My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

2019 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast

June 21, I received and recorded the BBC's annual midwinter broadcast "to the scientists and support staff in the British Antarctic Survey Team. The BBC plays music requests and sends special messages to the small team of 40+ located at various Antarctic research stations. Each year, the thirty minute show is guaranteed to be quirky, nostalgic, and certainly a DX-worthy catch!" You can read all about it on The SWLing Post and see 49 seconds of my recording below.



2019 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast as received on June 21, 2019, 2158 UTC at WA1LOU in Wolcott, CT, USA using an ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and Hy-Gain 18 AVT/WB-A vertical antenna.

I programmed the four frequencies that were originally announced for the broadcast into the IC-R8600, but learned afterwords that only three were used (5875, 7360, 9455).

I had solid copy on 9455 throughout the broadcast. 7360 had a lot of fading, but was still fair copy. 5875 was very poor copy during the last 10 minutes; there was no copy for the first 20 minutes.

Friday, June 21, 2019

USA's First Black Radio Station


In 1948, Memphis AM radio station WDIA became a community voice and a rock ‘n’ roll star-maker.

Read all about it here.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Dominican Republic to UK TV DX


Mike, KA3JAW, reported that on June 19 around 1600 UTC, two UK TV-DXers in western London detected NTSC analog television channel 2 video carrier on 55.250 MHz, zero offset from callsign HIJB, Tele Antillas in the Dominican Republic. Path distance was over 4,300 miles with the half-way point over the Northern Atlantic Ocean at mid-latitude (40 N). No audio carrier was observed on 59.750 MHz.

During that time, 6 meters was open between the UK and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic according to a ham radio operator in the UK.

What is puzzling, but also entertaining to me is what was the mode of propagation?

My initial thought was Sporadic-E with four hops with each hop being 1,075 miles. This would be a rare case that I have never experienced in 15 years of TV-DXing. If it was, the signal path attenuation from each consecutive hop would be too high. So, this rules out that mode in my mind.

The more logical mode would be F2 with two hops with each hop being 2,150 miles. In 15 years of TV-DXing, I have received one station from Peru via single hop F2 at 2,783 miles.

On June 19, there were no sunspots, noon 10.7 cm radio flux was 68 sfu and geomagnetic activity at quiet. We are at solar minimum, one of the deepest minima of the past century. Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation from the Sun is at its lowest level in a decade. How could this influence F2 ionization?

The following is from Wikipedia on F2 Propagation:
Since the height of the F2 layer is some 200 miles (320 km), it follows that single-hop F2 signals will be received at thousands rather than hundreds of miles. A single-hop F2 signal will usually be around 2,000 miles (3,200 km) minimum. [Yes in our case]
A maximum F2 single-hop can reach up to approximately 3,000 miles (4,800 km). [Not in our case]
Multi-hop F2 propagation has enabled Band 1 VHF reception to over 11,000 miles (17,700 km). [Not in our case]
Since F2 reception is directly related to radiation from the Sun on both a daily basis and in relation to the sunspot cycle, it follows that for optimum reception the centre of the signal path will be roughly at midday. [Not in our case, the Sun was between The Bahamas and Cuba.]
Clue: The DXers were not able to receive the audio carrier on 59.750 MHz. F2 has a high cut-off frequency near 60 MHz. [Yes, in our case]

Since these two propagation modes do not fit the parameters, more research is needed.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

More Es and Not

Es

Early Wednesday morning at 6 AM EDT,  Mike, KA3JAW, in Easton, Pennsylvania, was hearing Alabama and Missouri stations on the citizen band. Then an unknown city in Wisconsin (minimum 663 miles) and Chicago (650 miles) at 6:30 AM.

Three hours later during the mid-9 AM hour, 6 meters opened up to Sheboygen, Wisconsin (674 miles).

At 10:07 AM, Es were plowing through the lower FM broadcast band on 88.3 with the first station identified as Cornerstone University, WCSG with RDS [5BCA] in Grand Rapids, Michigan (562 miles to the northwest).

Twenty minutes later, the second station rolled-in: The Faith Center, WFEN, "The Lighthouse" with RDS [6251] from Rockford, Illinois (727 miles to the west-northwest).

Not Es

Meanwhile, at WA1LOU, there were two additions to the log.

June 3 at 1826 UTC, WWF48 on 162.525 MHz, the NOAA weather on Mt. Greylock, Adams, Massachusetts, 70 miles to the north. Normally, 162.525 is dead quiet here. When propagation is good, I usually hear WNG575 on Pack Monadnock, Petersborough, New Hampshire, which is 30 miles more distant than Mt. Greylock, so go figure!

June 8 at 1205 UTC, WEER on 88.7 in Montauk, Long Island, New York, transmitting 1700 watts, 65 miles to the southeast. Normally, 88.7 is occupied by WNHU, the University of New Haven station, 23 miles to the south, but WEER was stronger than WNHU for awhile on Saturday morning. 

Equipment at WA1LOU: ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

E-Skip Season

Driving home from a family picnic last Saturday evening (May 25), I noticed that the FM radio band was in E-skip mode. Since I was driving, I couldn't do any serious DXing and by the time I arrived home, it was too late – the Es were gone.

A few days later, Mike, KA3JAW, in Easton, Pennsylvania, sent me the following report.
On Monday, May 27 from 2234 to 2310 UTC, a single analog video carrier showed up on the Airspy HF+ using SDR Console software on analog TV channel 5 (z) 77.250.710 MHz ranging in signal strength from -115 to -110 dBm via sporadic-E.
I suspect this is Cuban, Tele Rebelde network, callsign CMEA in Santa Clara with 60.3 kW at it true azimuth of 190 degrees. My antenna was aimed due south of 180 degrees. Distance would be 1294 air miles.
Since this signal is very weak, it is not strong enough to view the video and/or sound on a TV set for a true verification.
The accompanying image are signal measurements snips from Airspy-SDR Console.
In  a second email, Mike added...
On Saturday evening, there was Es from my QTH to GA, FL, AL around 2330 UTC until it decoupled from FL state and scaled back into TN at 0057 UTC on Sunday.
Stay tuned!