Mistaken identity and radio station loggings

One of the most important things a DXer must do if they are serious with the hobby is be certain that the signals that they log are truthful, accurate, and honest.  This has been one of the major rules that I have followed in my 20+ years of FM, AM, and TV DXing.  Thankfully, modern technology such as Google, live streaming, HD Radio, RDS, and audio recording have made researching and positively IDing radio stations something relatively easy to do.  Even with these tools available, extreme caution must still be made to ensure that one doesn’t inadvertently log the wrong radio station.

I rarely log any radio station, AM or FM, without some sort of confirmation that it is, in fact, the station I heard.  This positive ID may come via a station ID, local ads, or an HD Radio or RDS decode.  Or, I may match a station to its live webstream and, after confirming it isn’t part of a nationwide radio network, consider it a positive log.  This has been the tried-and-true method of identifying signals ever since I started DXing in 1999.

It is rare for me to be scratching my head after hearing such a positive ID, but that is exactly what happened to me on December 16.  On November 26, wrote how I logged my all-time distance record for all broadcast bands, 600 CJWW from Saskatoon, SK, a classic country station named “Country 600 CJWW.”  CJWW was 1690 miles away from where I received it in Springfield, VA.  Part of the frustration I faced with CJWW was that my recorder wasn’t running, so although I did hear a positive ID, I didn’t have “proof” of it to present on this blog.  On December 26, I heard country music again on AM 600 while driving in Springfield and I hit “record.”

As heard in the above audio clip, the DJ gives the weather forecast in Celsius (indicative of the signal being from Canada), and she invites listeners to text the station at #269269.  She then gives the “Country 600” station ID.  I was ecstatic–I finally had an audio recording of my furthest broadcast logging.  But something didn’t seem right.  A simple Google search came up with a different result: the DJ was giving a forecast for 17 degrees, but the temperature in Saskatoon was forecast to be -25 Celsius at the same time.  The 269269 text number, per Google, belonged to another radio station with the same name as CJWW: 600 CKAT North Bay, ON, at 524 miles away.

Graphics referencing the #269269 texting code from CKAT on their website. Image credit: CKAT/Rogers Media.

The audio clip above is a slam-dunk positive ID of CKAT.  There’s no question that I heard that signal on December 16.  But what does that mean for my previous logging of CJWW, which also identified as “Country 600?”  Does this mean that I never logged CJWW, and that I, in fact, heard CKAT instead?  Common logic would dictate that the answer would be yes, since CKAT is 1166 miles closer than CJWW.

Interestingly, the answer is actually “no.”  I distinctly heard the DJ say “CJWWradio.com” during my logging of CJWW earlier this year.  CKAT’s website is www.country600.com.  The Saskatechewan station also identified as “Country 600 CJWW” a few times during my intial logging, while CKAT IDed as simply “Country 600.”  Although I don’t have audio proof of my logging of CJWW (much to my frustration), their callsign was what I heard and, thus, proves that I heard both CJWW and CKAT.  This is a rare situation where two stations on the same frequency have the same name and, even so, constitute separate logs.

I have added CKAT’s logging to my AM DX log.  I will update this blog when (and if) I log CJWW again and record a clip from the signal.

Recent AM DX, 37 new AM logs (audio)

I have logged 37 new AM logs between November 24 and December 12, 2019.  Click on an audio link below to hear corresponding audio from each applicable station below.  These signals have been added to my AM DX Log.

Spectacular tropo opening 9/28/19. 7 new FM logs and 3 new TV logs

2016-post-trThe amazing abundance of tropo enhancement in the summer/fall of 2019 has completely made up for the severe lack of Sporadic E earlier in the year.  For the second time this month, a tropo duct formed bringing in FM and TV signals up to 278 miles away.  It started at about 8:00 PM when Norfolk, VA signals, at 120-140 miles away to the southeast, were coming in over semi-local and regional signals in my car.  By 11:00 PM, the Norfolk signals were in with full HD Radio decodes and RDS on stations that don’t run HD.  Norfolk’s 40 WTKR and 50 WGNT were in with local grade signals.  This is a common occurrence in the warmer months at my location.

