I went on a two-day trip last week to Cleveland, OH and Pittsburgh, PA. While in both cities, I DXed the FM dial, complete with several Canadian FMs popping in while in Cleveland. On the way home from Pittsburgh, I briefly stopped in Hagerstown, MD and updated my log from that city with several new RDS screenshots. Click on the links below to view the new DX logs, which were also added to my Travel DX Logs page.
Is it even summer?
That was a question that I asked myself multiple times this past few months, and I’m still asking it as the 2016 Sporadic E-Skip season came to a close in Northern Virginia on July 31.
One can receive FM signals up to 1500 miles away, on average, with local, stereo strength during a Sporadic E, or E-Skip opening. Although it can happen at any time of the year, it most commonly occurs mid-May to late July, a period of which I consider a ‘skip season.’ This year’s season just ended, and with it came continued disappointment seen locally almost every year since the 2009 season.
The 2016 year seems to be a repeat of the 2015 season, with the few substantial openings observed occurring within a few days of each other late in the season. 2016 continues the local trend where long swaths of otherwise eligible weeks/weekends had no trace of FM Es at all. 2016 was just like 2015 where the first half of the season (May-mid June) saw few openings. This contrasts with the 2014 season, where the last half of the season (June-late July) saw no or little Es, but the beginning of the season had a lot of activity. This is also the first year since I started to monitor daily FM Es in 2006 where there was no FM Es observed at all in the Continue reading
I’ve been lucky this past two months with getting new RDS screenshots in my car. Today, I received an RDS decode for the first time from relog 107.5 WNNT. This is my second RDS decode from any station on 107.5 FM, a frequency that is often difficult to DX due to strong IBOC interference from local 107.3 WRQX. However, WRQX’s HD Radio signal has been off for the past few months, making 107.5 a clear frequency for DX. The screenshot below was added to the FM RDS & HD Radio Screenshots page.
107.5 WNNT Warsaw, VA, “River Country 107-5” – country, 57 miles
While driving on June 26, I received RDS for the first time from 102.5 WBOC. The station must’ve recently turned on RDS, since I’ve received it with local grade reception many times in the past without RDS. The screenshot below was added to the FM RDS & HD Radio Screenshots page.
102.5 WBOC Princess Anne, MD, “102.5 WBOC” – hot AC, 95 miles
As one of the most-visited pages of my blog, I was wondering how I could improve the Local FM Stations page. I decided to add details to every FM signal, such as previous formats, DXing characteristics, and, where appropriate, personal commentary. Click on the link above to see the new content.
A weak FM Es opening was heard in Northern Virginia on July 23. Skip was heard with a MUF of 100.7 FM for 28 minutes between 7:43 PM and 8:46 PM. IDs were few and far between this opening, as signals often faded just before identification was given. My HD/RDS Screenshots page has been updated with the new screenshots below.
88.1 unID NPR
89.1 WBSN New Orleans, LA, public radio, 945 miles
89.5 unID religious
89.9 unID religious
91.5 unID bluegrass
91.7 unID NPR
92.3 unID country
92.7 unID country over local WWXT
93.5 unID country
96.7 KCIL Gray, LA, “C96.7” – country, 998 miles
100.7 WTGE Baton Rouge, LA, “The Tiger” – country, 982 miles
June 20 was a small blip in regard to Sporadic E in Northern Virginia. Based on unattended recordings on 96.7 and 97.5 FM, WPCV came in for about 20 seconds, spread out between 11:40 AM and 11:55 AM.
97.5 WPCV Winter Haven, FL – “97 Country WPCV” – country, 814 miles
After writing about the lack of evening FM Sporadic E-Skip this summer, I finally experienced a respectable opening into the upper Midwest on July 15. FM Es first popped up at 6:01 PM for 50 seconds, then it returned at 7:23 PM and stayed in FM until 9:21 PM. The MUF went up and down, but it stayed at 107.9 FM for the majority of the opening and brought in sustained signals–something rare this season. New log 97.5 WJIM, at 469 miles away, tied the #2 spot for the closest ever FM Es signal received here via Sporadic E since I started DXing in 1999. What also surprised me from this opening were the amount of HD Radio and RDS decodes. Overall, this opening helped salvage an otherwise poor FM Es season to bring it to a point where it is not completely a dud. My DX Log and HD/RDS Screenshots pages have been updated with the new content listed below. My Audio page will be updated with the new audio clips below as time permits.
Click on the icon to hear audio from the applicable stations.
= new logs
88.1 KVSC St. Cloud, MN, “88.1 KVSC” – ccm, 987 miles
88.9 WLSU La Crosse, WI, “Wisconsin Public Radio” – public radio, 813 miles
89.3 KCMP Northfield, MN, “89-3 The Current” – public radio, 913 miles over local WPFW
88.9 KNSR Collegeville, MN, “Minnesota P Continue reading
As the old saying goes, a watched pot never boils. I can sit in front of my radio every evening and weekend all summer long this year and not see any Sporadic E-Skip. But once I am at work and unable to actively DX a radio, let the festivities begin. Like usual, I missed a mammoth of an E-Skip opening, the first trace of any Sporadic E reception in Northern Virginia in 13 days (the last opening was also a missed daytime opening from work–where’s the evening openings this year?) Based on unattended recordings on 93.7 and 100.7 FM, skip started at about 10:25 AM and doused the FM dial with strong, local-grade reception, at least 191 minutes in FM until 3:03 PM. Skip started in Miami, then quickly shifted into MS, LA, and then the Midwest, ending in Minnesota and (supposedly) Manitoba. My HD Radio/RDS Screenshots and Audio Files pages have been updated with the new content below.
93.7 KXKS Shreveport, LA, “Kiss Country 93-7” – country, 1020 miles
93.7 KISR Ft. Smith, AR, “Kisser 93-7” – CHR, 967 miles
93.7 KYEZ Salina, KS, “Y93.7” – country, 1082 miles
93.7 KKRL Carroll, IA, “93.7 KKRL” – hot Continue reading
While driving in Springfield, VA on June 5, I received a new signal, 91.3 WARN. The signal signed on today, as it was absent from my morning dial scan in the same area. WARN signing on 91.3 completes a two-station signal swap in the north-central Virginia region, starting earlier this year with nearby 91.3 WTRM Winchester, VA moving to 91.1 FM. WARN, which was previously on 91.5 FM, moved to the now-vacant 91.3 frequency.
The signal is local grade in my car, but it is thankfully weak enough at my home to the point where it seems that strong tropo and sporadic E will easily overcome the signal. Either way, WARN’s sign on means one more otherwise good FM frequency now unusable for anything but strong DX. My FM DX Log, Local FM Stations, and HD Radio & RDS Screenshots pages have been updated with this new logging.
New FM log:
91.3 WARN Culpeper, VA, “American Family Radio” – religious talk, 35 miles from car radio location in Springfield, VA