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14/02-2020

ISRAEL / JORDAN
Israel DX Report
Bruce Portzer
Feb 5 #6259
https://groups.io/g/IRCA/topic/70998395
My wife and I just returned fro a 10 day trip to Israel and Jordan. It was quite an adventure seeing many of the region's historic religious and cultural landmarks, as well as getting a taste of its social and political environment. Naturally, I brought along a XHDATA-D808 modified by Gary DeBock so I could DX from our hotel rooms. As expected, the hotels were hotbeds of RF-noise, but I was generally able to work around it and hear some interesting DX.
Our room in Nazareth had a large sliding glass door leading to a small balcony. I could have gone outside but decided not to brave the wind, rain and 40 degree temperatures on the outside balcony. Instead I had acceptable results by placing the radio atop my suitcase next to the window. The lower half of the band was noticeably desensitized but the upper part of the dial was alive with signals, more than enough to keep me amused. Best catches from here were the VOA relays on 1530 and 1431, plus something on 1557 that might have been Taiwan.
The room in Bethlehem was much noisier than the one in Nazareth. If I tried hard enough, I could almost hear the 1521 Saudi by standing near the window. Fortunately, the room also had a nice balcony with chairs and a light. The hotel was located on a hillside with a sweeping view of the city and the horizon to the north and east, so I might have also had interesting FM DX had I tried. The weather was slightly better here at night (still cold but no rain) so I was able to DX comfortably in my winter coat. The building's reinforced concrete walls not only kept radio signals out, but kept much of the RF pollution from getting out. As a result, the noise was still there but tolerable.
I managed to hear HLAZ-1566 and Afghanistan-1107 from this location as well as a nice assortment of stations from nearby countries. All told, the balcony location turned out to be a good one.
We also stayed a couple of nights in Jordan, but the hotel rooms in Amman and Petra didn't have balconies and noise levels were high. I could hear maybe 3 dozen stations at both places, but they were mostly in neighboring countries except for VOA-1530.
DXing was a challenge because about 98% of what I heard was in a language I normally don't hear on the radio. In some cases, there were lots of parallel stations to chase, especially in the cases of the Saudis. Otherwise, I had to hope for an ID or some other clue. Programs often ran across the top of the hour without interruption and, unlike east Asia, time pips were rare. A lot of strong easily heard station were ignored as I chased more interesting targets.
Saudi Arabia was the most plentiful country on the dial followed by Iran and Egypt. Six of the eight Kol Israel stations were also listenable in Bethlehem or Nazareth; the two exceptions being on 1458. Most of the higher powered stations in the Gulf countries (Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Qatar) could also be easily heard. Southeast Europeans (Romania, Bulgaria, etc.) had their moments, too, as did the Armenians on 1350 1377 and 1395. Curiously, I heard nothing from countries west of the Adriatic. No Spanish, Algerian, Moroccan, or Italian stations at all. One reason was the strong co-channel interference on several channels like 684 and 774. A bigger reason was probably blockage by the thick concrete and stone walls typical of virtually all buildings in that part of the world. Even the hotels' interior walls were made of concrete, all of which made for buildings that MW signals can't penetrate.
I have many hours of recordings to go through, so I'll have more to share while I put a report together and try to ID the unIDs.
Bruce Portzer via WOR groups.io (14/2-2020)


 

