ULR DX-pedition: May/June 2021 – Three States of Brazil

Ligia and Martin, heading for a new adventure

Text by: Martin Butera
PT2ZDX – LU9EFO
Photographs by: Ligia Katze

Before starting with this Dxpedition report called “3 states of Brazil”, I always have the habit of writing a little reflection of the trip, especially in this time of pandemic that we are all experiencing.

Those of us who have traveled again, without a doubt since the pandemic began, have done it in a very different way than what we used to do in other times.

The fact of already being fully vaccinated does not prevent us from continuing to take care of ourselves, using a mask correctly, covering the mouth and nose on airplanes, buses and other means of public transport that we use when we travel.

We continue to avoid large crowds and always maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from anyone else.

Within Brazil it is allowed to remove the mask in outdoor areas, of course we continue to wash our hands frequently, using alcohol gel.

Finally, whenever we return home, we take a viral test and quarantine for a full 7 days.

We are aware of the change that this pandemic produces in travelers, being responsible we can continue in search of seas and sunsets, flavors, languages, stories and new cultures.

Finally also, I would like to leave a reflection on how we practice our hobby of radio listening.

The idea of these Dxpedition reports is that you listen to the radio (reader), travel a little with us and learn a little about this wonderful country that is “Brazil”.

The listens he made are in a personal way, without paying attention to too much technical data, I just enjoy being able to listen with my pocket radio.

At the end of this report, you will have a detailed log with my listeners, from a period that goes from May 25 to June 8, passing through 3 states of the Brazilian northeast. This is intended to be an idea of what can be received in those latitudes, with a medium wave pocket radio, nothing simpler than that.

Remember that a hobby is a hobby or playful-recreational activity that expresses personal interests, abilities and tastes.

When an amateur has a deep interest in his hobby, he is sometimes tempted to compare himself as if he were a “professional.”

I say goodbye with a phrase from the great Oscar Wilde, who says the following: “Those who do nothing are always ready to criticize those who do something.”

Let’s get started !!

Equipment used

I decided to work without SDR, all DXing live, one frequency at a time, for this I chose to take my C. Crane CC Skywave SSB radio, without modifications, the most radical and pure concept possible.

As an example of the receiver C. Crane CC Skywave SSB.

Travel by plane to the city of Natal

We left with my wife, in a direct flight very early at dawn, from the Brasília DF International Airport (Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek), heading to the Grande Natal International Airport or the São Gonçalo do Amarante International Airport, it is a complex built in the city of Natal, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. It was inaugurated on August 31, 2014, automatically replacing the entire commercial aviation operation of the old Augusto Severo International Airport.

The trip lasts approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes, it is more than 1,776 kilometers in a straight line.

Brazil is a huge country, of continental distances and covers a large part of South America. It is divided between the federal district (the Brazilian capital, Brasilia) and 26 states, each with an independent capital.

Map with the location of Natal, capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande Do Norte.

First QTH Dxpedition in the city of Natal (Praia de Ponta Negra area)

Natal is a city located in the Brazilian northeast, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte. It is also 80 kilometers from Pipa, another tourist city on the Brazilian coast, which we visited with my wife on this trip.

Geographically it is located at 5 ° 46 ‘South and 35 ° 12’ West of latitude and longitude respectively.

Natal covers a total area of 170 square kilometers, divided into 36 neighborhoods and four regions, being the south, north, east and west.

In Natal we are located in the area of “Ponta Negra”, which is a beach and neighborhood located in the extreme south of the capital, in it you can see the “Morro do Careca”, a large dune and a landmark of the city.

We stayed at the Apart Hotel Casa Grande, which is located just 100 meters from Ponta Negra beach and enjoys panoramic views of the sea.

This Apart Hotel was not randomly searched, I was very interested in its location, facing the sea.

Left view of the balconies of the Apart Hotel Casa Grande, on the right Martin Butera, with his radio on the hotel terrace.

Natal is so named because the Portuguese arrived at Christmas. They were not very original and decided to baptize that area as Natal.

With one of the most beautiful coasts in Brazil, stretching over 400 km, Natal is considered the city with the purest air in South America. The most popular beach in the city is undoubtedly Ponta Negra, where locals and tourists enjoy the sea, restaurants and nightlife.

In World War II, Natal was a city re-modified by the United States as it was used as a Yankee base. They say that is why the structure of the city and the organization is so good.

The natives of Natal were long called Potiguares, which means shrimp eaters. This was the name of the native people that lived there when the colonizers arrived.

Natal and its surroundings fell in love with us. If someone passes through Natal, “Praia de Ponta Negra” should not be missed.

