12 December 2013

california longwave logs october 2013

I visited one of my Northern California outdoor listening locations in October 2013 where the temperature was 45F (7C). With the help of my Eton E5 receiver, I picked up some new longwave beacons. I also logged a few more from the comfort of my home.

290 -.--    -.--    .-.. longdash "YYF" (Penticton, British Columbia, Canada; 825 mi)
326 -..   -.-. longdash "DC" (Princeton, British Columbia, Canada; 815 mi)
332 .-..   -...   .... "LBH" (Blue Lake / Portland, Oregon; 540 mi)
344 -..-   -..- longdash "XX" (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada; 785 mi)
350 -.   -.--   longdash "NY" (Enderby, British Columbia, Canada; 920 mi)
359 -...   --- "BO" (Boise, Idaho; 535 mi)
368 ...   -.--   longdash "SX" (Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada; 900 mi)
368 --..   .--.   longdash" ZP" (Sandspit, British Columbia, Canada; 1175 mi)
385 .--   .-..   longdash "WL" (Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada; 1015 mi)
397 ...   -... "SB" (San Bernardino, California; 370 mi)
400 --.-   --.-   longdash "QQ" (Comox, British Columbia, Canada; 855 mi)
408 --   .-- "MW" (Moses Lake, Washington; 690 mi)
411 .-.   -.. "RD" (Redmond, Oregon; 475 mi)

Frequencies and locations confirmed with the LW Radio Beacons page. Distances determined with City Distance Calculator.

18 November 2013

upstate ny mediumwave logs, oct 2013

During an October 2013 trip to upstate New York, my Eton E5 was along for the ride. The trip was brief, but it was a great listening location and I had plenty of late-night time to myself. I was close to identifying another handful of stations, but simply ran out of time. I logged exactly 100 mediumwave stations covering 24 US states, Washington DC, and four Canadian provinces.

Confirmed stations:

