FROM THE ARCHIVES:
Tropical Bands Part 3 -Chrissy Brand
The interviews: IN FULL
Part of these interviews were first published in Radio Active 2001.
copyright Radio Active / PWP Publications 2001
Tropical Bands Part 3 -Chrissy Brand
The interviews: IN FULL
Part of these interviews were first published in Radio Active 2001.
copyright Radio Active / PWP Publications 2001
For this final article on the Tropical Bands I have assembled an international panel of experts who are eager to share their thoughts and advice on Tropical Band listening with Radio Active readers.
1) Name, your role in radio, radio interests, affiliations and your website(s)
Harold Buggins (England) All round radio.
Duane Fischer (USA) W8DBF (WPE8CXO). In addition to being an avid four decade short-wave and medium wave listener, I am also a Ham radio operator holding an Extra class license (highest in the USA). I am the Net Controller for the (HCI) Hallicrafters Collectors International Amateur Radio Nets, http://www.w9wze.org/ I am also the Trustee for W9WZE, the call sign of the late William Halligan, Sr., the founder of the Hallicrafters Company.
Marie Lamb (USA) I am the host and producer of the "DXing with Cumbre" radio programme on World Harvest Radio. I am a contributor to "Passport to World Band Radio" and to the Hallicrafters Collectors International website. I am a member of the Cumbre DX editorial team. I am a member of the North American Shortwave Association, and I produce the "News from NASWA and ANARC" reports heard periodically on HCJB and World Harvest Radio. I am a professional broadcaster employed at WAER Jazz 88, a National Public Radio station on 88.3 MHz in Syracuse, New York owned by Syracuse University. I am the 2001 recipient of the Don Jensen Award from the Association of North American Radio Clubs, which is given each year for significant contributions to the radio listening hobby; I am the first woman to receive the award. Websites: WAER Jazz 88: http://waer.org/
Association of North American Radio Clubs: http://www.anarc.org/
Dario Monferini (Italy) Editor and founder of the Italian weekly bulletin Play-DX, since 1975. Main Interests are Latin American Tropical Bands and non-European Medium wave DXing. Affiliations: running contacts and bulletins exchange with 60 DX clubs or bulletins in all continents. http://listen.to/playdx Producer of Italian Radio Data Base (on disc with details of private radio and television stations in Italy, £10).
Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) I have been DXing since 1974. I'm a DXer first and an SWL second, my focus is on domestic DX primarily MW & tropical bands, in particular signals from Latin America and Africa. Have been a member of the New Zealand Radio DX League for 27 years and had two editorial posts for the "DX Times" magazine... MW Mailbag and MW DX News, and have contributed many articles on a wide range of topics over the years. Also am webmaster for the League website, http://radiodx.com/ 150 pages of DX-related information including a large section "The Radio Heritage Collection", focusing on the history of broadcasting and numerous technical articles. I also provide listening tips over the South Pacific DX Report which airs every 2 weeks on Radio New Zealand International, and monthly via HCJB, AWR and several NZ stations. Schedule is at http://radiodx.com/spdxr/South_Pacifc_dx_Report_Schedules.html
Bob Padula (Australia) Professional Engineer (Communications). Recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), for "Service to Shortwave Radio" (an Honour from the Australian Government and approved by HM QEII). At the hobby level, since 1964 involved with development, management and administration of DX groups in Australia Life (1972) and Foundation Member(1965) - Australian Radio DX Club Convenor - Shortwave Australia (The Australian Shortwave Club), Mediumwave Australia (The Australan Mediumwave Club), Electronic DX Press Staff Writer - "Broadcast Monitor" - "Radiomag Magazine" (Australia) Compiler: DX Reports over several international broadcasters Member of North American SW Association. Website http://members.tripod.com/~bpadula/edxp.html
Willi Passmann (Germany) Publisher of the Tropical Band List (TBL) since 1992 and the Tropical Band Manager (TBM) software since 1997. Editor of the Radio Kurier, published by the ADDX in Dusseldorf, Germany. Manufacturer of loop antennas and other antennas. Operator of http://www.radio-portal.org the most selective search engine for radio amateurs and short wave listeners. Ham callsign DJ6JZ. Main interest: Tropical Band DXing.
Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) Tropical Band Logbook editor for North American Short Wave Association (NASWA) and CIDX. Also belongs to ODXA. Primarily SWBC DXer.
Graham Powell (Wales) Dedicated Tropical Band & Shortwave DXer. Main interest is Tropical Band DXing, secondly Shortwave and taking part in DXpeditions to Sheigra. Webmaster for the Online DX Logbook http://www.odxl.org.uk Tropical Band Editor for Communication Magazine, the monthly journal of the BDXC-UK. http://www.bdxc.org.uk/
Walt Salmaniw (Canada) DXer and SWL since the late '60s. Especially interested in hard to hear Europeans, former Soviet Union, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Member of the ODXA, friend of Numero Uno, Cumbre-DX, and HCDX, amongst others. Also subscribe to Monitoring Times.
Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) Member of British DX Club and World DX Club. http://www.bdxc.org.uk/ and http://www.worlddxclub.org.uk/
2) What is your location, receiver and antennae set up for Tropical Band listening?
Harold Buggins, Witney, Oxfordshire, England. Receiver: Yaesu FRG 7700, normal 20 ft high whip antenna
Duane Fischer Flint, Michigan, USA. Hallicrafters SX-117 with HA-10 vlf converter and R-46b speaker. Circa 1963 Hallicrafters SX-100 with R-42 Reproducer speaker. Circa 1962 Minerva Tropic Master WW2 morale receiver circa 1945. Icom R-75 with UT-102 speech module and UT-106 dsp filter. Icom 765 with speech module, narrow filters and SP-20 external speaker with audio filters. Drake R8b with vhf converter. Sangean 818cs The antennas used are selectable by means of an impedence matching switch system. They include: 150 foot 12 gauge solid Copper long wire elevated at 25 feet with an orientation of northeast/southwest. 5 band inverted vee covering 31, 41, 60, 75 and 90 meters. GAP Titan 8 band vertical IAC 80 meter Double Bazooka.
Marie Lamb Near Syracuse, New York. My main receiver is a Drake R8B, and I also use a Zenith G-500 Trans-Oceanic from 1950 and a Radio Shack DX-392. My main antenna is a 75-foot longwire feeding into an MFJ-16010 antenna tuner. I also sometimes used a tuned indoor loop antenna that a friend of mine built for shortwave frequencies below 15 MHz.
Dario Monferini My location is Milan, my receiver a JRC 525 with 3 kHz filter, very good for shortwave. SANGEAN ATS 909 for FM DXing with filters 110 kHz modified to get better reception. I use a 30m outdoor longwire on the 7th floor. No additional special filters or audio equipments. For medium wave reception I use a 90cm loop.
Paul Ormandy Oamaru on the East Coast of New Zealand's South Island, between Christchurch and Dunedin. I use a Drake SPR-4 and 2 x 30 metre slopers and a 40 metre V as primary antennas. I have the advantage of a Beverage listening site only 20 minutes drive South of here. QRN is negligible and I can chose from 6 Beverages.
Bob Padula Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia (suburb of Melbourne) Receivers: National DR49, Yaesu FRG8800, Sangean 808A antenna: 60 mb dipole (10 m high).
Willi Passmann Muelheim-Ruhr, Germany. ICOM IC 751A (modified) transceiver, Lowe HF-150 (modified), Sony ICF IC-2001 D, MEA 65 loop antenna, plus Wellbrook ALA electronics in combination with a rotable 1.7 m loop. On DXpeditions I prefer my homebrew dipole for 60/90 m, Beverage antennas and K9AY.
