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

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Loud and Clear via Aurora


Mike, KA3JAW, wrote that the reason for the loud and clear transatlantic signals heard here on Wednesday evening was because during that time, aurora was active between my Connecticut location and Polskie Radio Jedynka in Solec Kujaski, Poland.

The center of the aurora was near 60°N 37.5°W (see figure above). The orange line indicates the path between my location and Poland. The thin yellow line is the mid-point at 2,024 miles.

A minor G-1 class geomagnetic storm was the result of a coronal hole spewing both low and high speed streams of solar winds towards Earth, which sparked the aurora.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Loud and Clear

Transatlantic long wave broadcast stations were loud and clear here Wednesday evening. Some of the stations were louder and clearer than I have ever heard them and I logged one new station:

Polskie Radio Jedynka on 225 kHz at 0030 UTC transmitting 1 million watts from Solec Kujawski, Poland, 4048 miles to the northeast.

Previously logged, but probably louder and clearer than when I originally logged them:

Radio Mediterranee Internationale in Nador, Morocco on 171 kHz

Europe 1 in Felsberg, Germany on 183 kHz

Rikisutvarpid RUV Ras 1 in Gufuskalar, Iceland on 189 kHz

BBC 4 in London, England on 198 kHz

RTL in Beidweiler, Luxembourg on 234 kHz

Radio Algerienne in Tipaza, Algeria on 252 kHz

Radio equipment used: ICOM IC-R8600 receiver, 80-meter dipole antenna, ICOM IC-AH700 disco antenna.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Antenna Weirdness

I was monitoring an unknown station on the FM band using my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and ICOM IC-AH-7000 VHF/UHF discone antenna. The station was weak and not intelligible enough to identify due to splatter from a strong station on the next FM channel.

Just for laughs, I switched to my Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A HF vertical antenna and the station's signal improved dramatically and I was able to identify it.

I would have never expected a HF vertical to perform better than a VHF/UHF antenna on the FM band. Go figure!

For the record, here are my latest new loggings:

WYPH-LPFM on 102.5 MHz transmitting 100 watts from Manchester, Connecticut, 25 miles to the east-northeast (Antenna: Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A)

WNHA-LPFM on 107.5 MHz transmitting 26 watts from New Haven, Connecticut  23 miles to the south  (Antenna: ICOM IC-AH-7000)

YBM on 230 kHz transmitting 25 watts from St. Bruno de Guigues, Quebec, 514 miles to the north-northwest (Antenna: 80-meter inverted Vee)

CN on 235 kHz transmitting 100 watts from Cochrane, Ontario, 644 miles to the north-northwest (Antenna: 80-meter inverted Vee)

YBG 356 kHz transmitting 250 watts from Saguenay-Bagotville, Quebec, 471 miles to the north (Antenna: 80-meter inverted Vee)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

YTL and HF on LW

Conditions have been very good lately and the longwave band has been wall-to-wall navigational beacons. I have previously logged all but two new ones:

HF on 241 kHz transmitting 100 watts from of Hearst, Ontario, 760 miles to the northwest.

YTL on 328 kHz transmitting 1 kW from of Big Trout Lake, Ontario, 1148 miles to the northwest.

Using my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Good Night

Navigational beacon EMR in Augusta, Georgia
I turned on the radio before midnight and found the longwave band full of navigational beacons. In two hours, I logged 14 new stations, ten in the USA and four in Canada, which is unusual because I typically hear Canadian beacons and occasionally USA beacons.

I also heard a lot of previously logged beacons including CBC in Cayman Brac and FIS in Key West, 1574 and 1287 miles away, respectively.

Here is a list of the new loggings:

232 kHz: GP in Gaspe, Quebec, 645 miles NNE*

248 kHz: FRT in Spartanburg-Fairmont, South Carolina, 675 miles SW

335 kHz: ZKF in Kitchener - Wellington, Ontario, 395 miles NW*

348 kHz: BUP in Pittsfield - Burnham, Maine, 279 miles NE*

351 kHz: MSQ in Brandy Station, Virginia, 337 miles SW

353 kHz: QG in Windsor, Ontario, 512 miles W

361 kHz: HB in Burlington - Alamance, Virginia, 529 miles SW

367 kHz: FVX in Farmville, Virginia, 416 miles SW

383 kHz: 7P in Iroquois Falls, Ontario, 618 miles NNW

385 kHz: EMR in Augusta-Emory, Georgia, 750 miles SSW

400 kHz: CI in Sault Ste. Marie - Kincheloe, Michigan, 660 miles NW

412 kHz: CTZ in Clinton, North Carolina, 545 miles SSW

417 kHz: HQT in Coats - Harnett, North Carolina, 528 miles SSW

417 kHz: SLP in Shelby - First River, North Carolina, 642 miles SW

Receiver used: ICOM IC-R8600
Antennas used: Hy-Gain 18 AVT/WB-A except three asterisked (*) loggings: 80-meter inverted Vee antenna,

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

500 watts to 600,000 watts

Last night, there were lots of transatlantic carriers on the AM/MW band, which resulted in two new loggings.

