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

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.

1 comment:

  1. You were most likely hearing a direct signal from a remote broadcast transmitter, commonly known as a "Marti" as that is the common brand of the portable VHF rigs. A station I worked for in Florida had a midday sports talk host who used one every day from various restaurants or sports bars. All you need on site is the Marti, a VHF yagi antenna aimed at the station, and a small mixer and microphones. They operate in the 160-162 MHz range.