At 11:30 PM, the Norfolk signals faded away and were replaced with the common Philadelphia, PA FM & TV signals that I often get (at roughly 144 miles away) from the northeast instead.  With that came a few new FM stations.  The duct soon expanded into New York City and Long Island with WLNY-TV, a new digital log that I haven’t seen in 18 years since I first logged them as an analog signal.  Although this duct wasn’t as strong as the one experienced on 9/11/19 where most New York City FM stations came in over my local Washington, DC signals, this opening made up with several random and unexpected FM & TV logs, with two signals (99.1 WAWZ and 107.9 WPPZ-FM) decoding in HD right over my local stations.

For brevity, I only have listed stations below which have new RDS/HD Radio screenshots, TV screenshots, or audio files.   The content below has been added to my DX Logs pages.

 = new station first received in this opening

  • 88.9 WBYO Sellersville, PA, 157 miles, “Word FM” – ccm
  • 89.9 WXTR Tappahannock, VA, 62 miles, “Life Talk Radio” – religious (first-time RDS decode from previously-logged station)
  • 91.5 WNYE New York, NY, 227 miles, jazz program match to website
  • 94.3 WJLK Asbury Park, NJ, 201 miles “94-3 The Point” – CHR
  • 99.1 WAWZ Zarephath, NJ, 197 miles, “Star 99.1” – ccm, over local WDCH
  • 99.9 WODE-FM Easton, PA, 179 miles, “99.9 The Hawk” – classic hits
  • 105.7 WCHR-FM Manahawkin, NJ, 174 miles, “105-7 The Hawk” – classic rock (first-time RDS decode from previously-logged station)
  • 106.3 WJSE North Cape May, NJ, 144 miles, “106.3 The Shore” – classic hits (first-time RDS decode from previously-logged station)
  • 106.5 WTHJ Bass River Township, NJ, 170 miles, “Thunder 106” – country
  • 107.9 WPPZ-FM Pennsauken, NJ, 144 miles, “Classix 107.9” – classic urban AC, over local WLZL
  • 22 WTVE Reading, PA, 145 miles, “Sonlife” – religious (subdecode from Insignia DTT-901 menu with PSIP callsign visible)
  • 26 WQAV-CD Glassboro, NJ, 150 miles, “Jewelry TV, Ind. (subdecode from Insignia DTT-901 menu with PSIP callsign visible)
  • 29 WLNY-TV Riverhead, NY, 278 miles, “WLNY 10/55” – Ind.

Colossal FM & TV DX opening 9/11/19; 7 new FM logs and 6 new TV logs

2016-post-trA once-in-a-decade mammoth tropo duct to the north brought in multiple signals complete with HD Radio and RDS from New York City and surrounding areas to my Northern Virginia home on September 11, 2019.  This comes on the heels of a spectacular tropo opening into New York and North Carolina the previous morning, which netted me 10 new DTV logs.

I first noticed New York’s TV 27 WNYW–which I had first logged the night before–coming in with local-grade reception at 227 miles at about 11:30 PM on September 10.  Several other TV stations popped in from New York and Philadelphia at 144-227 miles away.  At this point, the opening was largely TV-only like the previous night’s.

Without warning, many of my regional radio stations succumbed to strong signals from New York, such as 92.3, 101.9, and 102.7 FM.  Minutes later, many of my local Washington, DC stations disappeared for the first time to NYC signals, resulting in seven new logs alone from the New York market.  100.3 WHTZ’s HD Radio signal blasted in right over local WBIG, which also runs HD Radio.  I have not seen such an opening to the north in at least a decade.

The opening was not just limited to New York stations.  FM signals from Philadelphia started to overpower my local Washington signals on the same frequencies at the same time, many with first-time HD Radio decodes.  The entire duct began to fade into the usual Norfolk and Richmond fare at about 3:00 AM.

