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).

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