Martin Butera, conducting the first listening tests, during the day, the reception was incredible, I could listen to the 800 kHz Trans-World Radio without much difficulty, from the island of Bonaire (ex-Netherlands Antilles), Caribbean Sea.
Martin Butera, listening to another Caribbean station, without difficulty, it was 1660 kHz WGIT from Puerto Rico, a radio station that broadcasts a Spanish religious format.

Here are some photographs of our passage through the city of Natal

The Old Five

In the days in Natal, we discovered a charming bar by the sea, called “The Old Five” is the main bar in Natal. The owner of the establishment is chef Ísis Melo, graduated in gastronomy in São Paulo, the menu includes 35 dishes, always highlighting local food and seafood The house drinks are a hit.

Praia de Tibau do Sul

After spending a few pleasant days in the city of Natal and its “Ponta Negra” beach, we traveled south for approximately 85 kilometers, that took us about 1 hour and a half by bus to the municipality of Tibau do Sul.

Tourists from different parts of the country and the world, in addition to the Tibau families, are the usual ones in this corner.

The calm and shallow waters of the “Lagoa de Guaraíras”, mixed with the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, provide the perfect leisure for those who like calm waters, mainly due to the retaining wall that extends on this beach and softens the waves that there break, forming a huge natural pool.

The beach is easily accessible, as you can reach its sands on foot or by car, passing through the city center of Tibau do Sul.

As you know, all of the most important wiretapping takes place at dawn in the hotel room, however I always carry my pocket radio everywhere and I can assure you that in many of these paradisiacal beaches that I visit, at unusual times , you can capture interesting radios and even some DX.

Here are photos of our passage through these beautiful beaches.

Praia do Pipa

Our trip then continued for a few days in “Praia do Pipa”, which is a small tourist town in the northeast of Brazil and belonging to the municipality of Tibau do Sul.

Despite being one of the most famous and popular beaches in Rio Grande do Norte, popular with surfers, backpackers, and tourists from all over Brazil, Pipa has a laid-back atmosphere.

It is a refuge for those seeking natural beauty, with its impressive landscapes.

The name Pipa is of Portuguese origin, from the time of the colonization in Brazil. Its meaning in Portugal is barrels of wine or oil and it was chosen to name the beach after seeing a large rock on the coast, which resembled the shape of one of these barrels.

What else to write about “Pipa”, lush cliffs, white sands, crystal clear waters …

João Pessoa

We leave the state of Rio Grande do Norte, to continue our journey to the city of João Pessoa (capital of the State of Paraíba).

To get there, we travel a distance of approximately 180 kilometers, which takes us 2 and a half hours along the BR-101 route.

João Pessoa is known as the city where the sun rises first, because the city is located at the eastern-most point of the American continent. It is at a latitude of 7º09’28” South and a longitude of 34º47’30” West.

Recife

We continue to our last destination, the city of Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco in the northeast of Brazil.

They were approximately 120 kilometers from João Pessoa, to Recife by the BR-101 route.

In Recife we always choose to stay in the “Boa Viagem” beach area, which is sheltered by reefs and surrounded by modern hotels and restaurants.

Last year we were already in this city and you can read a detailed report in the Ultralight Dxpedition of November 2020.

Listening Log Dxpedition 3 states of Brazil – Brazilian Northeast

Before clarification, short wave reports use the SINPO code, but for medium wave something simpler is usually sufficient.

Martín Butera uses the following names here:

(A) Excellent (B) Good (C) Fair (D) Poor

It is understood as:

A: Excellent (when the signal is very strong and there is practically no interference)

B: Good (This indicates that Martín was able to listen to the station well, but perhaps there was interference, noise or fading).

C: Regular (There was interference and / or fading or noise that made copying difficult, but he could still understand parts of the program. Enough for a positive identification)

D: Poor. (It was almost impossible to copy the signal but you could hear some content. Enough to make a tentative identification).

Log Dxpedition Brasil 3 states end of May, beginning of June 2021

Antenna: Original of the radio itself
Radio receiver: C. Crane CC Skywave SSB

Listening places:

Apart Hotel Casa Grande -5.877496941693617, -35.17598282782073 R. Pedro Fonseca Filho, 3050 – Ponta Negra, Natal – RN, 59090-080

Bessa Beach Hotel -7.064895352655295, -34.840032528441725 Av. Arthur Monteiro de Paiva, 1066 – Bessa, João Pessoa – PB, 58035-010

Grand Mercure Hotel -8.124852755865438, -34.89727377075774 Av. Boa Viagem, 4070 – Boa Viagem, Recife – PE, 51021-100

The photographs of the reception area are an example, a small sample of the place during the day. The listening occurs almost entirely in the hotel’s own bed (while my wife was resting), at dawn, however on this tour I could hear some interesting stations in the middle of the day on the beach.

