Tropo 10/22/17: 1 new FM log and new HD/RDS decodes from relogs

An tropo opening brought in signals up to 240 miles into Virginia Beach and coastal North Carolina on October 22, including a new translator on 100.1, a frequency usually full of IBOC interference from local 100.3 WBIG.  Also in were first-time HD Radio and RDS decodes from multiple signals.  My DX log, RDS/HD Radio Screenshots, and Audio pages have been updated with the new content below.

New log:


100.1 W261DI Norfolk, VA, 10/22/17, tropo, 138 miles

New content from relogs:


First-time HD decode from 88.5 WHRG Gloucester Point, VA, 99 miles, 10/22/17, tropo over local WAMU


First-time RDS decodes from 101.5 WOWZ Chincoteague, VA, 10/22/17, 108 miles, tropo over local WBQB


First-time HD decode from 106.1 WUSH Poquoson, VA, 10/22/17, 107 miles, tropo


First time HD and RDS decodes from 107.7 WMOV Norfolk, VA, 10/22/17, 138 miles over local WWWT

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Tropo 10/5/17: 1 new FM log and several first-time RDS decodes from relogs

Tropo reception has picked up for the second day in a row in Northern Virginia.  During the early morning hours of October 5, signals were enhanced up to 150 miles away into southeast Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, with many signals coming in over locals (94.7 WDSD over local WIAD, WJBR over local WIHT, 101.1 WBEB over local WWDC, among others).  For the first time, I logged 105.5 WAIV, a pleasant surprise, given 105.5 is crowded frequency in this area, usually occupied by nearby translator W288BS Reston VA, WRAR Tappahannock, VA, WOJL Louisa, VA, and other signals.


105.5 WAIV Cape May Court House, NJ, 10/5/17, tropo, 135 miles

I also logged RDS for the first time from relog 90.3 WNJZ.


90.3 WNJZ Cape May Court House, NJ, 10/5/17, tropo, 135 miles

My DX log, RDS/HD Radio Screenshots, and Audio pages have been updated with the new content above.

Local 92.7 WDCJ debuts RDS; new RDS received from 106.9 WKVP

After a long period devoid of any notable DX in Northern Virginia, I decoded RDS for the first time from two signals on October 4.

Local 92.7 WDCJ Prince Frederick, MD, one of a few Southern Maryland FM stations that didn’t run RDS, debuted it in recent weeks.  The RDS seems to mirror the station it simulcasts, nearby Washington, DC’s 102.3 WMMJ.  This comes a little over two months after WDCJ debuted HD Radio.


92.7 WDCJ Prince Frederick, MD, 10/4/17, tropo, 36 miles

WDCJ’s RDS PI code (F000), as seen in the above screenshots, is incorrect.  According to the RDS PI Code Calculator website, it should be 5CD1.  Due to this error, WDCJ’s calls do not display under the frequency, as seen in the screenshot to the left above.

I also logged RDS for the first time from Philadelphia’s 106.9 WKVP on October 4.  This came as a surprise, as 106.9 at my home is usually a hodgepodge of Norfolk, VA’s 106.9 WAFX, Ocean City, MD’s 106.9 WYPO, or Hagerstown, MD’s 106.9 WWEG.  Half of the time, 106.9 is full of IBOC interference from local 106.7 WJFK when the station turns its HD Radio on, which is only on occasion.  WKVP is a rare catch at my home.


106.9 WKVP Camden, NJ, 10/4/17, tropo, 144 miles

These screenshots were added to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.

New Travel DX Logs from NJ, PA added

I recently visited the Philadelphia, PA and Atlantic City, NJ areas.  I added an all-new travel DX log from Atlantic City, and I also I updated my existing Philadelphia log with 65 new FM logs, most with digital RDS screenshots from the Airspy R2 radio, plus more.

Most of the new logs from the Philadelphia area were thanks to a spectacular tropo opening in the early morning hours of Sept. 13.  Signals from up and down the Mid-Atlantic region, including a handful from my hometown of Washington DC, were received with RDS strength.  The opening bottomed later in the morning with reception of a Norfolk, VA signal, 225 miles from where I was in Mount Laurel, NJ.  I haven’t seen tropo this good while traveling since 2012, when I received Miami FM stations via tropo at 552 miles while vacationing in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Click on the links below to view the new and updated logs:

Click here to view my other travel DX logs from cities across the United States.

Recent DX: 1 new FM station; 1 new TV station

During minor tropospheric enhancement in the past week, I received two new stations.  105.7 WQXA came in briefly over semi-local 105.7 WJZ Baltimore.  WJZ is usually with RDS strength at my home, so receiving WQXA was a welcome surprise.  I’ve been trying to get WQXA for years.  A few days before WQXA’s logging, I received 19 WCAV from Charlottesville, VA.  Ever since I started to DX digital TV again last month, I often received a weak DTV signal on channel 19 below the threshold to decode an identifiable signal.  That changed on August 13 with a positive logging.

My DX log, TV Screenshots, and Audio pages have been updated with these new stations.


