Eagle Hawk Lookout

This article originally appeared on the now-defunct dbrmuz blog.

As noted in this Old DX Logs post.

Fantastic little spot,way too small to accommodate just how popular it is.And with it’s proximity to Katoomba’s Scenic World,no wonder.Though I frequent regularly for the radio catches,as opposed to the view.Quite a nice little drop…

…and fairly close to the road too.

Looking across to the Three Sisters,I’m more interested in the transmission towers pictured centre,at Wentworth FallsBodington Hill.

Clicking the above Bodington map link will fail to reveal any towers at all-as expected in this time of fear (thank you “Weapons” of Mass Deception),but right-clicking my pic and opening it up at full size will (just-I forgot my camera and was using the phone,in failing light).

Aside from whatever else transmits from Bodington,Sydney music station The Edge 96.1 emanates from there,if anyone cares.

Interestingly,the RDS from The Edge never makes it into Lithgow,despite the fact that a) I get The Edge at 2 bars on the Sony;and b) most Sydney stations will display RDS at only 1 bar 

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Old DX Logs – 9/11/2011

This article originally appeared on the now-defunct dbrmuz blog.

Tuesday morning,November 9th,having some time on my hands,I stopped at two different lookouts in Katoomba,just to see what was happening (if anything),and to compare a few shared frequencies.Pictured below is my adaptation of Google maps Katoomba,showing my two locations:

Location 1 is Eagle Hawk Lookout,which has a lot of shelter from the west (it’s a lot lower than pretty much all of Cliff Drive west of it).
Location 2 is just south of Cahills Lookout,which is higher,and has a hell of a lot better line west.

Whilst I did full band scans at both,I’m not going to bother posting the lot (too dull).Instead,I’m mainly comparing differences,or mentioning stuff that was a first for me.I’d never even heard of 2BACR before!

Equipment:Blaupunkt Casablanca CD51,Sharx mode ON.

Location 1:

92.7 Bay & Basin
95.1 spill from Power Nowra
95.5 ABC Local Manning River (great piece on Lismore garbage collection!) w/spill from 95.7 Classic Illawarra
95.9 ABC Local Port Stephens
97.1 Radio National Manning River
97.5 2HD Port Stephens
98.3 Radio National Port Stephens
99.3 2NSB Chatswood
100.1 community radio that I never positively ID’d (guessing Hornsby)
100.9 2BACR,displaying the following RDS:DEMO VERSION RADIO DATA SYSTEM CODER ——-
101.5 JJJ Canberra
102.1 JJJ Newcastle
103.5 trace of Orange community
104.3 Radio National Central Tablelands
104.5 STAR Gosford,weak,w/
104.5 Triple U underneath
105.3 Country Wollongong
105.9 Star Orange
106.3 traces of NewsRadio Central Western Slopes
106.7 Race Orange
106.9 VOX Wollongong

Location 2:

91.5 NewsRadio Southwest Slopes
93.1 Real FM Mudgee
95.5 ABC still,but weak
95.9 JJJ Bathurst
97.5 Classic Bathurst
98.3 NewsRadio Bathurst
99.3 B-Rock Bathurst
100.1 Bathurst Community
100.5 conflicting RPH’s
100.9 Race radio Bathurst
102.3 Classic Canberra
103.5 Orange,booming in
103.9 NewsRadio Canberra
104.7 Canberra



Notes:

  • A lot of the Wollongong/south stuff was clear at both,hence why I only mention it once.
  • Gosford was booming in at the second spot,after a very weak showing at the first.
  • Bathurst completely obliterated everything at locale #2,even more so than I expected.
  • Orange was obviously a lot stronger at the second spot too.

*Special Note:106.3 at locale 2 was silence.Or,if you prefer,Lithgow’s SBS,which had been pumping out full stereo nothing for almost four weeks at the time-so about three months now! Brilliant.

Critics savage We Can’t Dance

This satirical article originally appeared on the now-defunct dbrmuz blog.

The half wit is revisiting an album originally played (to death, I might add!) while touring Bali in the mid-1990s. It was a wonderful soundtrack to the region. The album is Genesis’ We Can’t Dance. In order to arouse controversy, I am going to quote from this review which paints this album in an overwhelming negative light. That’s probably more interesting than a Genesis fanatic’s biased opinion. It may or may not also be because I am too lazy or gutless to critique this myself!

Driving The Last Spike is one of my favourite Genesis songs from the Phil-era. Let’s hear from the reviewer…

First of all, since they’d already stepped into the CD age, the album is deadly long – more than seventy minutes, which means that, good or bad the song, it’s bound to drag for ages until it sucks your brains out. Needless to say, the worse the song is, the longer it usually drags: the totally faceless pop rocker ‘Driving The Last Spike’, for instance, drives me so much outa my mind that I don’t even notice when it finally ceases to terrorize me, I’m already in a total state of coma. Had they sorted out things and reduced the song lengths and thrown out some of the more annoying filler, this might have been interpreted as a half-decent mainstream pop effort; as such, it is a grotesque, ridiculous brain-annihilating monster to be loathed.

