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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Catch-Up


On Tuesday, I had robotic inguinal hernia repair surgery, so I have not been too wordy on the blog front lately. 

I did log a new station on 1650 kHz: CKZW (Radio Shalom) transmitting 1 kW from Montreal, 269 miles to the north.

I also had a few relogs. 

Radio Rebelde on 1620 kHz transmitting 5 kW from Guanabacca, Cuba, 1388 miles to the south-southwest.

WHRM on 90.9 MHz transmitting 81 kW from Wausau, Wisconsin, 871 miles to the west-northwest via E-skip.

WLFE on 909 MHz transmitting 100 kW from Cutler Bay, Florida, 1204 miles to the south-southwest via E-skip.

Various antennas were used with my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Still More E Skip


On Wednesday, 90.9 MHz was open all morning and I logged four new stations.

1339 UTC: WOWB in Brewton, Alabama, transmitting 100,000 watts, 1057 miles to the southwest

1401 UTC: KLRC in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, transmitting 100,000 watts, 1224 miles to the west-southwest

1506 UTC: WKMD in Madisonville, Kentucky, transmitting 20,500 watts, 830 miles to the west-southwest

1611 UTC: WDCB in  Glen Ellyn, Illinois, transmitting 5,000 watts, 780 miles to the west-northwest

Also on Tuesday at 0000 UTC, I logged a new TIS station on 1630 kHz, WQKY728, a Rhode Island DOT station in Cranston, Rhode Island, transmitting 10 watts 75 miles to the east

Receiver: ICOM IC-R8600, Antennas: ICOM AH-7000 discone, HyGain 18 AVT/WB-A vertical

Friday, July 9, 2021

Pipeline to Missouri

I have been monitoring 90.9 MHz often the last few days. There was a brief signal burst Thursday at 1521 UTC that lasted about 5 seconds, but just long enough to identify the station as a new logging: WMAO in Greenwood, Mississippi, transmitting 100,000 watts, 1117 miles to the southwest.

90.9 seemed dead otherwise, then about an hour later KTBG in Warrensburg, Missouri, appeared and became stronger over the next half hour – so strong that it sounded like a local. I logged KTBG for the first time on June 28, heard it again on July 2 and once again yesterday. So what’s with this pipeline to KTBG?

As usual, the receiver is the ICOM IC-R8600 and the antenna is the ICOM AH-7000 discone. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

More E Skip

Around noon today, signals started popping up on normally quiet 90.9 MHz. And an hour later, I had three new entries in the log.

1600 Z, WJKV in Jacksonville, Florida, transmitting 41,000 watts, 920 miles to the south-southwest

1620 Z, KTBG in Warrensburg, Missouri, transmitting 100,000 watts, 1129 miles to the west

1646 Z, WAQV in Crystal River, Florida, transmitting 5,000 watts, 1021 miles to the south-southwest

I heard a few other stations, but could not identify them. One of the unidentified dubbed itself “Wild Radio,” but I have been unable to match that slogan with any 90.9 MHz radio stations. If anyone has a clue, please clue me in, too. 

All were received with my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna.

Daily email delivery

In July, Feedburner, the email delivery system we use for daily email delivery of this blog will discontinue email delivery. So, if you subscribe to this blog via Feedburner, email delivery of the blog will stop.

I am looking for a substitute and will let you know when I find one.

Friday, June 25, 2021

What’s New

I seldom QSL non-ham stations, but when
WENR AM ran a DX test back in March, I sent
a reception report and received this E-QSL a
few days ago.
I have been monitoring 90.9 MHz for band openings, but nothing has occurred like the big E-skip opening on June 11. 

Conditions were promising this morning when I tuned through the NOAA weather channels and heard WXM60 in Southard, New Jersey on 162.450. Normally, 162.450 is dead quiet here, so any reception on .450 bodes well for the FM band. And I began monitoring 90.9.

There were stations just above the noise on 90.9, but I could not identify anything. One station was stronger briefly and announced a Missouri area code phone number, but that was not enough information to identify it (the “Missouri” station was playing jazz and none of the 90.9 Missouri FM stations listed on Radio-Locator had jazz as their format).  

