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

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.