Sunday, 30 December 2012

Reception of WCGO Evansville, Illinois on 1590

This one came as a very pleasant surprise, especially as medium wave conditions were not up to much at the time. WCGO in Evanston, Illinois came through here this morning, but I missed it the first time. Had I not heard somebody else's recording of their top of the hour identification I wouldn't have had a clue what to listen for, particularly as reception was so weak.

This logging is thanks to David Hamilton, who posted to the Skywaves Medium Wave group, reporting his reception of WCGO at 0700. His recording also demonstrated weak reception but decidedly better than my own. I then checked my overnight Perseus recording at 0700 and could just make out the call letters and location on a painfully weak signal. After comparing my recording to David's I could clearly hear it was the same Spanish man using the same speech intonation. I had no idea this station broadcast in Spanish. It's even more surprising since they are only reported as using 2.5 kW at night!

You WILL need headphones if you listen to this recording. Firstly you will hear David's recording, then my own. This is followed by a quick snippet of the two recordings played together, mine lagging a fraction of a second behind David's, thus producing a clear echo.

Good DX! - John

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A Busy Festive Season!

I had hoped to invest a little more time in the radio hobby over the festive season but it became apparent that I was going to struggle to achieve this.

First of all, I hate Christmas and I hate the cold and depressingly short winter days, although it can hardly be said it has been a particularly cold one so far. I look at the large red apples still being proudly displayed on our apple tree of less than one year old.

Snow? There hasn't been any and the same is true of any real DX. My three favourites, medium wave, band 2 FM and the 10 metre amateur band have all been very quiet. Some minor achievements have been made with band 2 meteor scatter and this remind me that I am behind with updates to my logs.

The main distraction this Christmas has been the arrival of ten beautiful Rottweiler puppies in November. Well done Crystal for delivering them and to Monty, the dad, for being the doting father and looking after them - even trying to feed them! He wasn't pleased when they kept biting his gonads though. They spend most of the daytime eating, grumbling at each other and making a lot of 'mess'. One of them like to sing a lot, especially at 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am ... you get the idea (zzzzz!).

Here's wishing everybody the best for 2013 and let's hope we all get some exotic DX.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Conditions Update

Conditions have taken a big tumble over the last couple of days. While the carriers might be getting through, the audio has been struggling. 

Medium Wave blew out a couple of days ago and even east coast transatlantic regulars have been struggling. 

10m has suffered due to falling SFI. I was really looking forward to taking part in the contest over the weekend but there was no point as there just wasn't any propagation. 

Band 2 FM is quiet, as you would expect at this time of year, but aircraft scatter has improved again, bringing in some more distant transmitters from Germany, including Saarburg at 586 km and Teutoburger Wald at 591 km. This and many more despite sub-zero temperatures and hard frost. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

1230 Carriers

AM Carriers on 1230 kHz: 1800 - 2200, 09-12-12

Today I relocated my flag antenna so it was pointing more to the north, hoping to improve the chances of receiving higher latitude DX. As it stands, it is running at 350 degrees.

To check the antenna was functioning as I had hoped I monitored the carrier of KBRW on 680 and this was much improved over recent days. But I also tried 1230 for most of the evening, beginning around 18:00 and this is the grab above. Note the unusual waveform of the station in the centre. I presume the carrier is that of CFFB in Iqaluit in the Canadian North West Territories - a station I have received with audio two years ago here on the east coast when using a northerly flag antenna.

There is another carrier exhibiting the same effect at the top of the traces, slightly to the right of centre and which has a much larger example of that effect.

Friday, 7 December 2012

KBRW Carrier This Afternoon

I set Perseus to waterfall display this afternoon in order to see the trace of radio station KBRW in Barrow, Alaska on 680 kHz. The timespan for this is from 1400 to 1900 hours.

You will see receiver drift at the bottom of the display due to narrowing Perseus'  IF bandwidth which draws more resources from the PC and causes the slight change in frequency. The flaring at that point is probably due to doppler shift at fade-in. I didn't capture the trace before this as I had only just tuned to 680 at this point.

Take the frequency accuracy with a pinch of salt as I did not calibrate Perseus before starting the recording.

The weaker carrier to the right is probably an aeronautical beacon. Usually there are two of these but reception is of course dependent on propagation.

How do I know this is KBRW? Well, without hearing a full station identification it is not easy to prove. I have to accept that this could indeed be something else, but having done this experiment several times in the past, more especially during the last solar minimum, I have seen the KBRW carrier many times and witnessed it becoming strong enough to produce audio on a few occasions, audio from which I have heard full vocal station identification.