Before the World Series:

1325Z on 1270 kHz, WQTT in Marysville, OH, USA, transmitting 500 watts, 550 miles to my west, playing oldies music, "True Oldies 96 point 7." Equipment: ICOM IC-R8600 and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna.

After the World Series:

0519Z on 585 kHz, RNE Radio Nacional, Madrid, Spain, transmitting 600,000 watts, 3508 miles to my east-northeast, talk show with one woman and two or three men. Equipment: ICOM IC-R8600 and 80 m inverted Vee antenna.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

I can hear clearly now, the power's out

Friday evening, I added two new stations to the AM/MW log:

WLUI 670 kHz in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, transmitting 5,400 watts, 251 miles to the west-southwest at 2230 UTC

WTME 780 kHz in Rumford, Maine, transmitting 18 watts, 234 miles to the north-northeast at 2300 UTC

Both stations logged with my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and (believe it or not) my ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna.

Two new stations in one night was very satisfying, but there was more fun ahead.

As I climbed into bed at 0340 UTC, we lost power (vehicular accident took out a telephone pole). So I climbed out of bed, connected my ELAD FDM-S2 to my laptop and powered up. The ELAD is powered by the laptop's USB, so although the power main is down, I still have a operable high-end receiver and can take advantage of the quiet radio bands free of all the spurious noise generated from all the gadgets in the surrounding area.

I tuned to LW band and it was full of signals and empty of noise. I heard a lot of navigational beacons thatI have not heard since last winter and I logged four new ones:

YZX 266 kHz in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Canada, transmitting 100 watts, 455 miles to the east-northeast

YWP 355 kHz in Webequie, Ontario, Canada, transmitting 200 watts, 1030 miles to the northwest

YNC 385 kHz in Wemindji, Quebec, Canada, transmitting 25 watts, 832 miles to the north-northwest

YHD 413 kHz in Dryden, Ontario, Canada, transmitting 250 watts, 1100 miles to the west-northwest

All four logged with my ELAD FDM-S2/FDM-SW2 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Six new stations in one night!

Power (and neighborhood gadget noise) returned after a half-hour just as the battery in my laptop was exhausted. Good timing!

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Entered radio station CBI in the log Thursday evening. The Sydney, Nova Scotia station transmits 10,000 watts on 1140 kHz, 703 miles to the northeast. Equipment used was an ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and a Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A vertical antenna.

Bad news is that WTIC AM on 1080 kHz is back to full power and is stronger than ever here 16 miles from its 50,000 watt transmitter. Actually, their signal and IBOC crud seems worse than ever and occupies over 30 kHz of radio spectrum!

Swan Island Mail

Besides being a radio aficionado, I also dabble in philately and subscribe to a couple of stamp magazines.

The cover of the October 15 issue of Linn's Stamp News caught my eye with its display of a QSL card from Swan Island (HR6SWA, US NWS Upper Air Sounding Station). As it turns out, the magazine contains an extensive article about the history of Swan Island and its various inhabitants (including the RF variety).

Being a philately magazine, the article concentrates on how mail was handled to and from the island, but its mention of the radio operations is interesting nonetheless. The article is well illustrated and includes a number of QSL cards from the various Swan radio operations.

I found the article interesting from both a radio and philately perspective.

And I'm sure glad I kept the envelope that delivered my Radio Americas QSL card!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Oh, What a Night!

I spent about an hour (2230 to 2330 UTC) last night tuning up and down the AM/MW band and noted more transatlantic carriers than I ever recall hearing before and one new station for the log on a frequency where I seldom expect to find anything!

Tuning from 530 to 1710, I was very surprised to clearly hear a station on 1070. Usually all I hear on 1070 is slop from WTIC on 1080, but last night I found WPLB with an S-9 signal. WPLB, "Mid Century Radio," is a daytimer located in Plattsburg, New York, transmitting 5,000 watts 207 miles to my north.

Examining WTIC's signal on my IC-R8600's spectrum scope, it was obvious that WTIC's signal was not as wide and strong as it normally appears here (16 miles from their 50 kW transmitter). Was there a problem with their transmitter or antenna? Did they shut down their IBOC? Dunno, but I will keep checking their signal to see if the change was temporary or permanent.

