It was a rare early morning. The band opened up at 2:55 a.m .to the northeast, a path leading straight through my local powerhouse IBOC signals which typically curb any tropo past 150 miles in that direction. This has happened only a handful of times since 1999, most recently in 2007. The furthest station I ever received via tropo (WQRC 99.9 @ 420 miles) was picked up this morning for the first time since its initial logging in 2005. Distances beyond 300 miles in my area is extremely rare, let alone 400 miles. Just as monumental, I logged my first tropo signal on 107.3 FM. Local 107.3 WRQX is a beast at 22 kw, 21.5 miles. Under typical circumstances, I can’t get them to budge even during the strongest Es opening, but 107.3 WPUR came right in over the local powerhouse signal.
Surprisingly, my regional Norfolk and Richmond pest FM signals were all but missing during the opening. 90 percent of the time, signals from both cities fill every free frequency (those not already killed by adjancent IBOC hash from locals) making any DXing past the 150 mile barrier impossible.
HD Radio from several northeastward relogs decoded with ease. Given the crowded dial toward the NE, IBOC decodes from stations as close as 50 miles have posed to be very difficult or even impossible, in some cases. Signals were strong overall, too. For a while, 101.9 WCIB @ 409 miles came in with almost clear stereo reception, enough to trip the RDS meter on the Denon TU-1500RD radio but not strong enough to decode radiotext.
The opening abruptly fell apart at about 4:15 a.m. when my usual Norfolk pests started to creep in and take every free, non-local frequency.
Click above to hear audio from tropo distance record 99.9 WQRC, Barnstable, MA @ 420 miles.
94.9 WJJF Montauk, NY, 324 miles, “94.9 News Now” – news, 2:55 a.m., legal ID
97.3 WJFD New Bedford, MA, 394 miles, ethnic, 4:01 a.m., legal ID
100.9 WKNL New London, CT, 331 miles, “Kool 101”, 3:01 a.m., legal ID
101.9 WCIB Falmouth, MA, 404 miles, “Cool 102” – classic rock, 4:11 a.m. RDS
103.1 WBZO Bay Shore, NY, 250 miles, “B103” – oldies, 3:47 a.m., legal ID
103.7 WVEI Easthampton, RI, 346 miles, sports, area Tr
107.3 WPUR Atlantic City, NJ, 158 miles, “Cat Country” – country, 3:18 a.m. over local WRQX
New RDS and HD Radio screenshots from relogs: