A site about the radio listening hobby and my activities therein - longwave, mediumwave, shortwave, FM, and television DXing. A site about the radio listening hobby in all its forms, or at least the forms that interest me.

I am also a licenced amateur radio operator, callsign VE3LXL. Information about my amateur radio station is found on my station website.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Ultralight Loggings Update

Not a lot of time over the past two weeks for ultralight DXing. Here's what I've added to the log since the previous update. Radios used: Sangean DT-400W and Eton E-100.
  • 1370 WELG Ellenville, NY 1245 UTC 20-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 1260 WCHV Charlottesville, VA 2245 UTC 20-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 570 CMDC-R. Reloj Santa Clara, Cuba 0805 UTC 21-Dec-2008 E-100
  • 1650 CINA Mississauga, ON 2030 UTC 21-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 1360 WKYO Caro, MI 2228 UTC 21-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 950 WROL Boston, MA 1245 UTC 30-Dec-2008 E-100
Total ultralight count: 231.

WELG 1370 is a sister station to WKIP 1450. The ID I heard was actually for WKIP. Both stations are located at the same address in Poughkeepsie, NY.

WCHV 1260 was carrying The Kim Komando Show - a welcome change from the political talk shows one hears everywhere. I'd much rather listen to Kim talk about computers. WCHV is simulcast on 94.1 FM.

I didn't hear anything of Radio Reloj on 570 except for its distinctive "RR" Morse code identifier. Radio Reloj is a news network from Cuba and one of its characteristics is that it sends "RR" in Morse code once a minute. Often that "RR" gets through when nothing else does, which was the case here. I heard that "RR" repeated several times over a ten minute interval but didn't hear anything else.

CINA 1650 is a new station in Mississauga that is carrying a South Asian format. They are still currently in the test broadcasting phase. They're authorised to use 1 kW, but given how weak they are at my location in Toronto, I suspect they're currently operating on reduced power.

WKYO on 1360 is an oldies station. I didn't hear much of it except for an ID and a weather forecast. Too weak to hear much else.

WROL 950 is a religious broadcaster. It goes by the slogan "The Spirit of Boston".

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Saudi Arabia on Shortwave

I don't do much shortwave radio DXing any more, but I made one logging this week that's worth noting. On Mon. Dec. 8, 2008 I heard the Broadcasting Service of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 15380 kHz at 1340 UTC. It sounded like it was carrying a religious program, but since I don't know a word of Arabic, I can't really say.

I'd like to get back into shortwave, but between the lousy conditions due to the solar minimum, the large amounts of electrical noise at my location, the difficulty of putting up an effective antenna here, and the disappearance of one broadcaster after another, it sometimes doesn't really seem worth it.

This Week's Ultralight Loggings

The latest batch of stations heard on an ultralight radio - in this instance the Sangean DT-400W. Most are from my local region (the northeast) but this set also includes the second Cuban station I've logged on an ultralight, an outlet of Radio Reloj.
  • 960 WTGM Salisbury, MD 0404 UTC 13-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 960 CMDJ - Radio Reloj Guantanamo, Cuba 0430 UTC 13-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 960 WEAV Plattsburgh, NY 0430 UTC 13-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 1530 WLCO Lapeer, MI 2320 UTC 13-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 880 WRFD Columbus-Worthington, OH 1357 UTC 14-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 920 WYBY Cortland, NY 2157 UTC 14-Dec-2008 DT-400W
Total ultralight count: 225.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Ultralight Loggings for the First Week of December

It's been a productive week for ultralight DXing. Seven new stations added, including one new Canadian provice (Manitoba) and one new U.S. state (Nebraska). The Manitoba logging was made on the Sony SRF-59, while all the others were on the Sangean DT-400W:
  • 990 CBW Winnipeg, MB 2358 UTC 02-Dec-2008 SRF-59
  • 630 WPRO Providence, RI 0428 UTC 07-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 620 WRJZ Knoxville, TN 0558 UTC 07-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 1110 WCCM Salem, NH 2145 UTC 07-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 1400 WDNY Dansville, NY 2215 UTC 07-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 1320 WJAS Pittsburgh, PA 2223 UTC 07-Dec-2008 DT-400W
  • 880 KRVN Lexington, NE 2240 UTC 07-Dec-2008 DT-400W
Total ultralight station count: 219. Total U.S. states: 27. Total Canadian provinces: 3

CBW 990 is a 50 kW outlet of CBC Radio. I picked it while walking home from the subway. I've received this station several times before, but never like thit time. An astonishingly strong signal - I listened to it for ten minutes and it came in solid and steady with almost local quality for most of that time.

Three of these stations are new to my overall log: WJRZ 620, WDNY 1400, and KVRN 880.

KVRN 880 was an interesting catch. I'm not sure but it might be the first station I've ever received from Nebraska on AM. It's certainly the first on an ultralight. I heard it under WCBS. WCBS was dominating the frequency, but under it I could hear country and western music. Occasionally it strengthened enough to make out what was being said. The clincher was hearing a detailed weather report and forecast for the state of Nebraska.

This is a reception I made because of a new listening technique I discovered recently: sit on a frequency that is dominated by one station and then listen in the moments of silence for stations below it. It was my hearing WINS on 1010 below CFRB that made me realize this could work. No station has more of a dominant "presence" at my location than CFRB, so if I could hear another station behind it, it should work for other stations too. So that's how I got KVRN here and WJAS (which is on a frequency with another local station, CJMR).

