As in any hobby, jargon is used to summarize activities or concepts which the members partake in. “DXpedition” is a term describing a journey into the wilderness to receive distant signals called DX. The only official DXpedition I was on was to a place called Seven Mile Flats, an out-of-the-way place in British Columbia.
On the Victoria Day long weekend, Joseph Gudz and I drove to a collection of shacks which some radio astronomers had used for their work. I could tell the place was remote by the narrow road we drove along. At one point, the car nearly fell into the river. Thanks to Joseph’s masterful steering, we made it to the camp site.
Joseph and I shared one room of a fourplex. As earlier arrivals from the Canadian International DX (CIDX) club chatted, Joseph and I set up our equipment. Once both of our radios were connected to Joseph’s car battery, we began scanning the shortwave frequency for those hard-to-hear signals impossible to hear through city static.
I, and the other CIDXers, had radios which covered a wide range of frequencies. Poor Joseph wasn’t so fortunate. The DX-160 he had purchased from Radio Shack lacked the marine band. That was where many of the DXers found rare stations. He did find a few interesting signals but nowhere near the amount we did.
Though the prairies were green with new spring growth, the mountains were still recovering from winter. No snow lay on the ground but it felt to us like April. Consequently, I shivered as I tried to sleep. It seemed like I had never felt so cold.
Saturday and Sunday were sunny days but the temperature only rose to about sixty degrees Fahrenheit (fifteen degrees Celsius). Even so, the sun was hot enough to warm water that I had poured into a military surplus canteen.
Then the sun ruined our fun. While I went to the latrine on Sunday afternoon, it belched out a solar flair. When I returned to my radio in the shack, the signals were very weak. As I went out to find the break in my antenna wire, I met up with a fellow club member. He told me not to bother checking my antenna because there was a solar flare
Since there was nothing much to hear, I took photographs of the camp, a mountain stream, and the remains of the radio astronomers’ antenna set-up. I also appreciated the lack of traffic noise as I strolled around the camp and along the stream. How sublime it would have been to live in such a place forever.
The drive home on Monday was uneventful. As I listened to my radio in my apartment, I thought how nice it was not to hear everybody’s TV interference. The DXpedition was like leaving a smoky room and breathing clean air for a change.
I mentioned my shortwave listening hobby in my three memoirs. When a Man Loves a Rabbit and Deliverance from Jericho are featured on the left side of my Bruce Atchison’s bookspage. My recently-published e-book and paperback, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.