Meanwhile, I noted the following 23 "transatlantic" carriers, an amazing number (to me): 531, 549, 567, 684, 693, 774, 855, 936, 954, 963, 1008, 1044, 1053, 1152, 1179, 1215, 1278, 1296, 1305, 1539, 1584, 1593, 1602.

Comparing my collection of carriers with WA1ION's recent loggings from Cape Cod (142 miles to my east), I presume I heard the following station carriers:

531 - Algeria, F'Kirina, Radio Algerie
549 - Algeria, Sidi Hamadouche, Radio Algerie
567 - Spain, Murcia/Torre de Cotillas, Radio Nacional de España, Radio 5
684 - ?
693 - United Kingdom, BBC, Radio 5
774 - Spain, València/El Palmar, Radio Nacional de España, Radio 1
855 - Spain, Murcia/Torre de Cotillas, Radio Nacional de España, Radio 1
936 - Morocco, Agadir/Aït Melloul, SNRT (Société nationale de radiodiffusion et de télévision)
954 - Spain, Madrid/Pozuelo de Alarcón, Radio Onda Cero
963 - ?
1008 - ?
1044 - Spain, San Sebastián/Monte Igueldo, Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión (Spanish Broadcasting Company)
1053 - United Kingdom, Droitwich/Mast, talkSPORT
1152 - ?
1179 - ?
1215 - United Kingdom, Moorside Edge, Absolute Radio
1278 - ?
1296 - ?
1305 - ?
1539 - ?
1584 - ?
1593 - ?
1602 - ?

Equipment used here were an ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and a Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A vertical antenna.

What a night!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Like it's 1978

Cleaning the garage, I found this photo of me in my radio shack in 1978.

It was strictly a VHF and UHF operation back then. On the desk was a Gonset Communicator 2-meter AM transceiver (that I have no recollection of owning!), a Motorola UHF commercial transceiver converted for 450 MHz FM and an ICOM IC-230 2-meter FM mobile transceiver (under the antenna rotor control box).

On the shelf was a Wilson 2-meter handheld that was responsible for kicking off my ham radio writing career. I added the Touch-Tone pad to the Wilson and wrote a how-to article that Wayne Green, W2NSD, published in 73 Magazine.

Next to my knee was a Gonset 2-meter 500-watt amplifier. My fledgling beer can collection was on the shelf behind the Wilson.

I still own the Heathkit SWR/power meter and the table under the amp. Everything else is long gone. (Wish I still owned the amp!)

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Added CHOU to my AM/MW log. On graveyard 1450 kHz transmitting 1000 watts from Montreal, 269 miles to the north. ICOM IC-R8600 was the receiver, Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A vertical was the antenna.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

One Extreme to Another

My newest loggings present one extreme to another — an FM station 28 miles away and an AM station 1003 miles away.

WGSK on 90.1 MHz transmitting 77 watts from South Kent, CT, 28 miles to the west-northwest.

WEBC on 560 kHz transmitting 5,000 watts from Duluth, MN, 1003 miles to the west-northwest.

Both received on my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver, WGSK with my ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna, WEBC with my HyGain 18AVT/WB-A vertical antenna.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What I'm Reading Now

New York City AM radio has a presence in my neck of the woods. So over the years at different times, I have been a regular listener of WABC, WCBS, WFAN, WINS, WOR and WNBC—AM stations whose daytime and nighttime coverage area included my hometown, Waterbury, Connecticut and thereabouts.

Being a New York City radio fan as well as a student of radio history, I purchased The Airwaves of New York, subtitled Illustrated Histories of 156 AM Stations in the Metropolitan Area, 1921-1996 as soon as I saw it while book browsing books on Amazon recently.

The first chapter of the book concentrates on the history of AM radio in New York City and briefly touches upon the history of FM radio and television.

The second chapter describes the history of each AM station that operated in New York City between 1921 and 1996... 156 stations from WAAM to WZRC. (The book was published 20 years ago, so the history after 1996 is not covered.)

The book is well illustrated with photos of the radio stations and the people who staffed the stations.

I enjoyed reading the book and recommend it.

Monday, July 23, 2018

1600 x 2

Logged two new stations on 1600 kHz last night.

WKWF in Key West, Florida, transmitting 500 watts, 1282 miles to the south-southwest at 0350 UTC

WEJS in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, transmitting 20 watts, 226 miles to the west-southwest at 0358 UTC

Equipment used: ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

I heard other stations on 1600 around the same time including a French language station, but I was unable to identify them.

