmitters have had a synch issue for over a year, and occasionally combined for a bizarre echo effect, such as at 1252 on 8-5 (with a reverb-enhanced ID at 19 seconds)


**675   RNZ   Christchurch, NZ   10 kW   Male interview // 567 at a powerful level at 1252 on 8-3; overall the strongest RNZ station during the trip


702   2BL   Sydney, Australia   50 kW   Especially strong during favorable Oz conditions on 8-5 but generally in a fair mix with Magic from NZ


702   Magic   Auckland, NZ   10 kW   Somewhat of an underperformer for its power level, during live DXing this station never peaked for a decent recording


756   RNZ   Auckland, NZ   10 kW   Generally decent signals despite its proximity to 50 kW semi-local 750-KXTG, such as with male speech // 675 at 1317 on 8-4


**765   Radio Kahungunu   Hawkes Bay, NZ   2.5 kW   This Maori broadcaster is a notorious overachiever for its power level, but even I was surprised when its rap music at 1252 on 8-6 was practically melting down my Ultralight’s front end


774   3LO   Melbourne, Australia   50 kW   Another Oz big gun with powerful signals on 8-5 but lackluster on all other days. Occasionally had a trace of oldies from NZ’s Gold underneath


**792   4RN   Brisbane, Australia   25 kW   Overwhelming on the Oz-slanted 8-5 session (such as with male speech at 1249) but fairly lackluster on the other days. NZ’s Gold was typically lost in the 790 domestic splatter


846   Kiribati (presumed)   This frequency had a monster open carrier throughout several sessions, but audio was never heard


936   4PB   Brisbane, Australia   10 kW   Assumed the one with male and female speech in a “talker” format with content not matching the ABC LR network archives (7ZR) at 1254 on 8-3


**936   Chinese Radio   Auckland, NZ   1 kW   The biggest star of the Ultralight DXpedition, with S9+ signals during the 8-3 session (which were the strongest ever received from the low powered station). On 1248 on 8-3 its Chinese music and female speech were overwhelming, practically blanking out 4PB

Longer recording of the 1 kW station’s phenomenal peak on 8-3, starting at 1245 (lasting for over 5 minutes)


963   Star   Christchurch, NZ   10 kW   Male speech and Christian programming // 657 at 1303 on 8-3


**1017   A3Z   Nuku’alofa, Tonga   10 kW   One of the strongest DU stations, this island music blaster usually hit S9+ every session. It was at typical strength with English news at 1240 on 8-3

The island choral music at 1318 on 8-4 was also at a thunderous level


1503   Gold   Wellington/ Christchurch, NZ   5/ 2.5 kW   Oldies music was received on most mornings at a fair level, but somewhat of an underperformer in comparison to previous DXpeditions  

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