Okain’s Bay 2012



Nor West Cottage

26-31 March 2012

Following the final DXpedition to Tiwai last year I was keen to find an alternative location. I had always wanted to try out Banks Peninsula and found a house to rent on the hill between Okains Bay and Stoney Bay, about half an hour from Christchurch and Akaroa.

The house has 4 bedrooms and a magnificent 180 degree view of the sea from an
altitude of about 180 metres ~ the most picturesque view I have ever had while DXing. More importantly it has ample space to run out long wires in all directions. There is a single power line coming from the South which is clear of any antenna to North or South America. See. http;//wwwholidayhousesco.nz/properties/8386.asp

Paul Aronsen, Steven Greenyer and Arthur De Maine arrived around lunch time on Monday and set up the antennas, Steven had a 200m terminated wire on bamboo poles to South America, a EWE aimed at North America and a 9 metre squid pole vertical with a Palstar R30-A, Paul a squid pole and 60 metre longwire to North America, with a Palstar R30, Arthur, 200 metre long wire to Nonh America with lcom R70. The latter two aerials started on the ground but were lifted up the next day.

Monday night medium-wave signals did not come in until 0615 and apart from a few North Americans there was a brief opening to Argentina until about 0730 when things faded. Unfortunately there was severe power noise in the 1650-1690 kHz range.

Tuesday was more promising with signals in by 0520 – a mix of North and South Americans but nothing outstanding.

Wednesday signals came in at 0545 and almost all North Americans with Hawaiians really good. Later in the evening the bottom end of the band opened and many of the old USA calls where heard, signals lasted past 1000 UTC.

Thursday opened around 0545 with the X-band (1610-1700kHz) very active through until about 0900 and the noise now gone. A few South Americans on the higher MW frequencies came through early on while all the frequencies from 700 to 800kHz had strong South American signals. The squid pole proved a good aerial this night with less noise than the EWE.

After a couple of ham contacts in the afternoon on Paul’s rig in the 10 metre amateur band (USA and Russial) we had high hopes for the evening. Unfortunately it was not to be, the X-band opened about 0530 and had consistently strong signals, some Mexicans popped up along with the Hawaiians but the South or North Americans were almost non-existent not helped by NZ stations that were splashing a lot.

Our last night Saturday was similar and the mystery power noise reappeared for a short while only on some aerials and worse for Arthur who was running on mains power.

Overall the site was very satisfactory. Surprisingly there were very few South Americans reflective of the past couple of years at Tiwai and Hawaiians were dominant but still a worthwhile week and one we hope to repeat next year.