I round out my recent vacation up and down most of the Eastern Seaboard by adding two new logs and updating an existing third log. I have added new DX logs from Brattleboro, VT and Manchester, NH to my Travel DX Logs. I also updated my existing Hartford, CT travel log from 2016 with new logs and screenshots.
Visit my Travel DX Logs to view my Excel logs and screenshot galleries from each location.
After four years, I recently returned to Myrtle Beach and DXed while there. On June 19, a huge tropo duct brought in HD Radio and analog signals from the Tampa Bay and upper half of Florida at over 440 miles, including a few that came in right over the local Myrtle Beach stations. Although I experienced a similar tropo event during my last visit to Myrtle Beach in 2012, the sheer strength of the signals and HD Radio decodes during this latest visit was easily the best tropo opening I have worked in almost 20 years of FM DXing.
While in Providence, RI on June 23, I experienced a brief FM E-Skip opening into the Midwest and Upper Midwest. This was surprising to me, given how saturated the RF is in the Providence area, with a full dial of local Providence stations, and almost every non-local frequency filled with semi-local signals within 50 miles from Boston. The Sporadic E opening lasted about 20 minutes and had a MUF of 106.1 FM. There were several signals that I couldn’t identify, however.
Updated 6/25/18: I added the screenshots from the signals received via Sporadic E, as well as other local New York-area stations, to myNew York City travel RDS/HD Radio screenshotspage. Also, upon further review, I realized that my logging listed below from 99.3 WPBX was actually tropo from 99.3 WMNP Block Island, RI, 108 miles from where I was DXing in Greenwich, CT. The New York Excel log has been updated with this change.
While traveling in the New York City area on June 20, I found that the FM band was wide open to the Midwest. For about two solid hours (save for a 20 minute dropout), multiple frequencies were full of rapidly fading signals making it impossible to ID. Some of the local New York stations at 26 miles away were gone with distant signals coming in over them–the only one I could identify was 94.7 KSHE over NYC’s 94.7 WNSH. The MUF of the opening was 106.5 MHz, but I saw reports online of a 162 MHz MUF nearby. Although I was about 230 miles away from my home when I logged these signals, this was the first FM Es opening in ages that actually occurred beyond the 9-5 workday hours, when I can’t DX due to my work schedule. My New York, NY travel DX log has been updated with the stations listed below. Again, these stations were received just north of New York City, not at my home in Virginia.
June 15 seemed to be another great Sporadic E-skip day on the U.S. east coast. I read reports for a few hours of people in nearby states getting skip to 107.9 FM. Yet, when I got home from work at about 7:30 PM, my two radios, which were set to record on 96.7 and 98.1 FM, didn’t pick up any FM Es. I did hear about 30 seconds of an unidentified country station on 92.3 FM coming in on my car radio while driving home at about 7PM, briefly, over semi-local 92.3 WERQ Baltimore, MD, but nothing else. 2018 seems to be a good year so far in terms of skip, but the problem is that the skip only happens during normal business hours during the week, when I cannot be at a radio. This is unlike previous years, where FM Sporadic E would happen well into the 9PM hour.
A minor tropo event in the evening hours of June 7 and early morning hours of June 8 brought in signals up to 239 miles away into coastal North Carolina with RDS. This is a common occurrence in my area in the summer months, but what made this opening different was that it included first-time RDS decodes from four relog signals: 87.7 WOWZ-LP, 98.1 WOBX, 99.1 WVOD, and 100.9 WFMI.
The opening was strong enough to allow distant stations to overpower several of my local Washington, DC FM stations: 90.1 WHRX Nassawaddox, VA @ 108 miles over local WCSP @ 17 miles, 98.7 WNOR Norfolk, VA @ 138 miles over local WMZQ @ 25 miles, and 99.1 WVOD Manteo, NC @ 214 miles over local WDCH @ 39 miles. Most of these receptions are also quite common, except for WVOD.
For the first time since 2016, a respectable Sporadic E-Skip opening was received in Virginia. During the opening, I logged my 1900th FM station ever received. The day also marked the second time in 19 years that I received a radio station from Mexico.
I had to work all day and wasn’t able to DX my radios live, but I fared pretty well with two radios set to record from 89.1 and 93.5 FM. The skip started in my car as I was headed to work at 8:52 AM with an unID 88.1 signal with undecoded RDS. My home radios didn’t get any FM Es until 10:54 AM, when signals from south Florida boomed in for over three hours. An outlier fade-in from Nebraska was also heard at one point. The FM Es abruptly ended at 3:14 PM, and then returned at 6:05 PM for about 2 minutes into the Cancun area. A few brief returns of FM Es during the 6PM and 7PM hours, totaling about 15 more minutes, happened before the marathon opening finally ended. Overall, 208 minutes of FM Es was observed on June 6, which is 6.3 times as many minutes as heard during the entire 2017 FM Es season, and half of what was heard in the entire 2016 FM Es season.
The 2018 FM E-Skip season started in earnest in Northern Virginia on June 5. Although I was not at my radios at the time and was unable to DX, unattended recordings on 97.7 FM picked up relog 97.7 WTLQ Punta Rassa, FL, at 883 miles, for roughly 12 minutes combined between 1:13 PM and 3:15 PM. Although WTLQ’s signal was largely weak and suffered from long drop outs, it was local-grade at various moments. My other radio, set to 95.9 FM, did not observe any skip, instead getting a weak signal from semi-local 95.9 WGRQ Fairview Beach, VA, at 31 miles.
Receiving 97.7 WTLQ also gives me hope that my antenna setup is good enough to receive skip at all. Prior to last year, I enjoyed excellent reception with a rooftop antenna. When I moved to a two-story condo in 2017, I had to make do with a Yagi antenna indoors. While this setup is perfect for tropo (with reception better than what I received with my roof antenna at my old home), it remains to be seen if the same thing will happen with Sporadic E, due to the fact that there were minimal openings in 2017.
Although I focus on FM and TV DXing, I have occasionally DXed the AM radio band in Northern Virginia. After finding a suitable antenna for AM DX last month, I decided to continue AM DXing in earnest, mainly out of boredom when nothing else is happening on the FM or TV DX sides.
New logs added to my AM DX Log:
590 WVLK Lexington, KY, “News/Talk 590 WVLK” – news, 6/4/18, 398 miles
There’s a new HD Radio signal in the Washington, DC region. 105.1 WAVA Arlington, VA, a local-grade signal at my Northern Virginia home, debuted its IBOC signal within the past few days. WAVA broadcasts its new HD Radio digital sidebands on 104.9 and 105.3 FM, rendering both frequencies now impossible to DX on, barring strong signal events. Usually, this is a huge loss as a DX hobbyist, as the digital sidebands broadcast on previously-open frequencies, but it was hard to DX on WAVA’s adjacent signals pre-HD already signal due to WAVA being so strong at my home.