Granite Pier - Rockport, MA, USA (GC= 70.622 W / 42.667 N)
31 July to (UTC) 1 August, 2001
Attendees were Mark Connelly, Bruce Conti, Paul Graveline, Gary Thorburn, and Tom Walsh.
Bruce Conti's comments and log report follow:
Distant bagpipe music delivered by light ocean breezes under a bright waxing full moon provided the perfect setting for the annual Boston Area DXers (BADX) "DX Clams" DXpedition to the Granite Pier in Rockport, Massachusetts.
BADXers Mark Connelly, Gary Thorburn, Tom Walsh and I met earlier for a seafood dinner to set the mood (the total seaside DX experience). Later we met Paul Graveline at the Granite Pier, and under a picturesque sunset we were already getting a taste of what was to come. Consistently low to very low solar activity for most of the summer provided transatlantic reception to match the autumn-like weather defying the norm for the first of August.
My catch of the day was Sudan on 1296 kHz, heard signing on before 0200 UTC with an interval signal. The signal was recorded and later matched with the Radio Omdurman interval signal found at www.intervalsignals.net on the Internet to verify reception (thanks to Gary Thorburn of BADX for the help).
This was my first road-test of a super-sized loop versus wire phased antenna array. A 3-by-3-meters loop of wire was mounted on top of the car, connected via a 1:1 RF transformer and coax. A 6-m tall tower constructed of 1/2-inch PVC pipe was used to support a wire that was run vertical to the top of the tower and then sloped off the top to the ground. The wire was simply connected at the base of the tower via coax. The two antennas were phased by a classic MWDX-5 LC-tank unit. All this was designed to try to maximize signals from the desired direction with minimal loss or noise introduced.
The tower will require some modifications as it took three tries to raise it; the first two times it collapsed under the light tension of the sloping wire. The big loop was listing to one side with the breeze but managed to hold together. Curious on-lookers wondered if we were expecting UFOs or alien encounters. The same antennas were pre-assembled and tested at home in New Hampshire, performing admirably with good reception of France on 1206 and Spain on 585. Reception and phase-nulling capabilities were outstanding at Granite Pier.
This was fun ! Above and beyond the great transatlantic DX, it's always nice just to get together to share experiences and play with new toys.
*** Bruce's TRANSATLANTIC DX report ***
Drake R8B, MWDX-5 phasing unit, 3 X 3-m square loop, inverted-L 12-m sloping wire off a 6-m makeshift PVC tower.
549 | IRELAND (t) | United Christian Broadcasters, Monaghan, AUG 1 0033 - Christian/gospel music on strong fade-ins.
783 | MAURITANIA | R. Mauritanie, Nouakchott, AUG 1 0007 - Good; African drum and vocal parallel 4845.
792 | FRANCE | France Bleu, Limoges, AUG 1 0010 - Good; pop vocal parallel 1206.
945 | FRANCE | France Bleu, Toulouse, AUG 1 0040 - Excellent; pop music parallel 1206.
1035 | PORTUGAL | R. Comercial / Nacional, Porto Alto / Lisboa, AUG 1 0220 - Good; ad/promo string with a man and woman in Portuguese, pop music.
1179 | unID | AUG 1 0109-0116 - Light vocals with brief fade-ins over Canary Islands/Spain, perhaps Sweden.
1188 | HUNGARY (t) | VOA/RFE, Szolnok/Szombathely, AUG 1 0103 - continuous pop/rock music.
1197 | unID | AUG 1 0048 - Good; uninterrupted classical piano instrumentals.
1197 | ENGLAND | Virgin Radio synchros, AUG 1 0010 - Fair; Aerosmith "Walk This Way" into news.
1206 | FRANCE | France Bleu, Bordeaux, AUG 1 0042 - Outstanding signal, local-like reception! Continuous pop vocals.
1215 | SPAIN | COPE synchros, AUG 1 0011 - Fair; talk in Spanish over Virgin Radio.
1224 | SPAIN | COPE synchros, AUG 1 0013 - Fair; talk in Spanish parallel 1215, over unID stations.
1251 | LIBYA | Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting, Tripoli, AUG 1 0018 - Assumed this with North African music, a strong signal but weak audio.