105.7 WQXA York, PA, 8/16/17, 98 miles


19 WCAV Charlottesville, VA, 8/13/17, 80 miles

Review of the Airspy R2 SDR Radio

Could there be a radio better than the Sony XDR-F1HD?  My answer would have been a resounding “no,” that is, until I came across the Airspy R2.

The Airspy R2, which retails at $169 as of the time of publication, is a software-defined radio, or SDR.  A “mini” version with a few less bells and whistles retails for $99.  With an SMA to Coax adapter, $5 on Amazon, the supplied USB wire, and free SDR tuning programs (more on that below), you have all you ever need for Continue reading

2017 FM E-Skip Year in Review

Record lows, a stunning lack of signals, and lots of frustration.  Those words sum up the 2017 Sporadic E-Skip season in Northern Virginia.

Sporadic E is a method of signal propagation that, when in effect, allows broadcast signals to be received up to 1500 miles away with clear local reception.  It can happen any time of the year, but it is most common during the summer months.

I’ve been writing annual reviews of E-Skip seasons since 2011 and although I’ve often wrote that the current year’s season was bad, I really didn’t think it could get worse.  2017 is, categorically, the worst FM Es season that I’ve experienced since I started DXing in 1999 (monitoring daily for Es since 2006).  There’s no nice way of saying it.

READ MY PREVIOUS YEARS’ E-SKIP SEASON REVIEWS DATING BACK TO 2011

Think of it this way: FM Es was observed in Northern Virginia for 33 minutes total during the entire 2017 season.  Yes, you read that right.  Compare that to 6.9 hours of skip just a year ago, and a whopping 21.9 hours of FM Es in 2012.  Skip just wasn’t happening at all this year, and interestingly enough Continue reading

Local 92.7 WDCJ Prince Frederick, MD adds HD Radio

There’s a new HD Radio signal in the Washington metro region.  Local station 92.7 WDCJ, which recently flipped formats after being sold, debuted its HD Radio signal sometime in the early morning hours of July 27.  WDCJ broadcasts its IBOC signal on 92.5 and 92.9 FM.  92.5 is already home to a semi-local station (WINC Winchester, VA) and is unaffected.  92.9, unfortunately, is now wiped out by WDCJ’s digital signal while at home.  This is not good since 92.9 was an open DX frequency in the area, save for occasional reception from a nearby translator.  In my car, thankfully, 92.9 is still open, as evidenced by a booming signal from the aforementioned 92.9 translator just outside my home.  I added the new HD Radio screenshots from WDCJ below to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.

wdcj72717c
92.7 WDCJ Prince Frederick, MD, 7/27/17, tropo, 36 miles (formerly WWXT)

FM Es opening 7/21/17 into NE, MO

After 14 days of no Sporadic E observed during the usually fertile month of July, E-skip finally returned on July 21, albeit briefly.  Skip was first heard via unattended recordings set to 92.1 FM at 6:57 PM for about 5 seconds.  While in my car at 7:15 PM, I found skip up to 98.1 FM, with relogs 98.1 KFGE and 97.7 KBBX in with strong signals and RDS.  92.9 KTGL and 97.7 KPOW came in weak soon after.  As with all openings this year, the July 21 opening’s signals were brief.  Although the skip ended at 7:29 PM, Sporadic E was only in FM for about 3 minutes total due to deep fades and a yo-yo MUF.  Even with this shortcoming, today’s opening allowed me to get RDS from KBBX for the first time.  I added the screenshots below to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.

Relogs and unIDs:

92.1 unID country
92.9 KTGL Beatrice, NE, 1044 miles, “92-9 The Eagle” – classic rock
97.7 KPOW La Monte, MO, 860 miles, local ads for Sedalia, MO


97.7 KBBX Nebraska City, NE, 1012 miles, “Radio Lobo” – spanish


98.1 KFGE Milford, NE, 1071 miles, “Froggy 98” – country

Format change: 94.3 WWXX Buckland, VA flips to K-Love

On July 20, 2017, 94.3 WWXX Buckland, VA, about 45 miles southwest of Washington, DC and 32 miles west of my home, flipped from a simulcast of DC’s ESPN Radio affiliate, 980 WTEM, to the “K-Love” Christian music network.  This change marks the first major non-translator signal in the DC area to rebroadcast the nationwide network.  94.3’s new call letters are WLZV.

Up until recently, WLZV was part of a “trimulcast” of WTEM, which was also broadcasted on nearby 92.7 WWXT in Southern Maryland.  94.3 and 92.7 simulcasted each other through various formats since 2001.  According to DCRTV.com, both WWXX and WWXT were sold to separate owners (WWXT going to Radio One and becoming a simulcast of DC’s 102.3 WMMJ; WWXX going to K-Love owner EMF) earlier this year.  WWXX’s signal is weak at my home and is often overpowered by 94.3 WINX from the Maryland Eastern Shore.

Logistically, much like WDCJ’s recent format flip to cover an area not serviced well by its parent station, WLZV’s format flip to K-Love makes sense.  K-Love is aired on several full-powered signals in nearby markets, such as Richmond, VA and Ocean City, MD, but none of these signals are strong enough to bring regular listenership in the DC metro area.

My Local FM Stations page has been updated with this format flip.