MINI DX-PEDITION TO
"HIGH LEAD" IN THE YARRA RANGES
By Bob Padula, Melbourne, Australia
Originally posted to the EDXP DX-LOG, June 15, 2002
Tis the season for the never-ending quest for exotic mid-winter signals during our midday period on the lower freq SW bands!
My Melbourne colleague Rob Wagner is furiously ascending snow-covered mountains around the nearer hills here, and has been getting some good stuff in the period up to mid-morning, as you have read! But I think that I will have to teach Rob the finer arts of midday DXing....
Today is June 15, and here in Melbourne it was the shortest day of the year, with only 9 hrs and 42 minutes of daylight. Sunrise this morning was 7.34 am (2135 UTC) and sunset was 5.07 pm (0707 UTC)
So, the Sangean ATS 808A, 10 metres of antenna wire, and I headed off for an hour's drive from here in Surrey Hills, to our favourite hunting ground at High Lead, which is about 10 km south of Powelltown, in the timber-cutting area of the Yarra Ranges, about 26 km from the world-famous Ada Tree. On the road to Noojee and Warragul, in Gippsland, High Lead is only a name on the map, being the starting point for various bushwalking tracks into the Starling Gap region, where timber tramways once snaked their way to the timber-mills in the early 1900s, much of which were destroyed in the terrible 1939 bushfires, and again in the disastrous Ash Wednesday fires of 1983.
The name "High Lead" derives from the overhead cables (leads) which were placed in the "high" trees in the 1920s to assist in moving the logs to the jinkers, where ground access was difficult due to the rugged terrain.
Interestingly, Rob Wagner and I went to the area back in the late 1960's with a group of DX hobbyists, but not for radio listening - we did bushwalking! I have a photo of that trip which I will put on the Web!
The High Lead picnic spot is near a creek, in a State Forest, and is at least 5 km from the nearest power line, and in the past it has yielded good daytime signals for both the midsummer and midwinter seasons.
The antenna I have invented is "The Daytime Vertical", which needs a high gum tree for best results! The same antenna horizontally is not much good. I have my usual tree at High Lead, and the antenna reaches to a branch about 5 metres above the ground. A good tree, that one! Another tree still has the top half an earlier vertical antenna of last year, which broke, and hangs mournfully!
Power line noise was in fact apparent, even though I was some km from the nearest distribution point. This noise is actually being radiated as broadband RF from the national power grid, across Australia. and masks weak real signals. It is worse on the lower freqs, as to be expected. It is being propagated as for any other signal, and should not be confused with direct radiation from power lines within proximity to wherever you may be! (or near key-pads....).
What is really wanted is for the entire national power grid to be switched off each day from 0000-0400 UTC so that we can examine the DX picture properly!
I started the work at around 11 am (0100 UTC). Morning signals at home on 60 metres were quite good around 7-9 am, with the Brazilian making its appearance on 4985 soon after 2110. So, what happened at High Lead?
The band had many signals available right through the period 0100 to 0300. They included:
5930 Slovak Radio *0100-0230*
5960 CRI-Sackville 0200-0400
6010 RN via Sackville *0130-0225*
6005 BBC-Ascension *0300-0400
6030 Marti-Greenville 0000-0300
6040 DW-Sackville *0100-0150*
6045 RFI-Issoudin *0300-0400
6070 Voz Cristiana - Santiago 0100-0300
6075 DW-Wertachtal 0000-0200*
" DW-Antigua *0200-0300
6080 VOA-Sao Tome *0300-0400
6085 Germany HS 0100-0300
6100 DW-Wertachtal *0200-0300
6105 RFE-Lampertheim *0200-0300
6110 BBC-Antigua 0100-0130*
6120 R. Finland *0200-0300
6130 VOA-Greenville 0100-0300
6155 RTE-Rampisham *0130-0200*
6175 V. of Vietnam via Sackville 0100-0230
6190 Slovak Radio 0100-0230*
6200 R. Prague 0100-0230*
Many good-strength signals from 0100-0300. New ones (unheard so far this season) were:
7150 Ukraine, 0200-0300
7265 Germany (Regional service) 0200-0300
7275 IBB-Morocco *0200-0300
The strongest signal is DW-Nauen on 7130 with German to Asia until 0200*
Full of signals 0100-0300. Interesting ones were:
9535 VOIRI Urdi *0130-0230*
9530 Tashkent *0230 // 9715
" Brazil, sudden fade-in 0200 (the only 31 mb Brazilian audible 0100-0300 today!)
9605 IRIB *0225-0330* Pushto, but covered by Vatican which opened at 0230 co-channel
9665 RFE-Morocco,*0100-0200* Kazakh (rare, co-channel VOR)
9950 India. AIR Burmese 0100-0130* (a rare catch!)
What next? We are now at the peak for daytime DX signals on these bands, and also for checking the propagation patterns on the 60 and 90 mbs during our mornings between 2100 and 2300+. The high-powered Burkina Faso station on 5030 is the strongest, up to close at 0000. Unfortunately, the 60 mb is now becoming a wasteland, with much fewer stations on the air in this time period.
And so, the quest continues - stick around for the next exciting episode, and your own observations would also be appreciated!
The unusual 49 mb opening I noted on
14 June UTC in late morning here in Surrey Hills revealed:
6060 Argentina fade-in 0055, good level 0110, to fade-out 0130
6070 Chile 0000-0200 throughout
6180 Brazil sudden fade-in 0100 to fade-out 0130
Earlier that morning, noted:
4985 Brazil 2110-2215
5990 Brazil 2100-2230
6135 Brazil 2130-2200* (co-channel Albania 2115-2130)
6180 Brazil 2200-2300 (after NHK-Skelton sign-off at 2200)
7200 VOA-Kavalla, Tibetan 0035-0100
7265 Seychelles FEBA, *0045-0115
7295 VOA-Kavalla Khirgizian 0040-0100