And that’s all she wrote.

Friday, June 11, 2021

90.9 was jumping!

The past few weeks, I have been checking 90.9 MHz every morning for DX. (90.9 is one of the few unoccupied FM channels around here, so if I hear anything on 90.9, it is DX and the band is open.)

WBUR out of Boston was strong a couple of mornings and an unknown religious station was deep in the mud a couple of mornings (too deep to identify).

Friday morning, the band went wild! At times, there were two or three stations fading in and out at the same time. The E-skip lasted for almost three hours and I probably heard eight stations that I could not identify and four stations that I could identify (three new stations for the log and one relog).

1500 UTC: W215CJ in Tampa, Florida, 1096 miles to the south-southwest running only 25 or 38 watts!

1604 UTC: WOWB in Brewton, Alabama, 1058 miles to the southwest transmitting 100,000 watts.

1620 UTC: WJAB in Huntsville, Alabama, 876 miles to the south-southwest transmitting 100,000 watts.

1700 UTC: KUNI in Cedar Falls, Iowa, 971 miles to the west-northwest transmitting 94,000 watts (KUNI was a relog that I heard last summer)

All stations were heard with my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna.

Friday, May 28, 2021

LuG (Loop under Ground) Antenna

Last post, I wrote that I would be doing a lot of antenna work during the next few weeks. A few days later, my lawn mower ate another Loop on Ground (LoG) antenna! That is two springs in a row that I lost a LoG to the mower, so I decided that I would not put down another LoG unless I could find a workaround for my hungry lawn mower.

I decided to bury the antenna just deep enough to avoid the mower, but not too deep as to affect reception. I bought some new RG6 coax, heavier gauge enameled copper wire, Channel Master balun and a saw-tooth border edger to slice open 120 feet of lawn.

It took about an hour to slice the lawn and another hour to put down the copper wire generously using lawn staples to keep the wire below ground level. By the way, the stainless steel lawn staples seem to have no effect on the operation of the antenna. Another by the way, I turned the new antenna about 30° counter-clockwise compared to the old LoGs so that its axes now lie 0°/180° and 90°/270°.

After connecting the balun and coax and running the coax up to the shack, I anxiously turned on the IC-R8600 and I was very disappointed. All signals were weak. There were no signals on frequencies that I normally hear signals and 1600 to 1710 kHz was totally dead. [There is a Department of Transportation Travelers Information Station (DOT TIS) 3 miles away on 1670 that blasts in here normally and there was nothing to hear on 1670 with the new antenna.]

I thought maybe the antenna being sunk in the ground was the cause even though at the most, the antenna was only a half-inch below the surface. So I went out and lifted the whole antenna out of the ground and returned to the radio, but it did not make any difference.

My next guess was that the new balun might be the culprit, so I swapped it for the old balun and 1600 to 1710 kHz came back to life, but all the signals were still weak or non-existent. That left the coax and the copper wire as culprits. Except for a break in the enameled copper wire, I could not figure out how the wire could be bad. That left the coax, so I replaced the new RG6 coax with the old RG59 and that solved the problem. Bad RG6!

I pushed the copper back down into the ground and the signal levels were exactly the same with the antenna on top of the lawn and with the antenna underground by 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch depth.

Next day, I cut the lawn and the antenna survived.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

May Day


Two things: new radio and new logging.

I purchased a new radio, an ICOM IC-7300 transceiver. And with it, I logged a new station, WEZR relaying ’80s oldies station WIGY on 780 kHz transmitting 18 watts from Rumford, Maine, 234 miles to the north-northeast. Antenna was the 128-foot Loop-on-Ground.

Next few weeks, I will be doing a lot of antenna work.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Night of Elevens

Tuesday evening, I tuned the ICOM IC-R8600 to 92.1 MHz to listen to my favorite oldies radio station, WLNG, and I was surprised to hear people conversing in a foreign language. WLNG usually pounds in here via the ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna on the roof, so I assumed what I was hearing was more local than WLNG on Long Island. 