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Ultralight Awards

I was pleased to receive three more awards recently from the Ultralight Radio Awards Committee: the 200 Stations Heard Award, the 25 U.S. States Award, and the "entry-level" (i.e., one station) Trans-Atlantic Stations Heard Award. If you're interested in these awards, see the ultralight DXing files area at dxer.ca.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Ultralight Loggings to the End of November

After reaching 200 stations in the ultralight log I took a few days break from ultralight DXing. When I resumed, I began using two new ultralight radios: a Sangean DT-400W and an Eton E-100. As of the end of November, I've added another 12 stations to the ultralight log, bringing the total count to 212:
  • 580 CFRA Ottawa, ON 1218 UTC 20-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 790 WPIC Sharon, PA 1230 UTC 20-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 630 WMAL Washington, DC 0520 UTC 23-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 1140 WCJW Warsaw, NY 1445 UTC 23-Nov-2008 E-100
  • 1410 WELM Elmira, NY 1223 UTC 28-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 1410 WNER Watertown, NY 1238 UTC 28-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 1010 WINS New York, NY 0510 UTC 29-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 1240 WNBZ Saranac Lake, NY 1048 UTC 29-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 1440 WNPV Lansdale, PA 1110 UTC 29-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 1490 WBTA Batavia, NY 1305 UTC 30-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 1450 WENI Corning, NY 1323 UTC 30-Nov-2008 DT-400W
  • 1240 CJCS Stratford, ON 1738 UTC 30-Nov-2008 DT-400W
CFRA 580 took this long to log because I have a very powerful local station on 590 which bled into 580 so much on the SRF-59 that I couldn't log anything there. But the DT-400W seeems to have better selectivity so I was able to hear CFRA using it.

790 WPIC, 1410 WELM, 1240 WNBZ, 1440 WNPV, 1490 WBTA, and 1450 WENI are all new stations for my overall log.

1140 WCJW is semi-local for me, and would be an easy catch, except that it is daytime only and during the day 1140 is swamped by slop from CKOC on 1150. I was never able to separate it from CKOC on the Sony SRF-59, but the E-100 and the Sangean DT-400W both were able to handle it. I heard it on both radios, but actually logged it on the E-100.

1410 WNER is a relog, but the last time I logged this it was still WOTT, which it stopped using many years ago.

1010 WINS was heard under local CFRB in moments of silence during a talk show on CFRB. Traffic report with mentions of Rockaway, and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels. No ID, but what else could it possibly be? This is a relog, but is my first time logging it in Toronto.

1240 CJCS: I actually heard most of this on my car radio (where the signal was fair to good). Had the DT-400W with me, so I got out of the car and tuned it in on that in order to log it on an ultralight. This is a semi-local station but I have not been able to hear it at my home. But just a few miles to the west, it comes in with a usable signal during the day. So the edge of CJCS's daytime groundwave coverage appears to be somewhere my home and there.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Ultralight Station 200: Glas Hrvatske, Croatia - 1134 kHz

After 199 stations heard on the Sony SRF-59, I was starting to take its amazing performance for granted. But station 200 blew me away. The radio gods decided to give me a present for station 200: my fourth country, my first transatlantic station, my first European station. And they convinced me that almost nothing is beyond the reach of these little radios.

Keep in mind that station 200, like the 199 preceding it, was heard on an unmodified Sony SRF-59 Walkman using only its built-in antenna. Keep in mind that this is a simple consumer-grade pocket AM/FM radio. Keep in mind that I'm located in Toronto, hundreds of miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. And then consider that I received an AM station from Croatia on this tiny thing. Unbelievable.


1134 Glas Hrvatske, Zadar, Croatia - 17-Nov-2008 0440-0510 UTC - Music with no talk up to the hour. Talk in Croatian - sounded like a newscast thereafter. Severe interference from U.S. stations on 1130 and 1140, but strong enough at times that the language was identifiable. 600 kW. (Poor-Very Poor).

I actually verified the identity of this in three steps. I'd read on the ultralightdx list that some other ultralight DXers had got Glas Hrvatske (Voice of Croatia) recently. So I tuned to between 1130 and 1140 to see if I could hear it. I did hear something that sounded like a station in there. So I went to the Internet and found Glas Hrvatske's web stream (through delicast.com/radio/zagreb/HR_Glas_Hrvatske). This was my reference. Then I tuned to 1134 on my Kaito KA-1103 and waited for the signal to come in strongly enough to compare to the webcast. It took a few minutes but eventually the signal was strong enough to compare and I verified that what I was hearing on 1134 was indeed Croatia. Then finally, I started listening on the SRF-59 to compare it to what I was hearing on both the KA-1103 and on the webcast. It took about 15 minutes of listening but eventually the signal on the SRF-59 was strong enough that I could hear that it was the same programming as I was hearing on those other two sources.

I've gotten Glas Hrvatske here in Toronto several times in the past, in previous years. But it is the only transatlantic station I've ever received here (I have heard many more from Newfoundland). And now I've heard it on a little pocket radio. Very cool.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Radio Saint Helena Day

Saturday Nov. 15, 2008 was Radio Saint Helena Day. Saint Helena is an island in the South Atlantic Ocean, a British possession. The shortwave broadcasting station on St. Helena shut down operations in the late 1990s, but once a year they fire it up to do a special broadcast. So I guess you could say that they have a regular schedule - regularly once a year.

The broadcast was on 11092.5 kHz in USB from 20:00 to 23:30 UTC. I was listening for most of it (from 20:30 onwards). Here are the details of what I heard:

(1) Transmission to Japan:
20:30-20:40 (approx): Fairly strong for a few minutes. Male announcer mentioned this was a transmission to Japan. Song by the Carpenters. Then if faded out and nothing more was heard.

(2) Transmission to Europe:
Around 21:14: Faint music and talk. Too weak to make out what was being said or played, but enough to tell that there was a signal. Faded out after a few minutes and nothing more heard.

