Superb tropo opening into New York City; Long Island 5/21/17. 3 new FM stations and HD/RDS records made

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

94.5 WDAC Lancaster, PA, 101 miles

@ 97.5 WALK Patchogue, NY, 271 miles

97.9 WSKQ New York, NY, 226 miles

101.9 WFAN New York, NY, 225 miles

@ 102.1 W271CX Milford, DE, 97 miles

102.5 WRFY Reading, PA, 135 miles

103.9 WRCN Riverhead, NY, 282 miles

107.5 WBLS New York, NY, 225 miles

Tr opening 5/19/17. 1 new FM log.

Weak signal enhancement to central Virginia on May 19 brought in a new signal, 95.3 W237BA.  The station, which simulcasts nearby 105.5 WOJL Louisa, VA, airs a classic rock format.  The station was received in my car during my commute, less than a mile from my home.  Its signal was difficult to get at 178 watts, mixing in with Richmond’s 95.3 WKHK.  This marks the first new FM station received in two years on the 95.3 frequency–something mainly due to the frequency normally being cluttered by HD Radio interference from local 95.5 WPGC.  Thankfully, WPGC’s IBOC has been off-air for most of this year, opening up 95.3 to regular DX signals in my area.

95.3 W237BA Culpeper, VA, 39 miles

My DX Log and Audio Files pages have been updated with the above content.

2 new FM logs on 98.1 FM: one legal, one not

A seemingly uneventful rainy April day turned out to be anything but that when I logged two new signals on 98.1 FM within one hour of each other.  At 2:45 PM on April 22, while in my car in Oxon Hill, MD, I picked up a fairly strong signal on 98.1, airing classic hits and identifying themselves as “Classic Hits 98-1 The Fox.”  A quick internet search netted zero results, and I confirmed via webcasts from the closest 98.1s (98.1 WOGL Philadelphia, PA, 98.1 WTVR Richmond, VA, and 98.1 WOCM Selbyville, DE) that they haven’t changed their format and/or name to “The Fox.”  The station sounded like a regular FM signal, but it didn’t have any commercials, legal IDs, and barely any liners–most songs dry segued into the next.  The strong signal also steeply faded away once I drove out of the shopping center I was parked in, succumbing quickly to regional 98.1 WTVR and IBOC interference from nearby 97.9 WIYY Baltimore, MD.  Until I get other confirmation, I am logging this mystery signal as a pirate.   I’ll update my logs and this post accordingly if I become aware that this is a licensed FM station or translator.

98.1 PIRATE “98-1 The Fox” – classic rock, car radio in Oxon Hill, MD

Less than an hour later, while driving near my home in Woodbridge, VA, I heard a second new station on 98.1 FM, mixing in with 98.1 WTVR: W264BJ Manassas, VA.  This translator, rebroadcasting Spanish-formatted 920 WURA Quantico, VA, has been expected to debut for months now, and now apparently has.  Thankfully, its very weak in the car and cannot be received at home, leaving 98.1 as an open frequency.  I’ve found a trend of new translators’ signals increasing in strength after debut, so I’m not out of the woods yet.

I am confident that the “98-1 The Fox” signal and the Manassas translator aren’t the same station.  The translator is 9 miles away from my home; 17 miles away from Oxon Hill.  Given its signal was weak at 9 miles, I’d conclude it is weaker located further away in Oxon Hill, not almost local grade stereo as “The Fox” was.  Plus, since I am familiar with WURA-AM, I am certain that it wouldn’t air classic hits in English, and then switch to Spanish music within the same hour.  WURA/W264BJ also had DJs on-air, while “The Fox” didn’t.

Both stations have been added to my FM DX Log, and the audio file from the pirate signal has been added to my Audio page.

Meteor scatter DX: 1 new FM log

2016-post-newsI noticed while doing a dial scan on February 4 that local 96.3 WHUR had its IBOC off-air, rendering both 96.1 and 96.5 open for DXing.  In fact, at the time of writing the next day, WHUR’s IBOC is still off.  Later that night, unattended recordings netted a new FM signal, 96.1 WMAX, with a perfectly-timed meteor scatter ping:

96.1 WMAX Holland, MI, 534 miles, “ESPN Radio”

On top of WMAX, the usual regional Tr ‘pests’ located within 70-200 miles that are heard when 96.3 WHUR’s IBOC is off (Norfolk’s 96.1 WROX, Eastern PA’s 96.1 WSOX, and Richmond’s 96.5 WKLR) were received, along with ultra-rare station 96.1 WKST Pittsburgh, PA @ 187 miles.  In almost 20 years of DXing, I’ve only received WKST once, in 2006.

This isn’t the first time 96.3 WHUR’s IBOC being off allowed me to log a new station.  In October, the station’s IBOC was off-air for about a day, allowing me to log new station 96.1 WCTO Easton, PA.

The above audio file has been added to my Audio Files page.  I’m in the process of reformatting my DX logs, so although the stats are updated, WMAX will be added to my FM log very soon.

Audio section revamped, updated with new content

logo_whiteThe Audio section of this blog is now fully updated and revamped with a much easier-to-use interface.  The page has been dormant since this summer, when I started on a project to remove the cumbersome tables (that were hard for me to update) to a more easier layout.  In the meantime, I had been posting new audio files to the blog, but I was not been adding them to the audio section.  The page has now been fully updated with all content from this summer until today.  To hear an audio file, you can now click on the “listen” icon next to a station listing, as seen below.


