Monday, 26 December 2016

Isle Of Skye DXpedition 2016

 The cottage at Totescore. Small but beautifully put together!

My second Skye DX adventure!
It was the same a year ago, this was not a DXpedition as such, but a relaxing 'get away from it all' family break. Naturally, I took along my Perseus SDR receiver again and half a flag antenna. Yes, only "half"! All will be revealed.) However, unlike last year, conditions were quite good! There was a little West coast North America. A little Canadian Prairies. Also many interesting catches, some of which are seldom heard domestically, and a few which I have not seen reported before at all.

A better cottage
Jane (my wife) and I rented different accommodation to last year, between December 3rd and 10th, in the north of the Isle of Skye. The place, a cosy little thatched roof cottage, was set back from the main road, overlooking the Atlantic ocean and the Outer Hebrides in the crofting community of Totescore, just a couple of miles north of Uig. There was sufficient land around the cottage for the erection of Beverage antennas too and in a number of key directions. There were also two conveniently placed fences on which wires could be supported, giving more than 500 metres towards 300 degrees (another hundred metres or so would have the wire terminated into the sea!) and 300 metres and more towards 30 degrees.

The view from our cottage

Electrically quiet too!It was nice to hear noise free conditions and high strength DX from the Americas. The flag antenna was erected on the front garden, attached to the fence and beamed mainly towards 300 degrees. This path cuts straight through Iceland and Greenland and on to the west coast of the USA.

Unusually, our trip was also accompanied by good, settled weather! The north-west of Scotland is known for its wild weather where one can experience four seasons of weather in a single day! For me, this is part of Scotland's charm. It's a stunningly beautiful country. Everywhere you go seems to be a tourist attraction. But there was hardly a breath of air movement for the first three days of the trip as high pressure was strongly in charge. This produced cool temperatures just above freezing, with frosts on the ground at night. The skies were crystal clear with amazing views of the stars. Come the middle of the week, the weather broke down. It was wet and windy, but still nothing out of the ordinary by Scottish standards. The temperatures rose to 12C in the daytime and throughout the night.

Flag Vs Beverage
I wasn't initially planning to devote much time to running out Beverage wires, even though I had brought plenty of wire with me. This trip was a holiday and 'Radio' was not going to play a part. 'Radio' was going to sit quietly in a corner of the room, recording away to itself. My plan was to record the tops and bottoms of the hours, from early evening through to late morning. My laptop's hard drive was not quite big enough for this, so I had to delete many mid-hour files during the process. In the afternoon, I would move all the files I wanted to keep to my portable hard drive, thus freeing up the laptop drive ready for the next session.

A windswept flag antenna

I also wanted to put the flag antenna to a thorough test. For some time I have had a strong feeling that the flag antenna would perform just about as well as a Beverage antenna. Of course, the flag will not have anything like the gain of a Beverage, but the flag is a low-angle receiver, exactly like the Beverage, maybe with a better front-to-back ratio - critical in removing the unwanted UK and European stations to the rear. I wanted to put these aspects to the test.

The resulting log told me all I needed to know. The flag antenna, while relatively compact and stealthy, brought in plenty of impressive signals, many of which at high strength. Noise levels were super-low, as you would expect from a flag.

The flag I took along was the very same flag I use on my garden at home, but with a few modifications which allowed me to erect it in just a few minutes. I included some telescopic fibre glass poles to support the wire. were. They were perfect for the job and the flag was literally 'thrown up' in five minutes.

Entry into the cottage was simple. No need for an awkward coax-through-side of window entry. The coax fit comfortably under the entrance.

Transatlantic Conditions

Solar terrestrial conditions were very quiet around the 3rd and 4th of December with lots of Ks if 0 and 1, increasing with many Ks of 3 by the 6th and 7th. So conditions weren't necessarily 'ideal', but there was scope for at least 'some' high latitude DX. I wouldn't know exactly what I had received until I had returned home.

Zero Oriental DX
I tried the flag at 40 degrees, looking for East Asia, but nothing was heard AT ALL! Not even CRI on 1521! This really surprised me. Maybe the mountainous areas of the Quiraing were blocking the signals. These impressive "Monument Valley" style peaks rise to 543 metres above sea level and were only 8 km in the same direction. It's probably reasonable to expect that the terrain would have had more than a passing effect on medium wave signals arriving from the north-east.