As I mentioned before, this does not pretend to be a very serious, exhaustive, deep or too rigorous report, it is my own listening experience that I carry out in a period that goes from May 25 to June 8, 2021, in a large list unified.

Some distances to keep in mind as a reference always in a straight line:

Natal, Brazil to Mexico City (Mexico), approximately 7,524 Km
Natal, Brazil to New Orleans, Louisiana (USA), Approximately 7,065 KM
Natal, Brazil to Boston (USA), Approximately 6,465 KM
Natal, Brazil to Nassau (Bahamas Islands), approximately 5,698 KM
Natal, Brazil to Bogotá (Colombia), approximately 4,468 KM
Natal, Brazil to Puerto Rico, approximately 4,355 KM
Natal, Brazil to Caracas (Venezuela), approximately 3,949 KM
João Pessoa Brasil to Ain Beida (Algeria), approximately 6,497 KM
João Pessoa, Brazil to Tangier (Morocco), approximately 5,649 KM
João Pessoa, Brazil to Montevideo (Uruguay), approximately 3,773 KM
Recife, Brazil to Buenos Aires (Argentina), approximately 3,801 KM
Recife, Brazil to Asunción (Paraguay), approximately 3,080 KM
Recife, Brazil to São Paulo (Brazil), approximately 2,131 KM

