One of the few full-power radio stations in the Washington, DC area that did not run RDS now does. I first noticed RDS running on 99.1 WDCH-FM Bowie, MD, a local station of mine, in 2006 when I bought my first RDS-capable radio. I’m not sure how long the station ran RDS before that. However, in 2016 when the signal flipped from news to business news, the RDS disappeared. While scanning the FM dial on December 29, 2019, I found the station was once again broadcasting RDS. I have added the RDS screenshots below to my Woodbridge, VA RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.
The 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.
A 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.
Philadelphia, PA, at 144 miles away from my Virginia home, is the hardest market within my usual tropo range to get HD Radio signals from. Many of the city’s FM signals are on the same frequencies as my local Washington, DC signals. The few that aren’t are either first adjacents to my IBOC-broadcasting local stations, or they are on frequencies usually occupied by powerhouse regional stations.
Philadelphia signals usually come in with nearby Atlantic City and Delmarva signals. Oddly enough, tropo enhancement during the early morning hours of July 29 brought in Philadelphia FMs without the aforementioned coastal signals. The lack of the those signals were just enough to allow HD Radio to decode for the first time on four Philadelphia frequencies. I also got an HD Radio subdecode from another Philly station, plus RDS decodes from a few other stations. The screenshots below have been added to my Woodbridge, VA FM DX Log.
92.5 WXTU Philadelphia, PA, 15 KW, 143 miles
94.1 WIP-FM Philadelphia, PA, 16 KW, 144 miles
98.1 WOGL Philadelphia, PA, 7.3 KW, 144 miles
98.9 WUSL Philadelphia, PA, 32 KW, 144 miles
101.5 WKXW Trenton, NJ, 15.5 KW, 177 miles over local 101.5 WBQB
I cannot recall the last time I had Sporadic E-Skip for two days in a row–on the weekend when I can actually DX (vs. when I am at work). Skip on July 21 was nothing like the previous day, but I did hear a few faint signals appear briefly on 88.1, 89.1, 89.5, 89.9, and 91.7. The skip started at 4:10 PM and ended at 4:38 PM, although I heard maybe 2 minutes total of skip signals during that period. All signals were brief, disappearing seconds after first heard.
I did manage to get one positive ID via RDS from previously-logged 89.1 WPAS Pascagoula, MS, at 847 miles, 60 KW. The screenshot below has been added to my DX Logs page.
The first respectable Sporadic E opening of the 2019 season was heard on July 20 in Northern Virginia.
With about an hour total of skip heard between 12:25 PM and 5:12 PM, the opening started with signals from South Florida with a MUF of 94.1. The skip disappeared at 3:30 PM. A half hour later, it returned with signals from the upper Midwest and Louisiana with a higher MUF of 106.1. Most of the signals were weak and had deep fades.
The highlight of the opening was the logging of my third translator in 20 years via FM Es, 94.1 W231CN from Florida. W231CN is the first translator via Es that I have received which decoded RDS. Local 93.9 WKYS seemed to be on low power during the opening, as their HD Radio signal was off-air and they weren’t running RDS. This was likely how I was able to log W231CN, as 94.1 is usually covered up by WKYS’ digital IBOC sideband.
Minor tropospheric enhancement on July 20 brought in RDS from 96.9 WFPG Atlantic City, NJ, a station previously logged at my home at 158 miles away. I have received RDS from WFPG in the past, but not from the SDR Sharp program.
I noticed that WFPG has updated their PI code in their RDS display. When I received RDS from the station on 10/5/17, the PI code was displayed as 1368, which incorrectly rendered a callsign of KBHO on capable radios. The PI code as received on July 20 seen below, 6368, now correctly renders to WFPG.
The screenshot below has been added to my DX Logs page.
89.7 FM at my home is usually occupied by an 8-watt translator only a mile away, W209BY Woodbridge, VA. W209BY is usually strong, although other signals do overpower it at times. One of the stations that I sometimes hear on 89.7 over W209BY is WXMD California, MD, 7 KW at 40 miles away. I first logged WXMD in 2016, but I noticed it was running RDS for the first time earlier this year on the Sangean HDR-14 radio. On July 14, I received RDS from WXMD for the first time on my Sony XDR-S10HDiP radio. This screenshot was added to my DX Logs page.