(3) Transmission to North America:
Nothing heard.

Radio: JRC NRD-525, attached to random length wire on my apartment
balcony (and hooked to balcony railing, which acted as part of the antenna).

A disappointing performance. I heard this station better a few years ago
on a previous Radio St. Helena day, and I was expecting more this time
around, as I was using a better radio attached to a better antenna this
time. Oh well, there's always next year!

Recent Ultralight Loggings

Another batch of stations logged on the Sony SRF-59. This brings the total ultralight count to 199 - one station away from 200!
  • 980 CFPL London, ON 2320 UTC 12-Nov-2008
  • 1410 WPOP Hartford, CT 2340 UTC 13-Nov-2008
  • 1460 WKDV Manassas, VA 0225 UTC 14-Nov-2008 Spanish
  • 1120 WUST Washington, DC 1230 UTC 14-Nov-2008 French
  • 1230 WHUC Hudson, NY 2225 UTC 16-Nov-2008
  • 1360 WNJC Washington Twp, NJ 2345 UTC 16-Nov-2008
CFPL 980 was one of those stations that proved to be surprisingly difficult to log, given its relative closeness to my location and its power (10 / 5 kW). It has taken me almost two months to log it. Yet CFPL is an easy daytime catch in cities like Mississauga and Brampton, just to the west of Toronto. I'm in central Toronto and must be just outside the range of its groundwave coverage and in an area that the skywave signal must be skipping over.

WPOP 1410 is another ESPN Radio outlet. This one at least was carrying local advertising that made identifying it easy.

WKDV 1460 is a Spanish station. It was IDing itself as "La Caliente".

WUST 1120 is an ethnic station in Washington. It confused me at first because it broadcasts in French in the morning, so I thought it might be a new Canadian station (as there are currently no Canadian stations on 1120).

WHUC 1230 plays "nostalgia" music; WNJC 1360 appeared to be carrying sports programming.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

More Ultralight Loggings

My new job is keeping me busy, and it's also getting harder to log new stations, but I still managed to add a few more to the ultralight log this week. As always, these were logged on a stock Sony SRF-59.
  • 1040 WHO Des Moines, IA 2349 UTC 05-Nov-2008
  • 1500 WFED Washington, DC 2335 UTC 06-Nov-2008
  • 570 WSYR Syracuse, NY 0225 UTC 07-Nov-2008
  • 910 WLAT New Britain, CT 2355 UTC 08-Nov-2008
  • 790 CIGM Sudbury, ON 0520 UTC 09-Nov-2008
  • 790 WAEB Allentown, PA 2055 UTC 09-Nov-2008
Total ultralight count: 193.

Some of these are stations that I had thought would be easy catches, but they proved to be tougher than I expected. WHO 1040 was tough because its frequency is hammered by local 50 kW CHUM on 1050 on one side, and by what sounds like IBOC noise from WBZ 1030 on the other. WFED was another station that took a lot longer to catch than I thought it would. I was glad to get CIGM - I'm trying to log as many of Ontario's stations as I can, and I think this one has applied to move to FM.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Ultralight Loggings for the Past Week

Since my last update, I've managed to log the following stations on the Sony SRF-59:
  • 1670 WTDY Madison, WI 0348 UTC 26-Oct-2008
  • 1190 WOWO Fort Wayne, IN 1240 UTC 26-Oct-2008
  • 1620 WPNT South Bend, IN 0340 UTC 29-Oct-2008
  • 1440 WHKZ Warren, OH 0353 UTC 29-Oct-2008
  • 1270 WTSN Dover, NH 1115 UTC 29-Oct-2008
  • 1410 WLSH Lansford, PA 1135 UTC 29-Oct-2008
  • 1450 WWSC Glens Falls, NY 0206 UTC 31-Oct-2008
  • 1400 WLLH Lowell, MA 0224 UTC 31-Oct-2008
  • 1160 WSKH Skowhegan, ME 1050 UTC 31-Oct-2008
  • 960 WELI New Haven, CT 1125 UTC 31-Oct-2008
  • 1640 WKSH Sussex, WI 0255 UTC 01-Nov-2008
  • 900 WBRV Boonville, NY 1114 UTC 01-Nov-2008
Total ultralight count is now 187. Total U.S. states: 26. One new state in this lot: Indiana.

WOWO 1190 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, used to be an easy catch. It used to be a clear channel station, which made it easy to hear all over the eastern part of the continent. But in 1995 it was bought by WLIB in New York, also on 1190, for the sole purpose of reducing its nighttime power and transferring its clear channel status to WLIB. So now WOWO is not that easy to catch in Toronto, since WLIB dominates the channel at night. WOWO is an old station, first going on the air in 1925.

I'm not far from 200 stations now. I want to reach 200 using only the SRF-59, and listening from home. After 200 I will start experimenting with my other ultralight radios, and may try listening from other locations to see if that helps. The ultralight awards let you count loggings made up to 20 or 25 miles from home, so that gives some room for experimenting with different locations. The two problems with my location are both due to the fact that it's inside an apartment building: electrical noise and attenuation from the building's steel frame. I'd like to find an outdoor location to listen from to see if that helps.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Two New Ultralight Radios

I recently bought two new ultralight radios. Two weeks ago I got up a Sangean DT-400W at Durham Radio in Whitby, Ontario, and yesterday I bought a Eton E-100 at the Durham Radio table at the York Region Amateur Radio Club hamfest. Good deal on the E-100: they were selling them for only $44.95. I'm not going to start DXing with either of these yet. I want to reach 200 stations in the ultralight log using the Sony SRF-59 before I start using any other radios. But after 200 I think they'll both be used a lot.