550: WGR (5 kW; Buffalo, NY; 170 mi)
560: CFOS (7.5 kW day / 1 kW night; Owen Sound, ON, Canada; 250 mi)
570: WSYR (5 kW; Syracuse, NY; 70 mi)
580: CFRA (50 kW day / 10 kW night; Ottawa, ON, Canada; 100 mi)
590: VOCM (20 kW; St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada; 1140 mi)
590: CJCL (50 kW; Toronto, ON, Canada; 180 mi)
600: CKAT (10 kW day / 5 kW night; North Bay, ON, Canada; 235 mi)
610: WIP (5 kW; Philadelphia, PA; 285 mi)
620: WHEN (5 kW day / 1 kW night; Syracuse, NY; 70 mi)
630: WMAL (10 kW day / 5 kW night; Washington DC; 360 mi)
630: WPRO (5 kW; Providence, RI; 270 mi)
640: CFMJ (50 kW; Richmond Hill, ON, Canada; 180 mi)
650: WSM (50 kW; Nashville, TN; 795 mi)
660: WFAN (50 kW; New York, NY; 245 mi)
670: WSCR (50 kW; Chicago, IL; 620 mi)
680: CFTR (50 kW; Toronto, ON, Canada; 180 mi)
690: CKGM (50 kW; Montreal, QC, Canada; 150 mi)
700: WLW (50 kW; Cincinnati, OH; 560 mi)
710: WOR (50 kW; New York, NY; 245 mi)
720: WGN (50 kW; Chicago, IL; 620 mi)
730: CKAC (50 kW; Montreal, QC, Canada; 150 mi)
740: CFZM (50 kW; Toronto, ON, Canada; 180 mi)
750: WSB (50 kW; Atlanta, GA; 840 mi)
760: WJR (50 kW; Detroit, MI; 385 mi)
770: WABC (50 kW; New York, NY; 245 mi)
780: WBBM (50 kW; Chicago, IL; 620 mi)
790: WTNY (1 kW; Watertown, NY; 0 mi)
800: CJBQ (10 kW; Belleville, ON, Canada; 75 mi)
810: WGY (50 kW; Schenectady, NY; 125 mi)
820: CHAM (50 kW day / 10 kW night; Hamilton, ON, Canada; 205 mi)
830: WCCO (50 kW; Minneapolis, MN; 870 mi)
840: WHAS (50 kW; Louisville, KY; 650 mi)
850: WYLF (1 kW day / 45 w night; Penn Yan, NY; 110 mi)
850: WKNR (50 kW day / 4.7 kW night; Cleveland, OH; 345 mi)
870: WHCU (5 kW day / 1 kW night; Ithaca, NY; 115 mi)
870: WWL (50 kW; New Orleans, LA; 1245 mi)
880: WCBS (50 kW; New York, NY; 245 mi)
890: WLS (50 kW; Chicago, IL; 620 mi)
900: WBRV (1 kW day / 52 w night; Boonville, NY; 45 mi)
900: CHML (50 kW; Hamilton, ON, Canada; 205 mi)
910: WSBA (5 kW day / 1 kW night; York, PA; 285 mi)
920: WHJJ (5 kW; Providence, RI; 270 mi)
920: CKNX (10 kW day / 1 kW night; Wingham, ON, Canada; 270 mi)
930: CFBC (50 kW; Saint John, NB, Canada; 490 mi)
930: WBEN (5 kW; Buffalo, NY; 170 mi)
950: WIBX (5 kW; Utica, NY; 70 mi)
960: WEAV (5 kW; Plattsburgh, NY; 125 mi)
970: WNYM (50 kW day / 5 kW night; Hackensack, NJ; 235 mi)
980: CFPL (10 kW day / 5 kW night; London, ON, Canada; 280 mi)
990: WDCX (5 kW day / 2.5 kW night; Rochester, NY; 105 mi)
990: WNTP (50 kW day / 10 kW night; Philadelphia, PA; 285 mi)
1000: WMVP (50 kW; Chicago, IL; 620 mi)
1010: WINS (50 kW; New York, NY; 245 mi)
1020: KDKA (50 kW; Pittsburgh, PA; 325 mi)
1030: WBZ (50 kW; Boston, MA; 265 mi)
1040: WHO (50 kW; Des Moines, IA; 915 mi)
1050: WSEN (2.5 kW day / 19 w night; Baldwinsville, NY; 65 mi)
1060: KYW (50 kW; Philadelphia, PA; 285 mi)
1070: CHOK (10 kW; Sarnia, ON, Canada; 335 mi)
1080: WTIC (50 kW; Hartford, CT; 220 mi)
1090: WBAL (50 kW; Baltimore, MD; 330 mi)
1100: WTAM (50 kW; Cleveland, OH; 345 mi)
1110: WBT (50 kW; Charlotte, NC; 665 mi)
1120: KMOX (50 kW; St. Louis, MO; 835 mi)
1130: WBBR (50 kW; New York, NY; 245 mi)
1140: WRVA (50 kW; Richmond, VA; 455 mi)
1150: CKOC (50 kW; Hamilton, ON, Canada; 205 mi)
1170: WWVA (50 kW; Wheeling, West Virginia; 365 mi)
1180: WHAM (50 kW; Rochester, NY; 105 mi)
1190: WLIB (10 kW day / 30 kW night; New York, NY; 245 mi)
1190: WOWO (50 kW day / 9.8 kW night; Fort Wayne, IN; 515 mi)
1200: WTLA (1 kW; North Syracuse, NY; 65 mi)
1210: WPHT (50 kW; Philadelphia, PA; 285 mi)
1240: WATN (1 kW; Watertown, NY; 0 mi)
1250: CJYE (10 kW day / 5 kW night; Oakville, ON, Canada; 195 mi)
1260: WSKO (5 kW; Syracuse, NY; 70 mi)
1290: WNBF (9.3 kW day / 5 kW night; Binghamton, NY; 130 mi)
1290: WKBK (5 kW; Keene, NH; 190 mi)
1310: CIWW (50 kW; Ottawa, ON, Canada; 100 mi)
1320: WILS (25 kW day / 1.9 kW night; Lansing, MI; 450 mi)
1340: WMSA (910 w; Massena, NY; 80 mi)
1390: WEGP (25 kW day / 10 kW night; Presque Isle, ME; 420 mi)
1390: WCAT (5 kW; Burlington, VT; 130 mi)
1400: WSLB (1 kW; Ogdensburg, NY; 50 mi)
1410: WNER (3.5 kW day / 58 w night; Watertown, NY; 0 mi)
1420: WHK (5 kW; Cleveland, OH; 345 mi)
1420: WLNA (5 kW day / 1 kW night; Peekskill, NY; 210 mi)
1470: WPDM (1 kW day / 44 w night; Potsdam, NY; 60 mi)
1480: WLEA (2.5 kW day / 20 w night; Hornell, NY; 145 mi)
1500: WFED (50 kW; Washington DC; 360 mi)
1520: WWKB (50 kW; Buffalo, NY; 170 mi)
1530: WCKY (50 kW; Cincinnati, OH; 560 mi)
1540: KXEL (50 kW; Waterloo, IA; 835 mi)
1580: CKDO (10 kW; Oshawa, ON, Canada; 150 mi)
1590: WAKR (5 kW; Akron, OH; 350 mi)
1610: CHHA (10 kW day / 1 kW night; Toronto, ON, Canada; 180 mi)
1630: KCJJ (10 kW day / 1 kW night; Iowa City, IA; 810 mi)
1690: CHTO (1 kW; Toronto, ON, Canada; 180 mi)
1690: CJLO (1 kW; Montreal, QC, Canada; 150 mi)
1700: KBGG (10 kW day / 1 kW night; Des Moines, Iowa; 915 mi)

