Thursday, March 29, 2012

Off-Season FM, TV and NOAA Weather Radio DX

Many DXers know that the spring and summer months are the prime months for FM, TV (analog/digital) and NOAA Weather Radio DX. However, openings for FM, TV and NOAA Weather Radio can occur at any time of the year. Some of the big off-season openings can occur in the fall and winter months. Some of the openings that come to mind, from my experience, were the tropo openings in mid-November of 1988 (I was living in Georgia at the time), as well as the big TV DX opening on December 26-27, 1994 and January 16-17, 1995. There's been a few off-season openings during this unusually warm winter in the St. Louis area.

Equipment used include a Kenwood AR-304 AM/FM/FM Stereo receiver with filter modification by FM Atlas, driving an Antenna Performance Specialties APS-9B nine-element yagi at 26 feet above ground level, as well as two Zenith DTT-901 DTV tuners, one going through a 1999 Daewoo 13-inch color TV, the other going through a 1984 Samsung 19-inch color TV (both driving a Radio Shack VU-210XR at 30 feet AGL), and a Radio Shack PRO-2052 driving a Radio Shack discone at 32 feet above ground level. All times are Central U.S. time.

November 24, 2011: This was a tropo opening into Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Call letters of new logs are underlined.

DTV Logs:

2055 WAND 17.1 Decatur, IL (NBC-moved from Channel 18.1) 110 miles/177 km
2056 WAND 17.2 Decatur, IL (Accu Weather-moved from Channel 18.2) 110 miles/177 km
2102 WISE 18.1 (33.1) Fort Wayne, IN (NBC) 320 miles/515 km
2111 WDTN 50.1 (2.1) Dayton, OH (NBC HD) 340 miles/547 km
2112 WDTN 50.2 (2.2) Dayton, OH (standard definition) 340 miles/547 km
2115 WXIN 45.1 (59.1) Indianapolis, IN (local programming) 240 miles/386 km
2116 WXIN 45.2 (59.2) Indianapolis, IN (Antenna TV) 240 miles/386 km
2117 WIPB 23.1 (49.1) Muncie, IN (PBS HD) 255 miles/410 km
2117 WIPB 23.2 (49.2) Muncie, IN (Create) 255 miles/410 km
2118 WIPB 23.3 (49.3) Muncie, IN (local weather) 255 miles/410 km
2140 WWHO 46.1 (53.1) Chillicothe, OH "CW Columbus" 400 miles/644 km
2145 WRGT 30.1 (45.1) Dayton, OH "Fox 45" 340 miles/515 km
2148 WOSU 38.1 (34.1) Columbus, OH (PBS HD) 400 miles/644 km
2149 WOSU 38.2 (34.2) Columbus, OH (WOSU Ohio) 400 miles/644 km
2149 WOSU 38.3 (34.3) Columbus, OH (Create) 400 miles/644 km
2150 WIPX 27.1 (63.1) Bloomington, IN (ION) 210 miles/338 km
2150 WIPX 27.2 (63.2) Bloomington, IN (Qubo) 210 miles/338 km
2151 WIPX 27.3 (63.3) Bloomington, IN (ION Life) 210 miles/338 km
2156 WTTV 48.1 (4.1) Bloomington, IN (local programming) 210 miles/338 km
2156 WTTV 48.2 (4.2) Bloomington, IN (This TV) 210 miles/338 km
2157 WTTK 29.1 Kokomo, IN (local programming) 255 miles/410 km
2157 WTTK 29.2 Kokomo, IN (This TV) 255 miles/410 km
2209 WSTR 33.1 (64.1) Cincinnati, OH 320 miles/515 km
2231 WKAR 40.3 (23.3) East Lansing, MI (Create) 395 miles/635 km
2232 WKAR 40.2 (23.2) East Lansing, MI (standard definition PBS) 395 miles/635 km
2233 WKAR 40.1 (23.1) East Lansing, MI (PBS HD) 395 miles/635 km
2240 WFYI 21.1 (20.1) Indianapolis, IN (PBS HD) 240 miles/386 km
2240 WFYI 21.2 (20.2) Indianapolis, IN (WFYI 2) 240 miles/386 km
2240 WFYI 21.3 (20.3) Indianapolis, IN (WFYI 3) 240 miles/386 km
2246 WSBT 22.1 South Bend, IN (CBS) 300 miles/483 km
2246 WSBT 22.2 South Bend, IN (SBT 2) 300 miles/483 km
2247 WSBT 22.3 South Bend, IN (weather) 300 miles/483 km