1287 | SPAIN | SER synchros, AUG 1 0216 - Fair; telephone talk in Spanish parallel 1044.
1296 | SUDAN | Sudan National Broadcasting Corp. / R. Omdurman, Reba, AUG 1 0159 - Strong fade-in with interval signal, later with Koranic recitations heard under Spain and an unID station.
1296 | ENGLAND (t) | BBC World Service, Orfordness, AUG 1 0201 - very brief good signal with news in English.
1305 | SPAIN | RNE synchros, AUG 1 0020 - Talk in Spanish through sub-audible het or rumble.
1314 | SPAIN | RNE synchros, AUG 1 0021 - Talk in Spanish parallel 1305, over an unID station perhaps Norway.
1413 | SPAIN | RNE synchros, AUG 1 0150 - Fair; telephone talk in Spanish.
1494 | FRANCE | France Bleu synchros, AUG 1 0140 - Fair; pop music parallel 1206.
Tom Walsh had a few remarks on this year's outing:
"Another DX Clams has been baked !"
A great time was had on Tuesday night (July 31) by a bunch of clam stuffed DXers. Clams at 5:30 p.m. EDT followed by arrival at Rockport 1 hour before sunset. What a glorious evening. The sunset was spectacular and so was the DX.
Europeans were pounding in on medium wave on my borrowed Palstar radio with just a 40 foot wire and no phasing. I couldn't believe the signals from France on 1206 and 945; Croatia on 1134. Nice shortwave signals too like 3366 blasting the meter until 0002 sign-off.
Add an R8, a little phasing, a loop, and a whip - like Mark and Bruce set up - and wow ! The event of the night had to be Bruce's reception of Sudan on 1296 at 0200 UTC. What an interval signal and loud.
Bruce had some very clever antenna structures built from PVC piping that he erected. It caught quite a few people's attention from the casual passers-by who were just enjoying the Rockport pier. But they really played. Bruce was trying out some new antennas and I think he left pretty happy.
Those in attendance were: Mark Connelly, Bruce Conti, Gary Thorburn, Paul Graveline and yours truly. Can't wait for the next DX Clams !
Mark Connelly's comments:
I enjoyed the 2001 Boston Area DXers "DX Clams" outing, the fourth of these annual mini-DXpeditions that defy the notion that long-distance medium-wave reception is not possible during the summer.
All you need to succeed this time of year is a coastal location, talented DXers, good receivers and antennas, and a bit of luck in missing a night with excessive thunderstorm static (or one with 'dud' propagation). Despite the perception of summer as "not the DX season", there was good DX to be had at each of the previous "Clams" get-togethers (Rowley, MA in 1998; Rockport, MA in 1999 & 2000).
The 2001 effort was, perhaps, the best "DX Clams" outing so far in terms of propagation. By sunset at 8 p.m. local (0000 UTC), the AM dial was rocking with European and North African DX.
Interestingly, "spot" openings to certain areas seemed to be the order of the evening: an eastern Mediterranean / Middle East run would put stations such as Egypt-864 and Greece-981 on top of their channels for a while, eastern Europe (Slovakia-1098, etc.) would then crank in, and the Ireland / UK / Netherlands / Germany region would take over, before more typical conditions favoring Spain, Portugal, France, and northwest Africa returned.
There was very little to hear from South America or the Caribbean area. Much of this summer has seen diminished reception from the south.
The weather was mostly clear and fairly humid, but not excessively warm. Evening temperature was about 21 C / 70 F. Flying insect pests weren't as much a problem as on some of the other summer DXpeditions. Static was much less than it was a couple of weeks earlier on a solo mid-July Rockport DX session.
The deployment of Bruce's novel antenna system, as noted by the other reporters, was a highlight of this year's outing. Judging by Bruce's loggings, the big-loop phased against the inverted L "tower" worked quite well in producing cardioid nulls to the west to clear the domestic crud away from the transatlantics.
Tom Walsh borrowed my Palstar R30 and managed to snag several European medium-wave stations with just a short hunk of wire on the rocks. Gary Thorburn and Paul Graveline DX'ed with Gary's varactor-tuned box loop mounted on a tripod next to his car.
