Category Archives: Condx

More african surprises on Cape Skagen!

Just completed the first “real” mini-pedition to Cape Skagen this season. I went out at lunchtime on friday to get all my gear up and running and was listening friday afternoon to saturday morning and saturday afternoon to sunday morning. I didn’t have any great expectations for this weekend, due to last week’s radio blackout’s and proton storms, and just as expected, there was no signals at all on mediumwave from North America this weekend. Furthermore, the MW-band was quite noisy at times and on saturday evening a quite big Aurora Borealis event was experienced. Although the Northern Light is a beautyful sight, it’s the last thing a MW-DX:er aiming for North America and other over-the-pole-signals wants. I any case, this time I used my Eton E1XM as main receiver and the Afedri to do “over-the-full-hour” recordings of the entire MW-band at times when stations normally ID. I didn’t have battery power enough in my laptop to let it run constantly, so this was somewhat a compromise. Next time, I will have another power-arrangement for the SDR. I used three BOG:s in 310, 340 and 50 degrees, all fed through balun-transformers.

There wasn’t much heard from the Far East. JOHR, Sapporo on 1287 KHz was heard for a while in an un-even battle with the IRIB Regional station in Lar. Listening at sunset produced a shipload of chinese stations on friday afternoon and a just as huge load of All India Radio regionals on saturday afternoon. In fact, there was AIR-stations heard on almost every MW-channel. Picture at left shows the MW-spectrum at 1736 UTC, just after local sunset. I have checked my IQ-recordings from the Afedri briefly, and I know that I have local ID:s on several of the AIR-stations. I will continue examining the IQ-files this week, and a complete log will be published here later on. Listening at sunrise generally didn’t produce anything at all. I maybe have a peruvian station on 1530 KHz, received at sunrise saturday morning, but I need to analyse my recording before I can say anything more about this one. Sunrise sunday morning produced a handful of brazilian stations on lower frequencies, all them quite common and since signals was very unstable, I decied to reel the antennas in and go back home for a well deserved(?) sleep.

However, friday evening and night to saturday bringed me some pretty big surprises, and just as three weeks ago, when I visited Skagen the last time, it was signals from Africa which made me jump over my shoulders. At 19:39 UTC I found a station on 1485,04 KHz playing the kind of music that often is to be heard from stations in Tchad, Niger and Sudan. I’m not sure if there is any common name, defining this type of african music, so I’m just calling it “Sahel music”. I guess most of you know what I mean. In any case, this station was playing nonstop Sahel music and consulting WRTH gives Sudan i.e. SRTC Regional Al-Gadarif, which is listed on 1485 Khz with the modest power of 5 KW. Now, this is a tentative logging, but the kind of music makes me quite sure of what station I was dealing with.

Well, if this wasn’t enough, an hour later I jumped over a station on 1026 KHz, playing beautyful african music. It turned out to be no less than Rádio Mocambique, Emisora Provincial de Manica, in Chimoio. A good ID, “Rádio Mocambique – Manica” was received on the full hour. That was the second RM Emisora Provincial that I have received on Cape Skagen in three weeks.

“All good things are three” we use to say here in Scandinavia, and my african triplet was completed around midnight when Radio Free Africa in Mwanza, Tanzania was received on 1377 KHz. The french co-channel was quite weak this evening, making the door to Africa wide open. I was pretty lucky as well, since the Mwanza station ID’d seconds after I had turned on my recorder.

I also did some listening on shortwave. Propagation was pretty good into the pacific area. VL8A in Alice Springs on 4835 KHz was a booming signal already on saturday afternoon, together with RRI Palangkaraya on 3325 KHz. VL8K and VL8T was also nice signals on the 120 meter band later on saturday evening. On 3915 KHz, I found Radio Fly, Papua New Guinea, which was somewhat a surprise for me. I managed to record an ID and some other announcements at 16:00 UTC. The rest of the time the programme only contained nonstop contemporary pop-music and ballads. I any case, this was a catch that made me very happy! During the night between saturday and sunday, I also found CKZN on 6160,90 KHz and CFRX on 6069,97 KHz. Both canadiens with good signals.

Audio files: I have uploaded the audio clips of the three african stations. Be my guest and listen, but please, don’t use them to send fake reception reports. Thanks!

  • SRTC Regional Al-Gadarif 1485 KHz, is found here.
  • Rádio Mocambique, Emisora Provincial de Manica 1026 KHz, is found here.
  • Radio Free Africa, Mwanza, Tanzania 1377 KHz, is found here.

The complete log of the SKAG3 “mini-pedition” will be uploaded later on.



Mozambique a big surprise on Cape Skagen

Well, as expected, the propagation over the north pole was useless the last night, and no signals from North America was heard what so ever. Not even carriers. However, as could be expected regarding the current conditions, signals from middle east was dominating the mediumwave band. African stations, with the exception of Sudan on 1296 KHz, VOA Sao Tomé on 1530, Radio Sawa / Djibouti on 1431 KHz and the bunch of common egyptian stations, are generally very rare up here in the extreme north, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard a portuguese speaking station on 1223,98 KHz at 21:47 UTC, having quite a battle with co-channels Galei Zahal and Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran. After consulting WRTH and other lists, I came to the conclusion that it probably was Emisora Provincial de Cabo Delgado in Pemba, Mozambique that I had the honor of listening to, as there are no other portuguese speaking stations listed on this frequency.