FM Logs:

2123 WLFM-LP 87.7 Chicago, IL-"Chicago's Smooth 87.7", Smooth AC format (255 miles/410 km)
2140 WIBC 93.1 Indianapolis, IN-"93 WIBC", local ads, talk format (240 miles/386 km)

November 30, 2011: Short tropo opening, logging only WAND 17.1 Decatur, IL and WPSD 32.1 Paducah, KY

December 13, 2011: Tropo opening into Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee

DTV Logs:

1845 WPSD 32.1 (6.1) Paducah, KY (local programming) 155 miles/249 km
1845 WPSD 32.2 (6.2) Paducah, KY (RTV-Retro Television) 155 miles/249 km
1845 WPSD 32.3 (6.3) Paducah, KY (local weather) 155 miles/249 km
1847 WSIL 34.1 (3.1) Harrisburg, IL (local programming) 130 miles/209 km
1847 WSIL 34.2 (3.2) Harrisburg, IL (standard definition) 130 miles/209 km
1905 WTCT 17.1 (27.1) Marion, IL (TCT) 100 miles/161 km
1905 WTCT 17.2 (27.2) Marion, IL (TCT-2) 100 miles/161 km
1905 WTCT 17.3 (27.3) Marion, IL (standard definition of 17.1/27.1) 100 miles/161 km
1935 WDKA 49.1 Paducah, KY 155 miles/249 km
1938 WKRN 27.1 (2.1) Nashville, TN (ABC HD) 270 miles/435 km
1938 WKRN 27.2 (2.2) Nashville, TN (Nashville Weather Channel) 270 miles/435 km
2049 KFVS 12.1 Cape Girardeau, MO (CBS HD) 115 miles/184 km
2127 WEVV 45.1 (44.1) Evansville, IN (CBS HD) 165 miles/266 km
2127 WEVV 45.2 (44.2) Evansville, IN (Fox) 165 miles/266 km
2128 WFIE 46.1 (14.1) Evansville, IN (NBC HD) 165 miles/266 km
2128 WFIE 46.2 (14.2) Evansville, IN (This TV) 165 miles/266 km
2129 WFIE 46.3 (14.3) Evansville, IN (14 Xtra) 165 miles/266 km
2234 WTVW 28.1 (7.1) Evansville, IN "Local 7" 165 miles/266 km
2237 WILL 9.1 (12.1) Urbana, IL (PBS HD) 155 miles/249 km
2239 WCIA 48.1 (3.1) Champaign, IL (CBS HD) 150 miles/240 km
2239 WCIA 48.2 (3.2) Champaign, IL (WCIX 13.1/49.1 Springfield) 150 miles/240 km

FM Logs:

1902 WGFX 104.5 Gallatin, TN-"104-5 The Zone", local ads, NFL talk (270 miles/435 km)
1919 WTJJ 94.3 Dyer, TN-"The TJ Network", local ads, promo, NASCAR Live, //WTJS 1390 (200 miles/322 km)
1929 WKNP 90.1 Jackson, TN-"The WKNO-FM Stations", underwriting, promo, wx, Fresh Air (235 miles/378 km)
2024 WJXA 92.9 Nashville, TN-"Mix 92-9", local ads, weather, Delilah (270 miles/435 km)
2117 WFGE 103.7 Murray, KY-"Froggy 103.7", local ads, jingle ID, country music (190 miles/306 km)
2347 WBVN 104.5 Carrier Mills, IL-promos, call letters, New Music Update, CCM (100 miles/161 km)
2357 WNIN 88.3 Evansville, IN-classical music, legal ID, NPR news (165 miles/266 km)