For brevity, I only have listed stations below which have new RDS/HD Radio screenshots or audio files.  Everything radio-related below have been added to my DX Logs pages.

= new station first received in this opening

  • 88.7 WKNZ Harrington, DE, 93 miles, 25 KW, “88-7 The Bridge” – ccm
  • 90.1 WRTI Philadelphia, PA, 143 miles, 12.5 KW, over local WCSP
  • 90.9 WHYY-FM Philadelphia, PA, 143 miles, 13.5 KW, “WHYY” – public radio, over local WETA
  • 92.9 WRDX Smyrna, DE, 98 miles, 1.7 KW, “92.9 Tom FM” – adult hits
  • 94.1 WIP-FM Philadelphia, PA, 144 miles, 16 KW, “SportsRadio 94 WIP” – sports
  • 94.7 WDSD Dover, DE, 98 miles, 50 KW, “94-7 WDSD” – country, over local WIAD
  • 100.3 WHTZ Newark, NJ, 227 miles, 6 KW, “Z100” – CHR, over local WBIG
  • 105.1 WWPR-FM New York, NY, 227 miles, 17 KW, “Power 105.1” – urban, over local WAVA
  • 105.9 WQXR-FM Newark, NJ, 227 miles, .61 KW, classical, over local WMAL
  • 106.7 WLTW New York, NY, 227 miles, 1.8 KW, “106.7 Lite FM” – AC, over local WJFK

The following new logs and screenshots (including more not seen below from DTV subchannels) were added to my TV DX Log:

  •  2 WDPB Salisbury, MD, 89 miles, 40 KW, “MeTV” – MeTV
  •  6 WPVI-TV Philadelphia, PA, 144 miles, 56 KW, “Action News 6” – ABC
  • 16 WCPB Salisbury, MD, 92 miles, 320 KW, “MPT” – PBS
  • 25 WPHY-CD Trenton, NJ, 145 miles, 15 KW, religious
  • 26 WXTV-DT Paterson, NJ, 226 miles, 200 KW, “Univision” – Univision
  • 32 WBOC-TV Salisbury, MD, 88 miles, 1,000 KW, “WBOC-TV 16” – CBS

107.3 WRQX Washington, DC flips to “K-Love,” callsign now WSOM, to be WLVW soon (audio)

A popular nationwide Christian contemporary radio network has debuted in Washington, DC, leaving the nation’s sixth-largest radio market without a hot adult contemporary-formatted station.

107.3 WRQX Washington, DC, known for years as hot adult contemporary “Mix 107-3”, flipped to “K-Love” at 7:00 PM May 31, following a live farewell show hosted by longtime morning show host Jack Diamond.  WRQX, along with radio stations in New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Savannah, and Syracuse, were recently purchased by Educational Media Foundation as part of a major multi-market station deal announced in March, making them the newest members of the 440+ station K-Love network.

At 7PM, listeners watching a live video simulcast of Diamond’s last show on the program’s Facebook page watched Diamond send off the station with their legal ID, followed by a fancy song about the morning show.  Those listening on 107.3 FM at the same time, however, only got to hear a second or so of the song before dead air cut in.  The audio feed was then abruptly switched over to the national K-Love broadcast, which was already in the middle of a song.  After a few songs, DJs acknowledged the addition of WRQX and other stations to the K-Love umbrella.

Click here to hear the format flip:

The intellectual property of WRQX, including its call letters, station name, and logo, still belong to Cumulus.  The former signal owners temporarily parked the WRQX calls on one of their co-owned AM radio stations in Ohio and put that station’s calls, WSOM, on DC’s 107.3, according to RadioInsight.com.

wsom_ID
FCC records indicate the callsign of DC’s 107.3 is now WSOM.  The callsign will change again to WLVW in the coming weeks.

EMF, however, is not referencing WSOM in their new K-Love legal ID. Instead, they are identifying DC’s 107.3 as WLVW, a call sign that will become official in the coming weeks.  Until that happens, however, EMF is technically airing an incorrect legal ID for their new signal.  WSOM is the first new callsign for DC’s 107.3 since 1979.  The WLVW calls used to be on 105.5 FM in Salisbury, MD.  That station is now WLSW.

