Recent tropo openings this past week brought in more new FM & TV stations. In the early morning hours of July 11, all Norfolk major TV signals were in, including WNLO-CD 45 and Lancaster, PA’s WGAL 8 for the first time. Although FM wasn’t as strong as TV, I managed to get new log 101.1 WYMY from the Raleigh, NC area in over local WWDC. DTV decodes from WMJF-CD 39 from Baltimore and WNJT 43 from New Jersey were also received for the first time on July 13.
The prize of the openings was the unlikely log of 99.9 W260BW on July 13. 99.9 is a frequency always dominated by regional blowtorch signals 99.9 WFRE (59 miles), 99.9 WWFG (116 miles), so it was shocking to get anything else on 99.9, especially a weak 80-watt signal at 150 miles away. My TV Screenshots, DX log, and Audio pages have been updated with these new stations.
99.9 W260BW Bridgeton, NJ, “SNJ Today” – hot AC, 7/13/17, 150 miles
101.1 WYMY Burlington, NC, spanish, 7/11/17, 222 miles, over local WWDC
8 (virtual 8.1) WGAL Lancaster, PA, 7/11/17, 119 miles
When I started DXing in 1999, I DXed TV as much as I DXed FM. This abruptly stopped in 2009 with the DTV transition, as distant DTV signals didn’t come in like they did during the analog days. I tried to DX DTV again in 2013, but gave up a second time due to a lack of new signals. When I moved earlier this year to a better-positioned location for signal propagation, I wanted to try DTV DXing once again to see if I would have any luck, hoping third time’s a charm. It was.
In the past few weeks, I received TV signals from all of my major markets I regularly get FM from, including Richmond, VA, Baltimore, MD, and for the first time, Philadelphia, PA, with 15 new stations received. During DX enhancement, there are always signals on unfamiliar channels below the threshold of a PSIP ID, meaning there are many more DX targets that I’ll hopefully log sooner or later.
I added the screenshots below to my TV Screenshots page, which includes similar screenshots from both analog and DTV stations dating back to 2001. My TV DX log has also been updated with these new stations.
Rinse and repeat. In what is becoming a fashionable trend this year, Sporadic E stopped by only for minutes on July 7 before disappearing. This largely contrasts with reports online of sustained top-of-the-band FM Es in neighboring states. In my car near my home at 7:31 PM, I received RDS from relog 89.1 WPAS for about 15 seconds before the signal disappeared. The skip then reappeared about 30 minutes later, with an unidentified religious signal on 89.1, and an unknown oldies station on 92.1. This second ‘dip’ into FM lasted for about two minutes before going away. These signals, albeit short-lived, were also both fairly strong–the 92.1 overpowerd weak tropo from nearby Richmond, VA’s 92.1 WCDX.
The only good thing about the opening is that the later signals from 89.1 and 92.1 were heard indoors–the first skip opening with my new indoor Yagi antenna array. While using rabbit ears indoors most of this skip season, hearing skip-reflected signals indoors was almost impossible. It was refreshing to hear the characteristic “fade in/fade out/fade in” of skip on two separate frequencies using a more robust antenna, and it shows me that my radios actually work. Maybe this means I’ll get *one* sustained, workable opening before the skip season ends at the end of this month.
I quickly realized upon moving in March 2017 that I needed a dedicated antenna for FM. Rabbit ears worked just fine bringing in tropo signals up to 200 miles away in most directions, but I needed a much more robust antenna to pick up Sporadic E signals–something I found which came in fine in my car, but was very difficult to hear indoors with rabbit ears just feet away.
I spoke with several DXers and came to the conclusion that rabbit ears weren’t going to cut it if I wanted to benefit from Sporadic E or marathon tropo openings indoors. Given that I DXed with a roof-mounted Radio Shack VU-90XR antenna from 2004 until my move in March 2017 and never tried any other antennas, I had no idea what to Continue reading →
The weak, “here one second, gone the next” Sporadic E openings of 2017 continued on June 30. At 8:30 PM in my car located in Springfield, VA near my home, I heard an NWS weather alert on 89.1 FM with mentions of Fort Sill and Warren, OK, likely relog KYCU Clinton, OK @ 1215 miles. Shortly later, I heard a Bott Radio Network station on 95.1 FM, likely relog KQCV Shawnee, OK @ 1079 miles. Neither station had a definitive ID. The MUF of the opening was 95.1 FM and the opening lasted about 2 minutes long.
The deluge of recent new HD Radio and RDS decodes on my radios has continued. On June 22, I received HD Radio for the first time from 94.9 WPTE and 104.9 WSJO. WPTE’s decode was a surprise, given its first adjacents that carry the signal (94.7 and 95.1) are occupied by a local and a semi-local frequency, respectively. These screenshots were added to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.
Philadelphia, PA is a market that I’ve been trying to get HD Radio decodes from for years. At 144 miles away, the city is in a normal range for this to happen, however, it remains to be seen. The lack of IBOC from Philadelphia is peculiar, because I’ve received HD from nearby stations in Wilmington, DE and Princeton, NJ. On June 21, I received HD Radio from a signal north of Philadelphia, making the lack of HD from the city even more interesting.
HD Radio was decoded on June 21 for the first time from relog 101.5 WKXW, over local WBQB. I also decoded RDS for the first time from relog 93.3 WMMR over local WFLS. These screenshots were added to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.
93.3 WMMR Philadelphia, PA, 6/21/17, tropo, 143 miles over local WFLS
101.5 WKXW Trenton, NJ, 6/21/17, tropo, 177 miles over local WBQB
Minor tropo enhancement on June 20 brought in RDS for the first time from two relogs: 101.3 WROZ and 102.5 WRFY from southern Pennsylvania. These screenshots were added to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.
For at least three months, HD Radio from one of my local stations, 95.5 WPGC Morningside, MD, has been off-air for unknown reasons. This was great for me as a DXer, since it freed up 95.3 and 95.7 FM for DXing. Since WPGC’s IBOC has been off, I logged 4 new signals on 95.7 FM, more than half of them via Sporadic E. During a routine dial scan yesterday, I found that WPGC has resumed its HD broadcasts, rendering its adjacent frequencies unusable for regular DXing.
It’s a rarity these days that tropo under 150 miles brings in any new stations, but that is exactly what happened during the early morning hours of June 16. I received strong tropo from the Delmarva Eastern Shore and with it, three new signals, two over local frequencies. 88.5 WHRG was found on a whim when tuning by local WAMU. I heard a slight “repeat” in the NPR audio superimposed over WAMU and found out it was an entirely different station I didn’t know existed. 101.5 WOWZ has been on my radar since they signed on last year, but I didn’t think I’d get them over local WBQB, which is a very strong signal at my home. Equally surprising was 105.7 W289CE. I thought it was 105.7 WRSF from Coastal NC, but it was coming in way too strong, and the other usual coastal NC relog signals that appear with WRSF were absent. I’m glad I kept on listening. I also added 25 new RDS signals from relogs; 98.3 WHRL’s RDS being the first time received from that station. My DX Logs, Audio and RDS/HD Radio Screenshots pages have been added with the new content below.
88.5 WHRG Gloucester Point, VA, 99 miles, over local WAMU
101.5 WOWZ Chincoteague, VA, 108 miles, over local WBQB