Wednesday, June 11, 2014

E-Skip Openings in Late May and Early June

It was well worth the wait for the E-skip openings; the first one took place on May 25. It started at 1030 CDT (1530 UTC) when I pulled in XELN-TV 4 out of Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. Channel 3 had the usual stations: XHPN Piedras Negras, Coahuila and XHBQ Zacatecas were in before 1200 CDT (1700 UTC). Shortly after 1300, I pulled in two stations from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua: XEPM-TV 2 and XEJ-TV 5, all in analog format. Better catch these now before they go digital! On the FM side of the dial, the opening started down in the Rio Grande Valley, with KESO 92.7 South Padre Island, TX in at 1105 with a spot cluster in Spanish. Three Chihuahua FM stations made it in as well: XHDI 88.5 Ciudad de ChihuahuaXHHPR 101.7 Hidalgo del Parral and XHSBT 99.5 Buenaventura before 1300 CDT (1800 UTC). 

The action began shifting north to El Paso and southern New Mexico after that, with another log of KBNA-FM 97.5 El Paso; the UTEP (University of Texas-El Paso) mention gave it away. Another El Paso FM noted was KSII 93.1. From southern New Mexico, I noted KDEM-FM 94.3 Deming mixing with 120-mile distant KATI California, MO. Albuquerque (yes, the city where Bugs Bunny forgets to make that left turn) came through on FM, I noted a call change with KLQT 95.1 Corrales, which I first noted as KABQ-FM in July 2009. KMGA 99.5 was also noted from Albuquerque. Two Arizona FM stations made it through, with KMVP-FM 98.7 Phoenix noted with an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game from Citi Field in New York (they were playing the Mets that day). Another one noted was KXAZ 93.3 Page, which now has an Adult Hits format for the Lake Powell area. The maximum usable frequency reached 162.400 MHz, noting WNG548 in Show Low, AZ at 1435 CDT (1935 UTC) with a weather forecast, conditions and mention of nearby Springerville. WXJ34 Albuquerque, NM noted with a weather summary for the upper Rio Grande Valley and metro Albuquerque at 1437 CDT (1937 UTC). Mexican TV stations were still in through 1445 CDT (1945 UTC). Northwestern New Mexico was still in before 1500, noting KTRA 102.1 Farmington and, close to the top of the hour, KAZX 102.9 Kirtland, serving the Four Corners area.

By 1500 (2000 UTC), the action had shifted to Colorado. A new station was noted from the Colorado Springs area in KKPK 92.9. Severe storms were moving through the Colorado Springs area at the time; I was fortunate to record KATC 95.1 being interrupted  by a severe thunderstorm warning for the Colorado Springs area. Three new Denver stations were also noted, including only my third "Franken-FM", KXDP-LP 87.7. After next year, these stations will be a thing of the past. The other two new Denver FM stations noted were KYGO 98.5, which simulcast on AM 950 at one time (the 950 pattern is beamed toward the east at night), and KQMT 99.5. I even got into the ski resort areas, with KSKE-FM 101.7 Eagle, near Vail, and KIDN 95.9 Burns, between Eagle and Hayden. Two new Utah FM stations were noted, KWUT 97.7 Elsinore and KZNS-FM 97.5 Coalville; the latter simulcasting one of the all-sports stations in Salt Lake City (KZNS 1280). Before 1600 CDT (2100 UTC), Wyoming stations began to be heard. KUWR 91.9 Laramie was noted at 1559 CDT (2059 UTC) with an ID for Wyoming Public Radio, along with another Laramie FM, KIMX 96.7, which uses the slogan "I-Mix". KSIT 99.7 Rock Springs was also noted at 1556 CDT (2056 CDT) with a rock format and legal ID; KQLT 103.7 Casper also had its Country format interrupted by a severe weather warning for the Casper area at 1630 CDT (2130 UTC). Western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming began coming through between 1635 and 1715 CDT (2135-2215 UTC), with South Dakota stations KRCS 93.1 Sturgis, along with Rapid City stations KLMP 88.3 and KOUT 98.7 noted. KLMP 88.3 runs a Contemporary Christian format, but is also one of the few non-commercial stations to run arch-conservative Fox News Radio. Two more Wyoming FM stations made it in: KHRW 92.7 Ranchester and KLED 93.3 Antelope Valley-Crestview. The city of license for KLED ("The Legend", a Classic Country format) was the longest I could ever fit into any of my logbooks! Before the opening faded from FM, I pulled in a call letter change: KURL 93.3 Billings, MT. I last noted them as KYYA. Ownership limits led to a swap of 93.3 MHz and 730 kHz, with KYYA moving to 730 kHz with a News/Talk format, while KURL moved its Christian programming to 93.3 MHz.

