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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! The above installment of the parade took place in 1961.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

High Weirdness

I was sound asleep this morning when the doorbell rang at 1:30 AM. My first thought was that it cannot be good and expected the police to be at the door with some bad news.

I went downstairs and looked out the windows of the front door, but no one was there.

Suddenly, a cat hopped down from the porch railing, scooted halfway down the sidewalk, and turned around to look back at me. After a second or two, it moved on.

I was not wearing my eyeglasses, so I could not identify the cat as one of our neighbors' felines, but I have a feeling it was a neighbor's cat named Smudge, who my daughter and I rescued from a tree and babysat for a few days when he was a kitten.

I felt bad for the cat because it was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit at that time with a wind chill factor down in the single digits.

But how did it ring the doorbell? The doorbell is within a cat's reach from the porch railing, but was it just dumb luck or was the cat very intelligent.

And by the way, just as I began typing this, about 15 wild turkeys just crossed our lawn on their way into the woods across the street!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Early last year, I began transitioning my magazine subscriptions from paper to digital format. Among others, I have digital subscriptions to the complete CQ stable of magazines, i.e., CQ, CQ VHF, Popular Communications and WorldRadio Online.

Typically, the monthlies arrive around the first of the month, but this month, CQ and Popular Communications are no-shows. WorldRadio Online arrived around Halloween, but three weeks later, that's all, folks.

I e-mailed CQ, but have not received a reply.

Have any of you received the digital November 2013 issues of CQ and Popular Communications or are you in the same paperless both as I?

UPDATE: Would you believe that the digital November issues of CQ and Popular Communications arrived late this afternoon about four hours after this post was originally published. What a coincidence!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Minotaur Seen in Downtown Wolcott

Space cadet that I am, my eyes lit up when I heard on the local news that a nightime launch of a Minotaur I rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia, might be visible along the East Coast tonight.

I watched the launch on the NASA channel at 8:15 EST and went outside to see what I could see.

Two or three minutes later, I spotted a red light on the south-southwest horizon rising at a 60-degree angle.

I watched it for about two minutes until it disappeared to the south-southeast approximately 45 degrees above the horizon.

When it disappeared, I could not determine whether the light was extinguished or was obscured by a cloud. Probably the latter, but in either case, I did not see the light again.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

WPTF plus four

The week started off very slowly, but ended with five new ones in the log!

1470 kHz, WBTX S0-4 from Broadway-Timberville, VA, 10 kW, 370 miles SW

1660 kHz, WBCN S3 from Charlotte, NC, 5 kW, 610 miles SW

630 kHz, CFCO S2 from Chathan, Ontario, 10 kW, 480 miles W

680 kHz, WCBM S3 from Baltimore, MD, 50 kW, 250 miles SW

680 kHz, WPTF S3 from Raleigh, NC, 50 kW, 500 miles SW (the postcard above depicts the site of WPTF in the late 1920s)

Equipment used was the stock radio and antenna in a 2010 Nissan Rogue.

Friday, November 15, 2013



I did not have much time for radio this week, but I did nab a new one Thursday evening: number 184 in the AM radio log, WTEM on 980 kHz running 50 kW from Hyattsville, Maryland, 280 miles southwest (see Bing Maps image above) with studios located in Washington, D.C. Signal varied from S-ΓΈ to S-2 with competition from WILK in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Equipment used was a C.Crane CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW radio and and C. Crane CC Twin Coil Ferrite antenna.

Monday, November 11, 2013

AM Update

Thursday night, I added two new stations to my AM radio log:

WIP on 610 kHz running 5 kW from Philadelphia, with an S0 to S2 signal 270 miles to the southwest.

WKFN on 540 kHz running 55 watts from Clarksville, Tennessee, with an S1 to S2 signal 850 miles to the west-southwest.

Equipment used was a C.Crane CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW radio and a Terk AM Advantage indoor loop antenna.

I was surprised to hear WKFN since it was transmitting only 55 watts 850 miles away. It is one of my better AM radio loggings. And I heard it again on Friday night at about the same time (0430Z).

Friday, November 8, 2013

Long Distance Loggings


After logging a long list of AM radio stations that were a distance of 300 miles or less (much less) from the WA1LOU monitoring posts during the past few months, I logged some long distance last night when I added three new stations to the log:

KBGG transmitting 10 kW on 1700 kHz from Des Moines, IA - 1100 miles west, S0-3

KCJJ transmitting 10 kW on 1630 kHz from Iowa City, IA - 950 miles west, S0-2

WTNI transmitting 10 kW on 1640 kHz from Biloxi, MS - 1200 miles southwest, S0-3

Equipment used was a C.Crane CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW radio and a Terk AM Advantage indoor loop antenna.