December 14, 2011: Continuation of tropo opening from December 13

FM Logs:

0003 WKPB 89.5 Henderson, KY-NPR news, underwriting, classical music, through WDRS Dorsey, IL (170 miles/274 km)
0012 WWTN 99.7 Hendersonville, TN-local ads, talk, mixing with WXAJ Hillsboro, IL (265 miles/427 km)
0020 WQXQ 101.9 Central City, KY-"Q-101.9", local ads, CHR format (200 miles/322 km)
0048 WHOP-FM 98.7 Hopkinsville, KY-"Light 98.7", news, mention of AM 1230, promos, ads, Xmas mx (205 miles/330 km)
0100 WJCR 90.1 Upton, KY-legal ID //WNFC 91.7 Paducah, Contemporary Christian music (260 miles/418 km)

NOAA Weather Radio Log:

0056 KIH76 162.550 Evansville, IN-conditions for IN/IL/KY/MO/TN, CST time check, forecast, KDO89 St. Louis, MO nulled (165 miles/266 km)

In January of 2012, I purchased a Harman/Kardon TU920 AM/FM tuner from DXer Walt Breville (W4WMB). I broke this one in with a Valentine's Day opening.

February 14, 2012: Tropo opening to southern Illinois and Missouri

FM Logs:

2037 WISH-FM 98.9 Galatia, IL-"Southern Illinois' Wish 98-9", local ads, Hot AC format (100 miles/161 km)
2042 Mount Vernon, IL in on 88.9, 89.7, 94.1 (Stereo) and 102.1 (85 miles/137 km)
2107 KWTO-FM 98.7 Springfield, MO-"Jock 98-7", sports talk (195 miles/314 km)
2112 KJEL 103.7 Lebanon, MO-"K-Jel", high school basketball play by play, country music (155 miles/249 km)
2124 KKLH 104.7 Marshfield, MO-"104.7 The Cave", local ads, Classic Rock format (160 miles/257 km)

March 22, 2012: Tropo opening into central Missouri and central/southern Illinois

DTV Logs:

2215 WCIX 13.1 (49.1) Springfield, IL (local programming) 80 miles/128 km
2216 WCIX 13.2 (49.2) Springfield, IL (WCIA 48.1/3.1 Champaign) 80 miles/128 km
2232 WRSP 44.1 (55.1) Springfield, IL "Fox 55/27 Illinois" 80 miles/128 km
2233 WRSP 44.2 (55.2) Springfield, IL (Me TV, not //WRBU 47.2/46.2 East St. Louis) 80 miles/128 km
2330 KYOU 15.1 Ottumwa, IA "Fox 15" 185 miles/294 km

FM Logs:

2226 WYMG 100.5 Chatham, IL-"Springfield's Classic Rock," local ads, Classic Rock format, moved from Jacksonville, IL (70 miles/113 km)
2230 Springfield, IL in on 89.7 (mono), 91.9, 98.7, 101.9, 103.7, 104.5 (all in Stereo) (80 miles/128 km)
2231 Decatur, IL in on 95.1 and 102.9 (both in Stereo) (110 miles/177 km)
2250 KXMO 95.3 Owensville, MO-"95.3 KXMO", local ads, Oldies format, through digital sideband from WFUN-FM 95.5 Bethalto, IL (55 miles/89 km)
2300 WKYQ 93.3 Paducah, KY-country music, legal ID at 2303 (155 miles/249 km)

