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

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Last 7 Days


Four new stations logged the past seven days.

On September 6th, looking for the Voice of America on 800 kHz, I found WNNW instead transmitting 244 watts from Lawrence, Massachusetts, 115 miles to the northeast.

Tropo ducting along the East Coast on September 8th added two to the FM log:

At 1540Z, WHYY on 90.9 MHz from Philadelphia transmitting 13,500 watts, 163 miles to the southwest.

At 1555Z, WBEB on 101.1 MHz also from Philadelphia transmitting 14,00 watts, 163 miles to the southwest.

This weekend, WNJC ran early morning tests for the DX community on 1360 kHz. I figured that hearing WNJC here depended on not hearing WDRC, which is about 16 miles to the northeast. Tuned the IC-R8600 to 0400Z today and there was WNJC loud and clear with no interference from WDRC. I could even hear WNJC on the discone antenna. WNJC is in Washington Township, New Jersey, transmitting 5,000 watts, 170 miles to the southwest.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

WCSZ Logged


Got the word Friday that WCSZ on 1070 kHz in Sans Souci, South Carolina, 693 miles to the southwest, would be running test transmissions at 0400 UTC Saturday.

I live line-of-sight of WTIC’s 1080 kHz, 50,000 watt transmitter. That’s bad enough, but WTIC also uses IBOC, which interferes with signals on 1070 and 1090, so I had my doubts about hearing WCSZ, but since my bedtime these days is about 0400 UTC, I planned to listen anyway.

The ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver was my receptor of choice. I tuned it to 1070 and switched to USB because the WTIC IBOC runs strongest between 1064.6 and 1070 (see figure), then drops in strength above 1070. I also narrowed the bandwidth down to 2800 Hz (represented by the vertical red bar in the figure).

At 0400 UTC, I heard station audio way down in the mud – so far down in the mud that there was no way I could identify it. But at 0404, clear as a bell, I heard Morse code: V V V DE WCSZ WCSZ WCSZ.

With that, I shut down the station, entered WCSZ in the log and went to bed.

WCSZ may have been transmitting either 25 or 50 kW for the test when I heard it.

Also, it is interesting that at the time, 50 kW WBAL (254 miles to the southwest) was stronger than 50 kW WTIC (12 miles to the north-northeast).


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Keurig in the Log Again

Posted here Friday about our new Keurig K-Cup coffee maker causing interference on the AM/MW radio band between 550 and 1250 kHz, peaking at 20 over 9 on 860 kHz. Called Keurig and they could not troubleshoot the problem, so they sent me a replacement.

The replacement arrived and when I plugged it in, I discovered that the new Keurig’s “transmitter” performed as well as the old Keurig’s “transmitter.”

The workaround is simple – unplug the Keurig before I power up the radio.

Monday, August 10, 2020

90.9 MHz. 10-watter


Made another catch on 90.9 MHz.

Sitting on the front porch Friday evening reading emails while monitoring 90.9 with my C.Crane CCRadio3 receiver, I heard a weak signal when I pointed the whip antenna to the south. Move the antenna 15° either way and the signal disappeared, but pointing it dead south, the signal was good enough to hear its format (Christian religious) and its identification: WMHR relayed by W215BT in Riverhead, Long Island, 54 miles to the south transmitting 10 watts!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Keurig in the Log

I have not been on the radio the last few days (lots of yard work before and after Hurricane Isaias), so when I finally got back in the shack again, I was surprised to find strong interference on the AM broadcast band between 550 and 1250 kHz, peaking at 20 over 9 on 860 MHz kHz! I could only hear the strongest radio stations through the noise.

Maybe a neighbor acquired a new gadget that was spewing out the noise, so I grabbed my C.Crane Skywave SSB, took it outdoors and walked around the perimeter of my little acre.

All I heard were crickets. However, when I walked closer to my house, the noise came back, so I went back indoors and searched for the noise inside.