Thank you "Paul S. in CT" from the Ultralight DX Yahoo! group for the heads-up about KCJJ and thank you Google Maps for the image above.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finding WFTU



In the previous installment of Surfin',  I wrote about adding WFTU to my AM radio log, but mentioned, "Oddly, I can not find a photo of the WFTU transmitter site. Radio-Locator points to 40° 54' 48" N,  72° 39' 16" W, but I don't see any antennas at that location on Google or Bing Maps. Go figure!"

Tom Dunbar, W6ESL, sent me an e-mail that he found the antennas.

"It took some messing around, and peering diligently at the photos provided by Mapper but I finally 'found' the 2 antenna array for this station.

"The two antennas are very difficult to pick out of the overhead photo - they are now\t in a neatly mowed field, but are in trees / scrub / brush where an old Drive In theater once was (according to the Topo map that Mapper allows you to look at).

"If you go to coordinates: N 40 54' 44" W 72 39' 12", and zoom in, you will eventually see two white dots.  The towers them selves are pretty invisible - they are essentially coming straight up into your eye.  However, if you look carefully, you will see the shadows of the two - straight lines coming out of thee two white dots.

"They are hard to see, but they are there."

After reading Tom's e-mail and revisiting the maps, I figured out why I did not find the WFTU towers. The coordinates that Tom provided differed from the coordinates provided by Radio-Locator. Using Tom's coordinates, I found the towers immediately (see the Bing Maps screen capture above), while the Radio-Locator coordinates were off just enough for me to miss the towers.

Now that I know that the documented coordinates are not necessarily dead-on, in the future I will make sure to look around the coordinates if the antennas don’t pop out at me as I did to find the CIWW transmitter site, whose coordinates were off by over a half-mile!

By the way, midday yesterday I added a needed Connecticut AM radio station to my log: the very weak S-0 to S-1 WSTC in Stamford transmitting 800 watts 49 miles southwest. Equipment used was the stock radio and antenna in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport.

Until next time, keep on Surfin’!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

1310 x 2


During lunch hour on Tuesday, I dialed up the six frequencies occupied by the six stations on my Connecticut AM Radio Stations Needed List and heard nothing but noise on all except 1310 kHz, where needed station WICH operates from Norwich.

The S-5 signal consisted of Spanish music, which did not match the modus operandi of WICH. But my AM radio station app indicated that two other relatively nearby stations might fit the bill: WRVP in Mount Kisco and WORC in Worcester. So I sat on 1310 for 10 minutes until the top of the hour, when the announcer identified the station as WRVP.

Located in the Hudson Valley 53 miles to the west-southwest, WRVP transmits 5 kW and represents the 176th AM station in my log and the first on 1310 kHz, which is usually bombarded by WATR on 1320 kHz.

Driving home from work five hours later, my radio was still tuned to 1310, but WRVP was gone and a very weak station was in its place varying between an S-1 and S-2. When the announcer mentioned 5 degrees in the weather forecast, I decided to sit in my driveway until the top of the hour for station identification since the local weather forecast was about 30 degrees higher!

It was worth the wait when I heard the station ID of CIWW in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, transmitting 50 kW 290 miles to the north-northwest.

Equipment used was the stock radio and antenna in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport. Photo courtesy of Bing Maps.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Four on the Fourth


After logging WILI on Sunday, I wondered how many other AM stations in Connecticut I could add to my log. So I perused a couple of websites and put together a Connecticut AM Radio Station Needed List consisting of eight stations.

Using the list, I logged two of the needed stations midday today, log entries 172 and 173:

WLAD transmitting 1 kW on 800 kHz from Danbury, CT, 35 miles WSW with a solid S-7.

WNLK transmitting 1 kW on 1350 kHz from Norwalk, CT, 42 miles SW with an S-1 signal competing with another S-1 signal on 1350.

Six to go!

In the evening, I logged entries 174 and 175:

WILK transmitting 5 kW on 980 kHz from Wilkes-Barre, PA, 160 miles W with an S-2 signal.

WDEL transmitting 5 kW on 1150 kHz from Wilmington, DE, 180 miles SW with an S-0 to S-1 signal.

Logged WLAD and WNLK using the stock radio and antenna in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport. Logged WILK and WDEL using a C. Crane CCRadio-SW receiver and C. Crane CC Twin Coil Ferrite antenna.

(Photo courtesy of Bing Maps.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Logged WILI transmitting 1 kW on 1400 KHz from Willimantic, CT, 40 east with a steady S-4 signal. Equipment used a C. Crane CCRadio-SW receiver and C. Crane CC Twin Coil Ferrite antenna.

WILI is number 171 in my AM log. Above image of the WILI transmitter site is courtesy of Bing Maps.