After 14 days of no Sporadic E observed during the usually fertile month of July, E-skip finally returned on July 21, albeit briefly. Skip was first heard via unattended recordings set to 92.1 FM at 6:57 PM for about 5 seconds. While in my car at 7:15 PM, I found skip up to 98.1 FM, with relogs 98.1 KFGE and 97.7 KBBX in with strong signals and RDS. 92.9 KTGL and 97.7 KPOW came in weak soon after. As with all openings this year, the July 21 opening’s signals were brief. Although the skip ended at 7:29 PM, Sporadic E was only in FM for about 3 minutes total due to deep fades and a yo-yo MUF. Even with this shortcoming, today’s opening allowed me to get RDS from KBBX for the first time. I added the screenshots below to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.
Relogs and unIDs:
92.1 unID country
92.9 KTGL Beatrice, NE, 1044 miles, “92-9 The Eagle” – classic rock
97.7 KPOW La Monte, MO, 860 miles, local ads for Sedalia, MO
Rinse and repeat. In what is becoming a fashionable trend this year, Sporadic E stopped by only for minutes on July 7 before disappearing. This largely contrasts with reports online of sustained top-of-the-band FM Es in neighboring states. In my car near my home at 7:31 PM, I received RDS from relog 89.1 WPAS for about 15 seconds before the signal disappeared. The skip then reappeared about 30 minutes later, with an unidentified religious signal on 89.1, and an unknown oldies station on 92.1. This second ‘dip’ into FM lasted for about two minutes before going away. These signals, albeit short-lived, were also both fairly strong–the 92.1 overpowerd weak tropo from nearby Richmond, VA’s 92.1 WCDX.
The only good thing about the opening is that the later signals from 89.1 and 92.1 were heard indoors–the first skip opening with my new indoor Yagi antenna array. While using rabbit ears indoors most of this skip season, hearing skip-reflected signals indoors was almost impossible. It was refreshing to hear the characteristic “fade in/fade out/fade in” of skip on two separate frequencies using a more robust antenna, and it shows me that my radios actually work. Maybe this means I’ll get *one* sustained, workable opening before the skip season ends at the end of this month.
The weak, “here one second, gone the next” Sporadic E openings of 2017 continued on June 30. At 8:30 PM in my car located in Springfield, VA near my home, I heard an NWS weather alert on 89.1 FM with mentions of Fort Sill and Warren, OK, likely relog KYCU Clinton, OK @ 1215 miles. Shortly later, I heard a Bott Radio Network station on 95.1 FM, likely relog KQCV Shawnee, OK @ 1079 miles. Neither station had a definitive ID. The MUF of the opening was 95.1 FM and the opening lasted about 2 minutes long.
The weak, peekaboo “here one second, gone the next” Sporadic E that I’ve seen so far in the 2017 season continued on June 13. At about 4:00 PM, I found signals from Arkansas and Kansas coming into Northern Virginia. Although I had to do some non radio-related things during the opening, I found incoming signals from Minnesota and Nebraska before the opening died at about 5:17 PM, roughly 10 minutes of cumulative skip with a MUF of 105.3 FM. Interestingly, much like the May 28, 2017 opening, I managed to log 4 new stations–something that is usually very difficult to achieve with weak and short openings, which usually only yield relogs. My Audio page has been updated with the new clips below.
@ = new
89.3 unID talk over local WPFW Washington, DC
@ 90.3 KANQ Chanute, KS, 999 miles
92.7 unID CHR over local WDCJ Prince Frederick, MD
95.3 KDJS Willmar, MN, 1022 miles
95.7 WRQT La Crosse, WI, 804 miles
@ 95.7 KDAL Duluth, MN, 937 miles
@ 95.7 KMKO Lake Crystal, MN, 956 miles
95.7 KKOK Morris, MN, 1064 miles
95.7 unID spanish, suspect KSEC Bentonville, AR
96.9 KZKX Seward, NE, 1049 miles
97.5 unID rock
97.5 KDKK Park Rapids, MN, 1061 miles
98.1 unID sports, suspect WWLS The Village, OK
98.5 unID country
@ 99.3 KTPG Paragould, AR, 758 miles
99.7 unID country
99.7 unID classic rock
105.3 unID DJ talk
I caught a very weak FM Es opening into Manitoba on July 7. At 6:40 PM in my car about 11 miles north of my home in Springfield, VA, I received two signals: a country station on 88.9, and a public radio station on 89.1. The 89.1 signal never identified, but I soon found out 88.9 was relog CKMW from Winkler, MB at 1225 miles. The skip lasted about 2 minutes and had a MUF of 89.1 FM.
