FM E-Skip Opening 7/8/21 into Canadian Maritimes and NE, 1 new log

Radio signals from the Canadian Maritimes, and an outlier from Nebraska, were heard in Northern Virginia on July 9 via Sporadic E.  While I missed this opening live, my Airspy SDR was recording all frequencies from 89.3 to 98.3 FM.  Upon reviewing the unattended recordings, I found 96.1 KICX from Nebraska in for some time at 3:31 PM.  Skip then dipped and returned with signals from the Canadian Maritimes between 5PM and 7PM.  Overall, skip was in FM for about 20 minutes cumulative throughout the day with a MUF of 96.1 FM.  Here’s what I heard:

new = new station logged

Early opening into Nebraska:
96.1 KICX Mccook, NE, 1250 miles

Later opening into Canada:
90.3 unID CBC News, suspect CBNM-FM 90.3

new 90.7 CBN-FM-1 Grand Falls, NL, 1303 miles

91.7 unID CBC Music, suspect CBN-FM-5 Marystown, NL
92.1 unID CBC News, suspect CBHY-FM Yarmouth, NS
92.3 unID French talk
92.5 unID French talk
93.5 unID French talk
96.1 unID syndicated talk
96.1 unID French soft AC/standards music

My DX Logs have been updated with the new logging above.

FM E-Skip opening 6/15/21 into FL, LA, MB, MN, MS, TX, 3 new logs and second opening from 6/11/21 to FL and Bermuda

Radio signals from Florida to Manitoba were received in Northern Virginia via Sporadic E on June 15, 2021, resulting in 3 new FM logs.  At about 9:39 AM, stations from Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida slowly came in with RDS strength.  Soon afterward, a few Miami-area low band FM stations were seen, also with RDS.  The paths shifted slightly to Texas and Louisiana, bringing in signals from Houston and New Orleans, respectively, before flipping back to the southeastern Florida and back to Lousiana by 11:40AM.  The skip dissipated by noon, but was quickly back at about 3:12PM, this time bringing in signals from northern Minnesota and Manitoba very briefly before ending for good.  All in all, about 95 minutes of cumulative skip with a MUF, or highest frequency skip was observed on, of 105.7 FM.

The opening has been the best so far in the 2021 season.  Signals, although with deep fades, were strong enough to decode RDS and be “seen” under local radio station IBOC sidebands on the Airspy R2 radio.  The stations received were not strong enough to decode HD Radio, nor did anything overpower a local radio station, although a few semi-local signals disappeared to skip signals.

My FM DX Log and FM HD Radio/RDS Screenshots pages have been updated with the new content below.

new = new station logged
unID = unidentified signal

Stations received on June 15, first opening into the southeastern USA:

88.1 unID religious talk
88.1 unID ccm
88.9 unID public radio
88.9 unID religious talk
89.1 WPAS Pascagoula, MS, 847 miles

89.1 WUFT-FM Gainesville, FL, 683 miles

89.1 WSMR Sarasota, FL, 852 miles

89.9 unID religious talk
90.7 unID jazz, suspect WWOZ New Orleans, LA, 945 miles
91.7 unID religious talk
92.1 KROI Seabrook, TX, 1212 miles
92.1 KTSR De Quincy, LA, 1082 miles
92.3 WZRH Laplace, LA, 974 miles
92.3 WCMQ-FM Hialeah, FL, 906 miles

92.9 WMFQ Ocala, FL, 717 miles
92.9 WIKX Charlotte Harbor, FL, 862 miles

93.1 WFEZ Miami, FL, 894 miles

93.1 KQID-FM Alexandria, LA, 972 miles
93.5 either WZFL Islamorada, FL, WBGF Belle Glade, FL, or W228BY Miami, FL (simulcasts)
93.7 unID ads
94.3 WTIX Galliano, LA, 953 miles over local 94.3 WLZV
94.5 WJZD Long Beach, MS, 877 miles
96.5 unID CHR, suspect WPOW
97.7 WAVK Marathon, FL, 984 miles

99.9 WKIS Boca Raton, FL, 891 miles
100.7 unID ads, suspect miami
101.3 unID ads
101.7 unID local ads, either WCZR Vero Beach, FL, 777 miles, or W269DS North Palm Beach, FL, 819 miles
102.1 unID country
102.5 unID talk, suspect tampa
102.9 WJGO Tice, FL, 884 miles

103.1 WIRK Indiantown, FL, 821 miles
103.9 unID CHR
new 104.3 WSFS Miramar, FL, 891 miles

new 105.7 WGAY Sugarloaf Key, FL, 997 miles

Stations received on June 15, second opening into the Upper Midwest:

new 92.5 KKWQ Warroad, MN, 1140 miles

92.9 unID hot AC
93.5 unID french talk
93.5 CJEL-FM Winkler, MB, 1255 miles
93.7 unID CHR
96.1 KQHT Crookston, MN, 1166 miles
103.3 unID classic rock
103.7 KKBJ-FM Bemidji, MN, 1072 miles
103.9 unID country

A few days prior, on June 11, a much briefer and weaker opening into South Florida and Bermuda brought in two previously logged signals, as listed below.  Even with about 10 minutes of skip and a MUF of 92.9 FM, this opening did net my first RDS decode from Bermuda, a country rarely logged here in Virginia.