Click here to hear the new WLVW legal ID:

Making things even more complicated, as of midnight June 1, the call letters seen on HD Radios tuning in the station’s digital signal still display the old WRQX calls, even though the signal is identifying as WLVW and its real callsign is WSOM.

wqrx_HD_callsign
Mistaken identity: 107.3 WSOM Washington, DC is identified on-air as WLVW, and its HD Radio callsign is WRQX.

News of impending sale was not actively mentioned on WRQX until May 28, when Diamond announced it on his morning show.  Afterward, farewells poured into the station, both on-air and on their social media accounts.  Although no specifics were given at the time, Diamond allued to his show being resurrected on another area radio station after the flip.

wrqx_facebook_farewell
WRQX morning host Jack Diamond can be seen here telling listeners about the format flip in a video recorded during his morning show broadcast on May 28.

The current incarnation of 107.3, WSOM, does not air RDS anymore, although it did hours earlier in the same day as WRQX.  I expect this to change soon, given that RDS is in heavy use with other K-Love signals that I have received in other locations.

The former Mix 107.3 website now redirects to the website of cross-town iHeart-owned 99.5 WIHT.  A message on the station’s website welcomes former Mix 107.3 listeners to their station.  WRQX’s former Facebook and Twitter pages were still operational an hour after the format flip, but were taken down as of 9:15 PM May 31.

The format change leaves a gaping format hole in the Nation’s Capitol.  As of June 1, there are no signals within 40 miles of Washington broadcasting an hot AC format.  None of the few hot AC signals located 40-60 miles away from DC provide a reliable signal into office buildings in the city.  The closest Washington has to the format is local adult contemporary 97.1 WASH, which airs more 80s music and softer tunes than what was heard on WRQX.

This farewell graphic was seen on WRQX’s website during its last week as a hot AC station. Credit: WRQX/Cumulus.

Since Cumulus still owns the WRQX callsign and intellectual property, they can debut it on any other signal they own.  In Washington, Cumulus owns 105.9 WMAL Woodbridge, VA and they lease 99.1 WDCH Bowie, MD to Bloomberg Radio.  It is unclear if the company plans to flip one of those stations to “Mix” as WRQX, or if they would do so on a completely unrelated station they own outside of Washington.

Today’s format flip presents a huge opportunity for another station group in the Washington market to flip one of their own signals to hot AC to undermine Cumulus and derail any chances of WRQX returning to the airwaves on a different frequency.  Ironically, this is the second time within a year that Washington has lost a hot AC-formatted signal.  94.7 WIAD Bethesda, MD, which was hot AC for nine years, flipped to 80s-leaning classic hits in October 2018.

The K-Love network has been absent from the Washington region up until now, save for a random translator here and there.  In 2017, EMF purchased rimshot 94.3 WWXX Buckland, VA and turned it into a K-Love signal as WLZV.  This, however, didn’t result in much exposure to the Washington market, since DC has a low power FM signal on the same frequency in the city that blocks WLZV’s signal.  It is unclear if WLZV will remain with K-Love or switch to sister network Air 1 now, given how strong WRQX’s signal is in the region and WLZV’s broadcast area.

WRQX has aired an hot AC format as “Mix 107.3” since 1990, save for when it was CHR between 2013 and 2015.  In the late 70s and throughout the 80s, it was CHR as “Q107.”

My Local FM Stations page has been updated with the new station information.

DX 5/23/19: 1 new FM log; new HD Radio/RDS screenshots added

The first great overnight tropo opening of 2019 occurred on May 23 and with it is my first new FM log of the year.  Signals were strong from the usual areas: Salisbury, MD (90 miles), Norfolk, VA (130 miles), and a few coastal North Carolina signals up to 200 miles away.