Medium Wave DX Log

 960 0200 USA WEAV The Zone, Plattsburgh (NY)  WEAV Plattsburgh, The Zone ID. Fair but
                   big splatter  5235 km

1360 0200 USA WDRC Hartford (CT)  Lots of network calls on the hour but The Talk Of The
                   Country WDRC Hartford ID heard first.   5381 km

1440 0200 USA WHKZ Warren (OH)  WHKZ Warren, bringing the word to northern Ohio. A
                   service of Salem Communications      5939 km

1530 0200 USA WCKY Cincinnati (N) (OH)  Ohio sports but faded at toh. Fair and over UK
                   locals!  6332 km

1690 0200 CAN CJLO Underground Radio, Montréal (QC)  Two references to heard.
                   V weak CBS News jingle heard behind this      5188 km

 730 0400 CAN CKAC Radio Circulation, Montréal/Pointe-Calumet (QC)  Presumed with
                   French anns. Buried at toh  5203 km

1360 0400 USA WMOB Mobile (AL)  Tentative. Shouting preacher talking about God and the
                   bible on WDRC fade. Presume still on day power if them  7223 km

1400 0400 USA WOND Newstalk-1400, Pleasantville (NJ)  Newstalk 14 Hundred WOND
                   Pleasantville and online at ID. CBG absent at this
                   moment  5673 km

 650 0500 USA WSM, Nashville/Blaw-Knox Mast (TN)  Difficult copy - partial slogan heard ..
                   news and information you need, .... music city  6710 km

 660 0700 USA WFAN New York/High Island (NY)  At last, a reference to The Fan. Been
                   trying to get an ID on this for a while.   5518 km

Conditions still good but slightly down on yesterday. The band deteriorated after 0600. 

The current forecast suggests conditions will stay quiet until at least the 9th.

I am monitoring 680 on Perseus' waterfall at the moment to demonstrate the carrier I see on 680 and will post a grab shortly.

Good DX!

John, Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) Approx. 1m ASL
Receiver: Perseus SDR, 
Antenna: Flag at approx. 290 degrees
Software: Perseus v4.0c, MESTOR     

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Canadian Prairies on the East Coast!

1440 0200 USA WVEI Worcester (MA)  ID Fox Sports ... Gooooooo now.
                   Surely this HAS to be WVEI  5293 km

 680 0300 CAN CFTR Six-Eighty News, Toronto/Grimsby (ON)  It's time for the 6-80 News
                   regional weather conditions ..       5711 km

 890 0300 USA WLS  Chicago/Tinley Gardens Park (IL)  Difficult copy but mentions of Chicago
                   at the toh. Over Spanish music station  6334 km

1120 0300 USA KMOX Saint Louis (MO)  Difficult in splatter. KMOX ID just audible and CBS
                   News jingle. Big problem with splatter as always  6690 km

1040 0318 USA WHO  Des Moines/Mitchellville (IA)  Two IDs in station promo:
                   Newsradio Ten Forty WHO. Fair levels  6648 km

 830 0500 USA WCRN Worcester (MA)  Reference to news and clear WCRN ID. CBS News  5301 km

 760 0600 USA WJR  Detroit (MI)  Extremely difficult in Euro-splatter but Newstalk 7-60
                   WJR squeezed out.      6009 km

 920 0600 USA KDHL Radio America, Faribault (MN)  Very difficult but I was sure I could
                   just make out the call letters and ABC News. Thanks Ken Baird in Ayrshire
                   for checking and confirming same.  6437 km

1250 0700 CAN CHSM Steinbach (MB)  Classical guitar before the hour then OM with programme
                   information. Thanks to Paul Crankshaw in Troon for help with this. Paul
                   sent me a recording of CHSM as heard in Troon, Scotland, which was
                   clearer than mine, so I was able to make a comparison and thus confirm I
                   was hearing the same OM. I know this isn't some people's idea of an ID
                   but it proves the good conditions have been getting over to the
                   east coast.  6228 km

I was really pleased to receive Manitoba this morning - first time here on the flag. Other stations like 1040 WHO and 1540 KXEL were almost blowing the windows out!

Also this afternoon I was able to see a presumed carrier from KBRW 680, Barrow AK.

These are excellent conditions considering we are in a solar maximum. I wonder what goodies the next solar minimum will bring? :)

Good DX!

Receiver: Perseus SDR,
Antenna: Flag at approx. 290 degrees
Software: Perseus v4.0c, MESTOR