Part of The Quiraing Mountains

Now here's the embarrassing bit
There is always at least one. I wouldn't be John Faulkner without some minor cock-up. Something just has to go wrong. This time, it was my flag antenna. Belatedly, I discovered that my My beloved flag was not quite the flag I thought it was. Everything seemed to be working correctly at first. There was a significant null on stations arriving at the back of the antenna. Transatlantic signals were good. These to facts alone suggested that the flag was performing exactly as it should ... or so I thought.

The flag brought in many good DX catches between the 3rd and the 7th, but suddenly stopped working during the daytime on the 7th. There was a break somewhere, but the weather at this time, strong wind and rain, didn't offer much encouragement for me to go outside and investigate. Furthermore, pressing matters at home dictated that we needed to leave early again and travel back to Skegness during the wee small hours. I just went outside and took down the flag, packing it away in advance of our journey home.

Looking east towards the Scottish mainland from the Quiraing Mountains

It wasn't for about a week that I discovered what was wrong with the flag antenna. Apart from a break somewhere in the wire, I discovered that there was a dry joint in the transformer box where the wire was soldered to the secondary turn. How long had it been like this? It wasn't until I fixed the problem and saw the difference in signal strength that I realised that this dry joint had been there for some time. Months in fact! The difference in gain was a lot more than substantial. So I had, more or less, been using only half a flag antenna on the trip. The only saving grace was the fact that there were still good nulling capabilities with the two vertical components of the antenna. The pattern would surely have been degraded to a degree, but it still produced a decent DX log.

FM DXing?
I took along my Degen DE1103, using only it's telescopic antenna. This was used only in the cottage. The local Skriaig transmitter was strongly received, but no local stations were received at all. This is quite different to last year's location, in the north of Skye, where I could receive local stations:

 96.6 MFR, Aviemore/Cairngorm Summit
102.7 Cuillin FM, Skriaig
103.0 Isles FM, Eitshal 2 (Isle of Lewis)
106.2 Cuillin FM, Portree (Isle of Skye)
106.6 Two Lochs Radio, Cliff Hill. 

While driving around the locality, I could receive RTE 2FM on 90.4 from Truskmore. I didn't check for other outlets from Truskmore.

The Skriaig transmitter, near Portree

So to the log. The following are the pick of the bunch. Regular stations are omitted.

 560 0100 06-12-16 USA WGAN Portland ME. ID - WGAN Portland and two other calls given.
News Weak 4571 km
 580 0100 06-12-16 CAN CFRA Ottawa ON. CFRA call letters heard, weak in 585 splatter
                            4772 km