I checked all the usual suspects, but did not find the source. However, as I walked through the kitchen, the noise was very strong and I discovered the source: our new Keurig K-Cup coffee maker! Unplug the Keurig and the noise disappeared.

Our old Keurig(s) never caused radio interference, so I was disappointed that our new unit did. I called Keurig customer service, explained the problem and they put me on hold for about 10 minutes.

When the service rep came back, she admitted that they did not have a troubleshooting procedure for my problem. They assume that the unit was bad out of the box, so they are shipping me a new unit at no cost.

I will let you know how the replacement unit performs after I receive it and plug it in. In the meantime, I will keep the Keurig unplugged unless I want a cup of Joe.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Why 90.9 MHz?

Today, I turned on the radio at 1340 UTC and there was a strong station on 90.9 MHz. It was a public radio station (NPR), but there were no hints as to its identity (no call sign, location, etc.) and it faded away after about 15 minutes.

If you have been following along lately, you may have noticed that my recent DX loggings have been on 90.9 MHz.*

Why 90.9?

Located in the midst of highest elevations in the county, there are only a handful of FM channels that are dead here during normal propagation. All suffer from splatter from strong signals on adjacent channels except for 90.9 MHz.

Adjacent to 90.9 are stations 37 and 27 miles away, so 90.9 is very clean under normal circumstances. If I hear anything on 90.9, it is likely to be something new (to me), so I sit on 90.9 rather than scan up and down the band because 90.9 is the most likely FM channel where I will hear DX.

* June 18: WHRM in Wausau, Wisconsin, 871 miles; July 15: WLFE south of Miami, Florida, 1204 miles; July 23: KUNI in Cedar Falls, Iowa, 971 miles

Friday, July 24, 2020

KUNI in Cedar Falls

Wednesday at 1540 UTC, I logged KUNI on 90.9 MHz transmitting 94 kilowatts from Cedar Falls, Iowa over a 971-mile path. The sporadic-E reception was very brief – two strong snips of audio that luckily included the station identification. Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2/FDM-SW2 receiving system and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

August 2020 PSR Available


The August 2020 issue #145 of TAPR’s quarterly newsletter is now available here and from the TAPR website Library. The contents of the PSR #145 is as follows:
  • Virtual ARRL/TAPR DCC, Sept. 11-12
  • TAPR at QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo
  • TAPR Directors Election
  • Donate to TAPR
  • TAPR and COVID-19
  • multi-TCC: A Multi-Channel Timestamping Counter
  • TAPR at Hamcation
  • TAPR Wear Available
  • Experimenting with WSPR Using Raspberry Pi
  • Write Here!
  • On the Net
  • The Fine Prine
  • Our Membership App

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

“Life of Miami” logged


Loud and clear, we heard WLFE on 90.9 MHz transmitting 100 kilowatts from Cutler Bay, Florida (that’s south of Miami) over a 1204-mile path. Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2/FDM-SW2 receiving system and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna!

Friday, July 3, 2020

2020 ARRL/TAPR DCC Update


The 39th Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC) will be a virtual conference on September 11 and 12, using Zoom video communications and YouTube video-sharing platforms.

Registered DCC attendees participating via Zoom will be able to interact with presenters and other attendees via a chat room as well as raise a virtual hand to ask questions. Click here to register (you don’t need a Zoom account to register).

Non-registered DCC attendees can watch the live stream for free on YouTube, however, non-registered DCC attendees will not be able to ask questions or chat. No registration is required for YouTube access (the YouTube URL will be announced and posted on this webpage preceding the DCC).

DCC registration is free for TAPR members and $30 for non-members. Members receive a 100% discount at checkout. Click here to register.

Non-members who would like to join TAPR and receive the free DCC pass can simply add TAPR membership and DCC registration to their shopping carts. After checkout, they will receive the free DCC pass when their membership is processed.

