Tiwai February 2008

By Frank Glen

The Dxpedition consisted of Paul Aronsen Chief Curator and Keeper of the Tiwai listening Base and two senior members of the League Peter Grenfell of Oamaru and Frank Glen from Christchurch. The expedition arrived late Sunday evening 9 th March. The Merv Branks Memorial Aerial had collapsed during the year and Paul had put effort into its restoration for use during this time. Frank Glen listened on the Branks aerial for the entire three days. The Beverage aerials and general maintenance of the property is a compliment to Paul’s energy and dedication and it seemed to Peter and Frank the base was in tip top condition. Paul had cut the grass with special attention to the tracks and pathways that enabled Peter with his crutches to move more freely around the entire area, including making it to the beach. The former lawn mower engine that has for three decades or more been the charger for the batteries, now of a vintage well passed their used by date, were eventually sparked into life and the motor rejuvenated and batteries charged. They may need replacement soon. The previous week John Bastable from Kingaroy in Queensland had been out with Paul to experience Tiwai and will take back to his group in Queensland lasting impressions.

Each morning according to Royal New Zealand Naval tradition and under the expert eye of Peter Grenfell the New Zealand Ensign was raised with due ceremony and lowed with the same dignity at the end of the day. The raising of the flag is a tradition that Frank and Peter introduced some years ago during their visits to Tiwai. During the time south a visit was made to Eric McIntosh the Treasurer of the Southland Branch and despite his continued ill health his enthusiasm for the hobby remains keen and wholehearted. The weather was no different, howling winds, hot penetrating sun, horizontal rain, and cold conditions demanding all sorts of warm clothing. Shorts has been taken by members of the Dxpedition but were not essential. The commissariat department was more than adequate and despite Frank Glen having lost two stone in weight he was able to produce at least one meal a day for those present to which he was a participant. No one starved.

Listening was not restricted to the morning or evening, but the discovery was made that even in mid day there was DX to be heard was a challenge to all present. Over the three days the following stations were heard and some logged.

3935 0350 (UTC) Levin Reading Station (FG)
3345 0808 Pigdeon English Papua New Guinea (FG)
4733/2 2233. Radio Tirana Albania English New and asking for Reports. (FG, PG)
4635 1920 Turkistan (PG) In Russian. (PJ)
4820 2045 All India Radio with popular older recordings. Hindi announcers, male and
female. (FG)
4975 1895 Voice of Russia in English (PA)
7150 2100 Radio China International on Test. Bells sounds (FG)
7180 0630 Radio Romania. Signing off after English transmission (FG)
7505 0817 Unidentified Religious Station. Interesting lecture of Church History (FG)
7560 2233 WEWN Catholic Broadcast. Talk back show on AM, FM and short-wave. (FG,
9355. 2210 (UTC) Radio Taiwan International (FG .PJ.)
9755 2049 Radio Canada in French (FG)

Peter Grenfell discovered there was plenty to explore on 19 and 31 metres where third world nations and some developing countries are into shortwave broadcasts in a big way. Although Switzerland, Sweden, Germany and others are not around any longer to the same degree, he discovered interesting radio signals that can be copied during the mid day period. Among them are many religious shortwave broadcasters too numerous to note here. Peter also heard an American pirate on 6 megs that did not hang around to long.

Broadcast Band
850 0725 KOA Station Indent (PA)
1460 0710 (UTC) KOIN. On wall to wall coast program but heard local indent (PJ)
1610 0735 Caribbean Beacon (PA)
1620 0730 WDHP Windwood Islands (PA) BBC programme
1640 0720 KVDA Gospel Station (FG, PG, PA)
1660 0748 KTIQ (FG, PG, PA)
1660 0750 WWRU US Ethnic station in Korean (FG)
1670 0630 “Radio Catholica” In Spanish (PJ, PA)
1690 0700 Unidentified religious station. Over the top of everything on this frequency
1700 0638 KVNS All three coming and going at the same time. (FG, PJ, PA)

The next DXpedition is in April when visitors from all over will descend upon the place. No doubt we will learn of their experience shortly.