Mediumwave band

530 Somos Radio, Buenos Aires/ Argentina (C)
531 Jil FM, Aïn Beïda/ Algeria (C)
540 SNRT, Tanger/ Marruecos (C)
540 Jornal, Canindé/CE - Brasil (B)
550 Super Rádio Boa Vontade AM 550 - Ribeirão Preto / SP - Brasil (C)
550 Serra da Capivara, São Raimundo Nonato/PI - Brasil (C)
560 Educadora, São Luís/MA - Brasil (B)
560 Jornal, Itabuna/BA - Brasil (C)
570 Uirapuru, Itapipoca/CE - Brasil (B)
580 RBC AM, Recife/PE - Brasil (A)
590 Poty, Crateús/CE - Brasil (B)
600 Mirante, São Luís/MA - Brasil (C)
600 Vale, Barreiras/BA - Brasil (C)
620 Assunção, Fortaleza/CE - Brasil (B)
630 B R. Difusora, Macapá/AP - Brasil (C)
630 Cidade, Campos Sales/CE - Brasil (C)
640 Cruzeiro, Pedro II/PI - Brasil (C)
650 Alto Piranhas, Cajazeiras/PB - Brasil (C)
660 Xinguara, Xinguara/PA - Brasil (C)
660 Planalto, Euclides da Cunha/BA - Brasil (C)
670 Cultura, Aracaju/SE - Brasil (B)
680 Grande Rio, Petrolina/PE - Brasil (B)
710 Educadora, Conceição/PB - Brasil (C)
720 Clube, Recife/PE - Brasil (A)
740 Sociedade, Salvador/BA - Brasil (C)
750 Uirapuru, Fortaleza/CE - Brasil (B)
770 Rádio Clube, Marabá/PA - Brasil (C)
780 Jornal do Comércio, Recife/PE - Brasil (A)
790 Radio Mitre, Buenos Aires/ Argentina (C)
790 Barreiras, Barreiras/BA - Brasil (C)
800 ATN TWR, Bonaire - Caribbean Sea (B)
810 Verdes Mares, Fortaleza/CE - Brasil (B)
830 Pioneira, Forquilha/CE - Brasil (B)
850 WEEI Boston, Massachusetts/USA (C)
860 Rádio Cidade, Fortaleza/CE - Brasil (C)
870 WWL New Orleans, Louisiana/USA (D)
880 Radio Inconfidência, Belo Horizonte/MG - Brasil (C)
920 Novo Tempo, Salvador/BA - Brasil (C)
930 Metropolitana, Caucaia/CE - Brasil (C)
950 CNN Rádio, Buenos Aires/Argentina (B)
950 Educadora do Nordeste, Sobral/CE - Brasil (B)
960 Difusora, Maceió/AL - Brasil (B)
990 Rural, Mossoró/RN - Brasil (A)
1000 Princesa Serrana, Timbaúba/PE - Brasil (A)
1010 CBN, Fortaleza/CE - Brasil (B)
1020 Macambira, Ipueiras/CE - Brasil (B)
1030 Olinda, Olinda/PE - Brasil (A)
1040 Radio Capital Sao Paulo - Brasil (C)
1070 Radio difusora - Milan / PB - Brasil (B)
1080 Radio Nuevo Tiempo - Belém / PA - Brasil (C)
1090 Unión Radio - Caracas/Venezuela (C)
1100 Radio difusora de los inhamuns - tauá / CE - Brasil (B)
1110 Rádio Tabajara João Pessoa / PB - Brasil (C)
1130 Radio Super Marajoara - Belém / PA - Brasil (C)
1140 Radio Progreso - Russas / CE - Brasil (C)
1170 Rádio Difusora - Mossoró/RN - Brasil (B)
1190 Rádio Juazeiro - Juazeiro/BA - Brasil (C)
1190 Radio Cordillera - Bogotá/Colombia (C)
1210 Rádio Potengi - São Paulo do Potengi/RN - Brasil (B)
1250 Rádio Educadora - Crateús/CE - Brasil (C)
1250 Rádio Esperança - Estância/SE - Brasil (B)
1320 Rádio Cultura - São José do Egito/PE - Brasil (C)
1310 Rádio Cidade - Esperança/PB - Brasil (C)
1310 Rádio Liberdade - Boa Viagem/CE - Brasil (C)
1350 XEQK Tropicalisima, Mexico (D)
1350 Radio Super Rádio Cristal / Salvador, Bahia - Brasil (C)
1350 Radio Buenos Aires / Buenos Aires - Argentina (B)
1360 Radio Bandeirantes Rio / Rio De Janeiro - Brasil (C)
1360 Radio San José De Mayo / San José - Uruguay (C)
1370 Radio Canção Nova / Curitiba, Paraná - Brasil (C)
1380 XECO Romantica, Mexico (D)
1390 Radio Nova Sul Fluminense / Barra Mansa, Rio de Janeiro - Brasil (C)
1400 Radio Rio de Janeiro / Rio De Janeiro - Brasil (C)
1410 Radio Excelsior Jovem Pan News / Rio Claro, São Paulo - Brasil (C)
1420 Radio Nova São Manuel / Sao Manuel, São Paulo - Brasil (C)
1420 Radio Con Vos / Buenos Aires - Argentina (C)
1440 Radio Azul / Americana, São Paulo - Brasil (B)
1440 Radio Livre / Rio De Janeiro - Brasil (C)
1450 Radio São Carlos / São Carlos, São Paulo - Brasi (C)
1460 Radio Clube Ararense / Araras, São Paulo - Brasil (C)
1470 Radio Primavera / Porto Ferreira, São Paulo - Brasil (C)
1470 Esperanza Colombia (D)
1480 Radio Iglesia / Asunción, Paraguay (C)
1490 Radio Difusora Olímpia / São Paulo - Brasil (C)
1500 Radio Cidade das Árvores / Araras, São Paulo - Brasil (C)
1500 WFED Federal News Radio, Washington/USA (C)
1520 WWKB Buffalo/USA (D)
1540 Radio Bahamas, Islas Bahamas- Nassau
1570 XERF La Poderosa, Mexico (D)
1600 WUNR Brookline/USA (D)

Band X

The extended medium wave transmission band, commonly known as AM X or spread band, refers to frequency assignments above the upper limits of 1600 kHz. In Brazil it is determined by Region 2 of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) (America), it consists of ten additional frequencies, separated by 10 kHz, and ranging from 1610 kHz to 1700 kHz.

1620 Radio Mar del Plata / Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires - Argentina (C)
1650 Zer Radio - Ciudad de Mexico (D)
1660 WGIT Canovanas, Puerto Rico
1690 WPTX Radio, Mariland/USA (D)
1700 WJCC Radio Mega, Miami Springs/USA (D)

Martín Butera: He is a Radio Amateur and Radio Listener (Dxist), with more than 30 years of experience, and has participated in DX expeditions throughout South and Central America, under the Argentine radio call sign “LU9EFO” and the Brazilian call sign “PT2ZDX”.

He is one of our collaborators in Brazil, South America and also participates for several newsletters that cover the topic of world radio around the entire planet.

He is the founder of the CREW Radio Listeners’ Club for Brazilian listeners, known as 15 point 61 (15.61). Currently only CREW 61.

Martín is Argentine, born in the capital city of Buenos Aires. He currently lives in Brasilia DF, the capital of Brazil, with his wife.

He is also a journalist, documentary maker and was a founding member of Radio Atomika 106.1 MHz (Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Ligia Katze: She is the wife of Martin Butera and accompanied him on his radio activities all over the planet. She is also a radio listener, journalist and professional photographer.

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