87.7 FM in my area is home to a local signal, WDCN-LP Alexandria, VA at 10 miles.  The frequency occasionally gets taken over by WNDC-LP in Salisbury, MD.  Both WDCN-LP and WNDC-LP run a Spanish format.  When I heard urban music on 87.7 on May 23, I knew it was something else.

New log:

87.7 WMTO-LP Moyock, NC, “Streetz 87-7” – urban, 134 miles over local WDCN-LP

My logging of WMTO-LP has been added to my FM DX Log.

New screenshots added:

May 23 was also a great opportunity for me to get new screenshots from my recently-purchased Sangean HDR-14 radio.  I added the following HD Radio and RDS screenshots to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page from previously-received stations:

89.5 WHRV Norfolk, VA, 135 miles

90.1 WHRX Nassawadox, VA, 108 miles over local WCSP

91.9 WHRE Eastville, VA, 115 miles over local WGTS

92.9 WVBW Suffolk, VA, 132 miles

93.7 WNOB Chesapeake, VA, 158 miles

94.9 WPTE Virginia Beach, VA, 188 miles

95.7 WVKL Norfolk, VA, 135 miles

95.9 WKZP West Ocean City, MD, 116 miles

96.7 WKJX Elizabeth City, NC, 186 miles

97.7 WGTI Winfall, NC, 180 miles

98.1 WOCM Selbyville, DE, 116 miles

98.3 WHRF Belle Haven, VA, 108 miles over local WSMD

98.5 WUSX Seatown, DE, 90 miles

98.7 WNOR Norfolk, VA, 138 miles over local WMZQ

98.9 WSBY-FM Salisbury, MD, 92 miles

99.3 WOWZ-FM Accomac, VA, 108 miles

100.5 WVHT Norfolk, VA, 139 miles

101.3 WWDE-FM Hampton, VA, 138 miles

101.7 WKWI Kilmarnock, VA, 80 miles

102.5 WERX-FM Columbia, NC, 196 miles

102.9 WOWI Norfolk, VA, 140 miles over local WKIK

104.9 WIGO-FM White Stone, VA, 82 miles

Tropo opening 7/20/18. 2 new FM logs

A fairly normal tropo opening during the early morning hours on July 20 into the Norfolk, VA area brought in an extra surprise: two new FM stations.  I turned my antenna to local 97.1 WASH’s null point expecting classic hits “97-1 The Wave” WAVD from nearby Ocean City, but instead I heard Christian Contemporary music.  The station identified as an affiliate of “K-Love,” which matches to 97.1 WYND.  Unfortunately, my audio recorder was not running when the station IDed, and WYND left just as fast as it arrived under WASH’s strong signal.  Shortly afterward, I heard sports music on 102.7 FM.  I figured it could’ve been a previously-logged station airing a local sports program, but something made me keep on listening.  Instead, the station identified as “99-5 and 102-7 ESPN,” which is a 250-watt translator from central Virginia.  My DX Log and RDS/HD Radio Screenshots pages have been updated with the new content below.

New logs:

97.1 WYND Hatteras, NC, tropo, 219 miles over local WASH

102.7 W274BX Petersburg, VA, tropo, 98 miles

First-time RDS screenshots from relogs:

101.7 WLQM Franklin, VA, tropo, 137 miles

Tropo opening 7/14/18. 3 new FM logs plus more

Another great tropo duct into coastal North Carolina–the second in a week–was heard throughout the overnight hours on July 14.  The opening started with the typical summer night signals from Norfolk, VA (130 miles) and Ocean City, MD (90 miles) coming in with local-grade strength.  Quickly afterward, signals further south from the New Bern/Greenville/Jacksonville, NC area at up to 240 miles away came in, some with HD Radio.  This was when my local Washington, DC stations started to disappear, one by one, overtaken by distant North Carolina signals.  This was largely an FM-only opening.  The TV band was largely only limited to Norfolk and Richmond stations.  My DX Log and RDS/HD Radio Screenshots pages have been updated with the new content below.