Two new digital TV stations were also added to the logbook on May 25. One of these is KNOP 2 North Platte, NE; the shortest E-skip digital TV log at 575 miles (919 km) from Hazelwood, MO. I pulled in the main channel (carrying NBC's coverage of a golf tournament) and the second channel, carrying the local Fox affiliate. This is a video capture of KNOP 2.1:

The second new DTV log was KYUS 3 Miles City, MT. Even with very low power, this is quite a haul at 945 miles (1,521 km). I was able to get PSIP information from this station:

KYUS is my first digital TV log on Channel 3. I also logged this several times in analog format, especially when relaying KULR 8 in Billings. Two new analog stations were noted, both on Channel 6 and both from Saskatchewan. CFQC-TV2 North Battleford and CKCK-TV2 Willow Bunch both battled for domination on the channel at 1819 CDT (2319 UTC).

Another E-skip opening occurred on June 1; the maximum usable frequency on this one was 90.1 MHz, noting XHRYS Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico with a Top 40 format, weather conditions and local ads in Spanish at 1544 CDT (2044 UTC). Four Mexican analog TV stations were also noted: XHWX 4 Monterrey,  Nuevo Leon, XHAE 5 Saltillo, Coahuila, XHTAU 2 Tampico, Tamaulipas and XHPN 3 Piedras Negras, Coahuila; the first two between 1430 and 1500 CDT (1930-2000 UTC) and the other two between 1715 and 1730 CDT (2215-2230 UTC).  The June 2 E-skip opening allowed me to re-log analog Channels 2, 4 and 6 in Havana between 1045 and 1130 CDT (1545-1630 UTC). Still another opening on June 6 allowed me to pull in only my second Cuban FM, CMBV 93.3 Havana (Radio Taino) with Latin pop music, promos and Cuba mentions in Spanish at 1955 CDT (June 7 0055 UTC). On that same day, I re-logged XHTAU 2 Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico at 1125 CDT (1625 UTC), as well as Havana, Cuba on 4 and 6, as well as Santa Clara, Cuba on channel 3 (analog format). The E-skip opening of June 9 afforded me a huge opportunity to fatten my CW logbook, working stations in the Northeast U.S., as well as Ontario and Quebec in Canada on 6 Meters CW. I did work a New Hampshire station on 6 Meters SSB, though. The MUF peaked at Channel 2, with CIII2 Bancroft, ON (in analog) noted at 1648 CDT (2148 UTC) with a Toronto newscast, including a traffic report. The opening of June 11 also peaked at Channel 2 to Ontario, again noting CIII2 at 1655 with the local news.

With the addition of a couple local 10-watt FM stations to the logbook, my FM total now stands at 1,262 as of June 11, 2014 from 46 U.S states and the District of Columbia, eight Canadian provinces, seven Mexican states and the Federal District (Mexico City), and Ciudad de la Habana in Cuba. The analog TV logbook now stands at 577 from six countries (U.S., Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela), the digital TV logbook now stands at 164 stations from 18 states, and the NOAA Weather Radio logbook now stands at 114 stations from 22 states. 

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