I had a good time as always. "DX Clams 2001" inspired me to think about Newfoundland DXpedition #10 coming in November, 2001. That "big daddy of East Coast DXpeditions" will coincide very closely with the 100th anniversary of Marconi's reception of Britain from Signal Hill in St. John's, NF.
*** Mark's TRANSATLANTIC DX report ***
Drake R8A, cardioid antenna array using Superphaser-1 phasing unit, 1.8 X 1.8-m square broadband loop, homebrew active whip
531 | MADEIRA | RDP, Porto Santo, AUG 1 0145 - Portuguese talk; under Spain.
531 | SPAIN | RNE R.5 synchros, AUG 1 0145 - // 585 with Spanish teletalk by woman; over Madeira.
549 | ALGERIA | Chaine 1, Les Trembles, AUG 1 0144 - Arabic talk by man; dominant.
549 | GERMANY | DeutschlandRadio, Nordkirchen & Thurnau, AUG 1 0036 - // 756 with opera; atop presumed UCB Ireland.
549 | IRELAND (t) | United Christian Broadcasters, Monaghan, AUG 1 0023 - almost surely this with English language pop-religious style vocals. It was not parallel to Germany-756 or to the Algerians. I'll be checking for this again on future beach DXpeditions.
567 | IRELAND | RTE R.1, Tullamore, AUG 1 0037 - soft English talk, then vocal; to fair peak through WGAN-560 slop.
576 | GERMANY | Mega R., Wobbelin, AUG 1 0040 - German talk, weird sound effects, house / club music; over Spain.
576 | CANARY ISLANDS // SPAIN | RNE R.5 synchros, AUG 1 0143 - // 585 with teletalk by man & woman in Spanish; rising over Germany.
585 | SPAIN | RNE R.1, Madrid, AUG 1 0020 - // 639 with Spanish talk and laughing; very good.
594 | PORTUGAL | R. Renascenca, Muge, AUG 1 0147 - // 963 with old-fashioned sentimental Portuguese vocal; good, getting through the VOCM/WEZE slop.
603 | FRANCE | France Bleu, Lyon, AUG 1 0026 - // 1206 with spirited musical-theatre style French male vocal; fair.
612 | MOROCCO | RTM, Sebaa-Aioun, AUG 1 0033 - // 819 with pop-style female Arabic vocal; over Ireland.
639 | SPAIN | RNE R.1, La Coruna, AUG 1 0017 - fast Spanish talk; to good peak, getting by strong CBN.
666 | PORTUGAL | RDP Antena 1, Lisboa & Vila Real, AUG 1 0017 - seemed // Azores-836 with Portuguese music; poor.
675 | NETHERLANDS | R. 10, Lopik, AUG 1 0014 - man in Dutch, then slow song "You Left Me Just When I Needed You Most"; good with WRKO phased.
684 | SPAIN | RNE R.1, Sevilla, AUG 1 0013 - woman with Spanish talk and laughing, mentions of entertainers, then there was interspersed music and a radio drama / soap-opera type presentation with several actors. Good signal; WRKO phased.
711 | FRANCE | R. Bleu, Rennes, AUG 1 0026 - // 1206 with French showtunes; poor to fair over growl from Western Sahara-711.05.
747 | NETHERLANDS | Flevoland, AUG 1 0044 - New Age style instrumental; over Spain.
756 | GERMANY | DeutschlandRadio, Braunschweig & Ravensburg, AUG 1 0022 - woman in German, then opera; loud !
765 | SWITZERLAND | RSR, Sottens, AUG 1 0028 - French male folk vocal; good.
774 | SPAIN | RNE R.1 synchros, AUG 1 0047 - // 855 with Spanish teletalk; fair through WABC slop.
783 | MAURITANIA | ORTM, Nouakchott, JUL 31 2335 - // 4845 with Arabic news; good.
792 | FRANCE | R. Bleu, Limoges, AUG 1 0031 - // 1206 with French female disco song; fair to good with WSKO-RI nulled.
819 | EGYPT | General Programme, Batra, AUG 1 0034 - Koranic vocal; under Morocco.
819 | MOROCCO | RTM, Rabat, AUG 1 0034 - // 612 with pop-style Arabic female vocal; fair, over Egypt.
836 | AZORES | RDP, Pico da Barrosa, AUG 1 0009 - excerpt of an apparent political speech by a man in slow deliberate Portuguese, a female news reporter followed; fair through Canaries-837 QRM.