On the shelf above the IC-R8600 is my Grundig Satellit 750 receiver, so I tuned it to 92.1 and WLNG was loud and clear. (I was using the 750’s telescoping antenna.) There was no sign of the foreigners on the 750, but they were still loud and clear on the IC-R8600! It was a Twilight Zone moment!

I listened to the mystery station for awhile and successfully heard and recorded their station identification, but I could not make sense of it except for one word, “nacional.”

Last night, I tuned to 92.1 again and they were louder than Tuesday evening, but occasionally, there were fades and I could hear WLNG. By now, I assumed they were speaking in Portuguese and after doing some research on the Internet, I concluded that the station was W221CQ-FM transmitting 125 watts in Naugatuck, Connecticut, 11 miles to the south-southwest. 

I actually have heard them before on the car radio when it was tuned to WLNG and was driving in a southerly direction. They would momentarily swamp WLNG, but the language barrier and brevity of the signal dissuaded me from trying to figure out who they were. Now they are in the log. 

Wednesday night, I also logged WAMA on 1550 kHz transmitting 133 watts from Tampa, Florida, nearly 11 hundred miles to the south-southeast. The IC-R8600 and 128-foot Loop on Ground antenna captured that one. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Two New This Week

Night time conditions have been interesting – hearing lots of DX from the south, like a very strong CMBR from Havana on 530 kHz, but nothing new to add to the log. I had better luck listening for the hour before sunset and logged two new stations this week.

WGFP on 940 kHz transmitting 1 kW from Webster, Massachusetts, 64 miles to the east-northeast.

WENU on 1410 kHz transmitting 1 kW from South Glen Falls, New York, 123 miles to the north-northwest.

Heard with my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and 128-foot Loop on Ground antenna (WGFP) and 80-meters dipole (WENU).

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Four New Loggings


Since my last post, I added four stations to the log.

February 17 at 2140Z, “Classic Country Radio" station WVTL on 1570 kHz in Amsterdam, New York, transmitting 1,000 watts, 110 miles to the north-northwest, 

February 26 at 0420Z, navigational beacon LC on 376 kHz in Columbus (Pickerington), Ohio, transmitting 25 watts, 531 miles to the west-southwest

March 13 at 0458Z, WENR on 1090 kHz in Englewood, Tennessee, transmitting 1,000 watts, 757 miles to the southwest running a DX test for radio hobbyists

March 13 at 0458Z, religious station WILD on 1090 kHz in Boston, Massachusetts, transmitting 1,900 watts, 110 miles to the east-northeast

All stations were heard on my ICOM IC-8600 receiver and 128-ft Loop on Ground (LoG) antenna.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Out with the Old, In (the Log) with the New


WFME
(50,000 watts on 1560 kHz in NYC) recently announced that it was going off the air. For days, it repeated a 15-minute loop of religious programming and an announcement about its impending demise.

Over the weekend, rumor was that they were pulling the plug Monday morning, so while I did this and that in the shack, I had the IC-R8600 tuned to 1560. After the loop played again at 11:15 EST, there was a brief generic station identification followed by dead air. WFME was gone.

I listened to 1560 for something new switching between the four antennas connected to the IC-R8600, but heard nothing. At sunset, it was a different story – there were two or three stations fighting it out and I managed to identify one of them as a new entry in the log: gospel music station WGLB in Elm Grove, Wisconsin transmitting 250 watts, 775 miles to the north-northwest.

I did not identify the other stations and will try again tonight.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Mid-February Report

Conditions have been good and bad and even when they are good, I only managed to log two new AM stations since my last post.

WAKM on 960 kHz transmitting 75 watts, 848 miles to the southwest from Franklin, Tennessee.

WSSV on 1160 kHz transmitting 575 watts, 97 miles to the north-northwest from Mechanicsville, New York.

Both were heard with my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver, WAKM with my ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna and WSSV with my 128-foot Loop on Ground (LoG) antenna.

