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.

All-time radio signal distance record achieved: 600 CJWW logged at 1690 miles

While sitting in my car in a parking lot in Springfield, VA on November 26, I heard country music on 600 AM.  It was unusual, as the frequency is usually either gospel WCAO from nearby Baltimore, MD, or Radio Rebelde from Cuba.  The country signal was very weak, but it faded in right at the right moment.  I heard an ID: “Country 600,” and mentions of “CIWW Radio.com.”  I thought it was, at first, CIWW from Ottawa and that it moved from its previously-logged frequency of 1310.  Upon researching the signal after I got home, I realized I heard “CJWW” instead of CIWW and that the station was, in fact, broadcasting from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan of all places–1690 miles away from my location in Northern Virginia.

CJWW is my new my all-time radio reception signal distance record, unseating 94.1 KZOR Hobbs, NM, which I logged on 7/7/2006 at 1505 miles.  Unfortunately, I was not recording audio during my reception of CJWW.  A similar phenomenon happened during KZOR’s reception–I was recording directly to audio CD at the time, but the CD failed to burn properly, rendering my recording of KZOR permanently ruined, resulting with me having no proof of its reception.  Murphy’s Law strikes again.

Long-range AM reception is rare, from my experience.  The AM stations I usually receive at my home are 600 miles away or closer, with a few outliers such as 1200 WOAI San Antonio, TX, an occasional visitor to Virginia at 1346 miles away.  I think that the time zone difference had something to do with my reception of CJWW, as it was only 5:26 PM local time when I picked them up.  CJWW was likely still on its daytime signal pattern of 25 KW, versus its 8 KW nighttime array.

My AM DX Log has been updated with my logging of CJWW.

Recent AM DX: 32 new AM logs

Although FM DXing has quieted down for the year with the rush of cool air to the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the opposite is happening to the AM dial.  AM DX is heading toward its annual peak, and with that comes with scores of new AM logs heard at all times of the day.  In recent weeks, I have received 32 new AM logs from the following stations–one of them my first-ever log on 1490 AM.

My AM DX Log has been updated with these new logs:

