4 more new FM stations from super 9/9/20 tropo opening logged

On September 9, 2020, I experienced a mammoth tropospheric duct opening which brought stations from Nova Scotia and New England to my home in northern Virginia, at distances up to 813 miles away and bringing in 30 new stations logged.

Although a few months have passed since this record-breaking opening, I kept about six hours of RF recording from roughly 95.1-103.5 FM recorded during the overnight hours and finally had some time to really go over it all in-depth. The result of my deep review is the revelation of four more new stations from the opening, bringing the grand total to 34 new stations logged.

My FM DX Log has been updated with the new stations listed below.

95.9 WATD-FM Marshfield MA, 420 miles

96.1 WSRS Worcester, MA, “96-1 SRS” – AC, 378 miles

97.7 WCTY Norwich, CT “97.7 WCTY” – country, 335 miles

102.3 WMOS Stonington, CT, “102.3 The Wolf” – country, 344 miles over local 102.3 WMMJ

Record-breaking massive tropo opening into New England and Canada 9/9/20, 30 new FM logs

Radio signals from Nova Scotia were heard over 800 miles away in Northern Virginia during a massive tropospheric ducting event in the overnight hours of September 9, 2020.

The duct, which began shortly before midnight Sept. 8, also brought in sustained signals from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York with distances over 400 miles away continuously until about 11 AM.  Other DXers in New England reported receiving signals from near my home in Virginia at comparable distances, and a reader in Nova Scotia told me that she also received stations from Massachusetts during the event.

See the orange and pink area depicting the tropo duct from Virginia to Nova Scotia as reported by the Hepburn Tropo Index on Sept. 9, 2020. Click to enlarge.

I turned on my radios at 11:44 PM Sept. 8 and immediately found 98.1 WCTK, a never before-received signal from New Bedford, MA at 393 miles away, booming in with decoded HD Radio.  Soon after, I found more signals from throughout New England coming in.

The golden prize of the opening didn’t occur until 1:36 AM, when I discovered a weak signal from 103.5 CKHZ-FM Halifax, NS in Canada coming in right over local 103.5 WTOP.  CKHZ-FM, at 813 miles away, is now the furthest radio station I have received via tropospheric ducting, unseating my previous record set in 2005 by 99.9 WQRC Barnstable, MA at 420 miles away.  It also marked the first time that I received a different country on the radio dial at my home via tropo.  WTOP is a very strong local signal at 21 miles away from me, so the fact that CKHZ-FM was able to come in over it is simply amazing.  Two other Canadian stations from the Halifax area of Nova Scotia, previously-logged 95.7 CJNI-FM and 100.1 CIOO-FM, were also heard.  All in all, I received 30 new radio stations during the opening.  A list of these new stations can be found further below in this post.

The opening also gave me my first “three prong” signal–a signal that was heard separately, at different times, via the three major radio signal propagation methods: Sporadic E-Skip, meteor scatter, and tropospheric ducting.  That station is Halifax’s 100.1 CIOO-FM.  I first heard CIOO-FM via meteor scatter propagation on Sept. 20, 2006 and a few times since then via skip.  Given limitations related to propagation and distance, having a three prong signal is very rare and it took me 21 years to get one.

Tropo enhancement with signals coming in over 400 miles away as observed in this tropo duct is common in the southeastern USA and Gulf Coast, but it is unheard of in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country where I live.  DXers in New England will, occasionally, receive stations from Virginia and the Carolinas, but the reception is usually one way and I don’t benefit from it as the endpoints of the duct are usually out of range for me.  My distant receptions to north and northeast often bottom out at New York City, which is 225 miles away.  These stations are usually in for less than an hour before the duct falls apart and they disappear.  To have an all-night opening bringing signals 400-820 miles away is something that just doesn’t happen in my area.

Throughout the opening, many of my local Washington, DC and Fredericksburg, VA radio stations were fighting with New England stations for control of the frequency.  Some local signals were simply gone off the dial without a trace, with multiple distant signals coming in all at once in place of them.  The pile-up of so many signals coming in at once reminded me of the once-in-a-lifetime colossal July 6, 2004 sporadic E opening, where almost every local radio station of mine disappeared to far-away signals coming in from the Midwest.

