Monday, February 09, 2009

ENOX10: 16-28.10.2008 (HN, TK, TUA)

Thursday 16.10.2008

ENOX10 started today with Hannu Niilekselä (HN) setting up the listening post, to be joined by Tarmo Kontro (TK) on Sunday. Wet conditions seem to be the cause for a local electrical interference, which needs to be solved before any serious DX is possible. A true disappointment as prospects for decent cx are generally developing well.

Friday 17.10.2008

The day went by more or less in the hunt for the disturbance, which in the end was eliminated. So, also ENOX10 hopes to get in tact with other Nordic DX-expeditions. It looks as if all of the best QTH´s are occupied, so very few signals will have a chance to get by unnoticed. The following week should become one, where DX-history is written. With all developments in the U.S. and Canada regarding broadcasting, it may well be that during the next solar minimum in 11 years time, there will be very little to listen to in the AM band from at least that direction.

Saturday 18.10.2008

The night started without NA at ENOX, so I went to sleep around 0000 and did not even put any recording equipment on, which probably was a mistake reading some of the comments from other expedition sites. Early morning was fairly slow, too, but improved so that from around 05 UTC on there was a good go, however mostly to the "K-land". All in all, many nice stations were identified "live" (KRSA, KRTA, KVNU, KALL, KLAD...) , but on the other hand many interesting frequencies produced nothing. There is still place for improvement, and most recent indices seem to suggest that so it will be...

Lots of recordings, which evidently will produce some nice stations. For example, most GY-frequencies were open better than in a long time. However, the "feeling on the thumb" was that the most common rockies-west coast stations were dominating, so it will be tough to pick out new ones. Hopefully lots of interesting nights and days to come...

Sunday 19.10.2008

Instead of improvement the cx made a swing towards worse. Apparently we got substantial increase of density from the coronal hole. However, it has gone down rapidly today, so conditions will most likely start improving again, as expected.

In practice this meant a silent night, some prairies and Mexicans in the morning, then practically dying out. After mid-day a couple of hours of sharp concentration towards Washington and Northern Oregon, together with some Alaska and Hawaii, but dying out before local morning and stations opening with PSRA powers. So it was more or less the common west coast stuff, but with good signals for a while. Some of the identified stations were KUBC, KWBY, KMAS, KOKK, KWSN, KOZI, KKEE, CJAR, KCCR, WJMC, KVXR, KSRV, XEDCH and XESJ.

Tarmo Kontro arrived in the afternoon, so we may see some Asia loggings, as well, in the coming days.

Monday 20.10.2008

Judging how good the conditions are is always relative. It is self evident that on an island by the Northwestern Norwegian coast reception conditions are substantially more favourable than 300 km further away and inland, specifically at times of "marginal" reception. This was evidenced well during the nights when daytimers were noted. At ENOX these conditions -if any- offered practically nothing.

Also on Monday, just a few Quebec stations at 2210-2230, with WCHP-760 for one short moment. then absolutely nothing until 05 UTC. Improving rapidly thereafter towards the U.S. East Coast, with many dominant stations being absent on intersting frequencies. Signals varying in strength and clarity, very good at times, but with atmospheric noise again soon. Well, these are the ingredients for good catches and recordings may provide with nice surprises.

The sad thing about this day was that just before 09 UTC the stations disappeared totally and the rest of the day was practically blank, with just some of the most common AK and HI stations audible for short periods. Later in the afternoon Asia (with a 500 meter wire) produced just a couple of most common JO and Thai stations. So, the "good" conditions with varying signals throug the day are yet to come...

Most interesting stations heard "live" (in addition to WCHP-760 above) were WTTL-1310, WBAT-1400 and WAZX-1550.

Tuesday 21.10.2008

The solar wind hanging closer to 400 than 300 seems to keep away any notable cx in the night. The common "lighthouses" (1400 and 1230) appear early, but the cx did not, once again, not develop any further, at least in this location. Some stations, however, in front of 00 UTC started pushing in, among them our old friend KGOW-1560.

