Tiwai April 2010

Paul Aronsen, Arthur de Maine and Steven Greenyer made a Tiwai visit again this year. Arthur arrived late having been held up for an hour by the bomb scare on the outskirts of Dunedin. Saturday saw a somewhat unusual warm northerly wind, which was obviously associated with the approaching front that caused flooding in Western Southland. We escaped most of this with only a day and a half of intermittent rain and drizzle.

While the weather was fine a squid pole antenna was erected. Sunday saw a second ewe erected for the USA and the South American one repositioned more to the north so tests could be conducted using two ewes fed to an MFJ antenna phaser.

Paul and Steven also tried fishing with no luck due to both forgetting to bring bait, Paul leaving his in the Super Market. As Sunday was ANZAC day, hams in Australia are able to use an “AX” call sign, so we used the squid pole antenna to talk on Paul’s ham set to Ray Crawford on 40 metres with the call AX4DXA.

While Sunday and Monday were a bit wet we borrowed one of the duck shooters
trailers and gathered up a new supply of fire wood. On Monday three of the Smelter Volunteer firemen arrived for a look around and we were able to talk to them about the large fire that occurred last year. While the scattered manuka patches are destroyed the whole burnt area is green with bracken and the burnt over flax and tussock now has new growth up to a metre high. Several power poles on the bore line road are still down awaiting a decision as to whether the power will be put under ground.

Bryan Clark txted some MW frequencies he was hearing at his home, surprisingly none of these were any good at Tiwai. Best Latin by far was Peru on 1570 kHz, best and most consistent signals were from Peruvians. Several Argentineans were heard but nowhere as good as last year. Colombians once so dominant a few years ago are fewer and weaker. With the exception of WOAI 1200 kHz yanks were totally absent. On SW Africans were around in the mornings.

The phaser test with the two ewes was disappointing as there were no North Americans to oppose the S. Americans it was not ideal conditions to conduct tests. The squid pole referred to is a telescopic fishing rod that pulls out to 9 metres, mine currently has a coil and wire that spirals around it for the 40 m ham band, given that it is designed for 40 metres it performed well on 7 MHz and some other SW frequencies but no good on bc. It has potential as a portable antenna, not as directional as a EWE but should make a good SW antenna.

The beverage antennas still have it over the EWE’s for sensitivity and direction. One of the problems in the south with EWE’s is that there are no stations behind the EWE’s that can be nulled out so this very good characteristic is wasted. Thanks to Paul for arranging the food and supplies.