Below is a list of the stations I received from the tropo opening, including HD Radio and RDS screenshots, which have been added to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots Gallery page.  For brevity, I have only included previously-logged stations beyond 150 miles away that I don’t usually receive at my home during DX events.  My FM DX Log has also been updated with the new content.  Click on the audio players to hear audio from stations.

new = new station logged

new 88.9 WERS Boston, MA, college, 414 miles

new 89.7 WGBH Boston, MA, public radio, 406 miles over local W209BY

new 92.3 WPRO-FM Providence, RI, “92 Pro FM” – CHR, 375 miles

new 93.3 WSNE-FM Taunton, MA “Coast 93-3” – hot AC, 385 miles over local WFLS

93.1 WPAT-FM Paterson, NJ, “Amor 93.1” – spanish, 223 miles

new 93.7 WEEI-FM Lawrence, MA “WEEI” – sports, 424 miles

new 93.9 W230CO Seaford, DE, “La ZMX 93.9” – spanish, 91 miles over local WKYS

93.9 WNYC-FM New York, NY, public radio, 223 miles over WKYS

94.1 WHJY Providence, RI, “94 HJY” – rock, 379 miles

new 95.1 WXTK West Yarmouth, MA, talk, 424 miles

95.7 CJNI-FM Halifax, NS “News 95-7” – news, 813 miles

new 96.1 WJVC Center Moriches, NY, “My Country 96.1” – country, 283 miles

new 96.3 WEII Dennis, MA, “Cape Cod Sports Radio 96-3” – sports, 430 miles over local WHUR

new 96.7 WARW-FM Port Chester, NY, “Air 1” – religious, 242 miles

new 96.9 WBQT Boston, MA, “Hot 96-9” – urban, 413 miles

97.5 WALK-FM Patchogue, NY, “Walk 97.5” – hot AC, 271 miles

new 97.7 WKAF Brockton, MA, “The New 97-7” – classic CHR, 406 miles

97.9 WSKQ-FM New York, NY, “La Mega 97.9” – spanish, 226 miles

new 98.1 WCTK New Bedford, MA, “98.1 Cat Country” – country, 393 miles

new 98.3 WKJY Hempstead, NY, “K-Joy 98.3” – AC, 240 miles

98.7 WEPN-FM New York, NY, “ESPN Radio” – sports, 227 miles over local WMZQ

new 99.1 WPLM-FM Plymouth, MA, “Easy 99.1” – AC, 414 miles over local WDCH

new 99.7 WEAN-FM Wakefield, RI, “WPRO” – talk, 359 miles

99.9 WODE-FM Easton, PA, “99-9 The Hawk” – classic hits, 179 miles

99.9 WEZN Bridgeport, CT, “Star 99-9” – AC, 281 miles

100.1 CIOO-FM Halifax, NS, “C100” – CHR, 812 miles

new 100.7 WZLX Boston, MA, “100.7 WZLX” – classic rock, 413 miles

100.9 WKNL New London, CT, “K-Hits FM” – classic hits, 331 miles

101.3 WKCI-FM Hamden, CT, “KC 101” – CHR, 297 miles

new 101.5 WKFY East Harwich, MA, “Koffee FM” – AC, 438 miles over local WBQB

new 101.7 WBEA Southold, NY, “101-7 The Beach” – CHR, 292 miles

new 101.7 WBWL-FM Lynn, MA, “101-7 The Bull” – country, 416 miles

new 101.9 WCIB Falmouth, MA, “Cool 102” – classic hits, 405 miles

101.9 WFAN-FM New York, NY, “Sports Radio 66 and 101-9 FM The Fan” – sports, 225 miles

102.1 W271CX Milford, DE, “Cool 102-1” – classic hits, 97 miles

new 102.3 WBAB Babylon, NY, “102.3 WBAB” – classic rock, 256 miles over local WMMJ

new 102.9 WPXC Hyannis, MA, “Pixy 103” – classic rock, 421 miles

103.1 WBZO Bay Shore, NY, “103.1 Max FM” – classic hits, 250 miles

new 103.5 CKHZ-FM Halifax, NS, “Hot Country 103-5” – country, 813 miles over local WTOP