Distant stations (500+ miles): 

• WOWO (Fort Wayne, IN; 515 mi)

• WLW (Cincinnati, OH; 560 mi)
• WBBM, WGN, WLS, WMVP, WSCR (Chicago, IL; 620 mi)
• WHAS (Louisville, KY; 650 mi)
• WBT (Charlotte, NC; 665 mi)
• WSM (Nashville, TN; 795 mi)
• KCJJ (Iowa City, IA; 810 mi)
• KXEL (Waterloo, IA; 835 mi)
• KMOX (St. Louis, MO; 835 mi)
• WSB (Atlanta, GA; 840 mi)
• WCCO (Minneapolis, MN; 870 mi)
• KBGG, WHO (Des Moines, IA; 915 mi)
• VOCM (St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada; 1140 mi)
• WWL (New Orleans, LA; 1245 mi)

States and Provinces:

• New York

• Vermont
• New Hampshire
• Maine
• Pennsylvania
• New Jersey
• Massachusetts
• Connecticut
• Rhode Island
• Michigan
• Ohio
• Minnesota
• Illinois
• Indiana
• Iowa
• Missouri
• Kentucky
• Tennessee
• Maryland
• Washington D.C.
• Virginia
• West Virginia
• North Carolina
• Georgia
• Louisiana
• Ontario, Canada
• Quebec, Canada
• New Brunswick, Canada
• Newfoundland, Canada

Reception coverage

Alternate ID methods (when the callsign was not heard):

• CJCL "sportsnet 590 the fan"

• WIP "CBS sportsradio 610"
• WSCR "Chicago CBS Sportsradio"
• CFTR "680news.com"
• CKAC "radio circulation"
• CHAM "funny 820"
• WBRV "the blizzard"
• WHJJ "news radio 920"
• WEAV "960 the zone"
• WNYM "am 970 the answer"
• CFPL "am980.ca"
• WSKO "score 1260"
• WCAT "Cruisin 93.7" "Burlington"
• WHK "Ohio, am 1420 the answer"
• WWKB "western new york" "espn 1520"


VOCM is one of only four Canadian radio stations with a VO callsign prefix.

