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Grayland TP's and DU's, 6-29 and 6-30
With eternal optimism despite the recent poor DU conditions, a two-day DXpedition to Grayland, Washington was scheduled over the weekend, primarily to test out the latest hot-rodded Ultralight radio, a modified Eton E100. This supercharged model, containing the latest twisted tinkering ideas of John Bryant, Guy Atkins and myself, has the new combination of extreme sensitivity AND selectivity, something very new in hot-rodded Ultralights. It was indeed fortunate that the pocket-sized modified radio was well prepared, because the DX conditions were generally awful.
The SSB receiver used to "spot" Ultralight radio targets was a modified ICF-2010 (with a 19.5" loopstick). When in Grayland, this radio can usually pull in some DU audio, even on John's "golfing mornings."
The Sunday (6-29) morning conditions were modest at best, although there was an unusual summertime opening to Japan around 1125, which took me completely by surprise. A booming JOIK-567 was heard on the modified 2010, the modified E100, and even on a stock Sony SRF-T615 midget radio. The Japanese powerhouses on 747, 774, 828, 1134 and 1287 were then all heard on both the 2010 and E100, at equivalent signal strength and quality. This was a real breakthrough in hot-rodded Ultralights-- a modified pocket radio that could match the "supercharged" 2010 in both sensitivity and selectivity.
Sunday morning's DU's were limited to weak DU English on 738 at 1215 (presumed 2NR) and to equally weak 4QR-612 audio at 1220. There were many DU carriers that never reached audio, but that's been typical for the recent trips to Grayland. When you are only using stand-alone portables with hot-rodded loopsticks, you need to be thankful for what you get.
Monday (6-30) morning was pretty much a repeat of Sunday's lackluster conditions, minus the rare summertime opening to Japan. 567-2YA rolled in with weak music around 1215, and provided a stiff test for the modified E100's new narrow filter (up against a loud KVI-570 that could not be nulled). The newly hot-rodded Ultralight again matched the 2010 in selectivity, receiving New Zealand with very little KVI slop. This was despite the E100's lack of SSB capability-- quite a surprise. Weak 738 DU English was then again received at 1221, and finally, a very weak talk program on 891 at 1227, which actually had audio first on the modified E100, a few seconds before the monster 2010 could produce it. This was the final surprise of a very interesting weekend.
Thanks to John and Guy for their suggestions on creating this new DXpedition Ultralight, the details of which will be fully promulgated to the Ultralight enthusuast group (and others) in a series of upcoming articles. I feel very fortunate to be associated with such creative, innovative tinkerers. This weekend's results proved that modified pocket radios can provide DX excitement and success in very tough conditions-- and maybe even keep a few confirmed DXers off the golf courses.
73, Gary DeBock
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