Call for Papers and Speakers

Technical papers are solicited for presentation at the DCC. Papers will also be published in the Conference Proceedings. Authors do not need to present at the conference to have their papers included in the Proceedings. Submit papers via e-mail to Maty Weinberg, KB1EIB by August 15, 2020. Papers will be published exactly as submitted and authors will retain all rights.

Conference papers will be distributed as pdf’s to participants. Printed copies of the papers will be available for sale at Lulu (http TBD).

Also, speakers are invited to make presentations on topics of interest without submitting papers for the Conference Proceedings.

All speakers and presenters must contact Steve Bible, N7HPR to reserve a slot for your presentation. Indicate whether you need a 15- or 30-minute slot and if you need to present on a specific day (Friday, September 11 or Saturday, September 12). A pre-recorded presentation can be submitted in lieu of a live virtual presentation.

Paper and presentation topic areas include, but are not limited to software defined radio (SDR), digital voice, digital satellite communication, digital signal processing (DSP), HF digital modes, adapting IEEE 802.11 systems for Amateur Radio, Global Positioning System (GPS), Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS), Linux in Amateur Radio, AX.25 updates, Internet operability with Amateur Radio networks, TCP/IP networking over Amateur Radio, mesh and peer-to-peer wireless networking, emergency and homeland defense backup digital communications in Amateur Radio.

Lightning Talks

Ad hoc “lightning talks” on various topics of interest will be announced throughout the DCC. Registered attendees will be able to participate in any lightning talk that whets their appetite.

Hardware and Software Demos

Hardware and software demonstrations will be conducted during the DCC by means of Zoom’s breakout room feature.

Friday, June 19, 2020

WHRM - Wausau, WI


At 2040 UTC Thursday, I logged WHRM on 90.9 MHz from Wausau, Wisconsin, 871 miles to the west-northwest using my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna. I assume the reception was via E-skip. The 871-mile path is my second best DX on the FM band!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Polish Eagle Show

Sophie and Victor Zembruski
All my grandparents were born in Poland. As a result, the Polish language was the first language in my parent's homes and when they married, they continued speaking Polish in their newlywed home.

When I came along two years later, they were still speaking Polish and as a result, Polish was my first language. English became my second language when television entered our home.

Just as the Polish language was spoken in my home, Polish music was heard on the radio in my home.

We often listened to Andy Szuberla on Saturdays broadcasting from WACE (730 kc) in Chicopee, Massachusetts and Stan Ozmak on WRYM (840 kc) in New Britain, Connecticut, who did his show live from the Polish National Home in Hartford on Sundays. But we religiously listened to the Victor and Sophie Zembruski's "The Polish Eagle Show" every Sunday morning broadcast from WATR (1320 kc) located two blocks from my home in Waterbury.

We were loyal to the Zembruski's radio show. Victor and Sophie Zembruski were distant relatives --- Victor's sister was married to my mother's brother, my Uncle Ray. Also, Victor and his Polka band played at my parent's wedding reception.

Victor started "The Polish Eagle Show" in 1934. Sophie joined Victor on the air soon after.

Nathan Zembruski
Victor had a stroke in the early 1960s, so Sophie did the show solo until her 90th birthday in 2008.

Victor and Sophie's daughter, Loretta Hoxie, took over and continued spinning polkas from 8 to 10 AM every Sunday until September 1, 2013.

Nathaniel Zembruski took over the hosting duties for the next seven years until he decided to end the show as his junior year of high school concluded. The last show aired this morning, May 31, 2020, after an amazing 86-year run!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower – Canadian Analog TV

By Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW, Guest Columnist


The eta Aquariids started on Sunday, April 19 and will be active until Thursday, May 28 with the peak occurring Monday and Tuesday, May 4-5.

I been busy today, Thursday, April 30 detecting Canadian analog TV via meteor scatter with the SDRuno coupled with a six meter dipole antenna strung between the house wall and the clothesline pole in the backyard.

Yes, Canada still has full-powered analog transmitters operational from rural places that run up to 180kW effective radiated power. There are only several active stations on each low-band VHF channel (2-6) in the provinces of Nova Scotia and Ontario.

