Tropo 7/13/19: 4 new FM logs and new HD Radio/RDS screenshots

Herndon, VA is 22 miles NW of my home in Woodbridge, VA.  While the strongest FM stations received in Herndon are the same as what I get at home, some signals are different.  Instead of getting the nearby southern Maryland and Fredericksburg, VA signals I get at home, Herndon gets strong signals from Frederick and Hagerstown in central and northwestern Maryland.  While in Herndon on July 13, I experienced minor tropospheric enhancement, which brought in several translator signals that cannot be heard at home due to strong IBOC interference from co-channel local Washington, DC signals or other semi-local signals.

New logs:

  • 93.5 W228AM Frederick, MD, 7/13/19 9:09 PM, tropo, 32 miles, .15 KW, “Max Country” – country
  • 94.3 W232DE Potomac, MD, 7/13/19 11:32 PM, tropo, 11 miles, .25 KW, “Authentica 950 y 94.3” – spanish
  • 95.7 W239BV Winchester, VA, 7/13/19 9:16 PM, tropo, 49 miles, .04 KW, “Mix 95-7” – hot AC
  • 97.7 W249DX Reston, VA, 7/14/19 1:17 AM, tropo, 1 mile, .05 KW, “La Ley 106.3, 1460” – spanish

The new logs above, as well as the screenshots below from previously-logged stations, were added to my DX Logs:

88.9 WVEP Martinsburg, WV, 57 miles from Herndon

99.9 WFRE Frederick, MD, 37 miles from Herndon

102.5 WUSQ-FM Winchester, VA, 49 miles from Herndon

106.9 WWEG Myersville, MD, 38 miles from Herndon

Tropo 7/11/19: Two first-time HD Radio decodes and RDS from Eastern Shore stations

Minor tropo enhancement during the early morning hours of July 11 brought in the usual summer signals from Norfolk, VA and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.   A few signals from coastal New Jersey were in, too.  What made this opening different was that I received HD Radio for the first time from two previously-logged signals.

I first logged 92.1 WCDX Richmond, VA (3 KW, 74 miles away) on 5/15/00.  Although I have received RDS multiple times from the station over the years, HD Radio was always out of reach, given the two frequencies WCDX has IBOC sidebands on are occupied by local 91.9 WGTS and semi-local 92.3 WERQ.  For the first time, WCDX’s 92.3 sideband overpowered WERQ and resulted in a decode:

This one surprised me.  At my home, 97.1 is occupied by local WASH Washington, DC, (17.5 KW, 21 miles away).  I have received a handful of other signals over WASH over the years, but WASH is usually too strong to be overpowered by another signal.  WAVD Ocean Pines, MD (4.6 KW at 115 miles) has overtaken WASH on a few occasions over the years.  I first logged the station on 6/24/05, when it was WQJZ “Smooth Jazz 97.1.”  On June 11, I received WAVD with RDS strength over WASH.  A few moments into tuning the station, WAVD’s HD Radio signal started to decode.  I didn’t even know WAVD ran IBOC.

I also added the following screenshots from the following previously-logged stations:

88.3 WRAU Ocean City, MD, 50 KW, 108 miles

90.3 WHRO-FM Norfolk, VA, 7.3 KW, 135 miles

93.1 WWLB Ettrick, VA, 5.2 KW, 98 miles

94.5 WRVQ Richmond, VA, 200 KW, 87 miles

94.9 WPTE Virginia Beach, VA, 50 KW, 139 miles

94.9 WKHI Newark, MD, 4.7 KW, 111 miles

95.3 WKHK Colonial Heights, VA, 47 KW, 85 miles

97.3 WGH-FM Newport News, VA, 74 KW, 126 miles

97.7 WAFL Milford, DE, 3 KW, 97 miles

99.3 WKJM Petersburg, VA, 6 KW, 99 miles

103.9 WOCQ Berlin, MD, 6 KW, 107 miles

104.7 WQHQ Ocean City, MD, 33 KW, 108 KW

105.7 WKJS Crewe, VA, 100 KW, 110 miles

106.1 WUSH Poquoson, VA, 2.6 KW, 107 miles

106.5 WBTJ Richmond, VA, 7.6 KW, 84 miles

FM Es opening 7/7/19. First time RDS decode from Newfoundland’s 92.1 CJOZ

The 2019 Sporadic E season has been a huge bust so far in Northern Virginia.  Before today, I only had one opening, 45 seconds of unidentified signals almost a month ago on June 8.  On July 7 for about three minutes cumulative during the first half of the 8PM hour, I received an Es signal from 92.1 CJOZ-FM Bonavista, NL, at 1382 miles.  I first received CJOZ-FM on 6/26/09.  CJOZ-FM’s signal was very weak and no other stations came in during the opening.  I did receive RDS for the first time from CJOZ-FM:

 

I have added the above RDS screenshot to my FM DX Logs page where I have hundreds of other similar RDS/HD Radio screenshots.