  • 570 WKBN Youngstown, OH, 11/13/2019 8:48 PM, “News Radio 570” – news, 239 miles
  • 590 WMBS Uniontown, PA, 11/19/2019 1:49 AM, nostalgia, 156 miles
  • 610 WTVN Columbus, OH, 11/19/2019 2:07 AM, “News Radio 610 WTVN” – news, 317 miles
  • 670 WLUI Lewistown, PA, 11/23/2019 4:25 PM, “92.9 and 670 The Big Lewie” – oldies, 122 miles
  • 680 WKAZ Charleston, WV, 11/17/2019 4:43 PM, 232 miles
  • 800 WNNW Lawrence, MA, 11/17/2019 2:43 AM, spanish, 244 miles
  • 800 WSVS Crewe, VA, 11/22/2019 8:35 AM, “Pure Country WSVS” – country, 111 miles
  • 870 WPWT Colonial Heights, TN, 11/19/2019 1:52 AM, “96.3 The Possum” – country, 322 miles
  • 910 WLAT New Britain, CT, 11/23/2019 5:44 PM, spanish, 312 miles
  • 940 WKYK Burnsville, NC, 11/19/2019 1:54 AM, “Country 940 WKYK’ – country, 333
  • 960 WELI New Haven, CT, 11/10/2019 6:23 PM, “960 WELI” – news, 296 miles
  • 990 WNTY Southington, CT, 11/17/2019 4:46 PM, “Kool 990” – oldies, 307 miles
  • 1060 WQOM Natic, MA, 11/17/2019 3:09 AM, religious, 395 miles
  • 1090 WENR Englewood, TN, 11/23/2019 5:50 PM, “Mighty 1090 WENR” – gospel, 458 miles
  • 1150 WBAG Burlington-Graham, NC, 11/19/2019 7:41 PM, 212 miles
  • 1160 WCCS Homer City, PA, 11/10/2019 6:42 AM, “WCCS AM 1160 & 101.1 FM” – talk, groundwave, 166 miles
  • 1250 WARE Ware, MA, 11/17/2019 2:53 AM, “Classic Hits 97.7” – classic hits, 191 miles
  • 1260 C??? Media Luna, Cuba, 11/23/2019 5:53 PM, “Radio Progreso” – spanish
  • 1290 WFBG Altoona, PA, 11/21/2019 8:32 AM, “Big 1290” – talk, 137 miles
  • 1330 WBTM Danville, VA, 11/21/2019 8:44 AM, “105-7 Coastal Country” – country, 184 miles
  • 1350 WOYK York, PA, 11/23/2019 4:30 PM, “Sports Radio 98.9 & WOYK 1350” – sports, 79 miles
  • 1380 WKDM New York, NY, 11/22/2019 2:02 AM, asian, 226 miles
  • 1390 WFBL Syracuse, NY, 11/13/2019 12:26 AM, “94.1, 95.3, 103.9 The Dinosaur” – classic hits, 315 miles
  • 1400 WAVQ Jacksonville, NC, 11/22/2019 2:13 AM, classic hits, 269 miles
  • 1410 WNER Watertown, NY, 11/17/2019 2:58 AM, “FOX Sports Radio” – sports, 371 miles
  • 1430 WTNA Altoona, PA, 11/17/2019 3:01 AM, “Toona 1430” – oldies, 140 miles
  • 1440 WAJR Morgantown, WV, 11/21/2019 8:36 AM, “104.5 and 1440 WAJR” – news, 162 miles
  • 1490 WARK Hagerstown, MD, 11/17/2019 5:47 PM, “98.9 FM & AM 1490 WARK” – talk, 70 miles
  • 1610 CHRN Montreal, QC, 11/22/2019 2:20 AM, ethnic, 503 miles
  • 1620 C??? Cuba, 11/23/2019 5:56 PM, “Radio Rebelde” – spanish
  • 1660 W??? Chantilly, VA, 11/23/2019 6:38 PM, National Air & Space Museum information
  • 1700 WRCR Ramapo, NY, 11/21/2019 8:39 AM, “1700 WRCR” – AC, 241 miles

Only U.S. AM signal on 1710 AM received in Virginia

There is only one signal on 1710 AM in the United States, a tiny 10-watt travelers information station in New Jersey.  At 223 miles away, such a signal should be impossible to receive where I live in Virginia.  But that is exactly what I heard on my radio on April 16.

1710 WQFG689 Jersey City, NJ

Reception of the signal was a complete surprise, given similarly-powered signals in my own area barely make it a few miles out, let alone hundreds of miles away.

In continuing the spectacular AM reception that I’ve received so far this month, I also logged 18 new signals via groundwave and skywave propagation in the past four days.  The new logs below have been added to my DX Logs page.