837 | CANARY ISLANDS // SPAIN | COPE synchros, AUG 1 0008 - teletalk // 1296; fair to good over Azores-836 het.
837 | FRANCE | R. Bleu, Nancy, AUG 1 0048 - // 1206 with French male folk-style vocal similar in style to songs by Gordon Lightfoot; very good, over Canaries.
855 | SPAIN | RNE R.1, Murcia et al., AUG 1 0047 - // 774 with Afro-Caribbean style vocal, then Spanish talk by woman, followed by teletalk; good.
864 | EGYPT | Holy Koran R., Santah, AUG 1 0042 - Koranic male vocal; huge, killing France.
864 | FRANCE | France Bleu, Paris, AUG 1 0223 - // 945 with gospel-influenced group vocal; very good.
873 | SPAIN | SER synchros, AUG 1 0049 - two woman in Spanish with talk & teletalk show; good.
882 | UNITED KINGDOM | BBC R. Wales, Washford, AUG 1 0051 - light pop vocal, then English talk; dominant, over COPE Canaries-Spain.
891 | ALGERIA | Chaine 1, Algiers, AUG 1 0151 - // 153 with violins, then Arabic talk by man; in slop.
907.81 | GAMBIA | R. Syd, Banjul, AUG 1 0152 - bits of audio, mostly just a het against BBC-909.
909 | UNITED KINGDOM | BBC, Moorside Edge et al., AUG 1 0150 - news reports from field correspondents; poor to fair.
936 | SPAIN | RNE R.5 synchros, AUG 1 0153 - // 774 with Spanish teletalk; poor.
945 | FRANCE | France Bleu, Toulouse, AUG 1 0102 - // 1206 with old-time French male vocal and ragtime jazz instrumentation; loud.
954 | SPAIN | R. Espana, Madrid, AUG 1 0223 - restricted range audio on Spanish talk, maybe a telephone interview or remote broadcast; fair through CHNS-960 slop.
963 | PORTUGAL | R. Renascenca, Seixal, AUG 1 0147 - old-time Portuguese vocal // 594; poor, in bad CHNS slop.
981 | ALGERIA | Radiodif. Algerienne, Algiers, JUL 31 2357 - Koranic vocal; light audio on powerhouse carrier.
981 | GREECE | ERA, Athens, AUG 1 0109 - Greek bouzouki music with male group vocal; good.
999 | SPAIN | COPE, Madrid, JUL 31 2356 - woman in Spanish; good.
1017 | GERMANY | SWR-1, Wolfsheim, AUG 1 0156 - US soul and dance music; rising up over Spain.
1017 | SPAIN | RNE R.5 synchros, AUG 1 0055 - woman in Spanish; initially dominant.
1026 | SPAIN | SER synchros, AUG 1 0224 - // 1044 with woman in Spanish; to fair peak with WBZ phased.
1035 | PORTUGAL | Radio Nacional, Porto Alto-Lisboa, AUG 1 0220 - man & woman in Portuguese; good with WBZ phased.
1044 | SPAIN | SER synchros, JUL 31 2355 - Spanish teletalk; fair.
1053 | SPAIN | COPE synchros, AUG 1 0101 - Spanish news; now atop UK.
1053 | UNITED KINGDOM | Talk Sport synchros, AUG 1 0059 - advert for computer self-help CDROM; fair - good.
1071 | SPAIN | Euskadi Irratia, Bilbao, JUL 31 2353 - // 1197 with folk vocal; getting by CBA.
1089 | UNITED KINGDOM | Talk Sport synchros, AUG 1 0116 - // 1053; man on the telephone spoke with talkshow host about bring a kid in the 1980's; good.
1098 | SLOVAKIA | R. Slovensko, Velke Zaluzie, AUG 1 0157 - male Slavic ballad vocal; excellent.
1107 | SPAIN | RNE R.5 synchros, AUG 1 0055 - fast Spanish talk by man; local-like.
1116 | SPAIN | SER synchros, JUL 31 2352 - Spanish newstalk by woman; good.
1125 | CROATIA | Hvratski R., Deanovec, AUG 1 0056 - polka vocal // 1134; fair.