Stations received on June 11:

89.1 ZBM-FM Hamilton, Bermuda, 829 miles

89.5 unID ccm
92.1 unID hot AC
92.9 WIKX Charlotte Harbor, FL, 862 miles

FM E-Skip opening 6/6/21 into FL, LA, MS

A very weak sporadic E opening was heard in Northern Virginia on June 6, this time into the deep south.  I didn’t get to my radios until about 7:55PM, but unattended Airspy IQ recordings covering 88.1 to 96.5 FM found previously-logged 92.1 WECQ from the Gulf Coast of Florida in with advertisements at about 7:17 PM.  From that time until I manned my radios at 7:55PM, a few other signals popped in, mostly weak, except for a very brief first-time RDS decode from relog 89.9 WWNO.  Overall, the opening ended at around 8:05 PM and never really picked up.  I added the screenshot from WWNO to my HD Radio/RDS Screenshots gallery page.

stations received:

89.1 unID ccm
89.9 WWNO New Orleans, LA, 945 miles

90.3 unID oldies music
91.7 WAOY Gulfport, MS, “AFR” – ccm, with legal ID, 866 miles
92.1 WECQ Destin, FL, with local ads, 768 miles
92.3 rock, suspect WZRH LaPlace, LA
93.5 unID urban
94.5 KRUF Shreveport, LA, “K94-5” – CHR, with local ads, 1021 miles

FM E-Skip opening 5/21/21 into Nebraska

For the second day in a week, Sporadic E was observed on the FM dial in Northern Virginia. Starting at 7:30 PM, a few weak fade-ups in the lower FM band were heard, none with exact IDs, but I did hear local ads for “Lexington” on 93.1, which I am certain was previously-logged KRVN, based on other online reports at the time of other DXers getting signals into the Midwest. The opening lasted about 5 minutes total and had a MUF, or maximum usable frequency, of 93.5 FM.

Stations heard:

88.7 unID NPR, suspected KLNE Lexington, NE
91.7 unID religious
92.9 unID classic rock, suspected KTGL Beatrice, NE
93.1 KRVN Lexington, NE, 1202 miles
93.5 unID religious

First Sporadic E-Skip opening of 2021 and 1 new FM log from tropo opening

The 2021 DX season has picked up dramatically in Northern Virginia the past few days, with an all-night tropo opening that net me one new FM station, followed a day later by the year’s first Sporadic E opening that, by itself, lasted longer than all openings I received during the entire 2020 Sporadic E season.

On May 18, a strong overnight tropo event brought in the usual Richmond, VA, Norfolk, VA, and Outer Banks, NC-area signals from the southeast that I get many times each year. Surprisingly, the usually concurrent tropo-enhanced signals from the east (i.e. the Maryland Eastern Shore, Delaware, and New Jersey), were absent. Instead of hearing the usual occupant of 93.5 FM here during any tropo event, active rocker WZBH Millsboro, DE, I heard classic hits music. Intrigued, I stayed on the frequency, hearing a liner from 93.5 W228DX Williamsburg, VA, 98 miles @ 180 watts, “93-5 The Burg.”

The next day, sporadic E signals from Nova Scotia in Canada appeared on my radios at about 5:00 PM. The majority of the opening, which lasted 73 minutes, had a MUF, or maximum usable frequency–the highest frequency Es was observed, of 91.7, however there were a few fadeups mid-band and an outlier all by itself at 106.9 FM. Most of the signals were brief and not identified.

This first opening of the 2021 E-Skip season, although weak, by itself beat the entire cumulative duration of all FM Es openings observed on my radios in Northern Virginia in 2020, 2019, and 2017, by 34, 9, and 40 minutes, respectively. In the past five years, I’ve only seen more skip than this first 2021 opening twice, in 2018 (347 minutes) and 2016 (414 minutes). While I am cautiously optimistic of what the 2021 skip season may bring, today’s totals still pale in comparison to the 1471 minutes, or 24.51 cumulative hours I received of skip in 2014.