KDKA is (depending on who you ask) the world's first commercial radio station
WLIB night power is 3x day power

Quotes / songs:

• "Take these broken wings, and learn to fly again..." (host on WSKO)

• "Facebook and twitter are available. We both have smart phones."
• "Nothing's gonna stop us now" - Starship
• "Long run" - Don Henley
• "Everybody wants five inches!" (talking about snow)
• "It's across the continent in Los Angeles." (hockey game)
• "Is diluted bitumen corrosive?"
• "...on the ones, at one, eleven, twenty one, thirty one, forty one, and fifty one minutes past each hour."
• "They're gonna love me, they're gonna hate me, but I'm gonna be me."
• "Eli Manning has thrown 12 interceptions."
• "You now have permission to sing off-key." (WCAT)
• "I was the one in my house who would say, okay everyone, let's go to church!"
• "This is what defense lawyers do in cases like this."
• "They can't get a ten-day forecast right to save their lives."

06 November 2013

chu time station frequencies

Someone recently asked me why CHU, Canada's time station on three shortwave frequencies, isn't broadcasting on 7335 kHz anymore. Here are the CHU frequencies as of November 2013:

• 3330 kHz
• 7850 kHz
• 14670 kHz

I wrote those from memory but confirmed them with the CHU (radio station) Wikipedia page and NRC shortwave station broadcasts (CHU) page.

As to the frequency change from 7335 to 7850 kHz, this was due to a reallocation of the frequencies 7300-7350 kHz in 2007, which led to an increase in broadcasting interference. CHU moved to 7850 sometime in 2009. The two webpages linked above provide a lot more history and technical details for CHU.

Does anyone have, or know of, a recording of CHU on 7335 kHz that includes interference from another broadcaster?

05 November 2013

upstate ny longwave logs, oct 2013

During a trip to Upstate New York in October 2013, I scanned the longwave band on my Eton E5 and discovered a lot of morse code beacons. Single sideband (ssb) helped me get additional logs when the morse was faint, or multiple beacons were on neighboring frequencies.

Here are the 31 beacons I identified:

216 -.-.   .-..   -... "CLB" (Wilmington, NC; 685 mi)
236 ---   .-- longdash "OW" (Ottawa, ON, Canada; 100 mi)
248 ..-   .-.. longdash "UL" (Montreal, QC, Canada; 150 mi)
257 --.   -   -... "GTB" (Fort Drum / Great Bend, NY; 10 mi)
263 -.--   --.   -.-  longdash "YGK" (Kingston, ON, Canada; 35 mi)
272 -.--   --.-  .-  longdash "YQA" (Muskola, ON, Canada; 185 mi)
278 -.   --  longdash "NM" (Matagami, QC, Canada; 450 mi)
289 -.--   .-..  --.- longdash "YLQ" (La Tuque, QC, Canada; 280 mi)
303 -.--   .--.   .--. longdash "YPP" (Parent, QC, Canada; 280 mi)
317 --..  --   -..- longdash "ZMX" (Montreal, QC, Canada; 150 mi)
326 ...-   ...-  longdash "VV" (Wiarton, ON, Canada; 250 mi)
329 -.--   ....   -. longdash "YHN" (Hornepayne, ON, Canada; 550 mi)
332 -.--   ..-.  --  longdash "YFM" (Lagrande 4 Baie-James, QC, Canada; 700 mi)
334 -.--   ...  .... longdash "YSH" (Smiths Falls, ON, Canada; 60 mi)
335 -.--   .-..   -.. longdash "YLD" (Chapleau, ON, Canada; 550 mi)
340 -.--   -.-- longdash "YY" (Mont Joli, QC, Canada; 480 mi)
341 -.--   -.--  ..- longdash "YYU" (Kapuskasing, ON, Canada; 485 mi)
351 -.--   -.-   --.- longdash "YKQ" (Fort Rupert, QC, Canada; 550 mi)
362 ...   -... longdash "SB" (Sudbury, ON, Canada; 300 mi)
366 -.--   --   .--  longdash "YMW" (Maniwaki, QC, Canada; 160 mi)
371 --.   .-- longdash "GW" (Kuujjuarapik, QC, Canada; 780 mi)
373 ..---   --.- longdash "2Q" (Mont Laurier, QC, Canada; 175 mi)
378 .-.  .--- longdash "RJ" (Roberval, QC, Canada; 360 mi)
382 -.--   .--.   .-.. longdash "YPL" (Pickle Lake, ON, Canada; 840 mi)
391 ...--   -... longdash "3B" (Brockville, ON, Canada; 40 mi)
392 --   .-.. longdash "ML" (Charlevoix, QC, Canada; 400 mi)
400 .--.  -   -.. "PTD" (Potsdam, NY; 60 mi)
401 -.--   .--.   --- longdash "YPO" (Peawanuck, ON, Canada; 870 mi)
407 --..   ....   ..-   longdash "ZHU" (Montreal, QC, Canada; 150 mi)
409 -.--   -   .- longdash "YTA" (Pembroke, ON, Canada; 140 mi)
414 ...--   ..- longdash "3U" (Gatineau, ON, Canada; 100 mi)

