Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Celebrating 40 Years As a MW DX-er

On October 15, 1974 at 0230 UTC I logged my first trans-polar MW station. It was KJNP North Pole, AK on 1170, fighting with Radio Capodistria, then Yugoslavia. It wasn't necessarily meant to be.

I had been introduced to DX-ing two years earlier, and used various domestic radios in this early period.  I logged, reported and QSLed a number of SW stations at the time, and it was great fun. However, after two years I thought I had heard what I could hear on the equipment I had available, and in the spring of 1974 interest was starting to wane.

I was persuaded by seasoned MW DX-er Arvid Frøsland to test the coming autumn for North American MW stations. He and fellow DX-er Ole Forr were moving north to Lakselv, not far from where I lived at the time (a mere 6-hour drive...). So I purchased my first communications receiver, the Trio-Kenwood QR-666 and set up a sort of longwire antenna from my 1st. floor bedroom in Berlevag.

The QR-666 had terrible readout accuracy, but was very sensitive, and during early autumn I heard many interesting stations from Asia on the Tropical Bands. MW wouldn't open until mid-October, and we were impatient to say the least. Then came October 15, and I was hooked!

A new world opened, and US and Canadian stations travelled across the Pole to my modest radio shack at a steady pace. Many hadn't been heard before in Norway, and some not even in Europe. I received QSLs from around 75 North American stations that first season, not even using a tape recorder. The first QSL was not KJNP though. CFRW Winnipeg MB operated on 1470 at that time, and they were very quick to send off their QSL.

Activity was high to semi-high from 1974 until 1979, then again from 1984 to 1988 and from 1995 up until now. The latter period much to the credit of fellow KONG DX-ers who never allowed me to relax too much...

The QR-666 was replaced with a Yaesu FRG-7 in 1976. Much better readout accuracy, but the way I remember it the QR-666 was better overall. In 1979 I finally had enough money to buy the famous but so expensive Drake SPR-4, every DX-ers dream in the 1970's. It remained my main receiver until 1995, when a modified JRC NRD-515 was bought. A couple of years later it was replaced with NRD-525s, in 2006 came the Icom IC-746Pro and SDR-IQ, and finally in 2008 the Perseus which is still the main rig (I have two). Lot of other receivers have been in my shack; search this blog for details.

I've been a bit lazy with regards to reporting stations, a couple of years I didn't do it at all. Still, I reached 1000 North America QSLs not long ago, with Washington highest on the state list at currently 63 stations verified.

Almost all the stations I heard back in 1974 are now regarded as dominants. And many, especially from Canada, are gone. But KJNP is still there. And CFRW Winnipeg, although the frequency has changed  to 1290.

On October 15, 2014 at 0230 UTC I tuned in to 1170 to see if KJNP was audible, 40 years after.. It was. And still fighting with Radio Capodistria, now Slovenia.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Bjarne! You were my DX-hero as a young NA-DXer in the late 70's and you still are!
73 de OJS
(fellow KONG-er)

GuidoS said...

Interesting story Bjarne ! I'm still waiting for my first catch from Alaska.

BTW, who is Bjarne >Hansen< ?

Kai Mauseth said...

Gratulerer Bjarne. 73 de Kai