E-Skip signals heard May 19:

90.3 CBHN-FM New Glasgow, NS, 884 miles with a local weather forecast for St. John’s, NB
90.7 unID, suspect CBN-FM-1 with music
91.7 CBN-FM-5 Marystown, NL, 1256 miles, “CBC Music” – hot AC
92.1 CJOZ-FM Bonavista, NL, 1382 miles, “Oz FM” – rock, with RDS. Interestingly, the station’s PI code of A795 is incorrect and displays as WKOZ (the real WKOZ is on 98.3 FM in Carthage, MS).

93.7 unID with CBC news, suspect CBNL-FM Clarenville, NL
96.7 unID music fading in briefly over local translator
101.9 unID very weak signal fading in over semi-local WLIF Baltimore, MD
106.9 unID soft AC/standards music

My FM DX Log has been updated with the new logging of 93.5 W228DX. I added the RDS screenshot of CJOZ to my FM RDS/HD Radio Screenshots page.

2020 FM E-Skip Year in Review

The 2020 Sporadic E season has come to an end.  While the season concluded with a few surprising things, it was largely a disappointment, on par with recent years.

Sporadic E is a method of signal propagation that, when in effect, allows broadcast signals, especially those in the FM broadcast band of 88.1-107.9 MHz, to be received up to 1500 miles away with clear local reception. It can happen any time of the year, but it is most common during the summer months.


After reading about other DXers recording large portions of the radio band RF during sporadic E via their software-defined radios, I decided to upgrade my equipment shortly before the season started in May so I could do the same.  This upgrade gave me the ability to record an almost 10 MHz “swath” of FM (i.e. 88.1 to roughly 97.3 FM) for over a full day nonstop with the ability to rewind and listen to every single frequency in that range like a DVR, increasing my chances of hearing new logs via Sporadic E.  This method replaced my previous ability using two physical radios to record two individual FM frequencies in hopes of finding skip.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.  The 2020 Sporadic E season began in May with

FM E-Skip opening 7/14/20 into Florida and possibly Cuba

A very brief sporadic E opening brought in a confirmed signal from Florida and a suspected one from Cuba to my home in Northern Virginia on July 14.  At 12:37 PM, a spanish talk or news signal faded in on 92.9 FM very weakly with deep fades.  I was unable to get a positive ID, but I suspected it to be from Cuba.  At the same time, on 93.5 FM I heard a dance station fade in called “Revolution 93.5.”  This “Revolution” signal could’ve been one of three simulcasts that broadcast the format: 93.5 WZFL Islamorada, FL, 93.5 WBGF Belle Glade, FL, or 93.5 W228BY Miami, FL.  I have previously logged both WZFL and WBGF when they were under unique, non-simulcasted formats, so the lack of a true ID during this opening wasn’t really a big deal.  The opening itself lasted about 1 minute total within about 10 minutes of time.

FM E-Skip opening 7/5/20 into AL, FL, and Canada; 1 new FM log

Sporadic E returned twice on July 5, 2020, bringing into Northern Virginia FM signals from Alabama, Florida, and the Canadian Maritimes. The opening into the Deep South region of the US happened around midday, while the second opening into Canada occurred later in the evening.

I missed the opening into Alabama and Florida in its entirety, but I had my Airspy R2 SDR recording all frequencies from 88.1-97.1 FM.  While going over the unattended recordings, I found skip was first noted at 12:07 PM with an unidentified Christian contemporary music station on 89.5 FM.  Like most openings this year, the July 5 opening was weak and short-lived, bringing in about 2 minutes of skip cumulative until about 12:34 PM.  The MUF (maximum usable frequency), or highest frequency skip was observed on was 93.5 FM, although there’s a chance it could’ve gone higher than what frequencies I was recording.

E-Skip returned at 7:50 PM into Quebec and New Brunswick and I was able to DX the opening from beginning to end.  This is the first opening of 2020 to happen in the evening hours–something that was extremely common up until a few years ago.  Signals, much like the earlier opening, were weak but were, for once, sustained and listenable without the peek-a-boo “here one second, gone the next” signals that have plagued FM Es this year.  RDS was easily decoded from several signals, as seen below.  The skip stayed in FM for about 12 minutes cumulative until 8:24 PM with a MUF of 102.1.

My streak of luck this year continues since I somehow, yet again, managed to log a new station out of the most unlikely of weak openings.  I identified new log 89.5 WGTF from Alabama solely by its RDS decode.  I have updated my DX Logs and RDS/HD Radio Screenshots pages with the new content listed below.

new = new station logged

First opening into Alabama and Florida:

88.1 religious
89.1 WSMR Sarasota, FL, classical, 852 miles

89.5 Christian contemporary
new 89.5 WGTF Dothan, AL, “Bible Broadcasting Network” – religious, 689 miles

93.5 country

Second opening into Canada:

