The trees are slowly getting their leaves. The weather is getting warmer by the day. With this becomes increased FM and TV signal enhancement. In the early morning hours of March 30, I found my usual regional FM signals from nearby markets within 140 miles away (Norfolk, VA, Ocean City, MD, and Richmond, VA) coming in briefly, some signals strong enough to decode HD Radio. We still have some time before some great DX openings occur, but it is great to see things slowly opening up.
Prior to my reception of common visitor 103.7 WURV Richmond, VA, at 82 miles away from my home on March 30, their HD Radio callsign displayed on my radios as “WURV,” as seen below in my archived HD Radio screenshots.
On March 30, I saw the station changed their ID to “103.” as seen in the screenshot below.
I wonder if WURV upgraded to a seven-character custom HD Radio callsign ID, much like my local 96.3 WHUR Washington, DC recently did. I only picked up WURV’s HD signal last night on the Sangean HDR-14, which cuts off any HD callsign that’s longer than 4 characters. I will have to see if my other radios, such as the Insignia NS-HD01, shows a longer HD callsign. Once I know, I’ll report here.
While scanning the FM dial the other day, I noticed that HD Radio has returned to 91.9 WGTS Takoma Park, MD, a local radio station of mine. WGTS, which serves the Washington, DC area, first turned on its HD Radio signal in 2015, but turned it off in 2018. The station was analog-only in the meantime before IBOC was turned back on this year.
The return of HD Radio on WGTS is a downside toward the hobby of DXing in my area. While WGTS was analog-only, 92.1 FM was wide open for receiving distant radio signals. Now that WGTS resumed HD broadcasting, 92.1 FM is now blocked out for regular DXing, since one of WGTS’ two digital sidebands is broadcasted on 92.1 FM. Only strong DX will come in on 92.1 FM over WGTS’ digital sideband in the future. The same thing applies to 91.7 FM, the frequency of WGTS’ other digital sideband, but 91.7 FM was desensitized to distant DX signals at my home already, as nearby 91.5 WBJC Baltimore, MD’s 91.7 digital HD sideband often comes in strongly, also blocking DX on that frequency.
Ocean City, MD, at 120 miles away from my Northern Virginia home, was the last radio market within driving distance that I did not have a DX log from yet. I spent a weekend in Ocean City in February 2020 and DXed the FM dial. I have added a PDF log and a screenshot gallery of HD Radio and RDS screenshots to my Travel DX Log page. Click on the links below to see more:
One of the few full-power radio stations in the Washington, DC area that did not run RDS now does. I first noticed RDS running on 99.1 WDCH-FM Bowie, MD, a local station of mine, in 2006 when I bought my first RDS-capable radio. I’m not sure how long the station ran RDS before that. However, in 2016 when the signal flipped from news to business news, the RDS disappeared. While scanning the FM dial on December 29, 2019, I found the station was once again broadcasting RDS. I have added the RDS screenshots below to my Woodbridge, VA RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.
One of the most important things a DXer must do if they are serious with the hobby is be certain that the signals that they log are truthful, accurate, and honest. This has been one of the major rules that I have followed in my 20+ years of FM, AM, and TV DXing. Thankfully, modern technology such as Google, live streaming, HD Radio, RDS, and audio recording have made researching and positively IDing radio stations something relatively easy to do. Even with these tools available, extreme caution must still be made to ensure that one doesn’t inadvertently log the wrong radio station.
I rarely log any radio station, AM or FM, without some sort of confirmation that it is, in fact, the station I heard. This positive ID may come via a station ID, local ads, or an HD Radio or RDS decode. Or, I may match a station to its live webstream and, after confirming it isn’t part of a nationwide radio network, consider it a positive log. This has been the tried-and-true method of identifying signals ever since I started DXing in 1999.
It is rare for me to be scratching my head after hearing such a positive ID, but that is exactly what happened to me on December 16. On November 26, wrote how I logged my all-time distance record for all broadcast bands, 600 CJWW from Saskatoon, SK, a classic country station named “Country 600 CJWW.” CJWW was 1690 miles away from where I received it in Springfield, VA. Part of the frustration I faced with CJWW was that my recorder wasn’t running, so although I did hear a positive ID, I didn’t have “proof” of it to present on this blog. On December 26, I heard country music again on AM 600 while driving in Springfield and I hit “record.”
As heard in the above audio clip, the DJ gives the weather forecast in Celsius (indicative of the signal being from Canada), and she invites listeners to text the station at #269269. She then gives the “Country 600” station ID. I was ecstatic–I finally had an audio recording of my furthest broadcast logging. But something didn’t seem right. A simple Google search came up with a different result: the DJ was giving a forecast for 17 degrees, but the temperature in Saskatoon was forecast to be -25 Celsius at the same time. The 269269 text number, per Google, belonged to another radio station with the same name as CJWW: 600 CKAT North Bay, ON, at 524 miles away.