Sheryl Paszkiewicz Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA. Icom R-8500 with internal random wire antenna.
Graham Powell South Wales. AOR 7030+, Icom R-75, Icom PCR1000, 15 metre longwire. For mobile DXing in the Brecon Beacons: AOR 7030+ and an 80 metre band Ham radio whip antenna.
Walt Salmaniw Victoria, BC, Canada. Numerous communications receivers including Rockwell-Collins HF-2050 DSP receiver, Racal 8772 and 6772, AOR 7030+, JRC NRD 535D, Kenwood R5000, and Collins R-390A with outboard SE-3. 6 antennae packed in an average urban lot: T2FD for 3 to 30 MHz, commercial eavesdropper antenna, horizontal loop for 60 meters, random wire, vertical, and 25 meter dipole. Not much room for anything else, though I want to erect a K9AY when I have the time. This should help with the tropical bands, which at present is not ideal here.
Nicholas Vaughan-Baker Leigh on Sea, Essex, England. Receivers are an AOR 7030 and a Sony ICF 2001D. Antennas are a long wire and ALA Active Magnetic Loop.
3) When did you first listen to the Tropical Bands, and what started your interest?
Harold Buggins (England) 1960
Duane Fischer (USA) I first listened in 1959 on a 1940 Zenith console with long wire antenna. An elderly farmer next door gave me the radio, I repaired it and became fascinated with all the far away places that I could hear. I was thirteen at this time. Another neighbour loaned me a Minerva Tropic Master receiver from WW2. I logged and verified by QSL all of my original short-wave stations on this receiver in 1961. I previously logged Sputnik and have the QSL issued by Radio Moscow. Other than the Radio Bogota, Colombia pennant, I still have the other QSL cards.
Marie Lamb (USA) I first started listening to the tropical bands as a new shortwave listener in 1991, and I did so because I am interested in all forms of shortwave broadcast listening.
Dario Monferini (Italy) I started listening in 1969, receiving signals from Latin American radios as the Spanish Language is quite similar to Italian, in the 1970s I received many nice replies and pennants which furthered my Tropical band interest.
Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) Pretty much started tuning the Tropical Bands when I started DXing and discovered an amazing world of cultures and languages, it was a real hook and has kept me fascinated ever since. I'd rather listen to a 5kW Brazilian in Portuguese (that I barely understand) suffering fading and QRN than VOA in English!
Bob Padula (Australia) First started 1954. Interest derived from building SW radios as a schoolboy.
Willi Passmann (Germany) Started SW listening in October 1973 when I caught a German language broadcast of RCI Montreal and sent a reception report to the given address. Well, in the answer they were so kind to explain the SINFO code and other essentials of a reception report...I tuned to the Tropical Bands about 3 years later and was immediately fascinated by domestic broadcasts in general and the music especially.
Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) 1982; being able to hear Third world countries and programmes directed to a local audience
Graham Powell (Wales) Late 1970s when I purchased my first portable shortwave radio. Interest started thanks to listening to the lovely local music of the Chinese and African local stations.
Walt Salmaniw (Canada) Became very interested when introduced to Beverage antennae during DXpeditions led initially by Nick Hall-Patch, and John Bryant. Amazed by the remarkable reception allowed. I now enjoy attending DXpeditions in Grayland, WA along with the above DXers, and others including Guy Atkins, and Don Nelson. This has been necessitated by losing our local Beverage site not far from Victoria (now a national park).
Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) In 1983. A clear reception from Radio Uganda of an international boxing match. Their QSL gave considerable details of this event.
4) What are your regular listening habits? Do you have any favourite stations or programmes?
Harold Buggins (England) Now semi-retired at the radio shack but still tune around on the 60 and 90 metre band during the winter months, to the Far East, India etc. around 1330 to 1700 UTC, and sometimes from around 0500 UTC to Latin America. My favourite stations are Radio Rejol 4930 kHz, now off air, R Tezalatlan 4935 kHz with marimba music.