Recent Ultralight Loggings

Not a lot of time for radio this past week, but I managed to add another set of stations to the ultralight log using the SRF-59.
  • 1630 KCJJ Iowa City, IA 0354 UTC 18-Oct-2008
  • 1480 WZRC New York, NY 2255 UTC 18-Oct-2008 Cantonese
  • 1480 WSDS Salem Township, MI 2356 UTC 18-Oct-2008 Spanish
  • 1650 WHKT Portsmouth, VA 0355 UTC 19-Oct-2008
  • 1160 WVNJ Oakland, NJ 2256 UTC 19-Oct-2008
  • 1420 WHK Cleveland, OH 2342 UTC 20-Oct-2008
  • 1160 WPIE Trumansburg, NY 1040 UTC 25-Oct-2008
  • 1160 WYLL Chicago, IL 1042 UTC 25-Oct-2008
  • 1160 WBYN Lehighton, PA 1046 UTC 25-Oct-2008
Total ultralight count: 175. Total U.S. states: 25.

KCJJ 1630 is the first station I've logged from Iowa for the ultralight log.

WHKT 1650 is a Radio Disney outlet. I've heard it many nights before this logging, but the difficulty with logging Radio Disney stations is that they all seem to carry a lot of generic network programming and identify with callsign only once an hour. So if the station happens to fade at the time of the hourly ID, you have to wait for another hour to try to ID it again.

WHK 1420 is a News Talk station in Cleveland, Ohio. This station is a real old-timer (as its three letter callsign show). It began broadcasting in 1921, and is the oldest AM station in Cleveland, and the fifteenth oldest in the United States.

WPIE 1160 is a new station for my overall log. This is a sports station located in the Ithaca, NY area.

1160 used to be a clear channel - I suppose it still is technically. In the 1970s it was one of the few AM frequencies where we could regularly hear into the western United States from the east. I heard KSL Salt Lake City, Utah many times from eastern Ontario. But now there are so many stations on 1160 that there is no chance of hearing KSL any longer.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Ultralight Loggings for the Past Week

Several more AM radio stations logged on the little Sony SRF-59 over the past week.
  • 960 WFGL Fitchburg, MA 2257 UTC 09-Oct-2008 Religious
  • 1510 WLAC Nashville, TN 0305 UTC 10-Oct-2008 Talk
  • 1510 WPGR Monroesville, PA 0305 UTC 10-Oct-2008 Religious
  • 1540 CHIN Toronto, ON 0342 UTC 10-Oct-2008 Multicultural
  • 1660 WQLR Kalamazoo, MI 1050 UTC 11-Oct-2008 Talk
  • 1570 WFLR Dundee, NY 1149 UTC 11-Oct-2008 Country music
  • 1380 WKDM New York, NY 2350 UTC 15-Oct-2008 Mandarin Chinese
  • 1660 WWRU Jersey City, NJ 0250 UTC 16-Oct-2008 Korean
  • 560 WIND Chicago, IL 0245 UTC 17-Oct-2008 News Talk
  • 560 CFOS Owen Sound, ON 0245 UTC 17-Oct-2008 Oldies
  • 930 WIZR Johnstown, NY 0310 UTC 17-Oct-2008 Oldies
  • 630 CFCO Chatham, ON 2345 UTC 17-Oct-2008 Country music
Total ultralight count: 166. Total U.S. States count: 24.

Three of these are new stations for my overall log: WFGL 960, WPGR 1510, and WKDM 1380. WWRU 1660 is the first station in my ultralight log from New Jersey.

CHIN, a local station for me, is showing up in the list now because I somehow missed it when I was logging my local stations back in September.

I was surprised to log WIZR 930. It was completely dominating over the semi-local WBEN Buffalo. Surprised because it runs only 28 watts at night and should not even be audible here, let alone overpowering a semi-local station. Just one more example of how radio is full of odd surprises.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Recent Ultralight Loggings

Loggings on the Sony SRF-59 over the past few days:
  • 1150 CJRC Gatineau, QC 0530 UTC 05-Oct-2008 French
  • 1220 WHKW Cleveland, OH 0555 UTC 05-Oct-2008
  • 1330 WFNN Erie, PA 2245 UTC 05-Oct-2008
  • 1360 WYOS Binghampton, NY 1210 UTC 07-Oct-2008
  • 1330 WRCA Waltham, MA 0325 UTC 08-Oct-2008
  • 1310 WLOB Portland, ME 0333 UTC 08-Oct-2008
  • 1260 WMKI Boston, MA 0457 UTC 08-Oct-2008
  • 1280 CFMB Montreal, QC 1053 UTC 08-Oct-2008 Italian
  • 1410 WDOE Dunkirk, NY 1135 UTC 08-Oct-2008
  • 1440 WJJL Niagara Falls, NY 1210 UTC 08-Oct-2008
  • 1440 WDRJ Inkster, MI 2244 UTC 08-Oct-2008
  • 1390 WCAT Burlington, VT 2310 UTC 08-Oct-2008
Total ultralight count: 154. Total U.S. states count: 23.

WMKI and CFMB come in here regularly, but it took over a week to log both of them because they seldom ID. WMKI is a Radio Disney station, and IDs itself only as Radio Disney, except for the legally required callsign ID on the hour. CFMB is an ethnic station in Montreal. In the morning it carries Italian programming, and apart from the required ID on the hour, I heard little that could identify it.

WCAT is the first station in Vermont I've logged on an ultralight; the 23rd state in all.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Ultralight Awards

This week I received two awards from the Ultralight Radio Awards Committee for my ultralight DXing efforts: the 100 Stations Heard Award, and the 20 U.S. States Award. They look spectacular and I was pleased to get them. They were also issued very quickly - it took only a few days for me to receive them after submitting my applications. If you're interested in these awards, check out the ultralight DXing files area at dxer.ca.