Sunday, July 22, 2018


WEUP 1700 kHz in Huntsville, AL, transmitting 1 kW 881 miles to the southwest heard here Thursday for my 32nd state on the AM/MW band!

Equipment used: ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and the Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A vertical antenna.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


My dog woke me up at 4 AM to take her outside. After she was done, I climbed back upstairs and concluded I could go back to sleep after I checked the radio bands.

Starting at 1710 kHz, I slowly began tuning and stopped short at 1700 kHz where I heard a weak signal. WJCC (Miami Springs, Florida) shows up here often enough that I thought that's what I was hearing, but after a few minutes, I realized that the back-to-back music with no announcements was not WJCC's format.

With no announcements, it was going to be a difficult ID, so I had Radio-Locator list all the stations on 1700. Then I went down the list clicking each station's audio link to find the station audio that matched what I was hearing on the air. Thus, I was able to identify the station: KKLF in Richardson, Texas, transmitting 1 kW, 1419 miles to my west-southwest; my first logging of a Texas station on the AM band!

Equipment used was the ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and the Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A vertical antenna.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Four years ago, I logged what I thought was a pirate radio station on 87.7 MHz listening on my Subaru's stock radio in my workplace parking lot. The station had a Russian language format and for some reason, I had it located in Brooklyn, New York.

VHF has been wide open most mornings this month and while tuning around the low end of the FM band with my IC-R8600, I noticed a weak signal below the FM band on 87.75 MHz. It was a foreign language format that I was unable to identify.

Hearing it again this morning, I researched 87.75 and discovered that it was the audio for "low-power television stations in the United States that operate on VHF channel 6 as radio stations." (Source: Wikipedia).

Wikipedia listed the Channel 6 stations and the one nearest to my location was WNYZ-LP transmitting from Brooklyn with a Korean language format simulcasting WWRU radio (1660 kHz) in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Wikipedia indicated that the station had a Russian language format ("Danu Radio") in the past, so my 2014 logging on 87.7 was incorrect, but that was due to the fact that my car radio tuned in 100 kHz steps. Considering the low power (3 kW) of WNYZ-LP and being off frequency by 50 kHz, I was lucky to hear them at all on my car radio!

And for what it's worth, I just checked (at 1600 UTC) and now that the band opening has collapsed, I can no longer hear them, whereas their signal was full-quieting although not strong two hours ago.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

NOAA Radio Times Three

On the morning's of July 4 and 5, NG0E's APRS map indicated that there were VHF band openings along the East Coast.

On the air, I logged three new stations on the NOAA radio channels that are quiet here during normal conditions:

162.425 MHz: WNG574 - Gloucester NOAA Radio in Essex, Massachusetts, 130 miles to the northeast

162.450 MHz: WXM60 - Howell Township/Lakewood NOAA Radio in Southard, New Jersey, 120 miles to the south-southwest

162.450 MHz: KZZ40 - Deerfield NOAA Radio in Deerfield, New Hampshire, 136 miles to the north-northeast

Equipment used: ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and ICOM IC-AH7000 discone antenna.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

In today's mail

I mentioned here that I received WWV on 25 MHz. I did not mention that I e-mailed a reception report to the station. And I did not think anything more about it.

In today's mail, I received a surprise: a QSL card from WWV.

Monday, July 2, 2018

This Wheel's on Fire

This year is the 50th anniversary of the release of the L.P. Music From Big Pink by The Band. In conjunction with the anniversary, Rolling Stone published an article titled "The Band’s ‘Music From Big Pink’: 10 Things You Didn’t Know" by Jordan Runtagh.

One of the ten things I didn't know was that the Morse Code and a semi-automatic telegraph key was instrumental in the creation of one of the songs on the LP, "This Wheel's on Fire."

Here is the story from Mr. Runtagh's article:

When it came time to record “This Wheel’s on Fire,” a Rick Danko tune put to Bob Dylan’s lyrics, Hudson created an unusual staccato keyboard effect by hooking up his RMI Rock-Si-Chord electric piano to an old semi-automatic telegraph key purchased from an army surplus store. “It has a reiteration feature, so that if you move the key in one direction, you would get one dot or dash, and if you move it the other way, you would get reiterated dots,” he explained in a December 1983 interview with Keyboard Magazine. “I got a little box and mounted some quarter-inch receptacles into it through which you could connect the key to the instrument. Then you set the reiteration rate, and you were ready to play.” Manipulating the on/off signal on the device created an abrupt, percussive sound, much like Morse code. “Garth just hit that key when he wanted the sound,” remembered Helm.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

OK via Es

Wednesday morning, I did the weekly shopping. I had the car radio tuned to WLNG on 92.1 MHz and as I descended from Compounce Mountain down to ESPN-land, I lost WLNG and heard two other stations vying for the channel.