Another new FM translator found in Northern Virginia. 1 new FM log.



While scanning the dial early this morning, just hours after logging new signal 96.1 WCTO, I heard religious talk on 100.7 FM.  Come to find out, I was picking up another new signal, 100.7 W264DB Falls Church, VA, which relays 1220 WFAX.  Thankfully, W264DB is fairly weak at home and I should still get some good tropo or Sporadic E on 100.7 during favorable conditions.  My FM DX Log has been updated to reflect this new logging.

New log:
100.7 W264DB Falls Church, VA, “WFAX 1220 AM” – religious, 15 miles

Local 96.3 IBOC off; 1 new FM log



HD Radio service from Washington’s 96.3 WHUR has been offline in the past 24 hours, which has allowed signals to come in on 96.1 and 96.5 FM–two frequencies that are usually rendered useless in my area due to the interference caused by WHUR’s IBOC sidebands.

While WHUR’s IBOC was off, I received several relogs, including 96.1 WROX Exmore, VA @ 118 mi, 96.1 WSOX Red Lion, PA @ 93 mi, and 96.5 WKLR Ft. Lee, VA @ 92 mi.  At 6:30 PM on October 30, I received a signal for the first time from 96.1 WCTO Easton, PA.  My FM DX Log has been updated to reflect this new logging.

New log:

96.1 WCTO Easton, PA, “Cat Country 96” – country, 165 miles

FM E-Skip opening 7/15/16 into IA, MI, MN, WI. 13 new FM logs.

post-fmesAfter writing about the lack of evening FM Sporadic E-Skip this summer, I finally experienced a respectable opening into the upper Midwest on July 15. FM Es first popped up at 6:01 PM for 50 seconds, then it returned at 7:23 PM and stayed in FM until 9:21 PM.  The MUF went up and down, but it stayed at 107.9 FM for the majority of the opening and brought in sustained signals–something rare this season.  New log 97.5 WJIM, at 469 miles away, tied the #2 spot for the closest ever FM Es signal received here via Sporadic E since I started DXing in 1999.  What also surprised me from this opening were the amount of HD Radio and RDS decodes.  Overall, this opening helped salvage an otherwise poor FM Es season to bring it to a point where it is not completely a dud.  My DX Log and HD/RDS Screenshots pages have been updated with the new content listed below.  My Audio page will be updated with the new audio clips below as time permits.

Click on the listen icon to hear audio from the applicable stations.

new = new logs

88.1 KVSC St. Cloud, MN, “88.1 KVSC” – ccm, 987 miles
new 88.9 WLSU La Crosse, WI, “Wisconsin Public Radio” – public radio, 813 miles
89.3 KCMP Northfield, MN, “89-3 The Current” – public radio, 913 miles over local WPFW
88.9 KNSR Collegeville, MN, “Minnesota P Continue reading

FM E-Skip opening 7/12/16 into AR, FL, IA, KS, LA, MN, MI, MO, MS, NE, OK

post-fmesAs the old saying goes, a watched pot never boils.  I can sit in front of my radio every evening and weekend all summer long this year and not see any Sporadic E-Skip.  But once I am at work and unable to actively DX a radio, let the festivities begin.  Like usual, I missed a mammoth of an E-Skip opening, the first trace of any Sporadic E reception in Northern Virginia in 13 days (the last opening was also a missed daytime opening from work–where’s the evening openings this year?)  Based on unattended recordings on 93.7 and 100.7 FM, skip started at about 10:25 AM and doused the FM dial with strong, local-grade reception, at least 191 minutes in FM until 3:03 PM.  Skip started in Miami, then quickly shifted into MS, LA, and then the Midwest, ending in Minnesota and (supposedly) Manitoba.  My HD Radio/RDS Screenshots and Audio Files pages have been updated with the new content below.

Relogs received:

93.7 KXKS Shreveport, LA, “Kiss Country 93-7” – country, 1020 miles
93.7 KISR Ft. Smith, AR, “Kisser 93-7” – CHR, 967 miles
93.7 KYEZ Salina, KS, “Y93.7” – country, 1082 miles
93.7 KKRL Carroll, IA, “93.7 KKRL” – hot Continue reading

Tr opening 6/15/16. 1 new FM log.

post-fmtrFor the past week or so, I’ve heard a weak religious station on 89.7 while doing my dial scans at home and in my car.  This puzzled me, because since 2008, 89.7 has been home to an 8-watt translator, W209BY Woodbridge, VA, with its transmitter a mile away from my home.  W209BY put in a local-grade signal with a contemporary Christian music format.  I figured this translator must’ve changed formats and, somehow reduced power or changed transmitter locations.  Upon checking unattended recordings on 89.7 FM today, I found that I was actually hearing a totally different station, 89.7 WXMD, from nearby Southern Maryland.  Apparently W209BY is off-air.  Being a new station, My FM DX Log and Audio Files pages were updated with the information from WXMD below.

New log:

89.7 WXMD California, MD, “Redeemer Broadcasting” – religious, 40 miles