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.

RDS received from DC-area pirate on 98.1

I recently wrote about a pirate FM station that can be heard in the Washington, DC suburbs of Oxon Hill, MD.  It airs a classic hits format and is called “98-1 The Fox.” I’ve finally confirmed that the station runs RDS.


98.1 PIRATE 5/5/17, car radio in Springfield, VA.

Since my initial logging of the station last month, I’ve noticed that “The Fox” airs only in the late afternoon/evening hours and not in the morning, save for one day in the past week where it was heard during both my morning and evening commute.  As the pirate station’s signal is very weak, it is of no concern in terms of DXing.  Even though the station has minimal imaging, it is amusing to listen to, as the station sounds much like a legal FM signal, save for the lack of local positioning, DJs, and a lot of dry segues between songs.  Before one song, the station randomly inserted a pre-recorded liner that said the current temperature.

The screenshot above from this station has been added to my RDS and HD Radio Screenshots page.

HD Radio finally decoded from 102.7 WQSR Baltimore, MD

Baltimore is a fairly close city to my home–just over 50 miles away.  Their FM stations boom into my Northern Virginia home and are considered semi-locals.  At any given time, I can receive HD Radio reception from their 95.1 WRBS.  Other FM signals from the city, such as 91.5 WBJC, 92.3 WERQ, 101.9 WLIF, and 105.7 WJZ, have HD Radio signals that decode very often year-round as reception conditions warrant.  Two Baltimore FM stations, however, never decoded IBOC reception at my house until recently: 102.7 WQSR and 104.3 WZFT.  WZFT decoded for the first time last week.  WQSR finally did too in the early morning hours of April 16.

WQSR is usually strong enough at my home to decode RDS.  I knew it broadcasted HD Radio since it decoded on recent trips to the city, but it rarely did here since its IBOC sidebands on 102.5 and 102.9 are occupied by other signals locally.  The stars aligned and WQSR’s IBOC decoded for about 15 minutes before disappearing.  The screenshots below were added to my HD Radio and RDS Screenshots page.


102.7 WQSR Baltimore, MD, 57 miles

FM modulator DX: You never know what you’ll hear

gpsLocal 93.3 WFLS’ HD Radio signal has been off for the past day or two, and in its absence, I have been monitoring 93.5 FM, a frequency that is usually occupied by WFLS’ IBOC interference.  As I live close to a major interstate and several main roads, I often get bits and pieces of audio from motorist-based FM modulators.  These are usually easy to spot, given the audio is often much quieter than a normal FM broadcast.

At 4:37 PM, I picked up something quite intriguing: a turn-by-turn navigation, presumably from a nearby motorists’ cell phone hooked up to an FM modulator on 93.5 FM.

Based on the mileage noted in the clip, the car must’ve been up to 2 miles away from my radios.  Pretty impressive.

Baltimore’s 95.1 WRBS adds HD Radio signal

2016-post-trWhile doing a routine dial scan on January 22, I found 95.1 WRBS from Baltimore has turned on HD Radio service for the first time.  WRBS is a strong, almost local-grade signal at my home, even at 51 miles away.  However, the fact their digital signal decodes is a mystery.  WRBS’ HD Radio sidebands–the frequencies in which it actually broadcasts its digital signal–are 94.9 and 95.3 FM.  At my home, 94.9 also houses local 94.7 WIAD’s IBOC sideband, while local 95.5 WPGC’s IBOC sideband is on 95.3.  The below screenshots from WRBS have been added to my HD Radio/RDS Screenshots page.

wrbs-hd1 wrbs-hd2 wrbs-hd3
95.1 WRBS Baltimore, MD, 51 miles away

UPDATED: ‘Tis the season for new translators. 1 new FM log.

wol

WOL

UPDATED 12/5/16: I have added an audio file from 95.9 W240DJ to my Audio Files page.  Click on the audio player below to hear this file.

In accordance with a recent trend where new translators and LPFMs have popped up in multiple places on my FM dial in recent months, I have found another new translator, thanks to a news posting about it at DCRTV.com.  While 15 miles NE of my home in Springfield, VA on December 1, I heard The Tom Joyner Morning Show on 95.9 FM, mixing with local 95.9 WGRQ Fairview Beach, VA @ 31 miles.  At home, WGRQ is local-grade, however, in Springfield the signal is slightly weaker, to the point where the unidentified 95.9 signal started to mix in with WGRQ’s signal.  Knowing Tom Joyner is broadcasted on nearby 95.9 WWIN Glen Burnie, MD @ 52 miles, I figured that was what I was getting.  However, since WWIN is only heard during strong tropo events and there were none happening, I decided to listen for a short while.  During a local weather report, the station IDed as “NewsTalk 1450 WOL,” confirming a positive log for the translator W240DJ.  According to DCRTV, the translator is a recent sign-on.  My FM DX Log has been updated to reflect this new logging.

New log:

95.9 W240DJ Washington, DC, “NewsTalk 1450 WOL” – talk, 15 miles from car radio location in Springfield, VA

New HD Radio/RDS decodes from two relogs added

2016-post-trWhile in Manassas, VA on November 24, I received RDS for the first time from 102.5 WUSQ and HD Radio reception from 106.9 WWEG.  IBOC interference from local 106.7 WJFK drowns out WWEG at home to the point where typical analog reception, let alone an IBOC decode, from WWEG is impossible.  However, WWEG came in with HD reception and WUSQ came in with RDS 15 miles west of my home in Manassas.  My HD Radio/RDS Screenshots page was updated with these new screenshots.

Relogs received:

wusq
102.5 WUSQ Winchester, VA, “Q102” – country, 65 miles

wweg3
106.9 WWEG Hagerstown, MD, “106.9 The Eagle” – classic hits, 60 miles

Woodstock, VA travel DX log updated with new HD Radio/RDS screenshots

2016-post-trI added many new HD Radio and RDS screenshots to my Woodstock, VA travel log on November 25.  Although the majority of these signals are my local signals from home, they are distant signals in Woodstock.  For most of these stations, the screenshots below are from the first time I received IBOC reception from them.  The page has been added to reflect these new screenshots.

Relogs received:

woodstock-112516-885
88.5 WAMU Washington, DC, “88.5 WAMU” – public radio, 75 miles

woodstock-112516-919
91.9 WGTS Takoma Park, MD, “91.9 WGTS” – ccm, 82 Continue reading