Five minutes later (1345 UTC), I arrived at my first stop and sat in the car trying to identify the stations, one Spanish, the other English. I had no luck identifying the Spanish station, but I did ID the English station: KTBT in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, transmitting 27kW, 1300 miles to the west-southwest!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Dog's Life

Here is a photo of Daisy, one of the occupants of this QTH. She went to the beach today, while I cleaned the garage! Lucky dog!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

WWV 25 MHz in the log

Since posting this story about WWV's experimental 25 MHz broadcast, I have been checking 25 MHz regularly. Saturday morning (June 23 at 1513 UTC), I finally was able to hear it here in Wolcott, CT. Signal was an S-6 with the 80-meter inverted Vee antenna and barely audible with the HyGain 18AVT/WB-A vertical antenna. Receiver was an ICOM IC-R8600.

Monday, June 18, 2018

ICOM AD-55NS AC Adapter

When I purchased my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver, I also purchased its AC adapter, the ICOM AD-55NS.

After using the pair for a few days, I was not happy. The AC adapter generated noise that I could hear across the LW and AM bands and beyond. As expected, the noise was much worse when the receiver’s preamp was enabled.

The noise went away when I swapped the AC adapter with an MFJ 25 Amp switching power supply, so I shipped the AC adapter back to the dealer for a replacement (assuming that the unit was defective) or for a refund (assuming that the unit was not defective).

The dealer tested the unit and said it was operating "normally" and was not defective, so I received a refund which I used to purchase an Astron MS-35M 35-Amp linear power supply. Admittedly, the Astron was overkill for the IC-R8600, but I also needed it to power other equipment in the shack. And so far, I have not detected any noise being generated by the Astron.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Marconi's Daughter Visits Dad's Cape Cod Radio Site

Art, W1AWX, shot this video of Princess Elettra Marconi visiting her father's Cape Cod radio site on May 31, 2018. Marconi built his first U.S wireless radio station on Cape Cod in 1902 and his station made the first radio transmissions from the U.S. to England in 1903.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Pirate on 1710

I heard a pirate station on 1710 kHz, Wednesday evening starting at 0020 UTC. No station identification or voice announcements, the station played 1950's rock songs continuously. It was S-7 on the 80-meter inverted Vee antenna and S-9 on the Hy-Gain 18 AVT/WB-A vertical antenna. I connected the Terk Advantage antenna to the ICOM IC-R8600 to locate where the station was located and the signal peaked at 0°/180°.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hamvention Transition

Some of the crew staffing the TAPR booth at Hamvention

I attended Hamvention and am happy to report that it was a successful trip. Here are some thoughts on the trip.

The transition from the Hara Arena to a new (to me) venue (Greene County Fairgrounds) was better than I expected. My only complaint is the scarcity of brick and mortar bathrooms and the dependency on portables (I hate portables).  

After researching the matter before the trip, I decided to transition from soldered to crimp-on coax connectors. So I had a shopping list for the parts I needed and returned home with three bags of crimp-on connectors (to terminate different coax cable sizes) as well as crimp-on dies for my Powerpole crimper.

It rained Thursday, Friday and Saturday and my Subaru now sports mud camouflage, but it's all-wheel-drive kept things moving and I avoided the tow trucks.

I saw most of the people I looked forward to seeing and it was great to renew acquaintances in person.

Working the TAPR booth is always interesting and attending the TAPR-AMSAT banquet and the Hamvention Awards dinner was a lot of fun (not to mention that the food was great).

During the 725-mile roadtrip, I entertained myself by tuning up and down the AM radio dial. It was interesting to hear stations during the day that I only hear after dark at home, like CHML, WJR, WLW and WSM.

Over and out.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Saturn Day

On March 13, 2006, Cassini's narrow-angle camera captured this look at Saturn and its rings, seen here nearly edge on. The frame also features Mimas and tiny Janus (above the rings), and Tethys (below the rings). "Above" and "below" the rings is mostly a matter of perspective here. All three moons and the rings orbit Saturn in roughly the same plane. (Source:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Xenia Marks the Spot

This time next week, I will be on an Interstate in Ohio heading for Hamvention. Although this will be my 30-something trip to the big show, it will be different this year because of the new-to-me Hamvention venue in Xenia – specifically, the Greene County Fairgrounds.

I will be staffing TAPR's booths (Building 5, booths 5001-5003) Friday and Saturday and I will be attending the TAPR-AMSAT Annual Banquet Friday evening.

