A “DX” HUNT.
LOOKING FOR SOUTH AFRICA.
RADIO MEN SEARCH ETHER IN VAIN.
From the Christchurch Press, Volume LXIV, Issue 19332, 9 June 1928, Page 10
A bright fire blazed cheerily from the open hearth, the leaping flames making shadows dance grotesquely on the walls of the room, in a corner of which sat four men, one of whom bent intently over the dials of a radio receiving set, while his companions listened more composedly to the syncopated throb of an orchestra from far-away Japan.
But. not for long did the strains of the orchestra fill the room. The listeners sought bigger game — reception from a more distant station than Japan — and until the grey light of dawn came peeping in at the window they searched the ether in vain in an endeavour to obtain the result of the All Blacks v. Western Provinces match, which was played at Cape Town on Saturday last.
Although the night-long vigil was not rewarded by success in the direction of South Africa, it was not by any means without incident. In the early part of the evening came music from stations in New Zealand, Australia, and America, and later, when these had closed down, the weird songs of the Japanese geisha girls came from the loud-speaker, while the quaint stringed-:instruments, which are features of broadcasts from China, were heard a few minutes after two o’clock.
Shortly after three o’clock a weak carrier was picked up on 400 metres, the wave-length of the Cape Town station of’ the Cape Peninsula, Broadcasting Association, and though faint speech was heard, static and the weakness of the signal made it impossible to clear up the identity of the station. The other Cape Town station, on 375 metres, was completely “blanketed” by Japanese station JOAK, which came through with exceptional volume.
In view of the power interference, so prevalent in the City, the gear — a Bremer Tully “six” and a super ‘heterodyne — was taken a few miles out into the country, along with the various odds-and-ends so necessary to the experimenter, and were operated in conjunction with an aerial approximately 50ft in height. The results were exceptionally good, in spite of the almost continuous crackle of static, and it was a pleasure to listen to broadcast which was not marred by power noises.
When searching for the South African stations, three stages of neutralised radio frequency amplification were wired into the super-heterodyne, which meant, that there were 12 valves functioning in the circuit. There was a comparative freedom from set noises, and the increase in signal strength was remarkable. The Japanese stations simply roared in, but there was nothing doing from South Africa.
After a few hours’ rest, a short-wave set was brought into action, and 5SW, Chelmsford, was picked up at good strength, and a station in France whistled away with feats of marvellous signals, and “c.q.’s” were heard from the amateurs of three continents. In the afternoon 2XAF, one of WGY’s chain of short-wave stations, was tuned in, a complete programme being heard.
One of the reasons for failure to bring in the South African stations has been attributed to the influence of the South Magnetic Pole, over which traverses the shortest air route from South Africa to New Zealand. This probably would upset signals, although, on the other hand, short-wave stations from Africa have previously been heard in the Dominion.