Daytime DX at Hong Kong's Dream Ocean Cliff Site

Gary DeBock

     Long distance radio communication was extremely important in the 20th century, and Hong Kong's British government needed to choose the optimal site for the territory's Shortwave communication antennas-- both for military and civilian purposes. After an extensive search and detailed analysis they made their final choice-- Cape D'Aguilar, an awesome plunging cliff at the Southeast tip of Hong Kong island.

     By fortunate coincidence, my long term Hong Kong Chinese friend King Mo Sham (VR2GH, who was also the Best Man at our wedding in 1990) works at Hong Kong Telecom, and is very familiar with this entire area. It is semi-restricted because of security-related antennas at the site, but King Mo made sure that I was able to get the ocean cliff setup site offering the best daytime DX reception from both Taiwan and the Philippines. This required a one hour hike in the subtropical heat around midday, but every step was well worth it. Cape D'Aguilar is a plunging ocean side cliff in the same league as Oregon's Rockwork, although it has a somewhat curved shape like Oregon's Cape Perpetua, resulting in enhanced transoceanic DX from both the east (Taiwan) and the south (Philippines). No doubt this would be the ideal Hong Kong site for enhanced transoceanic DX from North America-- if only it had better access, so that antennas didn't need to be carried in with a back pack. Hong Kong's 518 kHz NAVTEX antenna is located on Cape D'Aguilar (see photo), but at a location far enough away so that RFI from that source isn't a serious problem on most MW frequencies.. 

     Anyway, after the one hour hike with VR2GH and his family on April 6th I was able to deploy my 7.5 inch loopstick CC Skywave SSB Ultralight right on the plunging slope of awesome Cape D'Aguilar, with a sweeping view of distant offshore islands in the South China Sea. Only a few days earlier I had thoroughly investigated low band daytime DX on the salt water beach of Macau (60 miles west) with the same modified Ultralight, so I did have a benchmark reference list of Asian stations to work with. But on the very first frequency of 531 kHz (which had no signals in Macau but a mix of BCC Taiwan and an UnID here), it became pretty obvious that the 20th Century British administrators had made the perfect antenna site choice! 549 also had two stations mixing, neither of which had shown up in Macau.

     Highlights were 12 Taiwan stations received from 531 to 810 kHz in bright daylight, with the solid rock cliff blocking enough of local 675-RTHK (6) to allow fair reception of Taiwan's Cheng Sheng BC on the same frequency. The Taiwan Fishery parallels 738-BEL2 and 1143-BEL3 were both at front end-crunching levels at over 390 miles (632 km) despite the bright sunlight. My wife and our friends thoughtfully left me at the site for a full hour as they enjoyed the Cape's other attractions-- more than enough time to track down multiple Taiwan and Philippine stations over hundreds of salt water miles well before sunset!

531  "I Go 531" (BCC) + UnID   Taipei, Taiwan   10 kW   Strong TOH routine at 0800 UTC with female Mandarin mention of "Taipei" at 16 seconds and "I Go" ID at 25 seconds; UnID station underneath (possibly DZBR in the Philippines, which dominated in the evenings)

540  CNR1 + DZWT   Baguio City, Philippines  10 kW   Wild S9 mix at 0754 UTC with a DZWT ID at 9 seconds, pestered by CNR1 in Mandarin Chinese from a presumed Danzhou, Hainan location (received in Macao, without a trace of DZWT)

549  CNR5 + UnID   Putian, China   1200 kW   This mix of two Chinese stations at 0803 UTC almost certainly includes the mega-blaster directed at Taiwan in a female-spoken dialect, but the other male speaker in apparent Mandarin is a mystery (Zhengzhou would seem to be out of daytime DX range)

567  RTHK (3)   Golden Hill, Hong Kong   20 kW  The local pest was featuring sports play-by-play in English at 0804 UTC

585  Southeast BC   Fuzhou, China   200 kW   Another Taiwan-directed propaganda blaster, it was all alone at a fair level at 0805 UTC with female Mandarin (typically spoken in a soft, soothing voice)

594  Fu Hsing BC + UnID   Taipei, Taiwan   10 kW   The S9 female Chinese station at 0807 UTC is obviously Fu Hsing (the Mainland stations are well out of daytime DX range), but the male speaker underneath is likely DZBB in Quezon City

603  DZVV   Vigan, Philippines   5 KW   Ideally positioned at the northern tip of Luzon, this "Bombo Radio" station was pounding in to the cliff at an S9 level all alone at 0809 (thanks to Jari S. for ID assistance)

612  Zhuhai Diantai + UnID   Zhuhai, China   (Power Unknown)   This mainland Mandarin-format station across the border from Macau wasn't nearly as strong through the solid rock cliff in SE Hong Kong at 0810 UTC, which allowed a fair level Philippine station to slide in as a co-channel (DWSP?)