Recent Ultralight Loggings

Loggings on the Sony SRF-59 for the past few days:
  • 1310 WRSB Canandaigua, NY 1155 UTC 02-Oct-2008
  • 1480 WLEA Hornell, NY 1207 UTC 02-Oct-2008
  • 1470 WNYY Ithaca, NY 2317 UTC 02-Oct-2008
  • 1320 WDER Derry, NH 0257 UTC 04-Oct-2008
  • 1240 WATN Watertown, NY 1129 UTC 04-Oct-2008
  • 1420 WACK Newark, NY 1145 UTC 04-Oct-2008
  • 1550 CBE Windsor, ON 1202 UTC 04-Oct-2008
Total ultralight count: 142.

WLEA 1480 is a new station for my overall log. All the others are relogs.

I'm surprised it has taken me this long to log CBE in Windsor. This station is pretty dominant on 1550. But in Toronto 1550 tends to be swamped by CHIN on 1540. I also think that, at night, Toronto must be in CBE's skip zone, because I remember this station coming in quite strongly in Kingston when I was listening there.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 30, 2008

Loggings on the Sony SRF-59 ultralight for Sept. 30, 2008:
  • 1460 CJOY Guelph, ON 2145 UTC
  • 1460 WHIC Rochester, NY 2145 UTC
  • 1070 WKOK Sunbury, PA 2232 UTC
  • 870 WHCU Ithaca, NY 2240 UTC
Total ultralight count: 135.

WKOK 1070 is a new station for my overall log. It's an all news station, 10 kW daytime, 1 kW nighttime, in eastern central Pennsylvania. I logged it before sunset, when nighttime skywave propagation is already beginning to occur but while the station is still on its daytime power.

WHIC is a relog but its callsign has changed since the last time I logged it. This is parallel to WLOF at 101.7 FM, from Attica NY, which is also audible at my home location. This is a Catholic station using the slogan "The Station of the Cross."

Monday, 29 September 2008

Recent Ultralight Loggings

Loggings on the Sony SRF-59 for yesterday and today:
  • 1350 WOYK York, PA 2345 UTC 28-Sept-2008
  • 1380 WPHM Port Huron, MI 0004 UTC 29-Sept-2008
  • 1390 WNIO Youngstown, OH 0010 UTC 29-Sept-2008
  • 1390 WEGP Presque Isle, ME 0302 UTC 29-Sept-2008
  • 1390 WFBL Syracuse, NY 0302 UTC 29-Sept-2008
  • 1480 WHBC Canton, OH 0340 UTC 29-Sept-2008
  • 1110 WUPE Pittsfield, MA 2230 UTC 29-Sept-2008
  • 1030 WWGB Indian Head, MD 2250 UTC 29-Sept-2008
Total ultralight count: 131.

Three of these are new for my overall log: WNIO 1390, WUPE 1110, and WWGB 1030. WWBG also is only the second station I've ever received on 1030; WBZ in Boston obviously being the other. WWGB is a 50 kw Spanish language daytime-only station near Washington DC. I heard it around sunset under WBZ before it signed off. It's one of those stations whose identity I was able to confirm only by comparing it to its simultaneous webcast - not a method of identifying stations that appeals to radio purists, but it works.

Listening in on the 2008 CQ WW DX RTTY Contest

Wearing my radio amateur hat, I spent a few hours this weekend participating in the 2008 edition of the annual CQ WW DX RTTY Contest, one of the big yearly amateur radio contests sponsored by CQ Magazine. You can read about this on my amateur station blog. But in addition to the stations I worked, there were also some good ones that got away - ones that I was unable to work because they could not hear my signal. So I logged some of these in my radio DXing logbook as stations heard. These were:
  • SV9CVY, Rethymno, Crete, Greece. 14119.5 kHz, 1905 UTC.
  • S53EO, Portoroz, Slovenia. 14106 kHz, 1917 UTC.
  • 4O3A, Herceg Novi, Montenegro. 14073 kHz, 1930 UTC.
  • YU1AU, Pozaverac, Serbia. 14082 kHz, 1945 UTC.
  • OA4O, Lima, Peru. 14133 kHz, 2147 UTC.
  • CS7A, Portugal, 14119 kHz, 2210 UTC.
All of these were in RTTY on the 20 metre amateur band on Sat, Sept. 27, 2008. As it happened, I actually did work YU1AU in Serbia on 20 metres the next day.

Most shortwave listeners don't DX the amateur bands. But at a time when one shortwave broadcaster after another is shutting down or cutting back on operations, maybe shortwave listeners should give DXing the amateur bands a try. There are still tons of stations to hear from all around the world, especially during major contest weekends, and it gives you an opportunity to hear countries that you otherwise not be able to. For example, during this contest I worked stations in Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Liechtenstein and other countries that have no shortwave broadcasters operating from them. It also gives you the chance to hear modes like Morse code, RTTY, and others that have largely disappeared from the world of commercial and utility radio.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 27, 2008

Another five loggings on the little Sony:
  • 1600 WAAM Ann Arbor, MI 0425 UTC
  • 1590 WAKR Akron, OH 0433 UTC
  • 1530 WCKY Cincinnati, OH 0440 UTC
  • 1490 WITA Knoxville, TN 1206 UTC
  • 1500 WLQV Detroit, MI 2317 UTC
WITA 1490 is a new station in my overall log. The others are all relogs.