If you will be attending Hamvention, I hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

1710 Mystery Solved!

This morning (4:15 AM EDST), I dropped a relative off at the airport (BDL).

On the trip home, I was solo, so I did some DXing with the car radio in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport. I tuned to 1700 kHz and found WJCC in Miami Springs, Florida fading in and out. Nice catch on a car radio!

As I entered Hartford from the north on I-91, a station on an adjacent frequency was splattering onto 1700, so I tuned up and down and found a very strong signal on 1710 transmitting Spanish music and Spanish announcements. The signal was very strong as I passed through downtown Hartford. Heading west on I-84, the signal faded out about 5 miles west of downtown Hartford.

I mentioned hearing a mystery Spanish station on 1710 in the recent past (here and here). The format of the station I heard this morning matches up with what I heard in the past, so I think that solves the mystery.

Friday, May 4, 2018

WWV Seeks 25-MHz Reception Reports

Anyone hearing the experimental High Frequency 25.000 MHz NIST WWV broadcast from Fort Collins, Colorado, USA?

The broadcast information includes time announcements, standard time intervals, standard frequencies, UT1 time corrections, a BCD time code, geophysical alerts and marine storm warnings.

Modulation is double side-band amplitude.

Radiated power is 2.5kW into a half-wave vertical dipole.

Prior to 06 September 2017, the configuration used was an experimental turnstile antenna with circular polarization with a radiated power of 2.0kW.

Listeners comments and reception reports may be mailed to or sent via postal mail to:

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Radio Station WWV
2000 E. Country Rd. 58
Fort Collins, CO 80524

(TU Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW, for the heads-up!)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

IC-R8600's Digital Twin Passband Tuning

There is a handful of nearby AM radio stations that are very strong here and sometimes make it difficult to hear stations on adjacent frequencies, for example, WPRX on 1120 kHz running 1000 watts 2 miles away, WNTY on 990 kHz running 2500 watts 5 miles away and WLAT on 910 kHz running 5000 watts 8 miles away. But by far, the worst is WTIC on 1080 running 50,000 watts line-of-sight 16 miles away. Its 50 kilowatts are bad enough, but it also uses IBOC, which dumps hash on 1070 and 1090 that is 20 over 9.

Despite the hash, I have managed to bag seven stations on 1070 by rotating my radios and/or antennas to null WTIC's signal.

I wondered if my new whiz-bang ICOM IC-R8600 could handle WTIC's IBOC hash. Studying the IC-R8600 manual, I thought that the radio's "Digital Twin PBT" might solve the problem.
"The Digital Twin PBT (Passband Tuning) electronically narrows the IF passband width by over wrapping the passband frequency ranges of 2 PBT filters (PBT1 and PBT2), to reject interference."
So I saddled up to the radio last night around 2330 local time, powered up the IC-R8600 and found Radio Havana loud and clear on 530 kHz, so conditions were very good and WTIC's IBOC hash would be very strong. Tuning to 1070, all I could hear was the IBOC hash.

I selected the Twin PBT option and began adjusting the two PBT filters (see figure above). In less than a minute, the IBOC hash gave way to The Eagles singing "Already Gone" on CHOK in Sarnia, Ontario!

Twin PBT did the trick!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ring of Copper

In 1963, the U.S. launched millions of copper needles into space to try a new radio communication strategy. Months later, the needles fell out of orbit.

View the video that tells all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Getting in touch with the IC-R8600

I have had the ICOM IC-R8600 for two weeks and I am still learning all about it. The learning curve is not steep... just long because the radio has so many features and options.

This is the first touch screen radio I have owned, so some of the features that I find so impressive might be old hat to folks who are familiar with touch screen radios, especially ICOM touch screen radios.

Anyway, my favorite touch screen feature is the ability to zoom and switch frequency to the zoomed area of the radio spectrum. For example, say I have the IC-R8600's spectrum scope set to display 1 MHz of a radio band and I spot a signal up the band that I wish to tune in.

Instead of spinning the tuning dial to move up the band, I simply touch the spectrum display in the general area of the signal of interest.

The display magnifies that portion of the band.

I touch the signal of interest in the magnified area...

...and voila!, the IC-R8600 tunes the radio to that signal.

Another cool feature of the IC-R8600 is the ability to capture screens like the ones above.

Friday, April 6, 2018

IC-R8600 is not so hot

Before purchasing the ICOM IC-R8600, I did a lot of research. I read all the reviews I could find and in general, most of them gave the radio high marks.

N9EWO's review gave me a little concern, but was not a deal-breaker and I bought the radio despite comments that the radio "runs quite warm almost near HOT after a 3 to 4 hours of operation (especially at the marked regulated 13.8 DC volts, screen saver off)!"

