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, 23 August 2009

Recent FM Loggings

Here are the most recent FM stations I've logged. All were logged from my home in Toronto. Dates and times in UTC.
  1. CBL-3, 90.7, Orillia ON, 2009-08-11, 00:30, CBC Radio One, parallel to CBL 94.1. There was a good tropo opening to the north with lots of Barrie and Orillia area stations booming in. At the same time there was no sign of tropo towards the southwest. So I concluded that this must be CBL-3 in Orillia and not CBL-2 in Paris (which I logged already).
  2. CICX-FM, 105.9, Orillia ON, 2009-08-11, 00:32-00:35, Kicks 106.
  3. WMJQ, 104.9, Brockport ON, 2009-08-12, 23:46-23:50, K-Love - Religious.
  4. WJZR, 105.9, Rochester NY, 2009-08-12, 23:51-00:07, North Coast - smooth jazz.
  5. WCMF, 96.5, Rochester NY, 2009-08-13, 00:25-00:38, Rock music.
  6. WPHR, 106.9, Auburn NY, 2009-08-14, 04:27-04:39, Power 106.9.
And with this set, I've achieved a goal I set for myself when I began this focus on FM DXing in June - to log 100 FM stations from Toronto before the end of the summer. It's tough when so much of the FM band is blocked by local or semi-local stations. But there's more scope to DXing FM from here than I thought there would be when I started.

Recent Digital Television Loggings

A couple of tropo openings have yielded some more DX stations for the digital television log.
  1. WNYB-SD, RFC: 26, DC: 26-1, Jamestown NY, 2009-08-12, 23:54 - 23:56 UTC, TCT - Religious.
  2. WNYB-HD, RFC: 26, DC: 26-2, Jamestown NY, 2009-08-12, 23:56-23:58 UTC, TCT.
  3. WEWS, RFC: 15, DC: 5, Cleveland OH, 2009-08-16, 12:22-12:34 UTC, ABC.
  4. WQHS-DT, RFC: 34, DC: 61-1, Cleveland OH, 2009-08-16, 13:03-13:07 UTC, Univision - Spanish.
The two from Cleveland are the most distant digital TV stations I've got now. WQLN from Erie PA was also coming in, but that one I already have in the log. It's interesting that the signals on all three of these stations were strong enough that there was no pixellation or drop-outs. Essentially they were as good as if they were local.

FM Logs Mon. August 10, 2009

I took Mon. Aug. 10 off work to go out of town - namely to pay a visit to the Long Sault Conservation Area north of Clarington, Ontario. Went for a three km hike there. Was planning to go for longer, but a torrential rainstorm cut things short. Fortunately I was near the end of the first trail I was going to walk, and therefore near my car. So I still got soaked but not entirely. I did some DXing on my car radio and logged four new stations.

First there are two more stations for the Toronto log. Both were heard in Scarborough, one when I was heading out of the city and one when I was returning home:
  1. CKSG-FM, 93.3, Cobourg ON, 2009-08-10, 16:05-16:15, Star 93.3. Relog for the overall log, but new to the Toronto log.
  2. CICZ-FM, 104.1, Midland ON, 2009-08-10, 20:05-20:15, 104.1 The Dock- Rock music. New station for overall log. Received during a tremendous rainstorm - I had pulled off the road and was sitting in the parking lot of a pharmacy waiting for the rain to ease off.
The other two new ones were heard up at Long Sault Conservation area. These were also heard during a downpour - I was in my car parked in the conservation area parking lot. As you can see from these, there was some tropo afoot. Both are new to the overall log.
  • WFRG, 104.3, Utica NY, 2009-08-10, 18:45-18:50, Big Frog 104.3.
  • WMJQ, 104.9, Brockport NY, 2009-08-10, 18:50-18:55, K-Love - religious.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

FM Logs Sun. August 9, 2009

A few years ago I read a post by a Toronto FM DXer in which he said he often DXed FM from the Scarborough bluffs. Reception was good there because of the lack of any obstructions from there across the lake into New York State, and because of the height of the bluffs.

I decided to give it a try myself on Aug. 9, so I drove down there and started looking for stations on my car radio. Result was several new stations added to the Toronto log. I heard these at several places because I was looking for the best place to park and listen. Didn't really find an ideal place but still the results were good:
  1. CFBU, 103.7, St. Catherines ON, 2009-08-09, 20:50-21:02 UTC, Educational.
  2. WRTS, 103.7, Erie PA, 2009-08-09, 21:02-21:04 UTC, Star 104 - Rock.
  3. WFBF, 89.9, Buffalo NY, 2009-08-09, 21:37-22:00, Family Radio - Religions.
  4. WUBJ, 88.1, Jamestown NY, 2009-08-09, 21:37-22:00, NPR.
  5. CBOF, 90.7, Ottawa ON, 2009-08-09, 22:03-22:05, Radio-Canada - French CBC.
  6. WRRN, 92.3, Warren PA, 2009-08-09, 22:05-22:10, 92 Gold.
  7. CKWF, 101.5, Peterborough ON, 2009-08-09, 22:35-22:47, The Wolf.
As you can see from the two Pennsylvania loggings, there was a bit of tropo happening. CBOF was identified by the fact that it's the only French CBC station of any note on that frequency in Ontario. Its programming was the same as on CJBC on 860 AM.

