May 21 was a phenomenal day for tropo in Northern Virginia–the likes of which I haven’t seen in a while. It marks the first true tropo duct in my new home since moving here in March. Throughout the day, the band was open to Ocean City, MD and Delaware, which isn’t unusual at all, just not during the day. RDS from relog 95.3 WKDB Laurel, DE, at 87 miles, was constant at all hours, and through the IBOC hash from my local DC stations, I picked up two new stations, one of them a translator from Delaware.
The main event didn’t happen until about 10:30 PM, when 97.9 WSKQ from New York, NY came in strongly over Baltimore’s WIYY. This happens maybe once every 2-3 years, almost always in the fall, never in the spring like now. WSKQ, at 226 miles away, is the usual “beacon” that alerts me to a tropo duct forming northward. Shortly afterward, New York’s 101.9 WFAN and 107.5 WBLS came in. WBLS, with its HD Radio subdecode, is the furthest northward signal I’ve ever received IBOC from, and WFAN is the furthest northward FM station to decode RDS on my radio via tropo. But like many New York tropo ducts, they don’t last long. The band abruptly dropped back to deadband conditions by 11:45 PM, with a lone HD Radio decode for the first time from Lancaster, PA’s 94.5 WDAC serving as the opening’s goodbye wave.
@ = new
@ 88.7 WKNZ Harrington, DE, 93 miles
@ 97.5 WALK Patchogue, NY, 271 miles
97.9 WSKQ New York, NY, 226 miles
@ 102.1 W271CX Milford, DE, 97 miles
102.5 WRFY Reading, PA, 135 miles
103.9 WRCN Riverhead, NY, 282 miles