89.1 CJBR-FM Rimouski, QC, “ICI Radio Canada Premiere” – french public radio, 788 miles

89.5 CJBR-FM-1 Riviere-Du-Loup, QC, “ICI Radio Canada Premiere” – french public radio, 732 miles

91.5 french
92.3 french
94.3 CBAL-FM-5 Edmunston, NB, “ICI Musique” – french public radio

98.1 “ICI Radio Canada Premiere” – french public radio, unable to ID due to multiple affiliates, suspected CBSI-FM Sept-Iies, QC
102.1 “ICI Radio Canada Premiere” – french public radio, unable to ID due to multiple affiliates, suspected CBGA-FM Matane, QC

FM E-Skip opening 6/21/20 into AR, LA, MS, TN; 3 new FM logs

Sporadic E hit Northern Virginia again on June 21, with a short, but somewhat strong, opening bringing in stations from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  Skip was first observed on 88.9 FM at 4:26 PM when RDS from WMSB from northern Mississippi decoded.  I tuned up one frequency and heard Nashville’s 89.1 WECV in local advertisements.  By that time, I noticed the skip dissipating.  While I was DXing WMSB and WECV, my Airspy R2 software-defined radio (SDR) was recording every FM frequency from 88.1 to 97.1.  Upon later review of the recordings, I found that several other signals from the region came in around the same time that WMSB and WECV did.  One station, which I did not positively identify but am almost certain it is 94.5 KJIW-FM after hearing the station in 2019 during a trip to Memphis, came in off and on until 4:37 PM.  At that point, the opening ended, resulting in about 3 minutes of cumulative skip.

Even with minimal skip on June 21, I still managed to get three new FM logs–something that is unheard of.  The 2020 FM Es season to date, much like the 2018 season, has definitely been quantity over quality.  In years’ past, I have had strong, sustained FM signals coming in from other parts of the country for hours on end, with the stations coming in right over my local radio stations.  For example, look at this opening from June 25, 2018, when I received dozens of signals in a car in Connecticut while on vacation, or this opening from July 16, 2016, where I received 13 new FM logs, many with HD Radio decodes, from the upper Midwest.  That is how Sporadic E should be every year.  Huge openings with countless signals coming in faster than you can handle.  2020, however, has been the complete opposite–weak bursts of signals here and there for a few minutes before it is gone.  Without an SDR, I would not have logged several of the new stations I have heard this summer, as the signals were coming in all at the same time.

I have updated my FM DX Log and HD Radio/RDS Screenshots page with the new content listed below.  Here is what I heard on June 21:

new = new station logged

88.1 religious
new 88.9 WMSB Byhalia, MS, “AFR” – religious, 737 miles

new 89.1 WECV Nashville, TN, “Bott Radio Network” – religious, 548 miles

89.5 christian contemporary music
90.3 public radio
93.5 KBFC Forrest City, AR, “93.5 KBFC” – country, 799 miles
93.7 KXKS-FM Shreveport, LA, “Kiss Country 93-7” – country, 1020 miles
94.1 country
new 94.5 KJIW-FM Helena, AR, religious, area Es, 777 miles

FM E-Skip opening 6/18/20 into AR, OK, TX

In a stunning move this Sporadic E season, skip returned for a second time within a week on June 18 in an opening that would’ve been considered garden variety years ago.  Yet, for the under-performing 2020 season, it remains the best opening this year, with signals sticking around long enough to actually hear an identification.  I missed this opening in its entirety, but I had my Airspy R2 SDR recording all frequencies from 88.1-97.1 FM.  Skip was first noted on 93.5 FM at 10:39 AM, with an unidentified religious station coming in.  Shortly afterward, signals from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas were heard for about 15 minutes sustained between that time and 11:23 AM.  Most of the signals were weak and none decoded RDS, although one signal (92.5 KZPS) was strong enough to briefly overpower semi-local 92.5 WINC.  Although I was unable to monitor above 97.1 FM in my unattended SDR recordings, the highest frequency I observed skip on during the opening was 94.9 FM.

Here’s what was heard from my radio in Northern Virginia during the opening.  All positively-identified stations have been received here previously:

88.1 talk
88.9 “Air 1” – ccm, exact signal unID
89.1 public radio
89.5 KVNE Tyler, TX, “89.5 KVNE” – ccm, 1091 miles
89.5 public radio
91.3 three signals: jazz, religious, and ccm
92.5 KZPS Dallas, TX, “Lone Star 92.5” – classic rock, 1180 miles, over semi-local 92.5 WINC
92.9 KVRE Hot Springs Village, AR, local ads, 917 miles
92.9 KBEZ Tulsa, OK, local ads, 1045 miles
93.5 religious
94.1 spanish (received on 94.159 due to IBOC interference from local 93.9 WKYS – station likely KLNO)
94.5 KZMJ Gainesville, TX “Majic 94-5” – urban AC, 1145 miles
94.9 country