Duane Fischer (USA) I have no fixed listening habits. Time constraints force me to listen when I can. This may be on different days and at different times. The advantage to this is a wide variety of stations. When I have it my way, I prefer to listen in the early to late evening. About 0000-0400 UTC. When I get an opportunity to do so, I also like to listen for grayline stations, those just before and just after sunrise. I like many stations, I think they are all my favorites in one way or another. I especially enjoy Polynesian music and English language programs about native culture. I do speak Espanol, so I also enjoy music with a Spanish flavour and newscasts.
Marie Lamb (USA) I listen for DXing purposes to both the tropical and international bands on shortwave several times a week. Among stations I like are the BBC, Radio Australia, Radio Netherlands and HCJB. Stations I like in the tropical bands include many of the Brazilians because I like the music from that country; others include Ecos del Torbes from Venezuela, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Botswana, and the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, to name a few.
Dario Monferini (Italy) I listen usually 2200-0100 UTC, if conditions are good, I first look at solar conditions from Internet sources. Peruvian and Bolivian stations in the 49-40 meters band. La Voz del Campesion, Peru, on 6956 kHz.
Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) Best tropical band reception here is seasonal, between March and September, and best times for Latins are around 2 hours before sunset until an hour after they experience sunrise, i.e. 1200z. for the west coast regions. In mid-winter, Latins are audible, albeit weakly, at mid-day. Africans are best from about an hour before our sunset till their sunrise, and an hour either side of our sunrise. So, good tropical band reception in NZ occurs at times of the day when you are usually awake!
Bob Padula Preferred times 5am to 9am, 6pm to 10pm
Willi Passmann (Germany) I like music from West Africa. No particular favourite station or programme.
Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) DX late at night or early morning. Favourite stations include HCJB, Radio Austria, Radio Canada. Particularly enjoy mailbag and DX programmes.
Graham Powell (Wales) I tune the sixty metre at least five nights a week to monitor any changes. Recently Radio Uganda for example on 4976 kHz appears for a few nights and then disappears to the 41 metre band for the next couple of nights before returning again to 4976 kHz. Some of the other African stations appear some nights and then disappear for a while due to transmitter problems. Favourites at the current time are probably Radio Uganda on 4976 kHz as they broadcast in English, and also Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) Jambi on 4925 kHz.
Walt Salmaniw (Canada) As with many other DXers, I tend to listen in fits and starts. Being a physician, and having two teens limits my times, so I do try to get the most out of holidays, weekends, etc. If conditions are good, I'll try to listen in the evening when I get home from work. Used to love media network on Radio Netherlands, but this excellent programme is now lost. I do enjoy Arnie Coro's DXers Unlimited on Radio Havana Cuba, as well as the BBC, Voice of Russia World Service, Radio Ukraine International (when the vagaries of propogation permits), and HCJB.
Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) No regular listening times. As many of the South American stations are heard after midnight, several programmes have been recorded for later listening. One of my favourite Tropical band stations has been the Venezuelan station Ecos del Torbes with their varied musical programmes.
5) What is your rarest catch? If you QSL stations, what proportion of stations respond?
Harold Buggins (England) Radio Malaysia Kota Kinabalu, on the west coast of Sabah, heard and QSLed on 2nd February 1992 on 4970 kHz.
Duane Fischer (USA) I think the most difficult catch I had was a station on Tahiti using 1 Kw of transmitter power. Another favourite was Radio St. Helena, who never did QSL. A real challenge are fishing boats off the coast of South America, the Solomon Islands, Guam and Hawaii. I have a QSL return rate over the years of at least 95%.
Marie Lamb (USA) On the tropical bands, probably the Solomon Islands and Radio Andahuaylas from Peru. I would say that about 50% of the stations on the tropical bands I have reported to have sent QSLs.
