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.

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.