The audio clip above is a slam-dunk positive ID of CKAT. There’s no question that I heard that signal on December 16. But what does that mean for my previous logging of CJWW, which also identified as “Country 600?” Does this mean that I never logged CJWW, and that I, in fact, heard CKAT instead? Common logic would dictate that the answer would be yes, since CKAT is 1166 miles closer than CJWW.
Interestingly, the answer is actually “no.” I distinctly heard the DJ say “CJWWradio.com” during my logging of CJWW earlier this year. CKAT’s website is www.country600.com. The Saskatechewan station also identified as “Country 600 CJWW” a few times during my intial logging, while CKAT IDed as simply “Country 600.” Although I don’t have audio proof of my logging of CJWW (much to my frustration), their callsign was what I heard and, thus, proves that I heard both CJWW and CKAT. This is a rare situation where two stations on the same frequency have the same name and, even so, constitute separate logs.
I have added CKAT’s logging to my AM DX log. I will update this blog when (and if) I log CJWW again and record a clip from the signal.
I have logged 37 new AM logs between November 24 and December 12, 2019. Click on an audio link below to hear corresponding audio from each applicable station below. These signals have been added to my AM DX Log.
560 WIND Chicago, IL, 11/26/2019 11:56 PM, “AM 560 The Answer” – religious, 573 miles
600 WBOB Jacksonville, FL, 12/7/2019 5:03 PM, “FM 101.1, AM 600 The Answer’ – talk, 639 miles
600 WSJS Winston-Salem, NC, 12/10/2019 8:21 AM, 243 miles
610 WXVA Winchester, VA, 11/30/2019 3:12 PM, “102.9 Valley FM” – adult hits, 47 miles
660 WAMO Wilkinsburg, PA, 11/25/2019 8:29 AM, “107-3 The Beat” – urban, 182 miles
680 WPTF Raleigh, NC, 12/1/2019 4:05 PM, “News Radio 680” – news, 214 miles
730 WZGV Cramerton, NC, 12/1/2019 5:50 AM, “ESPN Radio” – sports, 308 miles, over local WTNT
790 WAEB Allentown, PA, 11/27/2019 1:35 PM, “News Radio 790 WAEB” – news, 167 miles
790 WPIC Sharon, PA, 11/29/2019 5:19 PM, 245 miles
While sitting in my car in a parking lot in Springfield, VA on November 26, I heard country music on 600 AM. It was unusual, as the frequency is usually either gospel WCAO from nearby Baltimore, MD, or Radio Rebelde from Cuba. The country signal was very weak, but it faded in right at the right moment. I heard an ID: “Country 600,” and mentions of “CIWW Radio.com.” I thought it was, at first, CIWW from Ottawa and that it moved from its previously-logged frequency of 1310. Upon researching the signal after I got home, I realized I heard “CJWW” instead of CIWW and that the station was, in fact, broadcasting from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan of all places–1690 miles away from my location in Northern Virginia.
CJWW is my new my all-time radio reception signal distance record, unseating 94.1 KZOR Hobbs, NM, which I logged on 7/7/2006 at 1505 miles. Unfortunately, I was not recording audio during my reception of CJWW. A similar phenomenon happened during KZOR’s reception–I was recording directly to audio CD at the time, but the CD failed to burn properly, rendering my recording of KZOR permanently ruined, resulting with me having no proof of its reception. Murphy’s Law strikes again.
Long-range AM reception is rare, from my experience. The AM stations I usually receive at my home are 600 miles away or closer, with a few outliers such as 1200 WOAI San Antonio, TX, an occasional visitor to Virginia at 1346 miles away. I think that the time zone difference had something to do with my reception of CJWW, as it was only 5:26 PM local time when I picked them up. CJWW was likely still on its daytime signal pattern of 25 KW, versus its 8 KW nighttime array.
My AM DX Log has been updated with my logging of CJWW.
Although FM DXing has quieted down for the year with the rush of cool air to the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the opposite is happening to the AM dial. AM DX is heading toward its annual peak, and with that comes with scores of new AM logs heard at all times of the day. In recent weeks, I have received 32 new AM logs from the following stations–one of them my first-ever log on 1490 AM.
In the past month, 95.9 W240DJ Washington, DC has changed formats. The translator, which signed on in 2016, rebroadcasted Urban One’s 1450 WOL urban talk format. W240DJ is now simulcasting the radio group’s sports format heard on 980 WTEM. My Local FM Stations page has been updated with the new station information.