Not having spent too much time DXing FM before this summer, I am pleasantly surprised at how much it supports long-distance reception. It's a lot less predictable than mediumwave but it's there.

Monday, 17 August 2009

FM and DTV Loggings Aug 5 to 7, 2009

There was some decent tropo this week (Aug 5-7) that yielded two new FM stations and another digital TV station. These were received at home here in Toronto.

  1. CBCK, 107.5, Kingston ON, 2009-08-05, 05:00-05:05 UTC, CBC Radio One.
  2. WQLN-FM, 91.3, Erie PA, 2009-08-07, 12:53-13:00 UTC, NPR.
Digital TV. Three subchannels of the same station, all carrying different programs:
  1. WQLN-HD, RFC: 50, DC: 54-1, Erie PA, 2009-08-07, 12:20-12:25, PBS.
  2. WQLN-1, RFC: 50, DC: 54-2, Erie PA, 2009-08-07, 12:25-12:30, PBS.
  3. WQLN-2, RFC: 50, DC: 54-3, Erie PA, 2009-08-07, 12:30-12:32, PBS.
Getting CBC Kingston was nice. My first time logging it in Toronto and it's from my home town (where I often listened to it). And the three loggings of WQLN TV are exciting because I think this is the most distant digital TV station I've received.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Weekend Trip to Eastern Ontario - Other Logs

I always bring a portable radio along when I go up to Harrowsmith because it is so incredibly radio quiet there. It's astounding how much can be heard. Example: in my Toronto apartment, on the Kaito KA-1103 I hear almost nothing except noise on the amateur 80 metre band (3500-4000 kHz) . Take the radio outside on my balcony and stick the antenna out away from the building, and there are lots of signals audible. But go to a place that is radio quiet and the entire band is alive with dozens or hundreds of stations. I don't think there's actually anything special about Eastern Ontario itself; rather I think it's good there because there are so few sources of electrical noise about and because I'm not in a steel frame building. No doubt my reception would be much better even here in Toronto if I were in a wood-frame house, but you just can't beat going to a place where there's so little electrical noise.

A few interesting logs from this visit on shortwave. Date and times in UTC (local time + 4 hours):
  • Radio Australia on 15240 from Shepparton, Victoria, Australia. 2009-08-02, 03:19-03:32 UTC. Sports talk show "Grandstand". 100 kW to Pacific, almost alone on the 19 metre band but coming in at a very nice listenable level.
  • On 2009-08-03 from 03:45-04:00 I was listening to three radio amateurs in a roundtable on 3885 kHz transmitting in the AM mode. They were W2PFY, W2NBC, and KC8ZEH, in New York State, New Jersey, and Ohio. AM interests me; someday I may give it a go. Currently I don't have a transmitter that's capable of outputting AM, except for one QRP rig that can output all of 2.5 watts in that mode. Most radio amateurs operating in AM use vintage tube-based gear, but one thing that interested me in this roundtable was that one of the members, the net control actually, was using a FlexRadio, one of those new software-defined radios. He sounded really good too. If I do get into AM, maybe that's the path I should take.
  • On 4170 I heard an unidentified station with talk and country and western music. This was at 04:05 UTC on 2009-08-03. This is a long way outside any of the broadcast bands.
  • Logged two utility stations (same day, at 04:15 and 04:20 UTC). The first was on 4316 and was giving weather and marine information from the National Weather Service. Didn't catch the ID but I think this was NMG in New Orleans, LA. The other was on 4425 and was just signing off. This was the U.S. Coast Guard station NMN in Chesapeake VA.
That was all I had time for. I want to try mediumwave DXing from there because there are no longer any local stations in the Kingston area on AM, so the entire band is open for DXing.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Weekend Trip to Eastern Ontario - FM Logs

On the long weekend of August 1 to 3, I went to Eastern Ontario. I did some radio listening on the trip. I was staying in Harrowsmith, a small village some 20 km north of Kingston, Ontario. Here's what I heard. As usual, dates and times are in UTC.