  • 640 WWJZ Mt. Holly, NJ, 4/15/19 8:33 AM, groundwave, 165 miles, “Relevant Radio” – religious
  • 690 WELD Fisher, WV, 4/13/19 3:45 PM, groundwave, 97 miles, “WELD Radio” – classic hits
  • 730 CKAC Montreal, QC, 4/15/19 1:07 AM, skywave, 502 miles, french talk, over local WTNT
  • 840 WKTR Earlysville, VA, 4/16/19 8:31 AM, groundwave, 67 miles, “CSN Radio” – religious
  • 910 WRNL Richmond, VA, 4/15/19 8:44 AM, groundwave, 73 miles, “910 The Fan” – sports
  • 1000 WIOO Carlisle, PA, 4/12/19 8:53 AM, groundwave, 103 miles, “Country Legends WIOO” – classic country
  • 1010 WOLB Baltimore, MD, 4/13/19 3:44 PM, groundwave, 58 miles, “WOLB Talk 1010” – talk
  • 1040 WCHR Flemington, NJ, 4/14/19 7:05 PM, skywave, 176 miles, religious
  • 1080 WKJK Louisville, KY, 4/14/19 2:48 AM, skywave, 464 miles, “Talk Radio 1080” – talk radio
  • 1150 WDEL Wilmington, DE, 4/15/19 12:58 AM, skywave, 123 miles, “WDEL” – news
  • 1210 WJNL Kingsley, MI, 4/15/19 1:00 AM, skywave, 592 miles, “WJNL News Radio” – news
  • 1240 WCEM Cambridge, MD, 4/13/19 4:04 PM, groundwave, 64 miles, Baltimore Orioles sports programming
  • 1330 WESR Onley, VA, 4/13/19 4:16 PM, groundwave, 108 miles, “105-7 Coastal Country” – country
  • 1360 WNJC Washington Township, NJ, 4/15/19 1:29 AM, skywave, 140 miles, “WNJC Radio” – classic hits
  • 1550 WMRE Charles Town, WV, 4/13/19 3:47 PM, groundwave, 53 miles, “Fox Sports Radio” – sports
  • 1590 WHGT Maugansville, MD, 4/14/19 7:00 PM, skywave, 83 miles, “1590 WHGT” – religious
  • 1610 W??? 4/13/19 3:48 PM, groundwave, Sentara Potomac Hospital information
  • 1710 WQFG689 Jersey City, NJ, groundwave, 4/16/19 8:12 PM, 223 miles, travel information

AM DX: 15 new AM radio logs

April continues to be a phenomenal month in terms of AM DX.  In the past few weeks, I have received 16 new AM logs.  Since my last report, I managed to log 15 more new AM signals, all either during favorable sunset propagation conditions, or in my car on my way in to work in the morning.  The new logs below have been added to my DX Logs page.

  • 560 WFRB Frostburg, MD, 4/9/19 8:47 AM, groundwave, 115 miles, classic country
  • 590 WLES Bon Air, VA, 4/9/19 8:30 AM, groundwave, 79 miles, “The Truth” – religious
  • 640 WHLO Akron, OH, 4/7/19 7:30 PM, skywave, 286 miles, “640 WHLO” – news/talk
  • 690 WOKV Jacksonville, FL, 4/7/19 7:42 PM, skywave, 633 miles, “ESPN Radio” – sports
  • 780 WCKB Dunn, NC, 4/7/19 7:45 PM, skywave, 243 miles, religious
  • 790 WNIS Norfolk, VA, 4/7/19 7:46 PM, skywave, 121 miles, “790 WNIS” – talk
  • 870 WHCU Ithaca, NY, 4/7/19 7:00 PM, skywave, 258 miles, “News Talk 97.7 & 870” – news/talk
  • 880 WRFD Columbus, OH, 4/7/19 7:30 PM, skywave, 320 miles, “AM 880 & 104.5 The Word WRFD” – religious
  • 1280 WHVR Hanover, PA, 4/8/19 8:36 AM, groundwave, 81 miles, “Classic Hits 95-3 WHVR” – classic hits
  • 1330 WEBO Owego, NY, 4/9/19 8:36 AM, groundwave, 243 miles, “WEBO Hometown Radio” – AC
  • 1390 WNIO Youngstown, OH, 4/7/19 8:00 PM, skywave, 239 miles, “The Sports Animal” – sports
  • 1410 WING Dayton, OH, 4/7/19 9:00 PM, skywave, 376 miles, “ESPN Radio” – sports
  • 1410 WRTZ Roanoke, VA, 4/8/19 8:33 AM, groundwave, 176 miles, “True Oldies Channel” – oldies
  • 1630 WPHG707 Oxon Hill, MD, 4/9/19 8:34 AM, groundwave, 12 miles, testing
  • 1650 CINA Mississauga, ON, 4/9/19 8:40 AM, groundwave, 364 miles, “CINA Radio 1650 AM” – ethnic

AM DX from the past few days: 8 new logs

April 2019 has started off right in terms of AM DX. I received 8 new logs in recent weeks, and in the past few days, I have added another 8 more, bringing my total AM log station count to 241.