But as surely as the sun rises, something is heard every morning for a few hours. Interesting conditions also this morning, reaching down to Florida even if nothing spectacular was noted listening live. WGAN-560, WIOD-610, WSBB-1230, WSLB-1400, WBAE-1490, but also stations like CFAR-590 and KWIK-1240 in the morning. After a little break around mid-day, a short lived opening with clear signals to the WA-BC corner again, then nothing for several hours. Late in the afternoon most common AK and HI with good signals for a while.

Even with these fairly short bursts of stations, there´s already quite a lot of work to do with recordings. From 19.10. KVEL-910 and KATQ-1070. We probably will get a bit more to listen to in the coming days.

Wednesday 22.10.2008

On needs to be an optimist with regard to cx in this hobby. However disappointments happen from time to time, but you should not loose your optimism. Days seem to go by and agin some unexpected minor disturbance has almost "eaten up" NA in the band, with the exception of 2-3 hours. These hours do not, of course, include those hours when just 4-5 dominant stations are being heard with almost non-existent signals.

Exactly the above pattern took place again: a few NA at around 00 UTC, but gradually dying out. At 04 UTC practically nothing, then gradual, but very slow improvement. At 05 still lousy, but steadily improving. At 06 the going was good, midwest to the rockies. Nothing spectacular "live", but expectations to find something wortwhile from recordings are fairly high. Around 12 UTC the signals started to come in loud from AK and HI for half an hour or so. But once again, the good going ended only too early. Whereas this time of the year AK and HI should be at its best rather around 15-16 UTC, this has not happened during this week at all.

The reason for all this would appear to be the somewhat unexpected level of density "out of nowhere", keeping the solar wind too high for any level of more steady conditions.

Tuomo Ahonen arrived today and occupied the bed left empty by Tarmo Kontro. So there´s also fresh, hungry blood around...

Thursday 23.10.2008

What have we done that has made the gods-of-cx turn their faces away from us ? For a week now the cx should have been improving but they have only got worse.....

Really nothing worthwhile to report for today, just an opening of about one hour from around 5 to 6 UTC towards central US and a little bit of most common west coast in the afternoon. If this is the best that the solar minimum has to offer, I start to believe that the greenhouse effect has spoiled also the ionosphere...The only comforting news is that in AND night after night daytimers and other gooddies have been noted. So we are not that far away from hearing something better...It just seems that AND is close enough (370 km from here) and beautifully positioned for NA when things get very marginal. The same experience has been so many times noted comparing KONG and LEM with regard to OS: beautiful signals in KONG and not a trace of the same stations at the same time in LEM, where even antennas should (at least in theory) be better. And LEM is even closer to KONG than LEM/ENOX to AND.

Well, let´s not get too pessimistic: everything looks set for a couple of interesting days ahead !

Friday 24.10.2008

Yessss...we got what we wanted and should have gotten already days ago - lazy again at night but excellent go through the day. The only obstacle being a difficult-to-detect problem with our antenna splitting configuration, finally spotted down to the main splitter in some manner mixing the signals and giving many kinds of trouble. We lost much of our attention to this, so listening live was distorted. But we were still able to play in lots of material where one could "from far away" hear that it will produce results after we get our hands on the recordings.

From 19.10. in one 10 minute burst: KQAQ-970, KJJK-1020, KVKK-1070 and WZFG. Shows well the power of SDR:s in specific circumstances.

Saturday 25.10.2008

The fun (?) continues and produces enormous amounts of material to listen to. From midwest to west coast. KUGN-590, KRTA-610, CKOR-800, KBBO-980, KXRO-1320 and most likely many, many more...Full time job for a couple more days.

Sunday 26.10.2008

Nighttime seems to produce more stations elsewehere than at ENOX. Here nothing spectacular has been noted "live" early at nights. However, because of the SDR:s, active listening has been more concentrated to earlier recordings and daytime "cruising" than staying up nights. This is more or less a 24-hour job, but you need that 4-5 hours at night anyway... we´ll see - the SDR recordings are yet to be checked.