I relied on the LW Radio Beacons page on dxinfocentre.com to confirm the ids and use the correct frequencies.

04 November 2013

swling post listener submission

Over at The SWLing Post, a blog author recently requested stories about how readers got involved with shortwave radio. I sent in a submission, and it has been published:

Listener post: Eric Weatherall

14 October 2013

on the road

As I mentioned on twitter (@cobaltpet) recently, I started a new set of mediumwave logs for northern hemisphere winter 2013-2014. I logged quite a lot at home already, but I've also been taking short nighttime road trips to identify additional stations. This gets my radio away from indoor and outdoor interference sources, and in a few cases, allows me to use topography to avoid the jamming static from AM HD broadcasts.

During one of the first road trips, I chose to park in a highway turnout along the Pacific Ocean. I had a few problems there:

• Overhead electrical wires
• Ocean noise
• Humidity
• Too close to the highway
• The area had a No Parking sign, and passing police stopped when they saw my parked vehicle

Two different policemen stopped to talk to me on two different nights in this spot. The first policeman was very friendly. He was older, wanted to make sure I didn't need assistance, and reminded me not to trespass by climbing down the unsafe hill. The second policeman was very different. He was younger, and made it clear that I must obey the No Parking sign. Since I didn't want to take chances with encountering an unfriendly policeman, and equally concerned with simply wasting their time, I decided to look elsewhere on Google Maps.

I looked for parking areas where other cars and other people might be around the middle of the night. As it turns out, the new spot I chose has a few bars nearby, so those are somewhat busy at night. Police cars periodically circle through the parking area, but everyone is there legally so there's typically no interaction.

The new area (which I will keep private) works great. It doesn't solve all of the problems with my previous location, but I'm not bothering anyone, and I'm able to get a much lower noise level on my radio than at home. I didn't get a lot of logging done during this first trip to my new outdoor dxing spot, but I logged a Mexican station on my last unlogged frequency with XEEBC on 730 kHz.

My winter 2013-2014 mediumwave logs will be published here sometime in 2014.

01 October 2013

beacons in the night

I recently took a nighttime excursion to a nearby city with my Eton E5. I was keen to escape my usual static-filled surroundings and collect some mediumwave logs. Mediumwave logging was a success, and I also explored frequencies below 500 kHz. I found four morse code beacons, three of them new loggings for me.

• 335: "CC" (Concord, CA; 36 mi)
• 344: "FCH" (Fresno, CA; 159 mi)
• 374: "LV" (Livermore, CA; 41 mi)
• 404: "MOG" (Montague, CA; 286 mi) (previously logged)

Source for exact frequencies and locations: LW Radio Beacons. That page lists 24 beacons in California, so I have plenty more work to do.

24 September 2013

help id this 1570 khz station

Can anyone listen to this recording of a top-of-the-hour station identification on 1570 kHz? I think I know what it is, but I won't bias you by revealing that upfront.

The recording is not pleasant to listen to due to the weak reception and static. I used a lowpass filter to make it somewhat more tolerable. Anyway, have a listen and let me know what you think.

1570 kHz recording on soundcloud

1570 kHz, recorded in San Francisco from my Eton E5, Sep 24 2013 at 11pm.