Dario Monferini (Italy) It is difficult to say, maybe La Voz de Cali 900 kHz in the 1970s when local RAI Milan (899 kHz, now 900 kHz, was off the air for antenna maintenance one night each month). I've reported on around 700 stations from Latin America in 30 years with replies from only 45% of the stations.
Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) That's tough! It's hard to rate catches as conditions vary so much. I have heard many sub-100 watt stations and a large number of 90 metre-band Africans. I guess Falkland Islands 2370 kHz would rate pretty highly. The QSL percentage varies too... with domestic Latin broadcasters it is around 65%.
Bob Padula (Australia)
Rarest stations heard and QSLed: Greenland Radio, 5980 kHz, Martinique 3315 kHz. QSL responses: since 1954 I have sent out 10,323 SW reception reports (no duplicate frequencies), QSLs received 7830 (=76% overall!).
Willi Passmann (Germany) Just got my country number 200 verified, so it's hard .... maybe RTV Sahara from 1975. Not more than 25% of the stations reply, but I rarely send any follow-up reports.
Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) 75% respond. The rarest catch is hard to say, maybe ZLXA, RRI Gorontalo, Radio Candip.
Graham Powell (Wales) Three stations that stand out in memory are: 3935 kHz ZXLA Radio Nevin, New Zealand with a relay of NZ National Radio, 3945 kHz Radio Vanuatu heard after local sunrise mixing with Radio Tampa from Japan, 5020 kHz SIBC Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation heard one morning with music, adverts, pops, Time Check, ID, news and local announcements.
Other interesting reception was while on a DXpedition to Sheigra (north west of Scotland), due to the Northern position of Sheigra, the short daylight in winter and the large antennas it was possible to hear stations on the sixty metre tropical band 24 hours a day. I was able to hear Bolivian and Venezuelan stations when they signed on at 1000 UTC, Russian and Indian Stations during the day, and everywhere after sunset. I recall one time on a DXpedition being able to hear all the continents simultaneously on tropical bands.
Although I no longer collect QSL verifications, when I did in the 1980's I had a return rate of over 85% for Tropical band stations. I always made sure that the reports were clearly written in simple English, or French for some of the African stations or Spanish for the South American stations. I always use to include lots of colourful British stamps and a Welsh flag. With the decline in stations willingness to respond today, I would not expect that sort of percentage return today.
Walt Salmaniw (Canada) Rarest catch was Radio Free Bougainville about 10 years ago from a DXpedition at Sombrio Beach, near Victoria. I QSLed them as well. I was only the second DXer in North America to have done so. A very difficult catch on around 3850 kHz as I recall, running less than 40 watts on AM. Otherwise I rarely send away for QSLs, unless there is something extraordinary.
Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) My rarest catch was from Ecos del Torbes when their broadcast was exceptionally strong and clear, just like a local AM station. I have found that some 50% have QSLed my reports.
6) The future of Tropical Bands looks bleak, in that the numbers of stations broadcasting in the 60, 75, 90 and 120 metre bands are in rapid decline. How do you view the future yourself?
Duane Fischer (USA) The future of tropical band broadcasting is facing the same fate as the other commercial bands are. This is mostly true of international stations using government funded transmitter sites. There is this mistaken impression that all humans will throw their radio receivers in the land fill and use a computer to 'hear' radio stations. I am probably old school, or just plain dull, but real radio is not ever going to be heard on a telephone line or modem connection! The reason radio was used in the first place, was to reach the places where news was sparse, printed communications were difficult and people had no good way of remaining in contact with others in the outside world.
For the most part, the Internet is not available in most places where the current radio transmitters can reach. Additionally, many people can gather around one radio, but most cannot afford food, let alone a computer and Internet connection! If big business is permitted to have its way, short-wave radio transmissions will vanish to near extinction by 2025. I believe that government funded radio as we have known it is going to go away for the most part. What will remain will be a few VOA transmitters, perhaps some BBC transmitters and maybe a few others like CRI and NHK. The majority of the stations will be privately funded, mostly religious or political in content.