I am using a Powerwerx SS-30DV to power my IC-R8600 and it outputs 14.1 VDC, so in theory, my radio should run a bit warmer than it would at 13.8 VDC.

The radio is warm, but not "quite warm" and is far from running "almost near HOT" after 3 or 4 hours of operation, as well as after 8 to 10 hours. And this in a house with the AC off and the furnace maintaining a room temperature of 68℉.

Perhaps, N9EWO's radio was an early production model and the heat problem was fixed by the time ICOM produced my radio.

In any case, my IC-R8600 is not so hot.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The IC-R8600 and a Tale of Three Antennas

I have three antennas connected to my new ICOM IC-R8600 receiver:

ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna for VHF and UHF

Hy-Gain 18 AVT/WB-A vertical for HF

‣ Homebrew 80-meter inverted Vee for HF

Monday night, I heard a foreign-language station on 1700 kHz. It never identified and after an hour, it disappeared into the noise. Tuesday night, I checked 1700 and the station was there again, but it was much stronger than Monday night.

I switched between my two HF antennas, but there was not much difference. I inadvertently switched in the discone and I could hear it on the VHF/UHF antenna too, but at a lower signal level.

The IC-R8600 seemed to be so sensitive that it could hear HF signals on a VHF/UHF antenna!

I tuned the radio to the LW band. In the past using other radios, I could only hear LW activity with the 80-meter inverted Vee, but with the IC-R8600, I could also hear LW activity with the vertical antenna, but at a lower signal level. I switched to the discone and yes, I could also hear LW activity with the VHF/UHF antenna, but at a much lower signal strength.

Wow! The IC-R8600 is an amazing receiver!

By the way, I finally identified the mystery foreign-language station: Radio Mega, WJCC in Miami Springs, Florida, 1666 miles to the south-southwest. I first logged WJCC two years ago and have heard it occasionally since then, but never as strong as I have heard it with the IC-R8600! It was armchair copy last night.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


I have been a radio hobbyist for over 55 years and over that time, I have owned a lot of radios. Last Wednesday, UPS delivered my latest acquisition, an ICOM IC-R8600 10 kHz-3 GHz receiver and I believe it is the best receiver I have ever owned. (It should be since it is the most expensive radio I have ever owned! LOL)

According to Sherwood Engineering's highly-regarded receiver tests, the IC-R8600 is number 2  of 132 tested receivers and transceivers [sorted by Third-Order Dynamic Range Narrow Spaced or ARRL RMDR (Reciprocal Mixing Dynamic Range) if phase noise limited]. (The only better receiver is a transceiver.) After using the radio for less than a week, I concur with Sherwood's test results.

And last evening, I logged my first new station with the IC-R8600: WFAT on 700 kHz, a daytime-only operation transmitting 2500 watts from Athol, Massachusetts, 74 miles away.

I am still familiarizing myself with the 8600, slowly working my way through the manual in order to take in all the features the radio has to offer. And I plan to review those features in future installments of this blog, so please stay tuned.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Violet's Radio

This episode of Peanuts from 1953 made me laugh out loud this morning!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

This Day in History… March 28, 1964

Stamp issued for the League’s 50th anniversary
This Day in History marks an important event in amateur radio history.

Read all about it here.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Good Week

Conditions were very good Tuesday evening at 2300 UTC. I recorded the top of the hour and it took me a few days to sort through it all resulting in five new loggings.

WWRU on 1280 kHz transmitting 5 kW from Rochester, NY, 258 miles to the northwest

WKBI on graveyard frequency 1400 kHz transmitting 1 kW from Saint Marys, PA, 291 miles to the west

WAMC also on 1400 kHz transmitting 1 kW from Albany, NY, 85 miles to the north-northwest

WNCA on 1570 kHz transmitting 5 kW from Silver City, NC, 539 miles to the southwest

WWRU on 1660 kHz transmitting 10 kW from Jersey City, NJ, 80 miles to the southwest

(Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2/SW2 receiver and HyGain 18AVT/WB-A antenna)

On Monday, conditions were not so good, so I checked out the FM band and logged two new locals:

W231CZ on 94.100 MHz transmitting 32 watts from Hartford, CT, 14 miles to the north-northeast

W233CF on 94.500 MHz transmitting 99 watts from Danbury, CT, 31 miles to the southwest

(Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2/SW2 receiver and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna)

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I logged my 500th AM station this evening! And appropriately, I did it the old school way. Instead of listening to a top of the hour recording of the whole AM band, the radio was tuned to 1600 and I listened to three or four stations mixing it up. At 2316Z, as clear as a bell, I heard the musical ID of WAYC transmitting 2700 watts out of Bedford, Pennsylvania, 310 miles to the west-southwest.