31/08-2017

EDXC CONFERENCE 2017
Although taking part in EDXC conferences is relatively new to me, I have known about them for years. No wonder, because this year it is 50 years since the EDXC – European DX Council was founded. In the years before, in the 50’es and the 60’es, there had been established quite a lot of radio clubs throughout Europe, because listening to far away radio stations at that time had become very popular on medium wave as well as on short wave. Some people decided to share their hobby with other, who had the same interest. Exchange news about equipment, antennas and heard stations. A handful of dxers from various radio clubs came up with a wish of an organization, which could take care of common interests among the clubs.
Since 1967 there has been a conference every year, except for the year 2004. All but one, which took place in Istanbul Turkey, have been held in European countries. As early as in 2013 it was decided to held the conference 2017 in Finland, for more reasons. This year is Finland's centennial, and the meeting was organized by the Finnish DX Association - 60 years in 2017 and Tampereen DX-Kuuntelijat – the local DX club, which can celebrate its 50th anniversary.
There are two purposes for attending these conferences. The one and most obvious is the radio related items and discussions; the second and not less important is the social getting together. Many dxers know each other from the name, have been in contact via snail mail, email or on social media, but have never met. They get the opportunity at the conference, is having put a face to the name, and that’s great! It happened to me several times this year.
The conference took place Aug.18th – Aug. 20th at the Varala Sports Institute, which lies very beautiful among trees on the hillsides down towards the lake Pyhäjärvi west of Tampere city center. We were all welcomed on Friday afternoon with a flag ceremony outside the institute in the lovely August sunshine; participants from 11 countries, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Italy, Algeria and Finland, which was represented by the largest number. The first session took place shortly after the flag ceremony, when Anker Petersen, one of the persons, who founded EDXC back in 1967, told about the birth of the European DX Council. And after a short dinner break Risto Vähäkainu continued with a brief but history of the council.
The next issue in the programme was a special challenge for our geographical knowledge. Finnish dxer Jim Solatie brought us around the world in a quiz with tricky questions about radio stations, geographical spots and odd time zone differences. It was funny, but unfortunately none of us came out with all answers correct.
After this brain exercises we got the chance to try a real Finnish sauna, with a swim in the lake afterwards. Quite a few did! The evening continued into a welcome reception with refreshment for the little hunger and thirst, and lot of possibilities talking with friends you haven’t seen since last year’s conference.
Fog banks hung low above the lake Saturday morning, when I went for an early walk up and down the hills surrounding the institute. No wind at all but after a while the fog cleared and the sun broke through. Thus mentally ready to continue the conference I went to conference hall, where some very interesting sessions were waiting.
Ismo Kauppi hosted this morning’s session about “Key topic AM Listening” with Mr. Jon Hudson as the first speaker. He is a director at SDRplay Ltd, and also a radio amateur. Jon Hudson held an interesting lecture about the completely new way for many of us to listen to radio via a SDR (software-defined radio) receiver, a receiver connected to the internet via the computer.
Tapio Kalmi told about AM DXing in the Information Age. How much conditions for dxing have changed through the years. From normal AM radios to SDR receivers, and he also explained how to use these new tools, we have got access to via the Internet and the social medias. You don’t even need to have your own SDR receiver; you can use a remote SDR. With a webSDR many listeners are allowed to listen and tune it simultaneously, e.g. on http://sdr.hu/.
“And now we come to the weather!” The following entry was presented by Kirsti Kauristie from the Finnish Meteorological Institute. She gave us a detailed report of the ionosphere’s and other layers’ impact on the distant radio reception. At last Ms. Kauristie gave a forecast on the approaching solar minimum, which is expected 2019-2020.
While the Tampere DX Club had its 50 years club meeting, the rest of us went sightseeing by bus. The lovely wetter has changed, and it was pouring down, when we drove across Tampere. Never-the-less it ended up being a very enjoyable afternoon. Risto Vähäkainu was our guide, a good one. He told about the future infrastructural plans for the city and also mentioned the building of a new ice arena to be ready for hosting an Icehockey World Championship. We visited the antenna tower of Radio Pispalan, which is a local radio station transmitting on 729 kHz and 99.5 MHz and streaming online. Then back to the city, where we made a foot walk around the center. We took a look at the power station and the dam, where there is a fall of 18 meters between the two big lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. In the meantime the rain had stopped, so we crossed the City Hall Square before entering Tampere Cathedral, a quite new church, built in 1902-1907. The last destination of this tour was the red Pyynikke Observation Tower; when we had climbed its 26 meters, it offered a nice view over the city, the lakes and forests.
This afternoon’s last session was dedicated to FM. Jukka Kotovirta, a passionate FM-dxer, told about the summer sporadic e-skip. Dxing on FM these last months has been not less than an adventure. Stations around the Mediterranean from east to west have been heard in northern Europe with exceptional good results. The director of Pispalan Radio, which antenna tower we passed on bus tour earlier this afternoon, Pasi Komsi then gave us an interesting view into the life of this local low power station, which doesn’t accept advertising. It survive by mean of voluntary assistance. Jukka Kotovirtawas also the person behind a couple of special quizzes: a competition of the best FM catches of this year, and another one on the greatest radio related songs “Video Killed the Radio Star”.
The traditional EDXC Banquet was held at the Varala Sports Institute with welcome speech by representatives from the arranging club and the city council of Tampere. The evening offered a lot of different features, such as awards to international dxers and a DX auction with funny items (a radio disguised as a teddy bear), radio related books and magazine and much more.
The last day of this year’s conference arrived with the most wonderful sunshine, showing the lake and the hills at Varala from their best side. But there was things to be done, and sessions to take part in. So we headed for the conference room and the EDXC club meeting conducted by the two chairmen Kari Kivekäs and Jan-Mikael Nurmela. They gave a brief summary of EDXC topics and also had some greetings from clubs and members, who were not present. The future plans could be taking contact to more radio clubs with the aim of getting new members. It was also mentioned that EDXC could take contact to radio stations in order to have promote the club’s work. It was not decided where to held the next EDXC Conference, but the cities Vienna and Bratislava were mentioned. Kari asked for more proposals to be welcome. Also in this meeting at 10:00 am there was one minute of silence to commemorate the victims of the Turku knife attack two days before.
With the next subject we went off to China and how to ID and get a QSL from a Chinese radio station. It was Mika Mäkeläinen, who advised us. Mika has done a lot of dxing Chinese AM stations from the dx-site in Aihkiniemi up north of Lake Inari in Lappland. He has just returned from Beijing, where he was reporter for the Finnish YLE in two years. We had the pleasure to meet one of his contacts at Anhui Radio on Facetime, and got the possibility to ask her questions directly.
After lunch Dan Goldfarb gave an interesting explanation to his website MWMASTS.com, a site covering more or less all mediumwave antenna installations in the world. Through this conference we have travelled to faraway places through lectures and quizzes, and the last feature was no exception. Toshimichi Ohtake, a wellknown dxer from Japan, took us into Listening in Japan, Past, Present and Future.
After the flag ceremoni and the obligaroty group photo it was time to say goodbye and see you next year!
Ydun Ritz (31/8-2017)

 

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