 Now a reader’s comment…

How can anyone stand by “Driving The Last Spike”? It starts out as pretty decent, but just keeps repeating itself to the point where it sounds like self-parody. Really, really sad. And it’s one of the standout tracks! The rest of this stuff is boring as fuck (not to say that fuck is boring, I just need to draw some sort of crude analogy), with the exception of three very well done pop singles, which I love like children. They’re enough to give it a four. But no more! 

 An another…

The two extended pieces, ‘Driving The Last Spike’ and ‘Fading Lights’ have some mildly intersting solos but nothing that compares to the work done on ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ (sic). Sometimes appeasing the masses of getting something mroe radio friendly can dilute one’s creativity and unfotunately Genesis did just that with the release of this CD (sic).

Acknowledgement: Vinyl Clocks

No Son of Mine is amongst the best songwriting efforts on the record, in my amateur opinion, but apparently…

There’s also the catchy ‘Jesus He Knows Me’, a song with more or less simple lyrics denouncing religious hypocrisy (didn’t the video feature Phil as a preacher?) and a ‘modern’ fast melody that still gets me going. Okay, at least it isn’t techno or something. ‘No Son Of Mine’ is also an interesting pop number. But that’s about it. The rest is either horrendous (‘highlights’ include the ridiculous save-the-poor-rocker ‘Tell Me Why’, not to be confused with the Beatles song), or, more often, just booorring.

Acknowledgement: Deejay Roger Alexis Flores’ blog

Jesus He Knows Me is another track I never get sick of, a pop song that still gets airplay on commercial radio. When the neighbours in another apartment on the same floor start singing the song in the lift on Christmas Eve, you know it has broad appeal. I thought I had the volume at a reasonably low level! Yeah, cool, huh?

To be fair to the reviewer, George Starostin, he does include the following disclaimer…

This page is not written by from the point of view of a Genesis fanatic and is not generally intended for narrow-perspective Genesis fanatics. If you are deeply offended by criticism, non-worshipping approach to your favourite artist, or opinions that do not match your own, do not read any further.

I admit, I do find myself agreeing with this reader’s comment, but I still enjoy this record immensely…

If I could reassemble this album from the available songs, it would go something like this: No Son Of Mine / I Can’t Dance / On The The Shoreline / Dreaming While You Sleep / Living Forever / Hearts On Fire / Way Of The World / Driving The Last Spike. That would have been about 48 minutes — not too short, not too long (unless you wanted to fit it on one side of a 90-minute tape), and no filler.

Reader’s comments which supplement George’s review can be found here.

Is this proof Noel *was* Oasis? An amazing debut album. While the latest Jezabels disappoints.

This article originally appeared on the now-defunct dbrmuz blog.

The fruitcake has taken three electronic albums with him to the brisk French seaside. The first two, Genesis’ We Can’t Dance (a chart-topping 1990s album, selected to elicit a taste of nostalgia) & the Jezabels’ Prisoner are not bad at all, but the competition is fierce.

Byron Bay brunette Hayley Mary of the Jezabels.

As textured as the Jezabels record is, the composition by Noel & his flying circus is quite simply extraordinary. If you ever thought Oasis albums were a mixed bag, check this out. The Flying Birds’ record does not contain a single bad track, honestly.

In late October, Noel appeared on the Johnathan Ross Show which airs on ABC1. Sans drugs, he is a better man. In this interview, Noel retains that cheeky Manchester arrogance Oasis were notorious for, despite the fact he now has a young family to distract him from getting too crazy.

 

The Flying Birds record as assessed by the critics…
The Guardian review – three stars
Rolling Stone review – three & a half stars
Crikey review
 
This ‘lunar tick’ has recently commented upon the artistic influences that can be heard in the musical works of the Jezabels. Interested readers can view my amateur opinion on the acclaimed Keep It Civil blog. Perhaps the Sydney-based group peaked with the last record? It will take some repeated listening sessions, but, nothing on the latest record, yet, seems to come close to the group’s exquisite track from last year, Mace Spray. I have flogged this single to death in my car. It can be found on the Hottest 100 compilation.

On the outside looking in

This satirical article originally appeared on the now-defunct dbrmuz blog.

The maniac joins you good folks from the bowels of a holiday apartment on the French riviera. The blog owner & myself have long been fans of the Californian band Oingo Boingo. Okay, I would happily cite this band as the best Californian band since the 1980s but here’s the thing, California was also home to Metallica… you can see my dilemma. Perhaps you can’t… there is no accounting for taste (or lack thereof).