Marie Lamb (USA) I would say it is mixed. There are stations departing, it's true, but it also leaves some extra room to hear the ones that are on.
Dario Monferini (Italy) I don't agree with the opinion the Tropical Bands will become silent in 5 years as suggested by other people, as little stations in Bolivia, Peru and Brazil will continue to exist and make colours in the Tropical bands.
Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) Very bleakly... the shrinking number of Latins is a serious concern. Not that long ago, it was possible to hear numerous Colombians on the tropical bands with ease... now it's hard to hear one!
Bob Padula (Australia) Domestic HF broadcasting will continue to decline; regional broadcasting will move further towards replacement of obsolescent and inefficient HF facilities with cost-effective, reliable, minimal maintenance state-of-the-art VHF services, particularly in the Asian and African regions.
Willi Passmann (Germany) It is obvious that Tropical Band DXing will be possible for only a limited time, but I do not want to speculate about the number of years. Anyway, it is still fun, and a lot of utility-interference disappeared also during the last years.
Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) More time has to be devoted by myself to the early morning hours. Tropical bands are basically dead in my local evenings.
Graham Powell (Wales) I see the situation on the Tropical Bands becoming more and more frustrating for the dedicated DXer. A lot of African stations are using more and more FM transmitters and less and less Tropical transmitters. The possible introduction of Digital Broadcasting on these frequencies for semi local use, along with the rapidly changing technologies of today seem to suggest that the days of Tropical band stations are numbered.
Walt Salmaniw (Canada) Two ways to look at things. On a positive note, there's less clutter, and so a better chance to hear what's on. On the other hand, it is distressing to see many of our favourites rapidly declining. I, however, enjoy the entire SW spectrum, and there's plenty of challenges remaining.
Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) The future does not look very promising for Tropical band listening.
7) Do you have anything else to add? Any tips for newcomers to Tropical Band listening?
Duane Fischer (USA) While I am not naive enough to believe that a letter writing campaign will change the eventual outcome, I do believe that it can save some stations. I think all listeners would write to the stations that they listen to, be they MW, SW, FM, TV etc. Letting stations know that we are listening is the food they need to feed the minds of those who pay the rent. If we sit quietly by and complain to each other, why should we expect change? Some have said that "the masses are asses", which is not necessarily the truth.
However, if we sit on our hands and do nothing and then complain about things being taken away, we do qualify for that description. This is a choice, not a mandate! I personally think that 'tropical bands' should be stations within the geographical boundaries that determine the longitude and latitude of the real Tropics. The Tropics have a rainforest!
Marie Lamb (USA) Although I certainly suggest getting the best receiver you can, you do not necessarily need the most expensive one when you're starting out. Make sure to have as good an antenna as your circumstances allow. Most of all, get lots of experience tuning the dials, so that you'll quickly learn what you can hear, when it is on, and how the bands behave.
Dario Monferini (Italy) I suggest you send personal letters rather than reception report forms. Add a photo of yourself and family, pictures of your town, stamps, stickers, postcards. Don't be too technical, but show an interest in the music, culture and tourism news of the country you have listened to. Finally, if the station did not reply at the first attempt, try a new report. Don't send follow ups like they do in USA. Good hobby listening to all.
Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) The Tropical bands are very much in their decline and newcomers should seize the chance to listen in now. They will find music styles and propagation events they won't encounter on the international bands, and the opportunity to hear relatively low-powered stations.
Bob Padula (Australia) Monitoring targets for DXers in the Tropical Bands are reducing quickly, as more and more stations move to VHF. QSLs should be sought from the stations which remain on the air, as they may not be there this time next year! All HF monitoring shoud be based on regular study of the spectrum, whether tropical or international, and for suitable records to be maintained (eg: charts) of stations audible at your listening post throughout the year.