[Update, 2013-10-18: "KGTE. 1570, 1570, Salinas California, Salinas California"]

19 September 2013

mediumwave logs, sep 2011 - mar 2012

Around autumn 2011, I began another batch of mediumwave DX logs with my Eton E5. I was also hanging out on an irc channel for mediumwave DXers, and I got helpful reception and identification tips from others. Apparently I sat on these logs for quite a long time, so I thought I would finally publish it.

Challenges: AM HD/IBOC, ESPN Radio, Fox. IBOC causes overwhelming static on both adjacent channels, really putting a damper on DXing those frequencies. ESPN Radio and Fox don't like to give out their callsigns. To them, the brand is important and the callsign is not. When sports stations are broadcasting games, they have short breaks during the game for station identification, but these happen at irregular times (not always at :00 or :30).

Identified stations:

530: WPUV620 (San Mateo, CA) -- 10 miles
540: CBK - CBC Radio One (Watrous, Saskatchewan, Canada) -- 50 kW
550: KOAC (Corvallis, OR) -- Oregon Public Broadcasting
560: KSFO (San Francisco, CA)
580: KMJ (Fresno, CA) -- 50 kW
590: KUGN (Eugene, OR)
600: KOGO News Radio 600 (San Diego, CA)
610: KEAR (Berkeley, CA)
620: KPOJ (Portland, OR) -- 25 kW day, 10 kW night
620: KTAR (Phoenix, AZ) -- 5 kW - ESPN Radio
630: KIDD (Monterey, CA) -- ESPN Radio
630: KPLY (Reno, NV) -- Fox Sports
640: KFI (Los Angeles, CA)
650: KSTE (Rancho Cordova, CA)
660: KTNN (Window Rock, AZ) -- 50 kW
660: KWVE (Bakersfield, CA)
670: KBOI (Boise, ID) -- 50 kW
680: KNBR (San Francisco, CA) -- 50 kW
690: CBU - CBC Radio One (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
690: XEWW (Tijuana, BN, Mexico) -- 50 kW night (english ident at top of hour)
710: KFIA (Sacramento, CA)
720: KDWN (Las Vegas, NV) -- 50 kW
740: KCBS (San Francisco, CA) -- 50 kW
760: KFMB (San Diego, CA) -- 50 kW
770: KCBC (Manteca, CA)
770: KKOB News Radio (Albuquerque, NM) -- 50 kW
780: KKOH News Talk (Reno, NV) -- 50 kW
790: KABC (Los Angeles, CA)
790: KFPT (Clovis, CA) -- ESPN Radio
810: KGO (San Francisco, CA) -- 50 kW
830: KNCO News Talk (Grass Valley, CA)
840: KMPH (Modesto, CA) - Bernal Radio
840: WPEX988 roadside transmitter (Belvedere, CA) -- 10w TIS - 8 miles
850: KOA (Denver, CO) -- 50 kW
860: KTRB (San Francisco, CA) - Spanish
870: KRLA (Glendale, CA)
870: WWL (New Orleans, LA) -- 50 kW
880: KKMC (Arroyo Grande, CA)
890: KDXU (St. George, UT)
900: CKMO (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
910: KNEW (Oakland, CA)
920: KXLY (Spokane, WA)
920: KVIN (Ceres, CA)
930: KAGI (Grants Pass, OR) -- Jefferson Public Radio; 5 kW day; 0.123 kW night
940: KYNO (Fresno, CA) -- 50 kW
950: KAHI (Auburn, CA)
950: XEKAM (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico) -- "eckees e kahm"
960: KKGN (Oakland, CA)
980: KFWB (Los Angeles, CA)
990: KATD (Pittsburg, CA) - Spanish
1000: KOMO (Seattle, WA) -- 50 kW
1010: KIQI (San Francisco, CA) - Spanish
1030: KTWO (Casper, WY) -- 50 kW
