Friday, 16 June 2017

Reception of Armenia in Skegness?

It's one of those things, as with all the most interesting reception - and it never seems to fail for me! "Was it?", "Wasn't it?" Well, I am 99% convinced that it was!

Last year, I adjusted my record of having received Cape Verde by marking the entry in capitals thus: "TENTATIVE". I'm almost 100% certain back then that what I received on 93.9 was indeed Cape Verde, backed up by hearing the same music I heard on their web stream, but the signal I received was so weak and badly splattered that I couldn't be absolutely certain. I hate that uncertainty with loggings, but the received audio and the surrounding facts and figures for the time of my reception seemed to back it up perfectly.

With my Armenian reception, the audio I received on 87.5 was clearly that of a lady speaking in quite a monotone voice and it sounded identical to that of their web stream. The station was Hayastani Azgain Radio 1 from Jiliza. The language caught my attention to begin with and not something I had heard before. There was also the fact that I had managed to check the audio from all the relevant web streams on that frequency , i.e. all Turkish web streams, Cyprus, Lebanon, Ukraine, etc., all of which were distinctively different. Just about all of them were playing music of one kind or another and none of them had a woman talking. The fact that the lady on the Armenian web stream had the very same monotone style of speech as the audio from their web stream nailed this for me.

Then I studied the propagation paths in place at the time. The Es MUF map was a solid mass of yellows, reds and purples, covering most of the European mainland and extending nicely in the direction of Armenia. Double-hop activity was prevalent at the time and I had logged Adana in Turkey not long before this. There had been several hours of Afghan TV reception at carrier level in northern Europe around the time of my reception. Propagation lower down on the ham frequencies also suggested that the path may have been open, though more so on 10m than 6m. Finally, when I looked at the propagation path symmetry of my reception around that time, it showed a classic pattern of the kind I always see during my Es reception.

Adding all this together appears to back up the fact that this was Armenia, apart from one thing - the one thing which was lacking. The fact that I did not hear a station ID. Nor did I have the Armenian web stream running at the same time as my reception, though there was only five or ten seconds in it. My Armenian reception had just faded when I found the matching web stream. Nonetheless, this was the only stream I found where there was a female voice and one which sounded IDENTICAL.

The woman was talking in a language I did not recognise. The signal was very weak, but surprisingly stable. I could hear the speech quite clearly at times and this lasted for two, maybe three minutes at most.

Did I get a recording? No! I was too busy checking web streams to be bothered with recording. In any case, my new motherboard still has problems whereby I cannot record audio from web streams, so I wouldn't have been able to demonstrate that side of things at least, but a recording would have been useful. I must get this fixed as soon as possible.

Concluding, in the same way I always do with this type of reception, I have to say that the logging will have the usual big, fat TENTATIVE badge slapped on it due to the lack of concrete evidence, but everything surrounding this reception held up sufficiently to convince me that this was almost certainly Armenia. The lack of ID or RDS data just adds that little bit of "Could it have been something else?" uncertainty. I could dispute that, but then we're back to square one. Make up your own minds, but the 16th June was truly a special day for sporadic E reception and one of the best I have known.

There are many files I still have to check from the 16th and I am now at that stage where I am starting to get well behind with these, so the annual catch-up process has begun!

Good DX!

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