Morning started with signals from Florida to west coast, bringing in WBOB-1320 and KBBO-980 at the same time. Later in the day all kinds of interesting stuff like KRMG-740, KSRA-960 and KJOC-1170, with cx swinging a bit here and there. Mexicans every now and then with huge signals for some minutes, but fading out rapidly.

The interesting phenomenom this week has been that afternoon cx tend to die out just as they should actually become stroger. This time of the year AK and HI should be at their best, but cx have been very modest, with only the most common stations audible. with fair signals.

Monday 27.10.2008

The same pattern seems to continue: a fairly lousy start at night, better in the morning and hanging somewhat later in the afternoon. No specific direction today, mostly the rockies and west coast with a bit of texmex as flavour. AK and HI best so far, but not what they could be. No spectacular findings yet. KLAD-960 seems to have become a common thing, heard daily in the afternoon. GY produces fairly uninteresting stations mainly from the rockies to the WA-BC corner.

This will be our last night, time to hit the road in the morning. The evening does not seem that bad: signals with audio already at 2015 UTC on 590, 620, 740, 930, 1210, 1230, 1370, 1390 and 1400. We´ll see...

As WEGP always says "Thanks for listening".


3 months later …

Lots of positive expectations were loaded to the 2008-2009 season and in that context also to ENOX10. The season can still produce nice conditions (with for ex. ENOX14 in the second half of February), but as a whole this season has not fulfilled all expectations.

For some odd reason the periods where conditions (towards specifically the North American continent) were expected to be excellent, have not been as good as expected. All kinds of “extra” small disturbances have cut the best “edge” out, just as everything seemed to be turning perfect. This has continued all season long and seems to apply to Oceania, for example, as well.

Lots of new and otherwise good quality stations have been logged from NA, but this is most of all thanks to the SDR´s. Had we been “fishing” with just a couple of traditional receivers/listener, this season would have been close to a catastrophy. Comparing results from 1997 –the solar minimum 11+ years ago- to this season, the conditions this season have not been but a shadow. Had we had SDR´s 11-12 years ago, an unbelievable amount of “goodies” would have been logged.

So, ENOX10 was loaded with high expectations. The first obstacle, however, was a strong local electrical interference. Luckily, it did not take very long to locate a couple of poles in the nearby powerline, which due to broken insulators let electricity to flow into ground in wet weather and to cause the interference. The local electric company acted instantly and the problem was fixed.

In the first days conditions improved day-by-day with some nice stations logged. The cx were, however, directed mainly between the prairies and west coast, which makes it a bit difficult to find something new for specifically those who have been into this hobby since the 70´s. The almost total lack of early openings to the east coast also was a bit surprising.

Just as the conditions should have been “peaking”, a small disturbance from an unknown source arrived and caused problems. There seemed to be a substantial difference if you were listening in ENOX or if you were 400 km´s closer to the North American continent, by the Atlantic. Our Norwegian friends had started their AND –expedition and reported good early openings and generally good conditions. At the same time ENOX was –at best- just usual without any specific highlights. It seems that when conditions are even a bit “disturbed” the differences of what is being heard grow bigger between locations such as ENOX , AND and PAX.

A week went by with us expecting the conditions to improve, but they just seemed to get worse…Then, the long expected improvement , but only regarding listening in the daylight hours – evenings and nights remained practically empty. Still, this was OK, as there was a good go on 24-27.10. with lots of stations, and even some “goodies” every now and then. Lots of recordings are yet to be checked, so hopefully some more will be found…

So, when it was time to pack and head south, we were happy with what we had experienced, but a bit disappointed in relation to the high expectations. Yet, as it has turned out with ENOX 11-13 later in the season, ENOX10 was probably the best of these, even if we did not know it then….this is a strange minimum !

ENOX10 loggings - 1st draft later ....

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