The staff at the dbrmuz blog discovered Oingo Boingo with their breakthrough album Dead Man’s Party in 1987 or 1988. It was probably ’88, but, I do not recall, life is too short to dwell on such matters. The album tore through commercial stations yielding hits Stay & Weird Science. The latter was also the name of a rather entertaining movie, you could do worse to revisit it, considering the gorgeous British model who was cast.

Here is an absolute gem from the band, which I believe sums up how the (misguided) public may perceive the purveyor of the niche hobby of distant FM reception. It’s a gorgeous track. After decades I never tire of hearing it on my jukebox. Purists should note that yes, this was released long before Oingo Boingo made in big on commerical radio in the Southern Hemisphere. Listen to the lyrics, Danny & the crew speak to the people who don’t quite fit the popular mould. Have a wonderful Christmas readers! Oh, no, I’ve spilled my Brown Brothers Crouchen Riesling. 

For those who enjoy ridiculing others (well, who doesn’t?) over the festive season, I submit this brutally honest anecdote. 🙂

After these entries, I was forced into an extended multi-coloured yawn into the toilet bowel. I then carefully walked into the basin in the bathroom as another ‘session’ took hold of me. Either I’m suddenly allergic to white wine or the Domino’s pizza was bad. Probably the latter.

‘How embarassment!’… It truly was a moment worthy of a Peep Show Christmas special. For those devoid of a sense of humour, this sitcom is one of Ricky Gervais’ favourite shows, I’ve been a hard-core fan since its commencement on ABC2.

Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate 50 mg

Update: After almost partaking in another technicolour yawn again while attempting to climb a popular mountain merely 287 metres high (on a well-graded track!) I have found out what the problem is. Elemental Zinc cannot be taken at recommended doses without taking a complete break from the supplement periodically. It’s one thing to be vomiting in a temperature-controlled apartment, quite another to be forced to (almost) do so on a hill top. Zinc is a highly effective supplement, but just be aware of potential side effects.

Is DXing a hobby only for the rich?

Since this was originally published, G1VVP has now freshened his perspective in Elitism in the Hobby which offers a comprehensive narrative on this topic. His original opinion piece inspired an entry of this blogger’s own. Further thoughts about the exclusivity prevalent in particular sports & hobbies have followed over the years; this piece originally from 2011 has been revised in December 2013 to reflect that progression. Please see also: Elitism in DXing: a succinct treatise

Stop ‘Helping’ Already is a 2014 narrative published by Todd Dugdale, KD0TLS. In this piece, Todd offers a brilliant insight into ‘mentoring’ practices. He also discusses what could be classified as exclusive marketing techniques, that is the apparent need to spent heaps of money just to try fit in. His refreshingly candid perspective offers broad applicability to all radio-based hobbies, not just amateur radio! 

Controversy keeps us alive. Tonight, we consider this question…

Is DXing a hobby only for the rich?

What distinguishes a ‘dabbler’ from an enthusiast? Is there a place for such elitism in a hobby which is declining in popularity for the X & Y generations? Take this example, and the hundreds worldwide that likely accompany it:

One young hard-core American enthusiast has yielded over 1,600 FM logs (that is, loggings of distant FM radio stations) using a combined VHF/UHF antenna and a rotator.

Does this mean his logs are NOT considered DXing because the antenna used is a combined VHF/UHF antenna, rather than an FM-specific antenna, like the APS 13 element antenna? Some enthusiasts cannot afford a rotator, nor specific antennas for VHF, FM and UHF. Notice the worldwide recession anyone?

 Do we live for controversy? © 2006 Luke Dorny

There is a very small minority of British enthusiasts who frequent hard-core DX forums insinuating that every modern day enthusiast is a fool. Perhaps this is NOT their intention; some enthusiasts may just be inarticulate when they express themselves. Everyone knows how easily written communication can be misinterpreted, and use of telephone and face-to-face communication are less problematic.

However, this blogger and numerous others tend to arrive at that conclusion time and time again. These enthusiasts are world renowned TV DXers. To fail to consider what they are saying would be like putting your head in the sand.

I think the word “DXer” is a bit too grand describe DXing with an aerial intended for totally the wrong frequency…One might as well use a telescopic aerial and be done with it. Possibly “Dabbler” is a better word than “DXer” with this sort of DXing setup. In days of old, one put an antenna up to cover the band required with a rotator if one wanted to DX weak signals properly from all directions.

But are opinions, such as the above quote, accurate? Are the ‘dabblers’ genuinely foolish with the equipment they choose to use? I would argue people are restricted in the hobby. Any hobby. Wouldn’t every renter put up a large antenna if their body corporate allowed them to?

