Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Tuesday evening, I was monitoring 94.5 MHz with my C.Crane CC Pocket AM/FM/WX Radio and I could hear a station way down in the mud. It was playing Rat Pack tunes: a string of Frank Sinatra songs followed by a Dean Martin song. There was very little chatter between songs and the signal was so weak that I could not understand a word of what was being said.
I decided to try my other radios. The C.Crane CCRadio-SW detected nothing on 94.5, while the C.Crane CCRadio 2E Enhanced heard the signal at the same muddy level as the C.Crane CC Pocket.
I left the 2E tuned to 94.5 while I worked in the shack. Suddenly, a different station came up from out the noise at 2311 UTC and put in a solid S-3 signal for about four minutes: WPST running 50 kW out of Trenton, New Jersey, 140 miles southwest.
After WPST faded away, another signal came up from out of the noise at 2322 UTC with an S-2 signal: WJMN running 9.2 kW, 100 miles east-northeast from a 1200-foot tower in Newton, Mass, just southwest of Boston. The tower is one of the big four towers in the Newton-Needham area that you cannot miss when traveling in that neck of the woods.
After WJMN faded away, the Rat Pack station was still wailing away and then it faded out, too. I will monitor 94.5 again this evening to see if I can pin it down.
Monday, April 28, 2014
I have not had many opportunities to DX with the replacement C.Crane CC Pocket AM/FM/WX Radio that C.Crane sent me last week to replace the unit that had a faulty BAND pushbutton. However, I turned the new radio on at the top of the hour Friday evening (0200 UTC Saturday) and heard the station identification for WKAL in Rome, New York. Transmitting 1 kW on 1450 KHz, 169 miles northeast, WKAL is a new station in my AM radio log and was heard using the CC Pocket’s internal antenna.
Friday, April 25, 2014
After reading some positive reviews of the C.Crane CC Pocket AM/FM/WX Radio, I decided to add the radio to my collection. I ordered it last Thursday and it arrived in the mail last Saturday afternoon. Saturday evening, I installed batteries in the radio and began using it.
Right out of the box, the pushbutton that switches between the AM, FM and weather bands was difficult to use. It required a lot of pressure in order to function. I used the radio for a few hours Saturday evening and the more I used the radio, the more pressure was required to get the band pushbutton to work.
Sunday morning, I used the radio for about 15 minutes and the problem persisted, got worse, and then the band pushbutton stopped functioning altogether with the radio tuned to the FM band.
I contacted C.Crane and they sent me a replacement radio which arrived yesterday.
While I waiting for the replacement, I decided to make lemonade with my lemon and fill up my FM log, which had only 21 stations beforehand. While DXing the FM band, I used the radio’s external FM wire antenna which plugs into the radio’s earphone jack. Between Saturday and Wednesday evening without enhanced propagation, I added 50 new entries into my FM radio log!
The top three DX stations were WGBH in Boston (100 miles east-northeast on 89.7 MHz), WWLI in Providence (77 miles east on 105.1 MHz) and WVEI in Westerly, Rhode Island (68 miles east on 103.7 MHz). My loggings included a handful of low-powered stations including 10-watt W227AJ in Northford, Connecticut (19 miles southeast on 93.3 MHz), which was the lowest powered station of the bunch.
By the way, out of the box, the band pushbutton on the replacement radio works normally and does not require any more effort to use than the other buttons on the radio. After I give the new radio a full workout, I will write a full review, but so far I am very impressed with its sensitivity and selectivity on the FM band.
Friday, April 18, 2014
After a dry spell, I logged a new one at 2300Z Thursday: WMVX transmitting 30 kW on 1570 kHz from Beverly, Massachusetts, putting in an S0 to S3 signal on my C.Crane CCRadio 2E Enhanced receiver and Terk Advantage loop antenna, 126 miles west southwest of WMVX. I have heard this station a few times in the past was unable to identify it due to the combination of a very weak signal and a language barrier (Spanish), but I positively identified it last night for number 230 in my AM radio log.
Monday, April 14, 2014
One month from today, I will hit the road and head west to Ohio to attend Hamvention, the biggest ham radio show this side of the Arctic Circle.
I attend most years and this year will be no exception. And like most years, I will be staffing the TAPR suite of booths (numbers 451 through 454) Friday and Saturday.
If you are going to “Dayton,” stop by and say “Hello!”
Friday, April 11, 2014
When: Friday, September 5th - Sunday, September 7th
Where: Austin Marriott South in Austin, TX
The DCC has two days of Technical forums on Friday & Saturday and a concurrent Introductory forum on Saturday. On Saturday night, the banquet will feature an interesting speaker and the Sunday morning Seminar will be a deep-dive into a technical topic.
Those who submit Technical Papers for inclusion in the annual DCC Proceedings will receive preference for a forum, however, you can propose to present a forum without submitting a technical paper.
There will be free tables in the demo room to demonstrate projects and vendors to demonstrate products. Make your hotel reservations early to get the special TAPR hotel rate.
Updated DCC information will be available on TAPR’s website.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
I saw my first groundhog of the year today.
The property around my workplace is an old apple orchard and groundhogs have the run of the place during the warm weather, but until today, they were out of sight. Typically, I see my first one during the last week of March, but considering the unusual weather around here this year, the groundhogs probably decided to hibernate for an extra week.
I saw only two today, but I expect their friends and family will be up and around in another day or two.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
I logged WFNY on a very crowded 1440 kHz last evening at 2245Z transmitting 5 kW from Gloversville, New York (121 miles north-northwest). Most of the time, WFNY’s signal was an S0 to S1, but it perked up to an S4 when I logged it using my C.Crane CCRadio 2E Enhanced receiver and Terk Advantage loop antenna.