NOAA Weather Radio Logs

2230 bandscan:
162.400 - WXJ75 Springfield, IL (80 miles/128 km) dominant, but faded to DX on occasion
162.425 - KXI79 Hillsboro, IL (55 miles/89 km) and WXM49 Marion, IL (100/161) trading places dominating
162.450 - KXI70 Jerseyville, IL (25 miles/40 km) and WNG728 Bellflower, MO (55/89) trading places dominating
162.475 - KXI49 Salem, IL (90 miles/145 km), WXJ71 Peoria, IL (140/225) and WXK82 (90/145) Hannibal, MO trading places
162.500 - KXI46 Shelbyville, IL (110 miles/177 km), WXJ92 Macomb, IL (115/184) and WWG49 Fredericktown, MO (85/137) trading places
162.525 - WWF75 Bourbon, MO (65 miles/105 km) and WXM90 Jacksonville, IL (70/113) trading places
162.550 - Local KDO89 St. Louis, MO

One new log:

2315 WXN85 162.400 Fairfield, IA-forecast, IA conditions, legal ID (175 miles/282 km)

March 23, 2012: Continuation of March 22 opening

DTV Logs:

0006 KCRG 9.1 Cedar Rapids, IA 230 miles/370 km
0014 WCIA 48.1 Champaign, IL (CBS HD) 150 miles/240 km
0015 WCIA 48.2 Champaign, IL (WCIX 13.1/49.1 Springfield, IL) 150 miles/240 km

FM Logs:

0100 WSCT 90.5 Springfield, IL-legal ID, Contemporary Christian music //WIBI 91.1 Carlinville, through digital sideband of KWMU 90.7 St. Louis, MO (80 miles/128 km)
0110 WPBG 93.3 Peoria, IL-"93-3 The Drive", promo, Classic Hits format (140 miles/225 km)
0120 WILL-FM 90.9 Urbana, IL-Classical music, underwriting, through digital sideband from KWMU 90.7 St. Louis, MO (155 miles/249 km)
0130 WRUL 97.3 Carmi, IL-"97.3 WRUL", promo mentioning WROY 1460, local ads, weather, country music, through digital sideband from KFTK 97.1 Florissant, MO (130 miles/209 km)

As of March 29, 2012, the totals are as follows:

1,148 FM radio stations (87.7-108 MHz)
556 analog TV stations (VHF channels 2-13, UHF channels 14-69)
143 digital TV stations (VHF channels 2-13, UHF channels 14-59)
101 NOAA Weather Radio stations (162.400-162.550 MHz)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The First Entry of Eric's New Blog

I'm sure some of my fellow DXers and Amateur Radio operators have started blogs to tell the world about their hobbies. I have joined those in the hobby who are now doing a blog. This blog has been in the planning stages for several months; it was time that I start a blog, especially when one of the radio clubs I'm a member of is preparing to discontinue a hardcopy bulletin.

Many of my fellow DXers know that I've been in this hobby for over 30 years now. When I started in this hobby in October of 1981, I began on a Realistic DX-60 AM/FM/CB/SW portable (which I still have). It was a great experience to listen to perspectives other than the ones I was getting from local radio and TV. Shortwave radio was the best way to hear viewpoints from both sides of the proverbial Iron Curtain, as well as a way to spread the message of the Christian faith around the world. A person who owned a shortwave receiver back in 1981 could choose from pro-Western broadcasters like DW Radio (then Deutsche Welle), the Voice of America, Marxist views from the various Soviet republics (the largest of which was Radio Moscow), mainland China or the Warsaw Pact nations, Christian preaching from the likes of Harold Camping and Lester Sumrall, or even the Holy Koran broadcast from Saudi Arabia. The one great thing about radio as a teenager was that it kept me out of trouble.

I was the kind of person who listened to more than the local Top 40 or Rock 40 station. Even the fare on the local public radio stations were limited. Shortwave radio brought a whole new world to me every day and every night. When I first entertained the idea of a career in broadcasting, I wanted to follow in the footsteps of DXers who became broadcasters, like Glenn Hauser, Jerry Starr, Phil Wayne and some of the hosts of the DX and request shows, like Tom Meyer and Ian McFarland. Even the East Bloc had a few influential personalities, most notably Joe Adamov and Vladimir Pozner. The local personalities I looked up to in those days were the likes of Jack Carney from KMOX (1120 kHz), Ron Elz (Johnny Rabbitt), who was on KXOK (630 kHz-now KJSL) at the time, Bobby Day, whose local resume included KSLQ (98.1 MHz, now KYKY), KWK (1380 kHz-now KSLG/106.5 MHz, now WARH) and KHTR (103.3 MHz, now KLOU), and country DJ Lee Sherwood, whom I listened to on not only KSD/KUSA (550 kHz, now KTRS), but also on WMAQ out of Chicago (670 kHz, now WSCR). Nowadays, thanks to my subscription to Sirius-XM satellite radio, I can still get a variety of programs now.