Learning potential

What if someone wanted to venture into the wonderful world of FM DX but couldn’t even afford an indoor antenna?  Remember, this is a hobby that potentially teaches its enthusiasts about:

  • geography,
  • meteorology,
  • propagation,
  • radio markets,
  • overseas languages, current affairs & custom,
  • social networking with peers throughout the world,
  • radio electronics,
  • home maintenance techniques &
  • antenna theory.

…to name just a few of the learning outcomes enthusiasts might look forward to by pursuing DX!

Additional perspectives

Paul Logan is a relatively young enthusiast from Northern Ireland who is taking a stance against this elitism. Logan is NOT a ‘dabbler’. He is an amateur radio operator and world record holder who is actively promoting the use of portable radios through ‘Ultralight techniques’ to revitalize interest in the hobby. Today, Logan even utilizes the Whisper mode to conduct weak signal amateur radio contacts, a ‘bleeding edge’ digital mode favoured amongst the most progressive amateur radio operators.

When the Ultralight AM listening “craze” took off in 2007 thanks to American radio enthusiast Gary De Bock it was only a matter of time before the scaling back of our pursuit would be extended to the FM band.

Tecsun PL-606 with full length monopole  © 2013 Stephen Airy

G1VVP is a club founder and amateur who achieved transatlantic DX amateur radio contacts in 2010.

I get very angry when people take a ‘holier than thou’ attitude and make sweeping statements, dismissing those whom they feel are beneath them. Perhaps there is a reason: I know that ‘some’ DXers and radio amateurs get very upset if they have been missing out on exotic DX. They have invested large amounts of time and money to improve their setup so they become disillusioned to discover that someone down the road with a bucket and a piece of wet string has been hearing far more than they have with their lattice towers and stacked arrays. That is life!

Much stunning DX has been worked or received over the years on very simple equipment. We even have groups for those interested in ‘QRP’ or ‘Ultralight’ which present more challenges to the DXer. Many of these people go on to achieve ‘as much as’ and sometimes ‘more’ than others with elaborate equipment. Why? It could be because of the skill of the operator or because of dogged patience and a little bit of ‘luck’. While it may not ALL be attributed to luck, it is generally agreed that good fortune plays a significant part from time to time. in getting that exotic DX catch.

Elitism or common sense?

Are you an enthusiast your twenties or thirties? A teenager perhaps? What are you doing to stop the elitism infecting your hobby? Is the elitism just another example of bigotry and intolerance seeping into the social environment?

Perhaps you believe that elitism is good for the hobby? Is it a necessary part of every pursuit? After all, even beer drinkers can be tiresomely elitist, says homebrewer Barley Pop Maker in his hilarious satirical piece. Do you recognize yourself in one of his categories?

Perhaps it is NOT elitist to criticize receiving equipment that fails to meet minimum standards of functionality? For example, if one cannot receive a relative abundance of weak signals throughout the year on a portable receiver (probably one of the goals of a DX-based hobby), then criticism of using that particular method by a peer may NOT necessarily represent an elitist attitude, per se. Instead, it may represent an attempt to assist other enthusiasts into sustainable listening habits to avoid long term frustration. That potential frustration could ultimately result in an enthusiast quitting the DX hobby, which in contemporary times is becoming an increasingly difficult pursuit due to band congestion. Valuable talent is lost.

'Kill your Ego' at Burning Man © 2012 John Eikleberry

On the other hand, let’s be realistic about human nature. Status battles form inherently in pursuits that are NOT rewarded by income, but by achievements alone. Go to any sporting or hobbyist club to see this in action!

Politics within clubs

Problems that may exist in some DX enthusiast clubs tend to mirror the widespread problems with amateur radio clubs. As suggested in that excellent article (well worth reading entirely), if politics within any club over the long term is ‘sucking the fun out of’ the hobby, membership may constitute a waste of precious time. At worst, rather than learning anything new, time in a club may be spent arguing about trivial details!

If a ‘higher status’ peer ridicules others primarily because it is fun, the recipient is an easy target (e.g. new entrant or ‘lower status’ in the hierarchy) and the peer’s argument seems to be superficial and devoid of any logic… then perhaps elitism or even subtle bullying may genuinely be at play within a club or forum.

On-line forums might also just as be problematic for sensitive personality types. No one can deny that the world wide web (and in particular, forums) may facilitate a world of social interaction where ‘keyboard jockeys’ can taunt others without fear.

Be yourself

One can easily ‘go it alone’ in the world of DX without membership of a club or forum. The same applies to those  without access to expensive equipment or an acreage-sized rural backyard! Please don’t be afraid to be yourself (maverick or otherwise) in the hobby. As Oingo Boingo sang in the eighties, ‘there is nothing to fear but fear itself’.