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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Three So Far This Year

I have been listening everyday and hearing a lot of DX, but almost all of it is already in the log. For example, the BBC carrier on 198 was strong enough last night that I could actually hear audio, but BBC on 198 has been in the log since 2012 (5 years ago to the day).

Since the first of the year, I have had three additions to the log:

📶   YAT on 260 kc transmitting 125 W from 'Wapisk' Attawapiskat, ON, 898 miles to the north-northest

📶   WTEL on 610 kc transmitting 5 kW from Philly, 270 miles to the southwest

📶   WSPG on 1400 kc transmitting 1 kW from Spartanburg, SC, 669 miles to the southwest

All three were logged with the ELAD FDM-S2/FDM-SW2 receiver and the ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

WCBS 880: 50 Years of News

Without a doubt, I listen to WCBS (880 kHz) more than any other AM radio station. This year is the 50th anniversary of the station's switch to an all-news format. To celebrate the switch, the station will have a variety of related presentations on their website and on the air throughout 2017.

Monday, January 2, 2017

December 30, 2016, I knew conditions were excellent when I could hear DDP, the navigational beacon in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I have not heard DDP since I originally logged it five years ago.

The previously-logged trans-Atlantic stations were stronger than I have heard them in the past. France on 162, Morocco on 171, BBC on 198, Radio Monte Carlo on 216 and Algeria on 252.

I found these excellent conditions when I turned the radio on at 0600 UTC. About 20 minutes later, power went out and all the neighborhood QRN went with it. Since my ELAD FDM-S2 is powered by my computer's USB port, I was able to continue enjoying the excellent conditions until the battery power in my laptop dissipated about 90 minutes later.

New stations logged:

→ Navigational beacon MT on 209 transmitting 500 W from Chibougamau, Quebec, 570 miles to the north.

→ Navigational beacon ZEM on 338 transmitting 25 W from Eastman River, Quebec, 778 miles to the north-northwest.

→ Navigational beacon YXL on 349 transmitting 1 kW from Sioux Lookout, Ontario, 1078 miles to the northwest.

→ Navigational beacon OW on 395 transmitting from Stoughton, Massachusetts, 99 miles to the east-northeast.

→ Navigational beacon ZST on 397 transmitting from Alpine, New Brunswick, 430 miles to the northeast.

→ Broadcast station WPWA on 1590 transmitting 1 kW from Chester, Pennsylvania, 179 miles to the southwest.

→ Broadcast station WMGE on 1670 transmitting 1 kW from Dry Branch, Georgia, 845 miles to the southwest.

Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2/SW2 SDR receiver/software and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna

By the way, during this session, I briefly listened to the news at the top of the hour on WTIC (1080 in Hartford) and was very surprised to hear an advertisement from C.Crane for their AM, FM and SW radios. I don't ever recall hearing an ad for radios on the radio before.

Friday, December 16, 2016

WTIC on 161.76 MHz

Wednesday evening, I was listening to the local NOAA weather station on 162.4 MHz (WXJ42 in Meriden) with the ELAD FDM-S2/SW2. The waterfall display showed activity on all seven NOAA weather channels, which is typical from my location. I also noticed another signal down the band a ways... on 161.76 to be exact.

I tuned in the signal and was surprised to hear the voice of Joe D'Ambrosio, who does a sports talk show on WTIC AM (1080 kHz). It sounded like he was doing the show on the air, but on FM instead of AM and on 161.76 instead of 1080. So I grabbed the nearest transistor radio and tuned it to WTIC AM. Lo and behold, there was Joe D doing his show, but delayed by about 15 seconds from what I was hearing on 161.76.

My initial thought was that I was hearing a radio relay from the WTIC studio to the WTIC transmitter.  The studio is in the valley below my QTH about 6 miles away, while the transmitter is 12 miles away.

I revisited 161.76 MHz Thursday evening and the signal was still there, but now the volume of the signal's audio was low. After about 15 minutes, the volume of the signal's audio jumped up in strength as its contents changed from talk radio to news. This just confused matters.

Researching the mystery, I found in the 1994 edition of the Connecticut Scanner Guide that 161.76 was assigned to Chase Communications. Chase was the previous owner of WTIC, so that made sense.

How they are using 161.76 is still a mystery. I am sure there is a simple explanation, but I don't know what it is.