103.7 WVEI-FM Westerly, RI, “Sports Radio 103.7 WEEI” – sports, 346 miles

new 105.1 WWLI Providence, RI, “Lite Rock 105” – AC, 375 miles over local WAVA

new 105.7 WROR-FM Framingham, MA, “105.7 WROR” – classic hits, 413 miles

new 106.1 WCOD-FM Hyannis, MA, “106 WCOD’ – hot AC, 430 miles

new 106.7 WMJX Boston, MA, “Magic 106.7” – hot AC, 413 miles over local WJFK

new 107.5 WFCC-FM Chatham, MA, “Cape Classical 107.5 WFCC” – classical, 438 miles

new 107.7 WWRX Bradford, RI, “Jammin 107-7” – CHR, 342 miles over local WWWT

new 107.9 WXKS-FM Medford, MA, “Kiss 108” – CHR, 413 miles over local WLZL

107.9 WEBE Westport, CT, “WeBe 108” – hot AC, 276 miles over local WLZL

Recent FM DX: 5 new logs and several first-time RDS decodes

The past month or so has been fairly quiet at my home in Northern Virginia in terms of FM DXing.  Constant storms and unfavorable weather conditions paved the way for non-existent DX outside of regular, garden-variety enhancement of signals within 100 miles.

I realized that I never posted about a few new FM logs received two months ago.  Exceptional tropospheric enhancement brought in signals up over 300 miles away to the south–a rare event nowadays–during the late morning hours on July 16.  103.1 FM at my home during most tropo events is WRNR Grasonville, MD, at 61 miles away.  Instead of WRNR’s AAA format, I heard oldies music while tuning by.  I then caught a legal ID from 103.1 WLQC Sharpsburg, NC, a new log at 189 miles. .

Click on the link below to hear audio from 103.1 WLQC Sharpsburg, NC, 189 miles away

Shortly afterward, I tuned past 91.3 FM and saw an immediate RDS decode from new log WHQR from Wilmington, NC, 317 miles away.

WHQR and WLQC were added to my FM DX Log. WHQR’s screenshot was added to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots gallery.

A few days later, on July 19, I took a day trip to nearby Fredericksburg, VA.  While there, I heard two new signals: 91.5 W218CV and 106.3 W292EF, both from Fredericksburg.  Both stations aired a religious format and were new since my last visit to the area several years ago.  Since Fredericksburg is less than 30 miles away from my home, I am adding these new logs to my FM DX Log.

I was in South Riding, VA on September 7.  I found translator 104.5 W283DG Sterling, VA, a recent sign-on and new signal that I had hoped to log at some point, relaying nearby 1500 WFED’s Federal News Radio programming.  Since South Riding is only 21 miles NW of my home, I added W283DG to my FM DX Log and its screenshot to my RDS/HD Radio Screenshots gallery.

RDS from 104.5 W283DG Sterling, VA, 7 miles from car radio in Sterling, VA

In the early morning hours of September 8, a very brief, but strong, tropo duct brought in New York, NY’s 92.3 WNYL, 97.9 WSKQ-FM, 101.1 WCBS-FM (under local WWDC), and 102.7 WNEW-FM at around 225 miles away.  Trenton, NJ’s 101.5 WKXW also briefly came in over local WBQB with HD Radio at 177 miles away. The furthest signal received during the opening was previously-logged 99.9 WEZN Bridgeport, CT, at 281 miles.

During this opening, RDS from 97.9 WSKQ-FM and 102.7 WNEW-FM decoded for the first time on my radios.

I also added a new HD Radio screenshot from 101.5 WKXW.

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

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Editor’s note:  This is a guest article written by fmdxing, an WTFDA member from Australia’s east coast who has a DX blog at http://fmdxing.wordpress.com/

By fmdxing

Long distance FM enthusiasts are always watchful for better ways to authenticate station reception to cement the credibility of their loggings. Radio Data System (RDS) is one way to do this, providing the received stations are equipped with an RDS encoder. Sadly, not all FM broadcasts feature RDS, illustrated below. Prevalence varies with the continent the listener resides in.

RDS © 2006 Kasper Duhn

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