 610 0701 06-12-16 USA WIOD Miami FL. OD - Newsradio 6-10 WIOD  6650 km
 630 0800 05-12-16 PTR WUNO Noti Uno, San Juan PR. Noti Uno ID. weak but alone  6509 km
 640 0900 06-12-16 CAN CFMJ Richmond Hill ON. Online and on 6-40 AM. This is Talk Radio.
CFMJ Toronto  5141 km
 650 0658 06-12-16 USA WSM  Nashville TN. On the highways of America. It's the All
on 6-50 AM WSM. News and information you need from
                            the heart of 
America's music city. Sung WSM jingle ID.
                            ABC News. 
Weak  6155 km
 670 0100 07-12-16 VEN YVLL Radio Rumbos, Caracas (dcf) OM shouted "Radio Rumbos" ID
Cuba  7301 km
 670 0900 04-12-16 USA WSCR Chicago IL. Presumed with Chicago sports talk  5732 km
 680 0400 04-12-16 CAN CJOB Winnipeg MB. ID - Winipeg's News and Information Leader ...
Six Eighty CJOB Weak  5594 km
 740 0400 04-12-16 CAN CBX  Edmonton AB. CBC News  6040 km
 750 0801 05-12-16 USA WSB  Atlanta GA. WSB ID in news (Exact time of ID 08:01:48)
6192 km
 760 2201 07-12-16 USA WCHP Champlain NY. Daytimer! Muffled audio. Religious music,
OM presenter with ID, as confirmed by Matthias Gatzke.
                            Thank you.
Weak  4658 km
 770 0300 04-12-16 CLM HJJX RCN, Bogotá. OM ID Fair  8268 km
 790 0700 06-12-16 USA WPRV Providence RI. ID - Imus in the morning ... on ...
Providence, a Cumulus Station.  Weak  4775 km
 800 0900 04-12-16 CAN CKLW Windsor ON. This is AM 800 CKLW. The Information Station
5435 km
 830 0900 04-12-16 USA WCCO Minneapolis MN. WCCO call letters just audible behind CBS
jingle on WRCN  5756 km
 840 0700 05-12-16 USA WHAS Louisville KY. ID - ....'s breaking news, weather and traffic
station. Newsradio 8-40 WHAS Louisville. An i-Heart
Station. ABC News Weak  5885 km
 850 0400 07-12-16 USA WFTL West Palm Beach FL. WFTL call letters heard under WEEI  6623 km
 870 0700 05-12-16 USA WWL  New Orleans LA. ID - ... news, Talk and sport, this is the
8-70 WWL New Orleans. CBS News Weak  6885 km
 890 0900 06-12-16 USA WLS  Chicago IL. ID for WLS and WLS FM  5750 km
 920 0500 04-12-16 USA WHJJ Providence RI. ID - Newsradio 9-20 WHJJ Providence. Fox News
Radio  4778 km
 920 0500 07-12-16 CAN CKNX Wingham ON. This is mid-western Ontario's most trusted source 
                            for news ... CKNX. News from the Canadian Press. Weak  5199 km
 920 0701 06-12-16 CAN CFRY Portage La Prairie MB. OM ID - This is CFRY, 9-20 AM, Portage 
                            La Prairie. A Golden West Radio Station. Sung jingle. YL 
                            temperatures report of -5C. Weak  5628 km
 930 0156 04-12-16 CLM HJCS La Voz de Bogota, Bogotá. Football commentary with slogans. ID'd 
                            with the kind help of Andrew Brade, Kai Mauseth and Henrik 
                            Klemetz at Real DX. Weak  8264 km
 930 0500 07-12-16 USA WDLX Washington NC. ID - This is Pirate Radio 12-50 WGHB Farmville-
                            Greenville, Pirate Radio 9-30 WDLX Washington Greenville Newburn. 
                            Thanks to Paul B Walker and Andrew Brade for help with this one. 
                            Possible first logging in the UK.  Weak  5626 km
 930 0900 05-12-16 USA WBEN Buffalo NY. ID after ads - Newsradio 9-30 WBEN Weak  5129 km
 940 0300 05-12-16 MEX XEQ  Ke Buena, México City. El Vergel (dif) Ke Buena ID  8361 km
 940 0758 05-12-16 CAN CFNV Montréal QC. ID - CFNV Neuf Quarante AM. New station testing 
                            Fair  4641 km
 950 0255 04-12-16 USA KJR  Seattle WA. KJR-AM and KJR-FM IDs Fair  6944 km
 950 0600 05-12-16 USA WTLN Orlando FL. ... 9-50 WTLN ID heard on CKNB fade  6489 km
 950 0700 06-12-16 USA WWJ  Detroit MI. WWJ call heard mixing with CKNB. Weak  5451 km
 960 0200 04-12-16 CUB Radio Reloj, Guantánamo. Time pips and ID  6868 km