Nine years ago, I logged WPQH451 on my Subaru’s radio from my employer’s parking lot in Wallingford, CT. WPQH451 is a 10-watt traffic information station located in Rocky Hill, CT that I could never hear from home until recently. Don't know if they made some equipment changes or what, but now I can hear WPQH451 all the time 14 miles from my home station on Compounce Mountain in Wolcott, CT. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

BZ, CL, LUA


Conditions were excellent last night and I added three navigational beacons to the log.

CL on 207 kHz from Charlo, New Brunswick, Canada, transmitting 1000 watts, 544 miles to the north-northeast at 0615 UTC.

LUA on 245 kHz from Luray (Luray Caverns), Virginia, transmitting 25 watts, 355 miles to the southwest at 0557 UTC.

BZ on 407 kHz from Statesboro (Bulloch), Georgia, transmitting 25 watts, 797 miles to the south-southwest at 0522 UTC.

The three were received with my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and 128-foot Loop on Ground antenna.

Monday, January 18, 2021

WAZX and WLCO


Added two new stations to the log.

WAZX on 1550 kHz transmitting 50,000 watts from Smyra, Georgia, 833 miles to the southwest. Logged on January 9 at 0100Z.

WLCO on 1530 kHz transmitting 5,000 watts from Lapeer, Michigan, 537 miles to the west-northwest. Logged on January 12 at 0225Z.

Received both with my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna.

Longwave conditions have been very good to excellent lately, but I have not heard anything new.

Monday, January 4, 2021

WTIC's IBOC and WWCO's absence

Before turning in last night, I tuned the AM band to hear what I could hear and came up with a couple of surprises.

WTIC on 1080 kHz, 50,000 watts, 13 miles line-of-sight from my home, seems to have turned off its IBOC, which made reception on 1070 and 1090 kHz difficult, if not impossible. I noticed this when I turned to 1070 and could actually hear stations without having to use my receiver's filters to tune out WTIC's IBOC. I checked again this morning and the IBOC was still off, but it had returned when I checked again this afternoon. It was nice while it lasted.

Tuning further up the band, I noticed that 1240 kHz was absent WWCO's signal (1000 watts, 7 miles from my home). I cannot receive anything but WWCO on 1240 when it is on the air, but last night, there was a cacophony of stations on 1240 typical for a graveyard channel.

I decided to forgo sleep and take advantage of this rare opportunity and try to identify something. Briefly, WFTN popped up for identification – a new one for the log. (WFTN transmits 1000 watts from Franklin, New Hampshire, 142 miles to the north-northeast.)

I hung around for about 15 minutes more until WWCO came back to life and dominated 1240.

Receiver: ICOM IC-R8600, Antenna: 128-ft Loop on Ground (LoG)

WTIC's IBOC'd signal extends from 1065 to 1095 kHz!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

New Year, New Logging


WCPH ran 2-hour tests during the early mornings of December 26 and January 2. I missed the December 26 test, but did catch the January 2 test for about ten minutes. Here is my log for the test.

0155 EST Alarm clock sounds

0156 EST Power up receiver. 

0156 EST Hear WHKW religious talk, a station in the mud playing music and some sweep tones. Discount sweep tones as some kind of anomaly because test was not supposed to start until 0200 EST.

0200 EST sweep tones

0202 EST Morse code too weak to decipher followed by clear code “WCPH WCPH”

0203 EST sequence of 5 or 6 tones rising in pitch

0204 EST Morse code too weak to decipher

0206 EST sweep tones

0207 EST slow Morse code “V V V … WCPH WCPH WCPH”

0209 EST sweep tones (strong enough to see on waterfall display)

0210 EST Morse code “V V V  V V V  D I (sic) WCPH WCPH…”

0211 EST Back to bed

Receiver: ICOM IC-R8600

Antenna: 128-ft Loop on Ground (LoG)

Location: Wolcott, CT, USA – 761 miles to WCPH transmitting 1000 watts from Etowah, Tennessee. Not a new state on AM, but a new station on AM – first new one in 2021!

UPDATE: I learned that the test started one hour earlier than originally scheduled, so the sweep tones I heard (and discounted) at 0156 EST were actually part of the test.