Coincidentally, Bedford is the half-way point on my annual 700-mile trek to Hamvention and on many of those roadtrips, I have stayed in a motel about a mile up the road from the WAYC transmitter.

Now on to the next 500!

(Equipment used for this logging were the ELAD FDM-S2/SW2 receiver and HyGain 18AVT/WB-A antenna.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Six on FM

Not much of interest on the LW and AM bands last night, so I tuned up to the FM band where conditions seemed to be a bit enhanced and I logged two new stations. I revisited the FM band this morning and this afternoon. Conditions still seemed enhanced and I logged four additional new stations.

96.900 MHz: WPRF in New Britain, CT, a low power FM station (LPFM) transmitting 49 watts, 9 miles to the east-northeast playing Spanish music

97.700 MHz: W249DP in Ware, Mass., transmitting 200 watts, 47 miles to the northeast, a WARE translator playing "real oldies 1250"

103.700 MHz: W279CI in Danbury, CT transmitting 251 W, 32 miles to the southwest, a WDAQ translator playing contemporary music

103.900 MHz: WRCN in Riverhead, Long Island, NY transmitting 1.4 kW, 55 miles to the south, with a right-wingnut talk format

104.500 MHz: WXLO in Fitchburg, Mass. transmitting 37 kW, 83 miles to the northeast, playing contemporary music

105.500 MHz: WQGN in Groton, CT transmitting 3 kW, 48 miles to the east-southeast, playing contemporary music

Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2/SW2 SDR receiver/software and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna

Sunday, March 4, 2018


The reason I have not posted anything in over three weeks is because I had the flu. I was so ill that I seldom turned on a radio during that time.

My health is almost back to normal, so I expect to be more radioactive and will be posting here again.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Power Down, DX Up

AWS in Fort Mitchell, Alabama
We lost power mid-afternoon on Friday. After I phoned in the outage, I got on the radio to take advantage of the lack of noise in the neighborhood.

Conveniently for power outages, the ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver gets its power from my laptop. So I don't need to be on the grid for some serious monitoring. The only problem yesterday was that I had been using my laptop for hours and the battery was down to about 40% capacity.

During the day under normal noisy conditions, I may hear one local navigational beacon (JWE), but yesterday, I could hear many more and I logged six new ones. Five were located nearby in Massachusetts and Eastern New York, but one was 925 miles away in Fort Mitchell, Alabama (AWS on 335 kHz).

When the laptop battery ran out, I switched the C.Crane CCRadio 2E Enhanced receiver, which was loaded with fresh batteries and connected to the outdoor antenna switch.

When I turned on the radio, it was tuned to 1710 kHz and I was very surprised to hear an old friend that I normally only hear at dusk, the unidentified mystery station playing Spanish music. Occasionally, the mystery station had competition from the Hudson County (NJ) TIS (WQFG689), which I only heard at night in the past.

After monitoring 1710 for about ten minutes hoping to hear a voice ID from the Spanish station, power was restored and the stations on 1710 disappeared into the noise.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sony SRF-39FP Reception Report

Last night, I listened up and down the AM band with the Sony SRF-39FP radio I purchased on eBay and I was very impressed with what I heard. Besides all the usual suspects in the Northeast, the radio also heard all the flame throwers on the right side of the Mississippi: CHML, WLW, WSB, WHAS, WSCR, WJR, WGN, WLS, etc.

The radio is very sensitive even with its diminutive 1.75-inch ferrite antenna. It's selectivity was good, too, and it managed to keep the two nearest (2 and 4 miles away) AM transmitters in check.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Sony SRF-39FP

The mailman delivered the latest addition to my radio collection, a Sony SRF-39FP AM/FM Walkman. I purchased the radio on eBay for $20.

The New Yorker published an article about this radio describing it thusly, "The pocket analog radio, known by the bland model number SRF-39FP, is a Sony 'ultralight' model manufactured for prisons. Its clear housing is meant to prevent inmates from using it to smuggle contraband, and, at under thirty dollars, it is the most affordable Sony radio on the prison market."

The article added, "...the SRF-39FP is superior to virtually every other pocket analog radio, praising it for its large tuning thumbwheel, over-all sensitivity and audio quality, and, above all, its reputed indestructibility."

(You can read the entire The New Yorker article here.)

This afternoon, I tuned through the AM and FM bands and was impressed with the number of stations the Sony received. I will give it a workout tonight and I will let you know how the radio performs during nighttime conditions.

I own a lot of radios and this is the first one my wife described as "cool.