The reward came at 22:00 with an annoncement for the news transmission “Último Jornal” followed by a perfect ID: “Rádio Mocambique – Cabo Delgado”. The audio clip with the ID is found here. Listen to it, and if you download it – please don’t use it to send your own fake reception reports. Thanks!

The station was heard with quite good signals at times, carriyng a late night show with african popular music for about yet an hour, before it faded out completely at 2301 UTC.



It’s getting better… slowly…

Well, after the last two weeks of extreme solar activity and space weather, conditions on mediumwave and the lower shortwave bands is slowly getting better. Still nothing from North America on MW yet, but it takes time for the band to recover. Tropical bands and lower shortwave is also improving. I’ve been listening for some periods since last friday, and I will get back to you when I got the logs sorted out be the end of the week. I’m currently quite busy at work and I’m leaving Vardø for about a month on thursday.



…and ouch again…


Two storms…

HDLA's on fiberglass pole.I have been inactive the last week, and not been listening at all, due to very windy weather conditions just after the last weekend. The storm made spaghetti of my BOG’s at work and my HDLA’s at home, so I decided to usemost of my spare time last week to repair the HDLA’s and re-locate them to my listening post at work. I have winded up the BOG’s and put them in the trunk of the car, so they are now ready for some portable action. Anyway, I assembled my HDLA’s two days ago and they seem to work fine.

Unfortunately, the sun hasn’t been very coorporative this weekend. Conditions is currently useless and there is no transpolar propagation at all on the MW band. This morning proton levels went up and down, and up again. The MW-band was totally dead, except for the semi-local russian stations.

Listening post; ICF-2010, MFJ-1026, preamplifier, MP3-recorder, etc...Was listening on shortwave for a while, but there was absolutely nothing of interest. Well, maybe it was Radio Educación in Mexico playing canciones on 6184,9 KHz, but it was very weak and unstable. Besides that, nothing. And auroral flutter on almost every signal that was heard.

Bias-Tee's for HDLA's. Powering the loop amplifiers via the coax'es.So, today I will relax and do some audio file analyzes. It will take a few days for the MW-band to recover, and hopefully better conditions will be present later this week and next weekend.

NB: I have updated the antenna page on this site. There you will find a more detailed description of my HDLA-system.



A couple of new ones in the log…

I had ambitious plans to get up early today, but as usual I managed to oversleep. Anyway, I got up at 0815 UTC and there was plenty of time left to dig after DX, before the European signals got annoying and the noise level started to rise. Alaska was not so dominating as yesterday and the day before, but still I managed to get a couple of new calls in the log. Nothing really fancy, though, but new ones are always new ones. CFAC Calgary AB-960, CHAK Inuvik NT-860, CKJH Melfort SK-750, CHQR Calgary AB-770, KSRM Soldotna AK-920, KYES Rockville MN-1180, CJWW Saskatoon SK-600 and CFWH Whitehorse YT-570 were all new additions to my “Vardø-log”.

Now time for relax!


Yet another Alaska-day!

Conditions today was very much similar to yesterday’s. Basicly the same bunch of AK-stations as yesterday plus a few new ones in the log: KZPA-900 in parallell with KSKO-870, KBYR-700 and KRSA-580 with religious music and programming. Later in the afternoon, CKUA Edmonton AB took over 580 KHz with a classic music show. The evening showed a little better than average conditions into the Far East. Japanese stations, such as JOLF-1242, JOER-1350 and JOIF-1413 was heard. On 1350 KHz, DZXQ was heard briefly with talks in Pilipino, and on 1287 KHz I had a so far unid Thai station. On 711 KHz, Voice of Kuanghua was booming for a while. There was also some interesting asian stations on 1179 KHz, but I haven’t yet analyzed the recording.

Now it’s time for bed. It may be rewarding to get up early tomorrow!



The “Crazy Alaska Day”

Today I have experienced a very interesting opening on the lower part of the MW band towards Alaska. No less than ten different AK stations is logged sofar today, and I’m not sure if it’s over yet. Very interesting, and very fun indeed. The log so far:

  • KHAR Anchorage-590
  • KIAM Nenana-630
  • KENI Anchorage-650
  • KBRW Barrow-680
  • KOTZ Kotzebue-720
  • KFQD Anchorage-750
  • KNOM Nome-780
  • KCBF Fairbanks-820
  • KICY Nome-850
  • KFBX Fairbanks-970

And the listening goes on…



What to do when condx are gone…

Was listening for about an hour between 15:00 and 16:00 UTC today, and KBRW-680 was superb from time to time. It definetely looked promising, but within 30 minutes or so, the band went very noisy. A brief look at the realtime propagation monitor showed that the band is moving towards unsettled to active conditions. The proton density is also moving up, so it’s not strange that the band is noisy. This far north the band always get’s noisy during high proton activity and transpolar DX is more or less impossible. So what to do then? Well, I have plenty of audioclips from November that’s not analyzed yet, so I guess that I will have a lot of time consuming work to do this weekend if conditions doesn’t improve.

If conditions looks promising next weekend, I’m planning to try a new indoor QTH in a more remote location. I’ll keep you posted!