An efficient dipole antenna is worthwhile; for 60mb, the total length will be 30 m. However, good results can be obtained from a single-wire antenna if space is limited, but kept as far away as possible from power lines and household wiring.
Balanced feeders are recommended for dipoles, where interference effects are reduced; best results are with feeders of about 50-100 ohms, either using cheap plastic-covered twin power flex, or 75 ohm coaxial cable. I do not suggest that you use 300 ohm TV feeder ribbon.
If possible, use a Pi-section coupler/tuning unit; some surprising noise reduction can be achieved with these simple passive devices.
Many computer-type equipments will radiate strong interference across the RF spectrum, and its important for your radio and antenna to be sited as far away as possible. Beware of "sensor" and "hand capacity dimmer" lighting. Beware also of devices which are on "standby" mode, which radiate intereference even though some circuit elements are switched off.
Willi Passmann (Germany) Take your time to be sure what station you really were listening to.
Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) Definitely stick to the hours of darkness, especially sunrise/sunset. Local mornings seem to have less manmade interference. New stations DO crop up.
Graham Powell (Wales) The main point that seems to be missed by both newcomers and seasoned DXers is the tremendous influence that the Grey-line has on Tropical Band DXing. A good computer program such as Geoclock is a must for the avid Tropical Band DXer. As signals travel so much better along the greyline, it is possible to hear stations for a few weeks of the year that cannot be heard at any other time of the year. If you are prepared in advance then you are able to hear a lot more than just tuning around hoping to catch that exotic station.
Another thing that the newcomer overlooks is that he/she usually thinks that the Tropical Bands are only good for DX during the dark winter evenings. This is definitely not the case. During the month of June the path of the greyline moves extremely rapidly here in the UK, but lasts for substantially longer; in fact on June 21st for example there is a great greyline to Hanoi in Vietnam at 2140 UTC which then moves around until it reaches Malawi at 0300 UTC. Stations that appear on the greyline are boosted in strength, giving some remarkable reception.
Walt Salmaniw (Canada) Antenna, antenna, antenna.....by far the most important. At least in western North America, a random wire rarely is sufficient. One really needs more gain, and the best, if you have the room, is the Beverage. A phenomenal antenna with amazing directivity and low noise characteristics. Noise is the other enemy of the tropical band DXer. It helps to have a choice of several antennae to choose the quietest one. I use a rotary switch fed to a multicoupler, and then on my receivers. Works fine at home.
Of course on DXpeditions, I usually take a couple of receivers, usually the 2050 and the 7030+. To catch those difficult to copy IDs, I use the minidisc system which is always totally hiss-free and my recorder has a 10 second cache which allows me to never miss that unexpected ID. By all means, get out and join a DXpedition! What a fantastic way to meet others in the hobby, and learn from those who've been involved in the hobby for a lot of years. I'm always amazed at what I learn from others at these get togethers!
Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) No particular tips for listening to the Tropical bands but I will be pleased to see what other Tropical band DXers have to say.
The panel also recommend the following references:
World Radio TV Handbook http://www.wrth.com/
Passport to World Band Radio http://www.passband.com/
Weekly Cumbre DX newsletter http://www.cumbredx.org/
High Frequency Coordination Conference (HFCC) Master Schedule at http://www.hfcc.org/
Willi Passmann Tropical Band List (TBL) http://www.radio-portal.org/
Klingenfuss Shortwave Guide, Klingenfuss Super Freq List on CD-ROM, http://www.klingenfuss.org/
Tropical Band Latest section on the Online DX Logbook http://www.odxl.org.uk/
Tropical Band Survey edited by Danish Shortwave Club International (DSWCI) http://www.dswci.dk/
Internet user groups:
Conexion DX email@example.com
Cumbre DX http://www.cumbredx.org/
Hard Core DX http://www.hard-core-dx.com/