 970 0300 06-12-16 MEX XERFR Radio Fórmula 1, México City. ID - Formula ... Noticias Weak  
                            8357 km
 980 0900 04-12-16 USA WCUB Two Rivers WI. ID ... on the legends of country music. Country 
                            Classics on 9-80 WCUB Two Rivers Manitowac. Fox News Radio  
                            5538 km
 990 0500 04-12-16 CAN CBW  Winnipeg MB. Clearly a separate programme to CBY, then 
                            simulcasting with the news. Slight echo present. Two carriers. 
                            Looks like CBY 990.001 and CBW 989.991. Weak  5595 km
 990 0500 04-12-16 CAN CBY  Corner Brook NL. CBC News jingle, YL This is CBC News ID. 
                            Mixing second North American station, presumably CBW as slight 
                            echo on news.  Weak  3466 km
1000 0300 04-12-16 USA KOMO Seattle WA. This is Komo News One Thousand ID Fair  6940 km
1000 0757 05-12-16 MEX XEOY Radio Mil AM, México City. ID - Lo mejor de Mexico esta es Mil 
                            AM Fair  8357 km
1020 0300 05-12-16 CUB CMLE Radio Reloj, Victoria de las Tunas. Dominant over KDKA wth vocal ID 
                            and time signal Weak  6901 km
1040 0300 06-12-16 MEX XECH Radio Capital, Toluca. Radio Capital IDs. Thanks to Matthias 
                            Gatzke for help. It's listed with 5/0.75 kW, so I have to assume 
                            they were using the full day power.  Weak  8397 km Potential 
                            first logging in the UK **
1040 0900 04-12-16 USA WHO  Des Moines IA. Newsradio Ten Forty WHO Des Moines. Fox News Radio 
                            Weak  6047 km
1060 0801 05-12-16 MEX XEEP Radio Educación, México City. OM Radio Educación ID Fair  8354 km
1070 0500 07-12-16 MEX XESP Radio Noticias, San Pedro Tlaquepaque. XESP ID. Thank you Andrew, 
                            Chuck and Alessandro at RealDX for listening. Andrew Brade 
                            provided a translation. ''XESP más cerca de tí, donde quiera que 
                            estés, 25,000 watts. ''etc. Recording on my YT channel.  Weak  
                            8482 km. Potential first logging in the UK **
1090 0330 04-12-16 USA WBAL Baltimore MD. ID - The Lars Larson Show. WBAL Newsradio Ten 
                            Ninety, committed to bringing you the most in Baltimore ,,, etc. 
                            Weak  5290 km
1130 0800 06-12-16 USA WDFN Detroit MI. Mention of Detroit. Area code 213 and Fox News Radio 
                            under WBBR. Presumed WDFN Possible call given but splashed out 
                            by WBBR.  5442 km
1140 0500 07-12-16 MEX XEMR Radio Esperanza, San Nicolás de los Garza. Detailed ID in the 
                            hour including call sign, city and name. Possible first logging 
                            in the UK.  Fair  7835 km
1140 0901 04-12-16 CAN CHRB High River AB. ID ... Southern Alberta's Community Radio 
                            Station, AM 11-40 Weak  6265 km
1150 0500 04-12-16 CAN CKOC Hamilton ON. CKOC ID. Fox Sports Radio. Weak  5173 km
1150 0900 04-12-16 USA WHBY Kimberly WI. ID - Where real local radio comes alive. WHBY 
                            Kimberly, Appleton, Fox Cities. A Woodward Radio Group station.  
                            Good  5559 km
1160 0201 04-12-16 CLM HJOC Fuego AM, Bogotá. Esta es Fuego AM IDs Weak  8254 km
1170 0400 04-12-16 USA WWVA Wheeling WV. This is Newsradio Eleven Seventy WWVA Wheeling 
                            Weak  5470 km
1170 0500 04-12-16 CLM HJNW Caracol, Cartagena. ID, long CARACOL jingle then ID again.  
                            Fair  7793 km
1190 0400 06-12-16 USA WOWO Fort Wayne IN. OM ID - Indianapolis ..... right here, on 
                            Newstalk 11-90 Wowo and now 107 5 FM Weak  5655 km