It is easy to identify the station in question without the need of video and/or audio of a TV set, as each station broadcast on either one of three video carrier offset frequencies.

Example:

Analog TV-2
   Offset (-) 55.240 MHz
   Offset (z) 55.250 MHz 
   Offset (+) -55.260 MHz


Figure 1 is a map to give you an idea what can be done with a software defined radio that a standard analog cathode-ray picture tube television set with a blue screen feature (video squelch circuit) cannot do when the incoming signal is faint.

On the top center is a GACTVDX logo, the orange triangles are the stations received, the blue triangle is my QTH. The map shows eight Canadian NTSC analog stations that were detected via meteor scatter (Ms).

Channel Callsign Location                  ERP    Distance
                                                  (miles/km)

1. 6- CJOH-TV-6  CTV Deseronto, Ontario    100 kW 256/411
2. 2+ CIII-TV-2  Global Bancroft, Ontario  100 kW 331/532
3. 5+ CHRO CTV2  Pembroke, Ontario         100 kW 369/593
4. 5Z CICI CTV   Sudbury, Ontario          100 kW 496/798
5. 6+ CJCH-TV-6  Caledonia, Nova Scotia    100 kW 573/922
6. 2- CHBX CTV   Sault Ste Marie, Ontario  100 kW 610/981
7. 3+ CITO CTV   Timmons, Ontario          100 kW 613/986
8. 4Z CJCB CTV   Sydney, Nova Scotia       180 kW 843/1356

ERP= Effective radiated Power


Figure 2. SDRuno – Spectrum + Waterfall Displays


Date: April 30, 2020
Onset Time (local): 8:10:52 PM
Duration: 8 seconds
Channel: TV-3
Frequency: 61.260 MHz
Offset: +
Effective Radiated Power: 72.4 kW Average, 100 kW Peak
Callsign: CITO
Network: CTV
Location: Timmons, Ontario, Canada
Distance: 613 miles
Azimuth: 333 degrees (north-northwest)

Figure 3. CTV Network Logo




Figure 4. CTV2 Network Logo





Figure 5. Global Network Logo



Monday, April 20, 2020

WQFG689 1710 kHz


WQFG689, 1710 kHz, Hudson County (NJ) TIS in Jersey City, NJ, is running higher power during the virus pandemic and is easy pickens in this neck of the woods. (S-9 on the IC-R8600 and a good signal on the car radio.) If you haven’t logged them before, now is a good time to catch them because they may go back to 10 W once the virus blows over.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Too Sick to DX

I was so sick last week that my doctor had me tested for corona virus on Friday. Results came back negative Sunday.

I have been recovering this week and did some radio, but most of the time I just vegged out.

Friday, April 3, 2020

92.9 MHz Pirate


This morning, I tuned around the FM band and discovered a pirate radio station on 92.9 MHz with shouting male and female DJs playing rap music. The station was fading in and out and had lots of competition from WEHM, so I never heard any identification. But I clearly heard an ad for the Lion’s Den Restaurant in Hartford, CT, so I assume the pirate is located in the Hartford area, 30 miles to the northeast. Receptors here were my ICOM IC-R8600 and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

My Faux QSL Cards

I just created a new webpage, My Faux QSL Cards, to accompany this blog.

I don’t send listener reports to broadcast and utility radio stations because of the time and expense involved. Instead, I create my own QSL cards for stations I log and write about in my blog.

My new webpage collects all the QSL cards I created including cards that have never seen the light of day on the blog. I hope you enjoy viewing the collection and check back often because I will add new cards to the page as I create them.

Dit dah dit

Sunday, February 23, 2020

DYO


Navigational beacon DYO was the only new logging this week. Transmitting 25 watts on 221 kHz from Rutland, Vermont, 143 miles to the north, it was a far cry from last week’s loggings of KKOH in Reno, Nevada and Radio Coro in Venezuela, but it is a new logging nonetheless!

My ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and 80-meter dipole were my receptors.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Tung-Sol World Radio Log

While looking for something else, I found this booklet in my archives. I think I acquired it about 30 years from my wife’s uncle, who was a ham radio operator.

Copyrighted 1935, the Tung-Sol World Radio Log was the World Radio TV Handbook of its day. It was very interesting perusing it and I was surprised how few radio stations were on the air from Connecticut – six to be exact. Three are still on the air today with their original call signs (WATR, WICC, WTIC. One with a different callsign (WHUS nee WCAC). And the remaining two (WMFI, WNBC) are gone. I was also surprised that back then the AM radio band ended at 1500 kHz nee kc.

The 32-page Log also lists US television stations (all 27 of them!), foreign AM/MW radio stations, world shortwave stations, ocean liner radio stations and other useful radio-related information.

You can download a copy of the booklet from here.

Monday, February 17, 2020

780 Bounty


The following announcement appeared on the IRCA mail list Saturday:

“With special thanks to Chief Engineer Daniel Appellof, and Broadcaster/DX’er Paul Walker, we have arranged for a DX Test tonight for KKOH 780 Khz in Reno, Nevada. At approximately midnight Pacific time, KKOH will switch to 50 KW Non-directional. They plan to run 15-20 minutes of DX Test material that we have provided.

“This material includes sweep tones, Morse Code IDs at 700 hz (10 words per minute), telephone off-hook sounds, and vintage voice sounders for the station. The sweep tones and telephone sounders are especially good at cutting through noise, and should give many DX’ers a chance to log the station. 

“After the test period, KKOH 780 will power down the transmitter for additional maintenance. This will provide a ‘silent period’ for West Coast DX’ers to log new stations on 780 Khz.”

WBBM in Chicago dominates 780 here and I did not think I would hear anything but WBBM if I got up at 3 AM local time to hear the test. But as luck would have it, the cat woke me up at 2:50 AM and since I was up, I went to the radio shack, turned on the IC-8600, tuned to 780 and at 07:59 UTC, turned on the recorder function of the 8600.

WBBM was loud and clear as usual, although it did experience two deep fades during the 20 minutes of  monitoring 780, but the fades did not help me hear much from KKOH. However, when WBBM was at full strength, I did copy Morse code from KKOH at 08:05:00 UTC.

Then from about 08:07:30 on, Radio Coro was very copyable playing salsa music under WBBM.

So it was a very productive morning – a new state and a new country in the log. KKOH in Reno, transmitting 50,000 watts, 2429 miles to the west and Radio Coro in Coro, Venezuela, transmitting 15,000 watts 2079 miles to the south.

I was continuously switching between antennas during the test and I heard the KKOH Morse code on the 80-meter dipole and Radio Coro on both the dipole and the 60-foot Loop on Ground (LoG) antenna.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Happy World Radio Day!


Hug a radio because today is World Radio Day!

Nothing new in the radio log. I listen every evening and before I go to bed. Conditions have been good. In fact, last night conditions were very good – I heard a half-dozen navigational beacons that were over 1,000 miles away, but nothing new to report.

Since my DNA tests 99% Polish, I will leave you with the Polish version of the World Radio Day GIF.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Capitol Records Building Morse Code


This iconic Los Angeles landmark has been emitting secret messages since it opened. However, only those with a keen eye for Morse code can decipher what they say.

It was the former president of Capitol Records, Alan Livingston, who got the idea to have the light on top of the building send out a signal in Morse code. The word chosen for this secret message was “Hollywood.” When the building opened in 1956, Samuel Morse’s granddaughter Leila Morse had the honor of turning the light on.

Read the rest of the story at Atlas Obscura.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Recent Loggings


Three new loggings to tell you about including two graveyard stations!

CJLV on 1570 kHz at 0100Z Jan 18, transmitting 10kW from Laval, Quebec, 273 miles to the north.

