Several Dxers once again made their yearly visit to the Southland Branch listening post on the Tiwai Peninsular. For those not familiar with the site it is located at the end of Awarua Bay south of Invercargill, several kilometres from other buildings and 230v power sources. The three-bedroom house while a little run down is still comfortable and its location allows room for beverages and other aerials.
Paul Aronsen was first in on Saturday and carried out some maintenance work on the aerials, repaired holes in roof, blocked the rat hole in the ceiling and generally set up for those coming. Arthur De Maine arrived on Sunday from Kakanui and he and Paul carried out further aerial maintenance during the day.
Wednesday the 23rd , Steven arrived at 1600 hours from Timaru, the small generator was hooked up to the lighting batteries and these were given a top up while the portable ewe was erected towards South America, a quick listen on the broadcast band showed several signals from North and South America. Around 1715 Ray Crawford from Kingaroy Australia and Sutton Burtenshaw from Hamilton arrived after journeying from Christchurch.
After tea cooked by Paul, vegies and Savs followed by desert, we all gave the radio a miss for the night and caught up on old times. Thursday saw Arthur head home as he had a wedding to attend in Christchurch. Ray had borrowed Stuart Forsyth’s SPR4 unfortunately it stopped working with what sounded like an audio fault, a trip into Invercargill saw him return with another SPR4 on loan from Eric MacIntosh.
A track was cut through the bracken at the back of the house to give access to firewood from the fallen trees. Steven had forgotten the chainsaw, fortunately the wood was soft enough to use an axe and the coal range and open fire were kept going all the time. DX proved a bit disappointing that night, there were however other entertainments.
The past few days had seen a fair bit of rodent activity, there was much debate as to whether it was a rat or large mouse. Paul’s old Corgi while showing an interest was always several metres behind the rat/mouse. As we had run out of poison a trap was made using a drum with a counterbalanced piece of wood and cheese bait, the idea being that the weight of the rodent would tip the wood over and the offender would fall in the drum. At 2 in the morning those not woken by the crash of the wood into the drum soon were by Rays cry of “we got him” four Dxers jumped out of bed and rushed to the kitchen, alas the rodent was far smarter than that and was no where to be seen.
Friday 25 saw Dave Headland and his friend Barbara arrived, apart from some unsuccessful surfcasting and a gas bottle leak; Dx while better than the previous
nights was still not good. Sunday nights highlight was the great rodent hunt. While some poison had been bought a couple of days earlier and showed signs of having been sampled the rodent was still brazenly running through the kitchen and lounge. When it ran behind the lounge woodpile a determined effort was made to catch it. Paul armed himself with a can of fly spray, Steven a fire extinguisher and Dave was on the torch. While Paul sprayed fly spray into the woodpile Steven waited for the rodent to emerge ready to give it a burst with the extinguisher, in the hope of freezing it to death. The spray didn’t really affect him and it wasn’t until the woodpile was pulled apart that the beast emerged; a blast of spray and extinguisher must have dulled his senses as it ran straight into the open fire. Within a few minutes of this ones demise, another appeared from under the cupboard door.
Monday saw Dave head home and Sutton, Ray and Steven visited relatives in Invercargill. DX on this last night was the best it had been. An early rise on Tuesday allowed a pack up and clean of the house. DX this year was the poorest it has been for several years. MW signals from South America started to appear around 0330 UTC, which is about 3 hours from local darkness. They were peaking about 0500 when a few North Americans appeared. The X band was lively most nights but it also dropped noticeably in strength after about 0600. The last night showed the most promise with a few Argentineans and Chileans appearing. Unlike previous years Colombians and Peruvians where hard to hear in the evening when they would previously have dominated. While we have liked to hear more we had a most enjoyable time and would like to thank Paul for the preparation he put into the gathering.
TIWAI TRAIL 23 TO 28 APRIL 08
770 5:11 Colombia HJJX “Moderado en Continental”
820 8:15 USA WBAP poor to fair with talk in 819 splash
840 5:30 Argentina Radio Salta good on fade ups
930 5:00 Pan flutes after Chimes ?
940 5:45 USA Fresno KWRU SS Radio Vida
1010 5:20 Peru Radio Cielo Lima OAX4U good music of the world off freq to
1060 7:20 Mexico XEEP Radio Educacion ID and music program
1140 8:00 Mexico XEMR “MR am 40”
1200 5:10 Venezuela Radio Tiempo good popular music
1200 7:45 USA WOAI Good talk “Coast to Coast”
1250 7:05 Peru Radio Miraflores relaying Radio Victoria
1270 3:58 Chile Radio Festival big ID short musical break appeared to go off 04:00
1300 6:00 USA Tentative WFFG ID “am 1300 …. Florida Keys”
1330 4:25 Dominican Rep HIVC Radio Vision Christiana EE till 0430 ID and then SS
1340 4:25 Colombia HJFB La Carinosa Bogota ID 0432
1340 7:40 Colombia HJKD La Carinosa Neiva ID 0434
1380 4:15 Chile Radio Corporacion good with talk
1490 6:00 Lots of mentions of Argentina
1510 6:30 USA WLAC ID
1520 6:00 USA KOKC Id and ABC Nxs
1550 4:17 Venezuela Radio Impacto sign off 0415 with NA
1570 5:20 Mexico XERF SS talk over another SS station
1610 3:57 Anguilla Carribean Beacon
1620 3:30 US Virgin Islands WDHP good BBC Nxs 06:00
1620 3:45 USA WDHP
1630 8:15 USA KRND presummed the SS mixing with KCJJ
1640 8:00 USA KDIA fair to good Relig talk
1660 6:50 USA KTIQ Merced CA “Radio Visa “ ID and vocals
1660 8:10 USA WCNZ “Relevant Radio “ mixed with KTIQ in SS
1670 7:55 USA KHPY “Radio Catolica” SS Reli excellent
1680 6:00 USA WLAA “Que Buena” ID good with SS vocals
1680 8:00 USA KGED Excellent with nostalga hits
1680 4:01 Anthem by male vocalist then off
1700 6:45 USA KVNS Good with Oldies
1700 7:19 Mexico XEPE Talk and San Diego Adverts
Dave Headland & Ray Crawford Drake SPR4s.
Sutton Burtenshaw ICF6800w
Paul Aronson Kenwood 5000.
Steven Greenyer Palstar R30
Arthur De Maine ICOM R71ER, AOR7030