Total ultralight count: 123.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 26, 2008

Another 7 stations logged on the Sony SRF-59, bringing the total count to 118:
  • 1270 WXYT Detroit, MI 0330 UTC
  • 1370 WFEA Manchester, NH 0430 UTC
  • 1280 WHTK Rochester, NY 1110 UTC
  • 1300 WXRL Lancaster, NY 1144 UTC
  • 1370 WXXI Rochester, NY 1149 UTC
  • 1380 CKPT Brantford, ON 1157 UTC
  • 1380 WABH Bath, NY 1207 UTC
Of these seven, one is a new station for me: WABH 1380. WXYT 1270 and WXXI 1370 are relogs but their callsigns have changed since I last recorded them.

WFEA 1370 has the distinction of being New Hampshire's oldest AM radio station. It went on the air in 1932 and has been broadcasting continuously since. It has also never changed its callsign, which is also unusual.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Recent Ultralight Loggings

I've been busy the past few days, but I found time to log another batch of AM radio stations on the little Sony SRF-59:
  • 1200 WCHB Taylor (Detroit), MI 1141 UTC 21-Sept-2008
  • 1290 CJBK London, ON 2342 UTC 21-Sept-2008
  • 1260 WNSS Syracuse, NY 0345 UTC 22-Sept-2008
  • 1300 WOOD Grand Rapids, MI 0445 UTC 22-Sept-2008
  • 1300 WJFK Baltimore, MD 0445 UTC 22-Sept-2008
  • 1280 WADO New York, NY 0410 UTC 24-Sept-2008 Spanish
  • 1290 WKBK Keene, NH 0431 UTC 24-Sept-2008
  • 1350 WPDR Portage, WI 1050 UTC 24-Sept-2008
  • 1290 WNBF Binghampton, NY 1109 UTC 24-Sept-2008
  • 1310 CIWW Ottawa, ON 1113 UTC 24-Sept-2008
  • 1330 WEBO Owego, NY 1119 UTC 24-Sept-2008
  • 1330 WSPQ Springville, NY 1119 UTC 24-Sept-2008
Total ultralight count is now 111, in 22 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.

Two of these stations are new for my overall log: WPDR 1350, from Portage, WI, and WSPQ 1330, Springville, NY. I'm a bit surprised that I haven't logged WSPQ before - Springville is not far from Buffalo, so semi-local for me.

I've logged the Baltimore station on 1300 before, but not under its current WJFK callsign. I last logged it when it was still WFBR. It stopped using the WFBR callsign back in 1988. This is a very old station - it began broadcasting back in the 1920s.

Listening in the morning for about an hour after sunrise is an effective way to hear stations you otherwise could not. There is still some remnant of nighttime skywave propagation during that time, but many stations have switched to their higher daytime power, which makes them much more audible.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 20, 2008

Saturday's loggings on the Sony SRF-59:
  • 1000 WMVP Chicago, IL 0225 UTC
  • 980 CKRU Peterborough, ON 0237 UTC
  • 980 WTEM Washington, DC 0241 UTC
  • 960 WFIR Roanoke, VA 0302 UTC
  • 910 WABI Bangor, ME 0307 UTC
  • 1070 CHOK Sarnia, ON 0315 UTC
  • 1160 WDJO Florence, KY 0345 UTC
  • 1190 WSDE Cobleskill, NY 1110 UTC
  • 1200 WRKK Hughsville, PA 1117 UTC
  • 1200 CFGO Ottawa, ON 1117 UTC
Total ultralight count: 99.

None of these are new stations for me, but WTEM 980 and CFGO 1200 have changed their callsigns since the last time I logged them.

I was a bit surprised to hear CKRU 980. This station had been approved to move to FM and I thought they had made the switch already. However, Wikipedia says that the move is on hold because the FM frequency they had applied to use got assigned to another station. So CKRU will remain on 980 until they can get approval for a different frequency (probably 100.5).

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 19, 2008

Only four new stations on the Sony SRF-59 on Sept. 19:
  • 920 WHJJ Providence, RI 0335 UTC
  • 940 CINW Montreal, QC 0348 UTC
  • 950 WIBX Utica, NY 0528 UTC
  • 980 WOFX Troy, NY 0545 UTC
All of these are stations I've received before, but I had not logged "WOFX" before. The last time I logged the 980 station from Troy, NY, it was still WTRY. The callsign was changed back in 2000.

CINW in Montreal was until recently 940 News, Montreal's all-news station (a sister station to Toronto's 680 News), and then it went to a talk format. Now it has abandoned the talk format altogether and is playing oldies. I guess that the English-language market in Montreal isn't big enough to support several talk radio stations, and CINW was up against CJAD in that market.

CINW, incidentally, is the oldest broadcasting station in Canada, and one of the very oldest in the world. It began life as the experimental broadcasting station XWA in December 1919, became CFCF in 1920, and kept that callsign until 1991 when it became CIQC. In 1999 it moved from 600 kHz to 940 and changed callsign again, this time to the current CINW.

Total ultralight count: 89

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 18, 2008

Another crop of loggings on the Sony SRF-59. At this pace, I'll reach 100 in a few days:
  • 1160 WCCS Homer City, PA 0002 UTC
  • 1150 WRUN Utica, NY 0004 UTC
  • 850 WKNR Cleveland, OH 0028 UTC
  • 690 CINF Montreal, QC 0210 UTC
  • 730 CKAC Montreal, QC 0245 UTC
  • 830 WCCO Minneapolis, MN 0306 UTC
  • 870 WWL New Orleans, LA 0312 UTC
Total ultralight count: 85

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 17, 2008

Today's loggings on the SRF-59:
  • 540 CBEF Windsor, ON 0350 UTC
  • 540 CBGA-1 New Carslisle, QC 0409 UTC
  • 570 WKBN Youngstown, OH 0418 UTC
  • 620 WHEN Syracuse, NY 1210 UTC
  • 1040 WYSL Avon, NY 2327 UTC
This brings the total to 78.