April 4 was something else.  AM signals from Cuba dominated much of the AM dial in the overnight hours, displacing some normally strong regional signals.  It was obvious they were Cuban after I heard one signal give a network ID, and I found the other signals playing the same thing.  What I found even more interesting was that even with the slew of Cuban AM signals coming in, nothing from nearby South Florida came in.  Given how Cuban AM stations often have multiple signals on one frequency with no local legal IDs, I was unable to positively ID every single station listed below, but I am adding them to my DX Logs anyway as a placeholder (in the event I ever do get a positive ID) because it was definitely a Cuban signal that I received.

New signals received:

  • 600 CMKV San Germán, Cuba, 4/4/19 1:35 AM, skywave, 1246 miles, “Radio Rebelde” – spanish, 50kw
  • 620 CMGN Matanzas, Cuba, 4/4/19 1:35 AM, skywave, 1192 miles, “Radio Rebelde” – spanish, 25kw
  • 630 WBMQ Savannah, GA, 4/4/19 1:06 AM, skywave, 501 miles, “News Talk 630 WBMQ” – talk, over local WMAL
  • 670 CM?? Cuba, 4/4/19 1:35 AM, skywave, “Radio Rebelde” – spanish
  • 710 CM?? Cuba, 4/4/19 1:40 AM, skywave, “Radio Rebelde” – spanish
  • 890 CM?? Cuba, 4/4/19 1:16 AM, skywave, “Radio Rebelde” – spanish
  • 900 CM?? Cuba, 4/4/19 1:35 AM, skywave, “Radio Rebelde” – spanish
  • 970 WWRK Florence, SC, 4/7/19 5:42 AM, skywave, 335 miles, “Rock 94.1, 97.9, 105.9” – rock, webcast match

Recent AM DX: 8 new AM logs

I have been DXing a lot of the AM radio band in recent weeks, given the FM band has been devoid of any signal enhancement or DX conditions.  In the past week, I have received eight new AM stations.  I was unable to find the callsign for the low power 1610 AM signal listed below, unfortunately.  These new logs have been added to my AM DX Log.

New signals received:

  • 570 WMCA New York, NY, 4/3/19 8:29 PM, skywave, 222 miles, “570 The Mission” – religious
  • 850 WKNR Cleveland, OH, 4/3/19 1:56 AM, skywave, 299 miles, “Fox Sports Radio” – sports
  • 930 WDLX Washington, NC, 3/29/19 1:26 AM, skywave, 216 miles, “WDLX” – sports, local ads
  • 960 WEAV Plattsburgh, NY, 4/1/19 2:38 AM, skywave, 453 miles, “960 The Zone” – sports
  • 1080 WWNL Pittsburgh, PA, 4/3/19 7:30 PM, skywave, 196 miles, “Wilkins Radio Network” – religious
  • 1370 WTAB Tabor City, NC, 4/3/19 1:39 AM, skywave, 323 miles, “WTAB” – hot AC
  • 1590 WCGO Evanston, IL, 4/3/19 1:33 AM, skywave, 597 miles, “Smart Talk 1590 WCGO” – talk
  • 1610 W??? Ft. Belvoir, VA, 4/3/19 7:30 PM, groundwave, “Belvoir Radio 1610” – information

New AM Log: 1630 WRDW Augusta, GA

While tuning the AM radio dial on March 25, I received one new station: 1630 WRDW Augusta, GA.  WRDW, an ESPN Radio station broadcasting a sports format, is 442 miles away from my home in Virginia.  I have updated my AM DX Log with this new station.

First-time HD Radio decode from Chicago’s WBBM 780

Chicago’s 780 WBBM is a fairly common signal at my home in Northern Virginia during the nighttime hours every night.  The station runs HD Radio, but the signal is usually not strong enough to receive its HD Radio broadcast.  On March 7, the station was unusually strong, allowing HD Radio to fully decode for the first time.

780 WBBM Chicago, IL, 3/7/19, 611 miles

The screenshot above has been added to my AM HD Radio Screenshots page.