I eventually embraced selected new technologies. The first one I embraced was AM Stereo. In 1986, I purchased a Realistic TM-152 C-QUAM tuner at my local Radio Shack. Today, I still have the tuner in my shack, despite the fact that only 300 stations broadcast in this format today. In 2005, I was the first person in my family to purchase a digital TV tuner. I purchased a Digital Stream HD3150 at the local Circuit City store (which has since closed). I now own three tuners, having added Zenith DTT-901 DTV tuners in 2008 and 2009. I had to get satellite radio because I was having difficulty obtaining a shortwave converter for the automobile, since my first one burned out in 2006. However, I refuse to embrace "HD Radio" or "DRM", two spectrally inefficient digital radio technologies. "HD Radio" not only wastes 40 kHz of valuable AM spectrum and 600 kHz of FM valuable spectrum, signal coverage is very limited, and the sound quality is not what their proponents claim. Depending on your receiver, FM Stereo performance on stations broadcasting in "HD" suffers greatly; some have as little as 5 dB separation, while analog FM is capable of near-CD quality sound. "HD" on AM sounds worse than analog AM, while C-QUAM is capable of better than FM-quality sound. DRM also wastes 40 kHz of valuable radio spectrum. I've heard an audio clip of "DRM" transmitted from a shortwave station; the sound quality is no better than AM. That's why I refuse to embrace terrestrial digital radio.

My equipment at the shack has evolved over the years. From a DX-60, I upgraded to a DX-200 in October 1982, added a Realistic Patrolman CB-60 in December 1982, a General Electric Superadio II in December 1983, and a Realistic DX-400 in 1985. Antennas evolved from built-in telescoping rod antennas to homebrew antennas made of different things, to ferrite core loop antennas. I had the DX-200 in the shack until 1994, the DX-400 until 1997, and the Superadio II until 1987. My TV DX was on TV sets I used for entertainment until December 1988, when I got a Yorx 4.5-inch monochrome TV with AM/FM radio and triple cassette decks. In 1990, I purchased a Realistic STA-90 from a pawn shop in Acworth, GA; I used that until 2003. The only leftover from the '80s that's still in use is the TM-152. I purchased my current shortwave receiver, a Sangean ATS-803A, in 1995 at a local hamfest from local DXer Tony Jasper. My current FM receiver, a Kenwood AR-304, was purchased in 2003 and modified by the late Bruce Elving in 2004. I bought the GE Superadio III, which I use for portable AM BCB DXing, in 1994. My main AM BCB receiver is a Yaesu FRG-7, which I bought at the 2011 Winterfest in Collinsville, IL. The two TV sets I use for DXing are a Samsung 19-inch color TV, which I bought in 1985, and a Daewoo 13-inch color TV, which my father purchased originally for a video security system in 1999. For public service monitoring, I have a Radio Shack PRO-2052 in the shack, a Radio Shack PRO-2014 at my bedside, and a Radio Shack PRO-79 as a portable scanner. I use the PRO-2052 and the PRO-79 to DX the NOAA Weather Radio bands.

I have been licensed as an Amateur Radio operator since October 1992. Originally licensed as a Technician, I upgraded to General Class in June 2007.

I presently hold the Amateur Radio call sign N0UIH, as well as two monitor station calls. In July 1982, I received the monitor call sign KDX0STL from WDX Monitoring Service. While I was in Georgia, I added a "/4" to my monitor call. In October 1984, I got the monitor call KMO0CN from CRB Research. I will be contributing many more blog entries in th emonths and years to come.