1200 0600 07-12-16 USA WOAI San Antonio TX .i-Heart Radio promo. This is Newsradio 12 
                            Hundred, WOAI. San Antonio's ... for breaking news, traffic and 
                            weather ... etc.  Fair  7374 km
1210 0200 04-12-16 CAN VOAR Saint John's NL. Sherry G Gospel music show.  Fair  3257 km
1230 2100 07-12-16 CAN CFFB Iqaluit NU. CBC News jingle, just audible in splatter.  3312 km
1250 0500 07-12-16 CLM HJCA Capital Radio, Mosquera. OM ID - Capital Radio after lively 
                            Latin pops Weak  8265 km
1250 0922 06-12-16 CAN CHSM Steinbach MB. Presumed. Opera, possibly as 950 (same 
                            programming but with large delay) . YL ID - You're listening to 
                            ... classic ... AM 12-50 Radio. V weak at ID but fair on peak 
                            Fair  5595 km
1280 0900 04-12-16 USA WNAM Neenah-Menasha WI. You're listening to AM 12-80 WNAM Neenah-
                            Menasha. A Cumulus Station Weak  5581 km
1280 2100 06-12-16 CAN CFMB Montréal QC. Italian programming. Jingle mentioning Montreal. 
                            Fair  4637 km
1280 2158 07-12-16 USA WPKZ Fitchburg MA. Daytimer! Nice of WPKZ to repeat their ID 
                            sequence twice. ID - Your home for New England .... football 
                            at K-Zone 105.3 and AM 12-80 WPKZ, brought to you by ....  
                            Weak  4744 km
1290 0800 04-12-16 CAN CFRW Winnipeg MB. ID - CFRW AM WInnipeg ... Bell Media ... TSN 
                            12-90. All Sports All The Time Fair  5586 km
1290 0800 05-12-16 USA WNBF Binghamton NY. ID - Newsradio 12-90 WNBF, Binghamton. 
                            Difficult copy in pile-up Weak  5027 km
1300 0400 04-12-16 USA WOOD Grand Rapids MI. This is Newsradio Wood Thirteen Hundred and 
                            106 9 FM Weak  5529 km
1300 0504 04-12-16 USA WXRL WXRL Lancaster NY. YL ID drop-in - Classic Country WXRL Weak  
                            5118 km
1300 0801 07-12-16 USA WJMO Cleveland OH. This is WJMO Cleveland. W??? HD2. .... Your home 
                            for the Get Up morning show with GET Erica Campbell ... Praise 
                            94 5. Weak  5420 km
1310 0600 05-12-16 USA WLOB Portland ME. ID - and 100.5. Greater Portland's 
                            new ... Fox News Radio Weak  4572 km
1310 0900 04-12-16 USA WCCW Traverse City MI. ID - WCCW AM Traverse City. We are ... 
                            sports!  5377 km
1320 2100 06-12-16 USA WDER Derry NH. Daytimer! WDER Derry ID, but only Derry easily 
                            readable. Mentioning Life Changing Radio, then SRN News.  
                            4691 km
1320 2200 06-12-16 USA WILS Lansing MI. ID - WILS Lansing. V weak. Thanks to Ole Forr at 
                            RealDX for the help.  5483 km
1330 0100 06-12-16 USA WFNN Erie PA. AM 13-30 The Fan ID and mention of Fox.  Weak  
                            5269 km
1330 0100 06-12-16 USA WWRV New York City NY. Radio Vision Cristiana ID Weak  5005 km
1350 0500 06-12-16 USA WOYK York PA. ... on Sportsradio 13-50 WOYK Weak  5247 km
1360 2358 07-12-16 USA WMOB Mobile AL. OM ID - WMOB Mobile, WTOF Bay Minette. Fair  6686 km
1370 0100 05-12-16 USA WDEA Ellsworth ME. WDEA Ellsworth heard in 1368 splash Weak  4404 km
1380 0400 04-12-16 USA KRCM Shenandoah TX. Vida AM IDs Weak  7195 km
1380 0400 05-12-16 CAN CKPC Brantford ON. ID - We're .....'s radio station, 13-80 CKPC  
                            5202 km
1380 0700 05-12-16 USA WPHM Port Huron MI. Reference to Coast To Coast, then ID - 13-80 
                            WPHM Port Huron. ABC News.  5341 km
1380 0900 04-12-16 USA KOTA Rapid City SD. ID - This is your source for news .... Newsradio 