CBGA-1 is a French language CBC (Radio-Canada) station and was carrying the same programming as CBEF on the same frequency. They were slightly out of synch and CBGA was audible as a sort of backwards echo, coming slightly ahead of the dominant CBEF. If it had been the other way around, I would have assumed that the fainter "echo" was just a reflection of CBEF coming in by a slightly longer path. But since the "echo" was first, I don't think it can be a reflection of CBEF. Which leaves CBGA, the only other French CBC station of any power on 540, as the only possibility.

WHEN on 620 is just another sports station now, but it's kind of nice to get because it used to be a semi-local station for me, when I was living in Kingston, Ontario as a kid.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

WQEW - 1560, New York

One of the stations I logged today on the SRF-59 was WQEW, 1560, New York. This is a station that always makes me feel annoyed when I hear it. The reason is that back in the late 1970s and early 80s, when I first got interested in radio, this station was WQXR, the classical music station of the New York Times. It was one of the best stations on the dial, and because it came in quite well at night where I was then living, I used to listen to it a lot. But WQXR has moved to FM now, and the 1560 station, with its powerful signal that still booms in across eastern North America at night, is now wasted on the inane programming of Radio Disney. Do kids even listen to this stuff, and if they do, do you really need a 50 kW clear channel station to broadcast it?

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 16, 2008

The ultralight loggings continue with today's haul:
  • 660 WFAN New York, NY 0538 UTC
  • 650 WSM Nashville, TN 0550 UTC
  • 670 WSCR Chicago, IL 0555 UTC
  • 750 WSB Atlanta, GA 0604 UTC
  • 770 WABC New York, NY 0605 UTC
  • 800 CJBQ Belleville, ON 1320 UTC
  • 1230 WECK Cheektowaga, NY 1740 UTC
  • 1560 WQEW New York, NY 2348 UTC
As usual, these were all heard on the Sony SRF-59. Total ultralight count is now 73.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 15, 2008

More ultralight loggings. I finished doing a bandscan of the stations audible here during daylight hours, and I also logged some more clear chanel stations late at night. All received on the Sony SRF-59.
  • 890 WLS Chicago, IL 0508 UTC
  • 810 WGY Schenectady, NY 0510 UTC
  • 720 WGN Chicago, IL 0515 UTC
  • 710 WOR New York, NY 0518 UTC
  • 700 WLW Cincinnati, OH 0519 UTC
  • 760 WJR Detroit, MI 0531 UTC
  • 890 WAMG Dedham, MA USA 0555 UTC
  • 880 WCBS New York, NY USA 0600 UTC
  • 1270 WHLD Niagara Falls, NY 1250 UTC
  • 1320 CJMR Mississauga, ON 1350 UTC
  • 1340 WLVL Lockport, NY 1455 UTC
  • 1400 WWWS Buffalo, NY 1655 UTC
  • 1430 CHKT Toronto, ON 1702 UTC
  • 1690 CHTO Toronto, ON 1800 UTC
  • 1580 CKDO Oshawa, ON 1802 UTC
  • 1610 CHHA Toronto, ON 1828 UTC
  • 1520 WWKB Buffalo, NY 1828 UTC
The list starts off with six stations with three letter callsigns. That's because after logging the first two, I decided to log as many more as I easily could before doing anything else.

WAMG, 890, is a new station for me, and is noteworthy because this is only the second station I've ever received on 890. The first was WLS, of course, and that was way back in 1976.

WWWS 1400 in Buffalo, NY is also a new catch. Buffalo is semi-local for me and I had no idea that there were any stations there that I hadn't got long ago. I guess I missed it because I seldom DX the AM band during the day, and at night this station would be inaudible because of interference from the dozens of other stations on 1400.

Total ultralight count: 65

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 14, 2008

More ultralight loggings. All logged on a Sony SRF-59. I continued to focus on local and semi-local stations today. plus logging a couple of more distant clear channel stations.
  • 840 WHAS Louisville, KY 0602 UTC
  • 800 CKLW Windsor, ON 0610 UTC
  • 780 WBBM Chicago, IL 0614 UTC
  • 860 CJBC Toronto, ON 1355 UTC
  • 900 CHML Hamilton, ON 1400 UTC
  • 930 WBEN Buffalo, NY 1406 UTC
  • 970 WNED Buffalo, NY 1419 UTC
  • 990 WDCX Rochester, NY 1427 UTC (ex-WRCI, ex-WLGZ)
  • 950 WROC Rochester, NY 1500 UTC
  • 920 CKNX Wingham, ON 1754 UTC
  • 1180 WHAM Rochester, NY 1759 UTC
  • 1220 CHSC St. Catharines, ON 1855 UTC
  • 1250 CJYE Oakville, ON 2328 UTC
Total ultralight count: 48

Saturday, 13 September 2008

CHAM - Talk 820

While logging stations on the SRF-59, I was pleased to discover that CHAM 820 in Hamilton has ditched their horrible country music format in favour of talk radio. They're now calling themselves Talk 820. When I tuned by, Leo Laporte's The Tech Guy show was just starting, and I stopped and listened to it for an hour. This is at least a hundred times better. Now this is a station I'll actually listen to.