WICY on graveyard frequency 1490 kHz at 2315Z Jan 20, transmitting 1kW from Malone, New York, 232 miles to the north-northwest

WWSC on graveyard frequency 1450 kHz at 2358Z Jan 21, transmitting 940 watts from Glens Falla, New York, 121 miles to the north-northwest

All stations were heard on my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and 60-ft Loop on Ground (LoG) antenna.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Norton Outlook

I live on a ridge of mountains that are the highest points in the county, but you would never know it if you visited my home because I am surrounded by trees, which essentially blocks the horizon in all directions. Up on the roof, I can see some of the horizon the six months of the year when the trees are defrocked, but it is still not visually impressive.

To be impressed, you have to hike into the woods to Norton Outlook, an outcrop of rock that is in the clear. Once or twice a year, I like to be impressed so I hike to Norton Outlook. Although Norton Outlook is only two-fifths of a mile from my home, you can't get there from here and I have to hike about a mile and a half over various trails to get there.

Wednesday's weather was inviting. Clear skies and temperatures in the mid-40s, so I decided to hike up to Norton Outlook. It was a fairly easy hike. There was no snow or ice to slip me up. It was muddy and puddly in spots, but my Totes waterproof boots kept my feet dry.

Forty minutes later, I reached the outlook and was pleased to see that I picked a perfect day. The sky was perfectly clear – minimal haze and smog to ruin the view from Long Island Sound to Mount Holyoke in Hadley, Massachusetts.

I spent about a half hour on Norton Outlook taking photos, enjoying the view and getting impressed!

View to Southeast

View to Northeast

Annotated Southeast View

Annotated Southeast View

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

WTOS in Log


I have not made a top-of-the-hour recording in awhile. Since LW and MW band conditions have been so good lately, I decided to make a recording at 0600 UTC on Tuesday.

I lucked out – band conditions were excellent and I heard stations from all over the eastern half of the continent on MW and stations from all o er Europe and North Africa on LW, but I had only one new logging: WTOS on 910 kHz transmitting 5,000 watts from Bangor, Maine, 303 miles to the northeast.

ELAD FDM-S2/SW2 receiver/software and 80-meter dipole antenna were my receptors.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Six on the Sixth

UN on 388 kHz in State College, Pennsylvania

Good conditions/propagation this morning resulted in six new entries in the longwave log.

LE on 242 kHz transmitting 100 watts from Lexington, Kentucky, 670 miles west-southwest

D7 on 350 kHz transmitting 25 watts from Kincardine, Ontario, 472 miles west-northwest

AZ on 370 kHz transmitting 25 watts from Kalamazoo, Michigan, 648 miles west

IRS on 382 kHz transmitting 25 watts from Sturgis, Michigan, 644 miles west

UN on 388 kHz transmitting 25 watts from State College, Pennsylvania, 353 miles west

IL on 407 kHz transmitting 25 watts from Wilmington, Ohio, 585 miles west-southwest

ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and 80-meter dipole antenna were my receptors.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Mobile DX


I always have my car radio tuned to an oddball frequency to hear what I can hear as I go mobile. The radio is a stock AM-FM unit in a 2007 Subaru Outback Sport. It is sensitive, but its selectivity could be better.

Anyway, Friday afternoon (3:30 PM EST/2030 UTC), I had a 10-minute run to the grocery store, so I tuned to 1710 kHz to maybe hear a pirate or a TIS. Nothing but static going down the mountain, but on the way back, I heard WQFG689, the Hudson County, New Jersey TIS, transmitting 10 watts, 85 miles to the southwest (photo above). I almost never hear them during daylight from the radio shack, so I was surprised when they popped up and put in a solid signal as I topped the mountain and pulled into the driveway.

By the way, my best AM band mobile DX so far is WAPA in San Juan, PR, on 1030 kHz, about 1650 miles to the south-southeast. Best FM band mobile DX so far is WLHR in Lavonia, Georgia on 92.1 MHz, about 750 miles to the southwest.