                            13-80 KOTA Rapid City. CBS News V weak  6363 km
1380 2100 06-12-16 USA WSYB Rutland VT. Three WSYB IDs in very weak pile-up  4735 km
1390 0100 06-12-16 USA WLCM Holt MI. ID - Lansing's only all time ..... WLCM Holt Lansing. 
                            SRN News Weak  5500 km
1420 0100 05-12-16 USA WHK  Cleveland OH. WHK Cleveland ID heard in pile-up Weak  5414 km
1420 0100 06-12-16 USA WOC  Davenport IA. OM ID - ''Ten second ID break on the Hawkeye Radio 
                            Network. You're listening to Iowa Best .... 14-20 WOC Davenport 
                            Tri-States. Available on the i-Heart Radio App.'' Weak  5897 km
1440 0100 07-12-16 USA WMKM Inkster MI Booming! WMKM Inkster Detroit ID. Praise the lord! 
                            Fair  5439 km
1440 0800 06-12-16 USA WVEI Worcester MA. 14-40 WVEI ID Weak  4768 km
1450 0200 04-12-16 VEN YVKJ Radio Maria, Catia La Mar. Religious music and ID  7292 km
1450 0400 06-12-16 USA WPGG Atlantic City NJ. South Jersey's ??? Station WPGG Atlantic 
                            City Weak  5153 km
1460 0300 04-12-16 USA WOPG Albany NY. WOPG AM and FM 89.9 ID. EWTN ID.  Fair  4857 km
1460 0900 06-12-16 CAN CJOY Guelph ON. Muffled CJOY Guelph ID in splatter  5164 km
1470 0400 07-12-16 USA WMBD 1470 Peoria IL. OM ID - AM 14-70 WMBD  5926 km
1470 0700 07-12-16 USA KYYW Abilene TX. OM ID - Newstalk 14-70 KYYW. ABC News. Weak  7196 km 
                            Possible first logging in the UK. **
1470 2100 06-12-16 USA WNYY Ithaca NY. ID - You're listening to Ithaca's Progressive Talk. 
                            14-70 AM, 97 7 FM, WNYY Ithaca. Weak  5032 km
1470 2200 07-12-16 USA WWNN Pompano Beach FL .Caught just prior to dropping power. OM ID - 
                            14-70 WWNN Pompano Beach .... 95.3 W237BD ... Health and Wealth 
                            Network.  6625 km
1480 0701 05-12-16 USA WGVU Kentwood MI. V weak in Mexico fade. Mentioning WGVU and other 
                            calls. Mentioning Downtown Grand Rapids and ID - Real Oldies 
                            14-80 and 8-50.  5520 km
1480 0902 04-12-16 USA WLMV Madison WI. ID - La Musica con mas sentimiento ... via ... 
                            escucha en La Movida, Catorce Ochenta AM Weak  5716 km
1480 2102 06-12-16 USA WZRC New York NY. WZRC New York ID Fair  5010 km
1480 2200 07-12-16 USA WSAR Fall River MA. ... and information you need, live and late-
                            breaking. This is Bristol Counties News Authority. 14-80 WSAR 
                            Fall River, New Bedford.  Weak  4774 km
1490 0300 07-12-16 USA WMBM Miami Beach FL. Several IDs over the top of the hour. Gospel 
                            14-90 WMBM.  6656 km
1490 2300 06-12-16 USA WBSS Pleasantville NJ. South Jersey's legendary Kool 98 3 and hear 
                            the best songs on the radio Weak  5155 km
1500 0100 06-12-16 USA WLQV Detroit MI. OM ID - On 92.7 and AM 1500 Faith Talk Detroit. 
                            WLQV .... Salem Media Weak  5432 km
1590 0600 05-12-16 USA WAUB Auburn NY. ID - ... starts now. On 98.1 and 1590 WAUB Auburn. 
                            Finger Lakes News Radio. CBS News Weak  4998 km
1590 0730 05-12-16 USA WAKR Akron OH. Ads and WAKR Akron ID Fair  5432 km
1590 2200 07-12-16 USA WGBW Denmark WI. OM ID - This is WGBW, Denmark, Green Bay. True 
                            Oldies 15-00. ABC News.  Weak  5523 km
1600 0700 05-12-16 USA WAAM Ann Arbor MI. Difficult copy. WAAM call letters heard.  5463 km
1660 0600 06-12-16 USA KQWB West Fargo ND. KQWB West Fargo, Fargo, Moorhead ... Powered by 
                            .... your local .... dealer ... Cumulus station ... Fox Sports 
                            Trending ... Now! Weak  5779 km

