Mike Smith – Profile

I got started in DXing as a teenager in the late sixties, being introduced to the hobby by my uncle Bill Woller. I mainly used the family 7 valve Philips, but between getting home from school and the time Bill knocked off work, I had access to his Eddystone 680X and various longwires. He lived two houses up the road from us, and I’d often walk straight past home heading for Bill’s sunporch where he had the Eddystone set up with a Philips reel to reel tape recorder. He had a 400 foot wire to the south-east for South America and a 1000 foot beverage to the North East. At Mum and Dad’s place I had a 600 foot/200 foot counterpoise north/south and a 300 foot East wire. We had the real estate covered. And that’s not even considering the Robin Chambers aerial farm 3 miles down the road. Bill, Robin, my father Ian Smith and I were all members of the old NZDXRA. My membership number was RA3190. I’ve focussed on the challenges of MW DX over the years. I purchased my first real DX receiver when I started work as a Radio and TV Serviceman apprentice. An Eddystone EC10 Mk1. A pretty average machine compared to the 680X up the road, but it did the job. That was followed by a Panasonic RF3100 which I modified slightly by winding an extra coil on the internal ferrite rod to inductively couple an external antenna. Some experimentation found the right compromise in coupling to avoid overloading the front end too much. I count my best QSLs over the years as Radio Santander, Spain,1570 with 2kW heard in the early morning, St Pierre et Miquelon 1375, R. Seychelles 1368, R. MonaLisa, Jakarta 1605 250W and ZBM1 Bermuda 1235 1kW. If I remember correctly I joined the NZRDXL in the 80s, but then along came marriage, children, work and family life. Apart from a DXpedition to Te Araroa in 1983, DXing took a back seat for a number of years until I rejoined several years ago. Being limited to an urban section, albeit in Opunake, the ewe aerial is practical and preferred, and I seem to be in a good spot for reception of the deep south american region. The SSE ewe looks down the South Taranaki bight directly through Cook Strait and beyond.The only downside is that it also looks directly at the Titahi Bay transmitter site! But it has produced some great loggings over the last few years – Paraguay 920, Brasil on 1420, 1060, 1200, 1400 and numerous Argentinians. It’s been good to make the location available to other members via one of the League SDRs. As I write this my health is in a precarious state – I have another challenge ahead and my listening days may be numbered – but let’s not count. I consider myself very lucky to have been active during the latter heydays of the hobby, and to belong to a fine group of enthusiastic, like-minded souls. The current fleet of receivers includes the RF-3100, 2 Eddystone 680X’s, Tecsun PL-660 and PL-365. I also have a small collection of vintage radios, ITT Tiny, Murphy Transistor 8, Thorn M4 etc. The world has got very small these days, with the advent of the internet, and Alexa and Suri, who will whistle up any radio station in the world for you on demand. But I still enjoy the magic of being transported to some exotic place purely by hearing those signals from far away places pulled out of the air by a piece of wire, after having travelled thousands of kilometres as tiny waves of electromagnetic radiation. No satellites, no cables, no fibre. Just Radio.