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.

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.