First, two more FM loggings to add to the Toronto log. I got these in my car on the drive there and back. Both of these were heard while I was driving through Scarborough.
  1. CKLY, 91.9, Lindsay ON, 2009-08-01, 18:20-18:40, Bob FM - 80s rock.
  2. CHUC, 107.9, Cobourg ON, 2009-08-04, 00:50-00:50, The Breeze - Oldies.
I also logged some other FM stations outside of the Toronto city limits. These don't go in the Toronto log, but some are new and have been added to the overall log.
  • CKSG-FM, 93.3, Cobourg ON, 2009-08-01, 18:55-19:00, Star 93.3 - Rock. Received in Whitby, ON on Honda car radio - in fact I was sitting in the parking lot of Durham Radio when I logged this. New.
  • CJOH-TV-6, 87.7, Deseronto ON, 2009-08-02, 03:15-03:19. Audio from CJOH-TV on channel 6 from Deseronto. Received on Kaito KA-1103 at my location 20 km north of Kingston, ON.
  • CJTN, 107.1, Quinte West ON, 2009-08-03, 21:00, Rock. Received on car radio at Frontenac Provincial Park. New.
  • CJXY, 107.9, Burlington ON, 2009-08-03, 21:04-21:05, Y108. Received on car radio at Frontenac Provincial Park. Tropo - a long way from Burlington to Eastern Ontario!
  • WWHT, 107.9, Syracuse NY, 2009-08-03, 21:09, Hot 107.9. Received in Frontenac Provincial Park. New.
  • CKQM, 105.1, Peterborough ON, 2009-08-03, 21:35-21:45, Country 105. Heard on car radio while passing through Harrowsmith, Ontario.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Air Band Loggings

The Grundig Satellit 800 includes the VHF air band (118-136 MHz), but I've almost never listened to it. But I started exploring it and made my first four loggings on this band. Mode is AM. I might start spending more time on here - interested to hear what's available.
  1. CYKZ, 127.1, Buttonville Airport, Buttonville / Markham ON, 2009-07-28, 12:20-12:32, ATIS- Weather and aviation conditions repeated about once a minute.
  2. CYHM, 128.1, Hamilton Airport, Hamilton ON, 2009-07-30, 11:25-11:34, ATIS - Weather and aviation conditions.
  3. CYYZ, 120.825, Toronto Pearson Airport, Mississauga ON, 2009-07-30, 11:40-11:44, ATIS - Weather and aviation conditions.
  4. CYTZ, 133.6, Toronto City Centre Airport, Toronto Islands ON, 2009-07-30, 11:45-12:00, ATIS - Weather and aviation conditions.
I got the callsigns from a site on the web. ATIS is Air Traffic Information Service, I think. Dates and times in UTC.

Two More Digital TV Loggings

Yesterday I logged two more channels on digital TV. Actually they're the two subchannels of the same station. There was a decent tropo opening.
  1. WWTI-DT, RFC: 21, DC: 50-1, Watertown NY, 2009-07-31, 13:30-13:31, ABC.
  2. WWTI-2, RFC: 21, DC: 50-2, Watertown NY, 2009-07-31, 13:31-13:31, CW.
Dates and times in UTC: RFC: Actual broadcast channel, DC: Displayed channel number.

Latest FM Loggings

I've logged a few more stations on FM from here in Toronto:
  1. WDVI, 100.5, Rochester NY, 2009-07-21, 11:43-11:48, 100.5 The Drive.
  2. CBL-2, 90.7, Paris ON, 2009-07-21, 11:54-12:00, CBC Radio Two.
  3. W214BB, 90.7, Lockport NY, 2009-07-21, 11:32-12:15, Reach FM.
  4. WBZA, 98.9, Rochester NY, 2009-07-22, 11:40-11:50, 98.9 The Buzz.
  5. Dollhouse FM, 90.7, Toronto ON, 2009-07-24, 02:21-03:31, Pirate?
  6. CJBC-5-FM, 106.3, Peterborough ON, 2009-07-25, 04:20-04:30, French - Radio-Canada.
  7. CJDV, 107.5, Cambridge ON, 2009-07-26, 04:10-04:20, Tri-cities Rock.
  8. WGCC-FM, 90.7, Batavia NY, 2009-07-31, 11:40-11:48, Rock.
As usual, dates and times are in UTC. Radios used here: Grundig Satellit 800, Grundig G8, Honda radio in my car.

I confirmed to my satisfaction that the CBC Radio Two station I was hearing on 90.7 on July 21 was from Paris, Ontario. There was a decent tropo opening to the south and southwest that morning, as shown by the reception of W214BB on 90.7 at the same time. It's only 27 watts. Meanwhile I saw no evidence of enhanced propagation from the north, so I'm pretty sure this wasn't the CBC outlet in Orillia.

"Dollhouse FM", which I received on 90.7, is interesting. I think it's either a pirate or someone in my neighbourhood with a legal low-power FM transmitter. I've received this a few times over the past month, although this was the first time I heard any sort of ID. The format is a mix of talk that seems like it's streamed from the Internet (e.g., Democracy Now from democracynow.org) and music and comedy bits. Twice, on other days, I heard the audio from a BBC TV documentary about Friedrich Nietzsche. No ads, no talk by an announcer, no IDs except for the rare "Dollhouse FM 90.7". It's worth noting that the content and the production both sound very professionally done. No idea who is doing this, but he's good at it.