1134 | CROATIA | Hrvatski R., Zadar, AUG 1 0001 - Slavic-language news by man; huge, way over Spain. At this Boston Area DXers "Clams" DXpedition outing, I showed Tom Walsh this station hitting S9+25 while adjacent WBBR-1130 NYC was only at S9+20. + AUG 1 0056 - polka vocal; local-like.
1143 | SPAIN | COPE synchros, AUG 1 0117 - echoey Spanish talk by woman; good strength.
1152 | ROMANIA (t) | R. Romania, Cluj, AUG 1 0111 - Balkan style music seemed // 1179; momentarily over Spain.
1179 | CANARY ISLANDS // SPAIN | SER synchros, AUG 1 0118 - // 1044 with SER net news by woman in Spanish; over suspected Romania.
1179 | ROMANIA (t) | Romania Actualitata, Galbeni-Bacau, AUG 1 0111 - moody Balkan style folk vocal seemed to be // 1152. I also checked 855, but all Spain there, and - on 1053 - UK / Spain mix.
1188 | HUNGARY | VOA/RFE Relay, Marcali, AUG 1 0103 - Slavic folk male vocal; good.
1197 | SPAIN | Euskadi Irratia, Vitoria, JUL 31 2353 - folk vocal // 1071; through WKOX slop.
1206 | FRANCE | France Bleu, Bordeaux, JUL 31 2340 - good with Animals oldie "The House of the Rising Sun".
1215 | UNITED KINGDOM | Virgin R. synchros, JUL 31 2350 - "Here With Me" by Dido; good, over Spain. + AUG 1 0213 - Madonna song; loud.
1242 | FRANCE | R. Bleu, Marseille, AUG 1 0124 - bits of French female vocal // 945; shredded by slop from WBUR-1240.
1251 | LIBYA | Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting, Tripoli, AUG 1 0006 - flute music; poor to fair audio, big het on CBGA-1250. Incidentally, WKBR-NH was causing a lower het because it was on 1249.55 instead of 1250.
1296 | SPAIN | COPE, Valencia, AUG 1 0008 - // 837, Spanish talk with woman in studio and a man on the telephone; good, through WJDA slop.
1341 | NORTHERN IRELAND | BBC R. Ulster, Lisnagarvey, AUG 1 0211 - English talk; in slop.
1359 | SPAIN | Arganda, AUG 1 0132 - woman in Spanish leading panel discussion program; big signal, getting around strong CKBC.
1377 | FRANCE | France Bleu, Lille, AUG 1 0123 - // 945 and 1206 with romantic French female vocal & piano; huge, better than St. Pierre - 1375.
1422 | GERMANY | DeutschlandRadio, Heusweiler, AUG 1 0210 - classical music; excellent.
1458 | ALBANIA (t) | Fllake, AUG 1 0228 - Slavic-sounding talk; poor.
1502 | ANGOLA | E.P. de Benguela, AUG 1 0209 - African vocal; poor, hetted by weak unID on 1503.
1512 | CRETE / GREECE | ERA, Chania, AUG 1 0133 - // 981 with Greek music; poor in WWZN slop.
1521 | SPAIN | SER, Castellon, AUG 1 0134 - // 1044 with Spanish teletalk; fair.
1539 | GERMANY | Evangeliums Rundfunk, Mainflingen, AUG 1 0135 - Christian pop music; good, over SER and some not-totally-nullable WPTR slop.
1548 | KUWAIT | VOA Relay, Kuwait City (Kabd), AUG 1 0136 - VOA stock market report; good.
1602 | SPAIN | Euskadi Irratia, Vitoria, AUG 1 0226 - man with Spanish talk; over SER synchros.
Pictures from 31 JUL 2001 (to 1 AUG UTC) Boston Area DXers "DX Clams" get-together
DXpedition cars at Granite Pier
Mark Connelly with Loop / Whip Cardioid Array on car roof
Bruce Conti & Ford Focus DXmobile
Conti's 3 m per side square loop and 6 m tower
Paul Graveline and Gary Thorburn with box loop antenna set-up
Paul Graveline with binoculars and hand-held radio
Tom Walsh (picture from previous Rockport DXpedition)
Conti's loop & vertical mast set-up at sunset