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 13, 2008

Continuing with logging local, semi-local and powerhouse stations on the Sony SRF-59. Doing them first, and then I'll start focusing on the more difficult ones.
  • 1210 WPHT Philadelphia, PA 0338 UTC
  • 1090 CKKW Kitchener, ON 0348 UTC
  • 1190 WLIB New York, NY 0353 UTC
  • 530 CIAO Brampton, ON 1252 UTC
  • 550 WGR Buffalo, NY 1255 UTC
  • 570 CKGL Kitchener, ON 1307 UTC
  • 590 CJCL Toronto, ON 1314 UTC
  • 610 CKTB St. Catharines, ON 1345 UTC
  • 640 CFMJ Richmond Hill, ON 1350 UTC
  • 680 CFTR Toronto, ON 1400 UTC
  • 710 CJRN Niagara Falls, ON 1932 UTC
  • 740 CFZM Toronto, ON UTC (AM740 ex-CHWO)
  • 770 WTOR Youngstown, NY 1950 UTC
  • 820 CHAM Hamilton, ON 2001 UTC
Total ultralight count: 35.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Ultralight Loggings: Sept. 12, 2008

I logged the following stations on my Sony SRF-59 ultralight today.
  • 1010 CFRB Toronto, ON 0004 UTC
  • 1030 WBZ Boston, MA 0007 UTC
  • 1050 CHUM Toronto, ON 0010 UTC
  • 1060 KYW Philadelphia, PA 0020 UTC
  • 1080 WTIC Hartford, CT 0022 UTC
  • 1020 KDKA Pittsburgh, PA 0029 UTC
  • 1090 WBAL Baltimore, MD 0032 UTC
  • 1100 WTAM Cleveland, OH 0034 UTC
  • 1110 WBT Charlotte, NC 0050 UTC
  • 1120 WPRX Bristol, CT 0051 UTC
  • 1120 KMOX St. Louis, MO 0056 UTC
  • 1170 WWVA Wheeling, WV 0457 UTC
  • 1080 WUFO Amherst, NY 1355 UTC
  • 1120 WBBF Buffalo, NY 2100 UTC
  • 1130 WDFN Detroit, MI 2200 UTC
I'm using the usual radio hobbyist convention of recording dates and times in Universal Time (UTC) so most of these were actually logged in the evening of Sept. 11 here.

Obviously some of these are local stations and most are easy catches. But I'm trying to see how many stations I can log on this radio, so they count.

Total ultralight count: 21

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Today's Ultralight Loggings

After reading about Robert Ross's achievements (see here - look for Heavy Duty DXing) in DXing with "ultralight" radios (small pocket radios intended for the consumer, not the DXer, market), and after seeing that a new set of awards has been created for ultralight DXing, I've decided to try my hand at it. So here are the stations I've logged today on my ultralight, a Sony SRF-59.
  • 1150 CKOC Hamilton, ON 0424 UTC
  • 1130 WBBR New York, NY 0430 UTC
  • 990 CKGM Montreal, QC 2357 UTC
What actually got me interested in doing this was my reception the other day of Radio Rebelde in Cuba on 1180 kHz. After logging it on a Kaito KA-1103, on impulse I checked to see if I could hear it on the SRF-59. The fact that it was there and was coming in almost as well as on the 1103 really astonished me. This is a tiny AM/FM pocket radio, after all, and I'm hearing an AM station from Cuba up here in Toronto on it. So I want to see just what it is capable of.

In addition to today's three loggings, I've also logged a few other stations on the SRF-59 before today:
  • 1200 WKST New Castle, PA 1254 UTC 8-Jan-2008
  • 1180 CMBA-R. Rebelde, Villa Maria, Cuba 0710 UTC 7-Sept-2008
  • 1140 WRVA Richmond, VA 0503 UTC 8-Sept-2008

Sunday, 7 September 2008

1180 kHz - Radio Rebelde

I've been DXing the mediumwave band off and on now for over 30 years, mostly from Toronto and Kingston, Ontario. I've logged close to 800 stations in that time. But there are still ten frequencies on which I've only ever logged one station. Ignoring the four that are in the extended 1610-1700 kHz band segment, there are still six frequencies on which I've only heard one station in over 30 years.

At least, there were six. Now there are five, because last night I finally logged my second station on 1180 kHz.

Some time this summer I began hearing a faint Spanish language station on 1180 under WHAM. I spent several hours over several nights trying to get an ID out of it, but no success. I figured that it was probably the Radio Marti outlet in Marathon, FL, which broadcasts at 100 kW. For all I know maybe it was Radio Marti. But it was never strong enough to ID under the interference from WHAM.

Last night, a bit before 2 a.m., I heard a Spanish station on 1180 again, and it was coming in strongly enough that I figured there would be a chance to ID it. So I sat listening to it until 3:15 (05:55 - 07:15 UTC). A bit after 3 a.m, it was coming in strongly enough that I was able to make out a bit of what they were saying, and I was surprised to hear "desde Habana, Cuba" and something that sounded like "Voices of the Revolution" (in Spanish). I looked it up in the 2008 WRTH Handbook and saw that there is a 50 kW outlet of Radio Rebelde on 1180. I then turned on another radio and went to 5025 kHz, where Radio Rebelde is usually audible, and discovered that it was exactly the same program. So that clinched it.

Funny thing is that there was actually a third station also coming in on 1180. WHAM was carrying Coast to Coast AM, and there was a second English language station carrying some other talk show. I never got an ID on that one, but I was amused that after 30+ years of only one station on 1180, I was hearing two new ones at the same time.

I logged this on my little Kaito KA1103. After IDing the station, I took out my ultralight Sony SRF-59 and tuned it to 1180. And there it was, Radio Rebelde, coming in just as strongly as on the Kaito 1103. Amazing, to hear a Cuban station in Canada on a tiny pocket AM radio. I think those ultralight enthusiasts are on to something.