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

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!