John Faulkner.

Location: Princes Point/Totescore, Nr Uig, Isle of Skye (IO67TO)

Receiver: Perseus SDR, MESTOR recording software.
Antenna: Flag Antenna (Not fully functioning due to dry joint in transformer box - not known at the time.)

Stations logged only once, even if they were heard more frequently. Only the earliest logging of those stations appears above.

West coast (1000 KOMO) and Manitoba (680 CJOB & 1290 CFRW) were audible every night.

There was an impressive opening to Colombia on the 4th just after midnight. The Bogota area featured strongly.

Mexico was apparent each night, but had a stronger presence on the 6th and 7th. The earliest Mexican appeared at midnight - Radio Educacion on 1060.

Fade ins occurred at 1800: 930 CJYQ; 1140 CBI and 1400 CBI had very weak audio at this time. These and other regular Canadians had fair audio by 1900 or just after. The regular east coast USA stations appeared with clear audio by 2000. At 2100, the band was awash with many North American signals, many of which were stronger than the Europeans on the band.

Fade outs were typically quite early, around 0900. Only the most regular east coast North Americans were still audible weakly at 1000.

Despite regular reception of 1380 KCRM, I checked for KMIC 1590, but didn't note anything on the hours. Bollywood music was heard briefly around 0700 on the 7th, so that was probably KMIC No IDs were heard, hence it is not included in the log.

At 0700 and 0800 on the 6th and 7th, a CBS News jingle was heard on 1070. Maybe KNX Los Angeles. Thanks Barry Davies for the tip. Apparently, this was reported in Scandinavia at the time. The signal was never strong enough to hear vocals though.

Pick of the crop is undoubtedly 1470 KYYW Abilene TX, a rarely received station even by Scandinavian standards. A video of this and other stations received on the trip appear on my YouTube channel at:

Our nearest neighbours. Plenty of room for Beverage antennas in the right directions
Having now gone though most of the files, I can state that this now feels like it has been a 'proper' DXpedition. All those high signal strengths, no apparent noise on the band, etc., made this a memorable trip, in spite of my under-performing half-a-flag antenna. There are a few half-hour files I haven't checked, but should I find any more interesting catches, I will add them to the log and make a footnote below.

This cottage really is the perfect place to conduct a transatlantic MW DXpedition and I hope I may be able to visit myself again in the future. I *will* make a point of running out a Beverage antenna or two if there is a next time.

Good DX!

John Faulkner.

 More room for Beverage antennas!

Crystal and Monty, enjoying their freedom at Staffin Bay

Crystal and Monty, enjoying their freedom at Staffin Bay

Monty, taking in the scenery. Luss Beach, Loch Lomond

Crystal, tired after a good walk

View east to the mainland from The Quirang

A seal pops up in the waters of Staffin Bay


  1. What a great read John,l really miss DXing, I bet it was a real treat to hear those stations without the usual QRM

    Damien Read

    1. Hello Damien.

      Thanks. A typical long ramble from me :O) but I like to include all the facts which made it such a special trip. It's the kind of experience you just cannot get from home, unless you live on a farm where you can run out huge aerials.

      Our tiny garden back at home with its varying amounts of electrical noise just doesn't compare.

      I sometimes wonder if I could move to such a remote location, just to enjoy the DX, but I think the solitude would drive me mad after a while. It's a beautiful place, but there's nothing there in the part we stayed. You'd have to be the kind of person who loves a reclusive kind of lifestyle. The nearest 'anything' is at least several miles away.


  2. Hello John
    Looks like another "Sheigra" hi! Sadly old age has caught up with me and wouldn't have the get up and to go to go!. I loved your through away comment "West coast (1000 KOMO) and Manitoba (680 CJOB & 1290 CFRW) were audible every night." As you might guess I a green with envy.

  3. Hello Barry.

    I think it could be another Sheigra. Two people have already asked me how they go about booking this cottage. It's quite small though. One bedroom = sleeps two people. The owners have a second cottage which looked slightly larger to me, but without seeing it, etc.

    There are of course plenty of other similar rentals around there. I wouldn't recommend the cottage we booked last year as the land around it was very boggy.

    We have already booked for next December. Next time, I will put up a Beverage or two.

    Cheers Barry.

  4. Reference your observation "Zero Oriental DX." Looking at the Scandinavian and my own logbook it seems that most Far East logs are made September/Early October. The grey line at this time is straight up. I am guessing this reduces the impact of the more annoying mid-East stations. Only a guess but I have a diary note to check it out next Autumn.

  5. Thank you for this Barry.

    I always wondered why the Far East was better in September and October.

    I have been haring a few of the higher powered Orientals this week, but they are well down on their usual strength. Thailand 1575 is just audible, only noticeable thanks to the Yankee Doodle theme penetrating through the other stations on there.

    I was surprised that even CRI 1521 was inaudible though.

    I don't study these greylines and charts and I know I should. I am one of those who just listens whenever I can, irrespective of conditions, etc.

    I hope there is a secondary peak for Asia around March, but I don't recall one this year.

    Thanks again.

  6. Great article, John. As if I were right there...


    Jon Pearl - W4ABC

  7. Hi Jon.

    Thanks for this. DXpeditions can be mind-blowing. :O) Of course, I have to make sure I don't do too much radio as this was a break and not strictly radio. My wife, although a radio ham herself, has less of an interest (obsession!) than I do. Hence me only checking the files after our return home.

    The link you posted is their other cottage. They have two, one at either end of the track. For the record, our cottage was the other one, which had no immediate neighbours.