621  RTHK (Mandarin)   Golden Hill, Hong Kong   20 kW   Another HK local with female Mandarin speech at 0812

630  Taiwan BC   Sungling, Taiwan   10 kW   Presumed the one with non-news format (in non-Mandarin dialect) and more southerly location at 0815 UTC; some minor noise (NAVTEX-related?) on the frequency

639  UnID's   This frequency was marginal because of apparent NAVTEX-related noise, but as far as I can tell there are two weak stations in the recording at 0817-- one female Chinese and one male non-Chinese. 639-DZRL was received on this frequency in Macau (without the noise)

648  Guangzhou, China + UnID   50 kW   Strong Mandarin music over a weak UnID (BCC Taiwan?) and NAVTEX noise at 0818 UTC

657  Cheng Sheng BC (2)   Taichung, Taiwan   20 kW   Strong S9 signal all alone with male-female conversation in Taiwanese at 0821

675  RTHK (6) + Cheng Sheng BC   Peng Chau, Hong Kong   10 kW/ Peikang, Taiwan   5 kW   The solid rock ocean cliff blocks enough signal of the local Mandarin pest to allow the 5 kW Taiwan station to sneak in at a fair level underneath with Taiwanese at 0825 -- pretty amazing

693  Han Sheng BC   Tainan, Taiwan   10 kW   All alone with male-voice Chinese opera at a good level over minor NAVTEX noise at 0827

711  V.O. Kuanghua + UnID   Hsinfeng, Taiwan   250 kW   Another wild mix with the Mainland-directed propaganda blaster dominant with Chinese male conversation over an UnID Philippine station playing "We Are the Champions" at 0828 UTC

720  BCC (N)   Taichung, Taiwan   10 kW   Presumed the one (primarily because of strong Taiwan propagation) with female Mandarin conversation over some NAVTEX noise at 0830 UTC

738  BEL2   Penghu, Taiwan  100 kW   Definitely the unforgettable signal of the entire session at 0845 UTC. Chinese female vocal music at an overwhelming level on 738 kHz (for the first 50 seconds) and then the 1143-BEL3 parallel (starting at 51 seconds, after the short pause). S9+ strength over 390 miles in bright daylight!

747  CNR1 + UnID   Shanwei, China   10 kW   S9 level Chinese female speech on CNR1 // 756 was dominant over another female Chinese station (Heyuan, Guangdong?) at 0839 UTC

756  CNR1 + UnID's   Guangzhou, China   50 kW   This was probably the wackiest mix recorded in Hong Kong. At 0841 the CNR1 Mandarin-speaking lady // 747 is mixing with at least two other Chinese stations, neither of which seem to be in parallel (although only CNR1 is listed for China on this frequency). One is almost certainly the 20 kW Shengli zhi Sheng in Taiwan, but the other must be a poorly synchronized Guangdong CNR1 relay

774  UnID-Taiwan + UnID   Another interesting mix at 0843 UTC, made more challenging by some NAVTEX noise accompaniment. One of the stations is almost certainly one of the 20 kW transmitters from Taiwan (my guess is the female conversation, in an apparent Chinese dialect), while the male vocalist may also be from Taiwan, since the Mainland stations would seem to be out of daytime DX range

783  RTHK (5)   Golden Hill, Hong Kong   20 kW   Cantonese-speaking female on this local pest at 0844, with some weak music underneath (apparently part of the program, and not a co-channel)

801  V.O. Kuanghua   Hsinfeng, Taiwan   250 kW   Another Mainland-directed propaganda blaster all alone with some type of radio drama in a Chinese dialect (apparently not Mandarin) at 0845 UTC

810  Kuo Sheng BC   Changhua, Taiwan   10 kW   All alone with female speech in a Chinese dialect (apparently not Mandarin) at 0847 UTC

73 and Good DX,

Gary DeBock (DXing at Cape D'Aguilar ocean cliff on Hong Kong island on April 6, 2019)

All receptions made with a stand-alone 7.5 inch loopstick C.Crane Skywave SSB Ultralight

Chris Rogers

Thank you Gary for the Hong Kong MW band trail and information. Very little dxing is done from these countries so I find it very interesting.

Paul Blundell

Excellent report and information as always Gary. 

Paul - Moderator



Thanks for "taking us" on your trip with you...what a great DX story!


Gary DeBock

Thanks Chris, Paul and Jay,

Your comments are all greatly appreciated.

DXing in Hong Kong can be quite interesting once you get away from the downtown RFI zoo. I think that a lot of travelers write the place off for serious DXing purposes after trying to listen in downtown motel rooms, but there are a lot of isolated islands that have good potential for long range DX, assuming that a DXer can listen around sunrise (before many of the Mainland Chinese pests sign on).

73, Gary