New logs:

94.7 WQDR Raleigh, NC, tropo, 217 miles over local WIAD

97.7 WZKT Walnut Creek, NC, tropo, 234 miles

107.5 WAZO Southport, NC, tropo, 320 miles

New HD Radio and RDS decodes from relogs:

90.3 WHRO Norfolk, VA, tropo, 135 miles

 

92.5 WYFL Henderson, NC, tropo, 177 miles

 

93.1 WWLB Ettrick, VA, tropo, 98 miles

 

97.7 WAFL Milford, DE, tropo, 97 miles

 

98.7 WRMR Greensboro, NC, tropo, 236 miles over local WMZQ

 

99.9 WCMC Holly Springs, NC, tropo, 218 miles

 

101.9 WIKS New Bern, NC, tropo, 239 miles

 

102.7 WJJX Appomattox, VA, tropo, 126 miles

 

106.5 WSFL New Bern, NC, tropo, 251 miles

 

107.9 WNCT Greenville, NC, tropo, 228 miles over local WLZL

 

Audio from relogs:
93.3 WERO Washington, NC, 228 miles over local WFLS

FM Es opening 6/6/18 into AL, FL, NE, and Mexico. 4 new FM logs, including my 1900th logged

For the first time since 2016, a respectable Sporadic E-Skip opening was received in Virginia.  During the opening, I logged my 1900th FM station ever received.  The day also marked the second time in 19 years that I received a radio station from Mexico.

I had to work all day and wasn’t able to DX my radios live, but I fared pretty well with two radios set to record from 89.1 and 93.5 FM.  The skip started in my car as I was headed to work at 8:52 AM with an unID 88.1 signal with undecoded RDS.  My home radios didn’t get any FM Es until 10:54 AM, when signals from south Florida boomed in for over three hours.  An outlier fade-in from Nebraska was also heard at one point.  The FM Es abruptly ended at 3:14 PM, and then returned at 6:05 PM for about 2 minutes into the Cancun area.  A few brief returns of FM Es during the 6PM and 7PM hours, totaling about 15 more minutes, happened before the marathon opening finally ended.  Overall, 208 minutes of FM Es was observed on June 6, which is 6.3 times as many minutes as heard during the entire 2017 FM Es season, and half of what was heard in the entire 2016 FM Es season.

This opening confirms that my new indoor Yagi antenna setup works perfectly fine for Sporadic E, much to my delight.  I was concerned that having an indoor antenna would attenuate signals and/or cause Sporadic E not to be received.  Thankfully, I was wrong.

Click on the audio players to hear the new logs below.  My DX Logs have been updated with these new loggings.

89.1 WLAZ Kissimmee, FL, 852 miles
89.1 WUFT Gainesville, FL, 683 miles

89.1 WLBF Montgomery, AL, 661 miles

89.1 XHPMQ Puerto Morelos, QRO, 1356 miles, legal ID

93.5 [either WBGF Belle Glade, FL, WZFL Islamorada, FL, W228BY Miami, FL, or W228BV Ft. Lauderdale, FL — stations simulcast each other]
93.5 WFDZ Perry, FL, 690 miles

93.5 KKOT Columbus, NE, 1094 miles

Car radio DX 2/24/18: three new FM logs

While in my car located in Sterling, VA on February 24, I received three new stations and picked up RDS from four other previously-logged signals that I had not received RDS from before.  I consider any new signal received within 30 miles of my home to be eligible to be added to my FM DX Log.  As Sterling, VA is 25 miles northwest of my home, the signals below are eligible to be added.  My FM DX Log, HD Radio/RDS Screenshots, and Audio pages have been updated with the new content below.

New signals:
101.7 W269DH Leesburg, VA, ethnic, 10 miles


102.1 W271BR Winchester, VA, “The Joy FM” – ccm, 47 miles
103.3 WTCF Wardensville, WV, “K-Love” – ccm, 54 miles

RDS screenshots from relogs:


92.1 WNUZ Mercersberg, PA, 60 miles


94.3 WLZV Buckland, VA, 29 miles


103.9 WTLP Braddock Heights, MD, 34 miles


106.1 WRQE Cumberland, MD, 89 miles