Wednesday, September 15, 2021

4KZ Karumba QLD 1611 - Finally Heard

4KZ, with its main transmitter in Innisfail QLD on 531 kHz, has several translators in and outside the regular MW band. Some years ago, its 400-watt relay in Taylors Beach on 1620 was one of the most common x-band Australians. This location was later taken over by Vision Christian Radio, and 4KZ set up another, 300-watt relay in Karumba on 1611. It took some time until they had a proper antenna ready though, so the four Hot Country stations and not least DWNX in Naga, PHL were very dominating.

In 2019, while discussing my reception of their 5055 kHz SW relay, GM Al Kirton told me they were working on a new vertical for 1611. Apparently they have sorted things out, because a few days ago I had a very clear signal from 4KZ. And not only that, the day after they were audible again, so they will likely be easy to hear in Arctic Europe at least early in the season and after DWNX sign off.

Well... "easy" - once you have a perfect low noise floor, lots of gain in the receiving end and a nice long beverage antenna. And if you want to hear how 300 watts sounds like 12623 km away, have a look and a listen in this Youtube video.

Al sends a traditional QSL and a sticker by mail, something not often seen among radio stations these days.

Karumba is a very small town in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Their 500+ population earn their living by tourism and fishing prawns. There's a zinc mine nearby as well.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The FM Season 2021 on 71 Northern Latitude

Anyone interested in browsing my 2021 FM logbook should click this link. The logbook is sorted by day, and by time within the day. There may be double entries within a day.

The season came off to a slow start, as I was late erecting the FM antennas. Also, it wasn't anywhere near as productive as the 2020 season, except maybe the last part of July and the beginning of August. And I must admit there were openings I didn't bother to check since it appeared quite predictable which stations would be heard.

I did hear a new country though. Iceland was heard several times, although limited to the northeastern part of the country.

Next year I think I will change tactics a bit. To the south, the one-hop Es possibilities are more or less explored the last 3 years. So it may be more interesting to point the antennas to the west-northwest, and to the east. Iceland (and beyond) may be interesting, as would Siberia, Kazakhstan and Xinjiang.

The SDRPlay RSPdx SDRs work well, although my PCs limit effective sampling rate to 6 MHz each. For the same reason, the Elad FDM-S3 can't sample more than 12 MHz. So I decided to focus on the lower part of the FM band.

The SDRs made 24/7 IQ recordings, and I spotted openings by examining continuosly saved waterfall images. HDSDR and SDR Console were my tools, together with two 8-element antennas from  InnovAntennas, and splitters/preamps from Cross Country Wireless. And a number of 8-TB hard drives. The logbook is from

Saturday, September 11, 2021

KONG42: Preparations For The 2021-2022 Season

Every year in early September, the KONG crew (me, OJ Sagdahl and Ole Forr) meet at Kongsfjord, Arctic Norway to make the final preparations for the upcoming season. So, here is KONG42, day by day. 


OJ and Ole arrived around 09 local after a long ( 20-hour) drive through Sweden and Finland. While in Sweden, they met with Swedish MW DX-ers Bo Olofsson and Lars Eriksson. After unpacking, the first task was to set up the remote-controlled Perseus+Jaguar setup at the gridless Mount Loran, including erecting the 1000-metre beverage. Weather was cool but dry - and dry weather is always a good thing when working outdoor - we would soon encounter the opposite. Below is me, 15 km away from Kongsfjord, demonstrating irregular use of the mobile phone.

After completing the Loran setup, we headed home to put up the dual, staggered 340-degrees beverage. The 50-, 80- and 310-degrees beverages were already up but needed some TLC at the end points as grounding was a bit sub-par.

Never a KONG DX-pedition without food and drinks! For dinner we had a traditional course named "Salma Carbonara" - sushi-grade salmon fillets cut and gently fried, and our take on the carbonara - tagliatelle with lots of bacon, cream, parmesan cheese and egg yolks.  For dessert: Home made chocolate pudding and not so home made custard. We had a splendid Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhone wine with the salmon, and Disaronno Amaretto with the dessert.

Dry weather on Thursday, a bit windy, gusting at strong breeze, and 6-8 degrees Celsius. Quite the normal September weather.


The dry weather was not to last... a nice and sunny morning had to make way for wind and rain. We had more jobs to do on Mount Loran, so we found a "dry" weather window on the weather site, and drove off. It started out very well indeed. Then it just got worse. First, some drizzle. Then the wind picked up. And it started to rain. And it rained more. And more. And then... hail! Although we thought we were well dressed for outdoor work, the weather overwhelmed the clothing to the point where we were wet to the skin - and with the temperature at 6 degrees it became bitterly cold as well. Still, we got the job done, well most of it anyway, and headed home in a warm car to dry ourselves and our clothes.

OJ and Ole preparing for the job, unaware of the weather awaiting

Here's a short Youtube clip of the hailstorm...

We eat a lot of seafood on our KONG DX-peditions, after all we live in a part of the world with access to extreme quality wild and farmed fish. Friday's dinner was home made fish gratin (Mjelde style), with fresh cod fillets, bacon, carrots, leak and celeriac all blended in a thick white sauce and baked in the oven. For dessert: The rest of the chocolate pudding! A Meinklang Grüner Veltliner was an excellent wine for the occasion.

So, weatherwise we certainly got our share of the autumn weather with lots of rain and gale force winds.


Drier! But not entirely so. Light showers came in from the ocean most of the day. However, the remaining issues we had at Mount Loran were solved without any rain at all. Propagation saw a turn for the better overnight on all antennas despite high K indices. Stations of interest after a quick scan were WCAR Livonia MI 1090, WHLD Niagara Falls NY 1270, WWCK Flint MI 1570, KOKB Blackwell OK 1580. After returning from the Loran site we dismantled my two FM antennas for the winter.

A few problems had to be sorted out before leaving the Loran site.

The last dinner this DX-pedition was a leg of lamb, baked for 7 hours (!) at a very low temperature, together with fried brussels sprouts and mashed root veggies. We had another batch of the Belleruche red wine. Dessert: Cloudberries and whipped cream with Amaretto. The berries were picked on my own land, between the paths of the 50-degrees and 340-degrees beverages.

Ole and OJ will leave early Sunday morning, and I will eventually return to my home in Tana bru.

Apart from drinking excellent red and white wine, we enjoyed some superb Norwegian beers, like Supersonic from Lervig, Dead Cat from Graff, and American IPA and Two Captains IPA from Nøgne Ø. They are truly exceptional.