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.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Ultralight DX

I'm continuing with ultralight DXing this season, although it is becoming a tough slog. The limitations of my location for this type of DXing are making themselves felt. One of the features of the current crop of ultralight receivers is their superb nulling ability - by simply rotating the radio you can often null out a dominant signal, revealing other stations on the same frequency. This is a feature I cannot make use of from home. My apartment is in a steel frame building so the only way I can get good reception is by sitting by the large window in the living room with the radio's ferrite bar antenna broadside to the window. Rotating the radio causes ALL signals to be nulled out. Another problem here is the bad electrical noise on certain parts of the spectrum. Another is that signals in the upper end of the band (1500-1700 kHz) are badly attenuated by the building's frame. I can overcome these issues by finding a spot outside to listen, but that's not so practical, especially now that the weather is getting colder.

Nonetheless I am still making new loggings. And here is the latest batch, all logged on the Eton E-100:
  • 540 KWMT IA Fort Dodge - 23-Oct-2009 0722 ELT - Country music. Ads. IDs. ID on half hour: "True country 540 KWMT" plus location. 5 kW. New to overall log. (Fair).
  • 1310 WTLB NY Utica - 26-Oct-2009 0725 ELT - Sports talk. "TLB" ID. Ads for businesses in Syracuse and in New Hartford. 5 kW. (Poor)
  • 1380 WSYB VT Rutland 26-Oct-2009 0740 ELT - Talk, Ads, ID: "Here on WSYB". 5 kW. (Poor)
  • 1510 WWSM PA Annville-Cleona 27-Oct-2009 0719 ELT - Country music, chatter, IDs. (Very Poor)
  • 1440 WCDL PA Carbondale - 29-Oct-2009 0757 ELT - Nostalgia music. ID for WNAK and WCDL. 5 kW. (Poor)
  • 1290 WFBG PA Altoona - 01-Nov-2009 1845 ELT - ID: "The Big 1290 WFBG" repeated three times in promo for the Jim Bohannen show. 5 kW. (Poor)
Total ultralight count is now 325.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

On the Road: Loggings from Eastern Ontario

I spent the weekend of October 17/18 in Harrowsmith, a small village in eastern Ontario about 20 km north of Kingston. I like tuning the dials from there because the level of background electrical noise is so low. I can hear all sorts of faint signals that are buried under noise from home.

I brought the Kaito KA-1103 along and just used it with its built-in antennas. Got some interesting catches. Here's what I logged on the AM band:
  • 1440 WNPV PA Lansdale - 17-Oct-2009 1753 ELT - Penn State football. Ads for Pennsylvania Service. ID on hour. Mixing with an oldies station. 2.5 kW. Relog. (Fair-Poor).
  • 800 CJAD QC Montreal - 17-Oct-2009 1805 ELT - News, ID. Interference from CJBQ and from IBOC noise from WGY on 810. Even though this is 50 kW I never hear it in Toronto, because of its antenna pattern. Relog. (Poor).
  • 790 Radio Reloj Cuba - 18-Oct-2009 0004 ELT - Voices not audible but could hear sound of clock ticking and the Radio Reloj "RR" ID in morse code every minute. Relog (Very Poor).
  • 640 WWJZ NJ Mount Holly - 18-Oct-2009 0035 ELT - Radio Disney. Kids music. New. (Poor).
  • 700 WTUB MA Orange-Athol - 18-Oct-2009 0738 ELT - ESPN Radio; sports talk. Mixing with WLW. No ID but this is the only ESPN station in the eastern half of the country, so little doubt of its identity. Ex-WJOE. 2.5 kW daytime. New. (Poor).
  • 740 WNYH NY Huntingdon - 18-Oct-2009 0745 ELT - Korean language talk. In null of CFZM at about equal strength. 25 kW. New. (Fair).
  • 790 WTNY NY Watertown - 18-Oct-2009 0825 ELT - "The Garden Hotline" hosted by Ralph Snodsmith. Ads for North Country Urgent Care just outside Watertown, AIDS walk, etc. ID before hour as "AM 790 WTNY". 1 kW. Relog. (Fair).
  • 1440 WSGO NY Oswego - 18-Oct-2009 1210 ELT - Oldies, nostalgia music. IDs for WTLA and WSGO. 1 kW. Relog. (Poor).
  • 1440 WFNY NY Gloversville - 18-Oct-2009 1620 ELT - Oldies, nostalgia music. 3.6 kW. New. (Fair).
So three new stations for the overall log. None of these count for the ultralight log, of course. Some of the relogs were from me looking for stations that I've been trying to add to my ultralight log from Toronto but which I've simply been unable to hear yet. I wanted to hear what they sounded like.

One of these loggings is noteworthy: WTUB on 700 is only the second station I've ever logged on 700 kHz. It's amazing that after decades of DXing the AM band there are still a handful of frequencies on which I've only logged one station. 700 is tough because there are no daytime stations audible on it from my location, and at night in Toronto it is dominated by (a) WLW, and (b) horrible electrical noise.

I also made a few loggings of radio amateurs:
  • 14318 W0BH KS Hesston - 17-Oct-2009 2055 UTC - Calling CQ New York in New York QSO Party. SSB.
  • 3997 W1AAT VT Waitsfield - 18-Oct-2009 1221 UTC - In roundtable discussing emergency preparedness in Vermont.
  • 3997 W4YFJ VT Essex Junction - 18-Oct-2009 1221 UTC - In same roundtable. There was a third amateur in there too but I didn't get his callsign.