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

Friday, January 4, 2019

RMQ = RQM

Source: townofrangeley.com
RMQ (Source: townofrangeley.com)
Getting nowhere fast trying to identify navigational beacon RMQ, I posted a message on the IRCA email list and quickly received replies that solved the mystery. It seems that navigational beacon RQM in Rangeley, Maine, has been identifying itself incorrectly as RQM for years! Go figure!

RQM transmits 25 watts from northwestern Maine, 354 miles to the north-northeast on 221 kHz.

By the way, some of the folks who responded to my plea for help belong to the NDB List. If I had been aware of the NDB List, I would have found the answer to my mystery because RQM's erroneous identification has been discussed a few times on the list. Anyway, I joined the list post haste.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A Very Happy New Years Eve

Conditions New Years Eve afternoon and evening were interesting.

Earlier, Mike, KA3JAW, alerted me to a geomagnetic storm and possible aurora propagation. Not sure if that was the cause of what I heard, but something was playing tricks with the ether yesterday.

About 3 PM local time, I started tuning up and down the LW and MW bands. LW was dead, but MW was interesting. I immediately logged a new station: WCPA in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, transmitting 2500 watts, 288 miles to the west on 900 kHz. That distance at that time of day was a bit unusual.

As I continued to tune up and down the band, I noticed stations to the west and southwest pounding in — stations I normally don't hear until after dark like WLW on 700 kHz in Cincinnati, 635 mile away, which is way beyond ground wave propagation.

I took a break for dinner and when I returned, the band was still hopping. I could hear Cuban stations up and down the band. All were old loggings except for one new one that was very strong challenging WHAM on 1180 kHz: Radio Rebelde in San Cristobal, Cuba, transmitting 1000 watts, 1433 miles to the south-southwest.

After dark, LW became interesting, too. I was hearing beacons I rarely hear like and DIW on 198 kHz in Dixon, North Carolina, and SJ on 212 kHz in Saint John, Nova Scotia. I did log one new one: RMQ on 222 kHz, but I don't know where it is located because it does not show up on any navigational beacon lists. 

By the way, RQM in Maine transmits on 221 MHz and I had to make sure that I was not transposing its Q and M when I heard RMQ. Also, by the way, RMQ is located in the USA because it did not transmit the long dash between identifications like the Canadian stations do. Still one more by the way, RMQ is the three-letter designator for an airport in Taiwan — I am pretty sure I did not hear Taiwan on LW last night.

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