Chasing NDB’s In The Haida Gwaii

Over the past two weeks, I have spent some time reviewing several Perseus SDR recordings sent to me by Walter Salminaw in Victoria, B.C.

Walter is a hard core, mainly BCB DXer, who has a winterized vacation home in the remote Haida Gwaii Archipelago region of north west British Columbia, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

He has built several permanent antennas, including loops and various beverages, mainly favoring Asia, the Pacific and over-the-pole. Some of his BCB recordings reveal mind-numbing signals from all parts of Asia ... not S9, but S9+++ and simply amazing.

I had asked Walter for some of his files that covered the NDB band, during periods of good propagation, so that I might be able to determine if my selected list of Alaskan beacons were actually on-the-air or not. There are several NDBs in Alaska that seem to be active, according to FAA information, but have never been heard by NDB DXers. Using Walt's recordings, along with his NW-pointed beverage, allowed my to have a deep listen into Alaska and finally get some answers.

It was exciting to tune through the very quiet band, from a northern perspective, and to hear many of the more 'difficult' (normally weak here) Alaskan targets at S9 levels. Unfortunately, going through my list of suspects, turned-up no sign of activity from any of them and explains why I have never been able to hear them from here! Like so many regions around the world, it seems that the once huge network of Alaskan NDBs is quickly being phased out up there as well.

An unexpected side benefit of going through Walt's files, turned up several instances of beacons in the Canadian north, that had been reported shut down, several years ago. It was surprising to hear them still as active as ever. Additionally, one NDB in Alaska, unheard here for two years and thought to be gone for some time, was found to be still happily keying away.

I've sent these findings to the RNA database for updating ... but it would have been nice to hear some of my long-sought after Alaskan 'ghosts', which seem likely to have been off-the-air for several years.

I would like to thank Walter for taking the time to share his Perseus files with me and for his unexpected contribution to the RNA database. Here are a few of the log's highlights:

DD UTC kHz Call mi New Location
22 14:07 214 DA Dawson, YT, CAN ... RNA shows QRT as of 2008 ...0 deg bev best
22 14:07 236 JB 'Laberge' Whitehorse, YT, CAN ... RNA shows QRT in 2011 ... 0 deg bev
22 14:07 245 CB Cambridge Bay, NU, CAN ... 0 deg bev best but betterr on ALA on 19th
22 05:35 266 GH Fort Good Hope, YT, CAN ... RNA shows QRT in 2006 ... 0 deg bev
22 05:35 269 ZW Teslin, YT, CAN ... RNA show QRT early 2015 ... 0 deg bev
22 14:07 277 YLC Kimmirut, NU, CAN ... 0 deg bev
22 05:35 284 YOC Old Crow, YT, CAN ... only heard in AK, YT and Scandinavia ... 0 deg bev
22 14:07 287 WJ Deline, NT, CAN ... RNA shows QRT as of 2011 ... 0 deg bev
22 05:35 290 YYH Taloyoak, NU, CAN ... 0 deg bev
22 05:35 326 VQ Norman Wells, NT, CAN ... RNA shows QRT as of 2012 ... 0 deg bev
22 05:35 338 YPX Puvirnituq, QC, CAN ... the only PQ heard on your files ... 0 deg bev
22 14:57 346 N9 Tumbler Ridge Municipal Apt, BC, CAN ... RNA shows QRT as of 2014 ... nw bog
22 05:35 350 RB Resolute Bay, NU, CAN ... 0 deg bev
21 13:56 352 RG Nikau - Rarotonga IAP, CKS ... nw bog
19 13:47 359 NDJ Bucholz AAF - Kwajalein, MHL ... nw bog but ALA NE/SW best
21 13:56 360 OX Iwo Jima, VOI ... nw bog
22 05:35 362 YZS Coral Harbour, NU, CAN ... 0 deg bev
22 05:35 378 UX Hall Beach, NU, CAN ... 0 deg bev
22 05:35 417 GBH Galbraith Lake, ALS ... RNA shows QRT as of 2013 ... 0 deg bev
In the meantime, it looks like our planet is due for two more CME hits later tonight or early Saturday morning and the relatively quiet conditions of the past few nights will likely be badly disturbed on LF for the next few days ... something that has been happening far too much this winter as it seems that most of the prime time DX season has been one continual blast from the sun after another.
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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