The interesting thing about this opening was that CJOZ was only received with unamplified rabbit ears in my office downstairs (3rd floor of my building), while my amplified Yagi antenna upstairs (4th and top floor) didn’t pick up CJOZ at all.  I guess this is because the windows in my office face north toward Canada, and my Yagi antenna upstairs doesn’t have a clear line of sight in that direction.

Also of note, this is the second FM Es opening in 2019 that happened after 8:00 PM local time.  In the past few years, FM Es has largely followed the “Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM” business hours model, meaning I always missed it because it only happened when I was away from my radios and at work.  I’ve been able to DX both (albeit very minor) FM Es openings so far this year from home on the weekend.

New HTML DX logs added with RDS, HD Radio and TV screenshots

When I first started my DX website in 2006, most other DXers that I knew of utilized Microsoft Excel logs.  While I still think that Excel is the best way to keep track of FM loggings due to its easy sorting and data collection capabilities, times have changed.

People are utilizing mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets in ways not seen 13 years ago.  I often find myself looking back to my DX logs on my phone while scanning the dial, especially when traveling.  I have found Excel files very difficult to utilize on such devices.

I also realized that I had HTML logs for my dozens of travel logs that I have made on trips to other areas, and while these logs were easily accessible on any device, my main home DX log was not.  Because of this, I have created HTML logs for all of my FM, AM, and TV logs.  Best of all, I have merged all of the screenshots in my RDS/HD Radio and TV station screenshot galleries into these new HTML logs, so everything is all in one place.  I will still maintain and update my Excel log online, but the main focus will now be the HTML logs.

You can view my new HTML DX logs on my DX Logs page, or by clicking on a link below.

New travel logs added from Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming

In connection with my quest of visiting all 50 U.S. states, I just got back from a trip to the Dakotas and surrounding states.  While there, I added new logs from North and South Dakota, and I also added new logs and RDS/HD Radio screenshots to my existing Denver, CO and Cheyenne, WY logs that were first started in 2014.  Click on the links below to see the new and updated logs.

DX 6/8/19: Tropo enhancement into DE, MD, NJ; 1 new FM log and first-time HD Radio receptions

Tropospheric enhancement into southern New Jersey, Delaware, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland was better than average during the early morning hours of June 8.  Signals up to 140 miles away came in, some with first-time HD Radio reception.

The highlight of the night was the new logging of a translator on 100.5, W263CW.  This was the first new station received on 100.5 in 10 years.  The lack of new signals on 100.5 is largely due to it being succumbed by HD Radio interference from local 100.3 WBIG.  Even so, tiny 250-watt W263CW came in easily with a listenable signal for a short time.  I updated my DX Log with W263CW’s logging.

100.5 W263CW Denton, MD, 78 miles

I first received 97.3 WENJ Milville, NJ in 2000 as WXKW when they were a repeater of “New Jersey 101.5” WKXW.  The station, which is 141 miles away from my Virginia home, has come in numerous times over the past 19 years, often with RDS.  June 8 was the first time WENJ came in with HD Radio.

90.7 WSDL Ocean City, MD, at 113 miles away, was first logged on 12/30/06.  The station is rarely heard at my Virginia home due to strong HD Radio interference on 90.7 from local 90.9 WETA.  Even with that huge hurdle to overcome for positive reception, WSDL came in with RDS for the first time on June 6.

103.9 WOCQ Berlin, MD, at 107 miles away, is a tough catch due to HD Radio interference from very strong 104.1 WPRS blocking 103.9.  I only received HD Radio from WOCQ once before, in 2018.  Although the call letters didn’t decode on-screen, I received a subdecode of WOCQ’s IBOC signal on June 6, and I also received a full RDS decode.