Murphy’s Law always hits hard in the DXing hobby. I took a nap on June 4, only to find that during the exact times I slept, I missed what seemed to be a respectable FM Es opening. During the 12PM hour, my unattended recordings on 88.9 FM picked up two signals, one an NPR station airing a hurricane preparedness PSA for Floridians, and the other broadcasting jazz music. Due to signal paths posted online, I suspect that the NPR is WQCS Ft. Pierce, FL and the jazz signal is WDNA Miami, FL. Overall, the skip was heard on 88.9 for about 3 minutes cumulative, but I am not sure of the MUF of the opening, since I was only monitoring one frequency.
The 2017 Sporadic E-Skip season is officially underway in Northern Virginia after an average opening on May 28 brought in signals from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas into my area. The skip started shortly after 4:20 PM and dipped out of FM a few minutes later. It came back a little stronger about an hour and a half later, ending abruptly at about 6:50 PM. All in all, about 10 minutes cumulative of skip. The MUF, or maximum usable frequency, of the opening was 106.1 FM. My DX Log, RDS/HD Radio Screenshots, and Audio pages have been updated with the new content below.
@ = new
88.1 KLBT Beaumont, TX, “88.1 KLBT” – ccm, 1108 miles
88.7 unID public radio
89.1 unID religious
91.5 KGRM Grambling, LA, RDS hit, 782 miles (undecoded RDS)
93.1 KQID Alexandria, LA, “Q93” – CHR, 972 miles
93.7 KQBT Houston, TX, “93-7 The Beat” – urban, 1214 miles
@ 95.7 KROK South Ft. Polk, LA, “95.7 KROK” – rock, 1046 miles
94.1 WEMX Continue reading →
That was a question that I asked myself multiple times this past few months, and I’m still asking it as the 2016 Sporadic E-Skip season came to a close in Northern Virginia on July 31.
One can receive FM signals up to 1500 miles away, on average, with local, stereo strength during a Sporadic E, or E-Skip opening. Although it can happen at any time of the year, it most commonly occurs mid-May to late July, a period of which I consider a ‘skip season.’ This year’s season just ended, and with it came continued disappointment seen locally almost every year since the 2009 season.
The 2016 year seems to be a repeat of the 2015 season, with the few substantial openings observed occurring within a few days of each other late in the season. 2016 continues the local trend where long swaths of otherwise eligible weeks/weekends had no trace of FM Es at all. 2016 was just like 2015 where the first half of the season (May-mid June) saw few openings. This contrasts with the 2014 season, where the last half of the season (June-late July) saw no or little Es, but the beginning of the season had a lot of activity. This is also the first year since I started to monitor daily FM Es in 2006 where there was no FM Es observed at all in the Continue reading →
A weak FM Es opening was heard in Northern Virginia on July 23. Skip was heard with a MUF of 100.7 FM for 28 minutes between 7:43 PM and 8:46 PM. IDs were few and far between this opening, as signals often faded just before identification was given. My HD/RDS Screenshots page has been updated with the new screenshots below.
88.1 unID NPR
89.1 WBSN New Orleans, LA, public radio, 945 miles
89.5 unID religious
89.9 unID religious
91.5 unID bluegrass
91.7 unID NPR
92.3 unID country
92.7 unID country over local WWXT
93.5 unID country
96.7 KCIL Gray, LA, “C96.7” – country, 998 miles
100.7 WTGE Baton Rouge, LA, “The Tiger” – country, 982 miles