DXers in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. may find something missing on their radios. WPFW, a variety-formatted station on 89.3 FM in Washington, DC, which usually operates at 50 kw has been running on low power for the past few days. At my home 21 miles away, the station is very staticy when aimed NE toward its transmitter, and almost non-existent when aimed away from the station to the SW. Based on my experience with weak FM signals, I’d guess WPFW is running at about 80-100 watts or so. Under normal conditions, WPFW has a local-grade stereo signal (they don’t run RDS or HD Radio). The following statement has been posted on WPFW’s website as of 7/19/13 regarding the situation:
Thank you for your patience as WPFW is temporarily broadcasting at reduced power. The tower we broadcast from is undergoing an essential maintenance project and, as a result, we are utilizing our backup transmitter. We will return to full power as soon as possible. -WPFWfm.org
I’ve been running unattended recordings on 89.3 FM for the past 24 hours and I’ll see if I get any new stations. On July 18, I did get one meteor scatter ping in WPFW’s absence, however it was an unID NPR station in network programming. This isn’t the first time in recent memory where WPFW was on low-power for several days at a time. In early June 2011, I was able to log 89.3 WTEB New Bern, NC @ 246 miles and 89.3 WVTU Charlottesville, VA @ 93 miles (150 watts!) while WPFW was running on low power. I’m not sure why the station was running at reduced power in 2011, though.