I also added new screenshots to my DX Logs from the following previously-logged stations:

88.3 WRAU Ocean City, MD, 108 miles

90.3 WNJZ Cape May Court House, NJ, 135 miles

90.5 WKHS Worton, MD, 76 miles over local 90.5 WPER

92.1 WVLT Vineland, NJ, 130 miles

97.7 WAFL Milford, DE, 97 miles

97.9 WBEY-FM Crisfield, MD, 91 miles

99 9 WWFG Ocean City, MD, 116 miles

100.1 WJRZ-FM Manahawkin, NJ, 181 miles

100.7 WZXL Wildwood, NJ, 138 miles

101.7 WZEB Ocean View, DE, 106 miles

104.9 WSJO Egg Harbor City, NJ, 153 miles

107.7 WGBG Fruitland, MD, 101 miles over local 107.7 WWWT

First FM Sporadic E-Skip opening of 2019

During the evening hours of June 8, Sporadic E-enhanced signals were heard at my Northern Virginia home — the first Sporadic E reception observed by me in 2019.  About 45 seconds total of FM Es came into my Airspy R2 radio on June 8 between 8:34 PM and 8:52 PM.  It is unclear what stations were coming in and from where, since the signals were so brief.  Here’s a rundown of what I heard:

  •  88.9 – fade-up of Christian contemporary music a few times over the span of a few minutes on top of weak semi-local 88.9 WEAA Baltimore, MD (59 miles)
  •  93.5 – strong classic rock fade-up for a few seconds over weak regional tropo from 93.5 WZBH Georgetown, DE (106 miles)
  •  95.1 – a second of country music heard over a listenable regional tropo signal from 95.1 WAYV Atlantic City, NJ (158 miles) (strangely, normally-heard semi-local 95.1 WRBS Baltimore, MD was missing)

All in all, nothing to write home about, but it is good to see that Sporadic E is still alive and well.  This is also the first FM Es opening in two years received at my home that occurred into the 8PM hour.

WLVW callsign now on Washington, DC’s 107.3 FM

For the second time in a week, a Washington, DC radio station has new call letters.

107.3 WSOM Washington is now WLVW.  The new call letters, which were made official in FCC records June 6, were the final step in the sale of the station from Cumulus to Educational Media Foundation.  The station flipped to EMF’s “K-Love” Christian Contemporary network May 31.

Before May 31, the signal was “Mix 107-3” WRQX.  Cumulus swapped the WRQX callsign with an AM station that they own in Ohio.  That station’s calls, WSOM, went to DC’s 107.3.  EMF, not wanting to keep the WSOM calls on their new station, applied to have the WLVW callsign moved from another signal they own.  That was finalized on June 6.

Although DC’s 107.3 was officially WSOM between May 31 and June 6, the station incorrectly identified on-air as their soon-to-be new callsign, WLVW.  To make things even more confusing, the station’s HD Radio callsign remained “WRQX” until June 3, when it was updated to WLVW.  So for a few days, the station was legally WSOM, appeared on HD Radios as WRQX, and identified on-air as WLVW.  The WLVW callsign appeared on HD Radios on June 3, although the artist/title field still reads “mix107.3” as of June 6, as seen in the screenshot below.

The station turned off its RDS on May 31 when it flipped to K-Love.  On June 3, RDS returned with the then-incorrect WLVW calls.  Unlike many other K-Love stations I’ve seen in my travels, WLVW’s RDS is static and does not display the title of the current song playing.  Also interesting, WLVW is 37 seconds behind nearby K-Love 94.3 WLZV Warrenton, VA.

I have updated my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page with the new screenshots below from my various radios reflecting the new callsign.  I also updated my Local FM Stations page with the station’s new callsign.

 

DX 6/2/19: Minor tropo enhancement to Philadelphia, Trenton, and Wilmington

During the early morning hours of June 2, minor tropo enhancement brought in several signals from Philadelphia (98.1, 102.9, 104.5), Wilmington, DE (93.7, 94.7, 99.5) and Trenton, NJ (101.5) between 120-150 miles away from my Northern Virginia home.  These signals are common in my area and are not spectacular DX, but Wilmington’s 94.7 and 99.5, Trenton’s 101.5, and Philadelphia, PA’s 102.9 did come in strong over local signals WIAD, WIHT, WBQB, and WKIK, respectively.  All screenshots in this post were added to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.

Although I have received HD Radio and RDS from the following stations before on other radios, June 2 marks the first time that I received them with the Sangean HDR-14 radio:

93.7 WSTW Wilmington, DE, 122 miles

99.5 WJBR-FM Wilmington, DE, 123 miles over local WIHT

96.7 WCEI-FM Easton, MD, at 64 miles away, is a daily signal received at my home.  The station debuted their HD Radio signal earlier this year.  Up until now, the only radio in my shack that I picked up the station’s HD broadcast on was the Sangean HDR-14.  On June 2, I received their digital signal for the first time on the Sony XDR-S10HDiP, Insignia NS-HD01, and Insignia NS-HDRAD2.

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.