1050: KTCT (San Mateo, CA)
1070: KNX (Los Angeles, CA) -- 50 kW
1090: XEPRS (Rosarito, BN, Mexico) -- 50 kW
1100: KFAX (San Francisco, CA)
1110: KBND (Bend, OR)
1120: KPNW (Eugene, OR) -- 50 kW
1120: KZSJ (San Martin, CA) - Asian language
1130: KRDU (Dinuba, CA)
1140: KHTK (Sacramento, CA) -- 50 kW
1150: KTLK (Los Angeles, CA)
1160: KSL Newsradio (Salt Lake City, UT) -- 50 kW
1170: KLOK (San Jose, CA) -- Pravasvani
1180: KERN (Bakersfield, CA)
1190: KDYA Gospel Flashback (Vallejo, CA)
1190: KEX (Portland, OR) -- 50 kW day; 5 kW night
1200: KYAA (Soquel, CA) - was humsafar, now oldies
1200: WOAI (San Antonio, TX) -- 50 kW
1220: KDOW (Palo Alto, CA)
1230: KGEO (Bakersfield, CA)
1240: KSMX (Santa Maria, CA)
1260: KSFB (San Francisco, CA)
1270: KBZZ The Buzz (Sparks, NV)
1280: KWSX (Stockton, CA)
1280: KXTK (Arroyo Grande, CA)
1290: KAZA (Gilroy, CA)
1310: KMKY (Oakland, CA)
1320: KCTC (Sacramento, CA) -- ESPN Radio
1330: KJPR (Shasta Lake City, CA) -- 1 kW; Jefferson Public Radio; BBC World Service relay at night
1330: KWKW (Los Angeles, CA)
1350: KSRO (Santa Rosa, CA)
1370: KZSF (San Jose, CA) - Spanish
1380: KTKZ (Sacramento, CA)
1400: KVTO (Berkeley, CA)
1410: KERI (Bakersfield, CA)
1430: KYKN (Keizer, OR)
1440: KVON (Napa, CA)
1450: KEST (San Francisco, CA)
1460: KION (Salinas, CA)
1470: KIID (Sacramento, CA) -- Radio Disney
1470: XERCN (Tijuana, BN, Mexico) -- identified by matching radio reception with online stream
1490: KTOB (Petaluma, CA) -- Spanish; ident was in spanish
1500: KSJX (San Jose, CA) -- Asian language
1510: KSFN (Piedmont, CA) (formerly KPIG)
1520: KVTA (Port Hueneme, CA)
1530: KFBK (Sacramento, CA)
1540: KMPC (Los Angeles, CA)
1550: KZDG (San Francisco, CA) - Radio Zindagi
1560: KNZR The Voice of Bakersfield (Bakersfield, CA)
1580: KBLA (Santa Monica, CA) -- 50 kW
1590: KLIV (San Jose, CA)
1600: KUBA (Yuba City, CA)
1640: KDIA (Vallejo, CA)
1650: KFOX (Torrance, CA) -- 490w at night
1660: KTIQ (Merced, CA) -- 10 kW day, 1 kW night
1670: KNRO (Redding, CA)
1680: KGED (Fresno, CA)
1700: WPTZ516 (Oakland, CA) oakland intl. TIS -- 11 miles
1700: XEPE (Tijuana, BN, Mexico) -- 10 kW

Total: 111

States/provinces logged:

• Arizona
• California
• Colorado
• Idaho
• Louisiana
• Nevada
• New Mexico
• Oregon
• Texas
• Utah
• Washington
• Wyoming
• British Columbia, Canada
• Saskatchewan, Canada
• Baja California, Mexico

Distant receptions (500+ miles):

• Boise, ID (520 miles)
• Portland, OR (540 miles)
• Salt Lake City, UT (600 miles)
• Phoenix, AZ (650 miles)
• Seattle, WA (680 miles)
• Spokane, WA (735 miles)
• Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (750 miles)
• Window Rock, AZ (750 miles)
• Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico (790 miles)
• Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (800 miles)
• Albuquerque, NM (900 miles)
• Casper, WY (915 miles)
• Denver, CO (950 miles)
• Watrous, Saskatchewan, Canada (1250 miles)
• San Antonio, TX (1500 miles)
• New Orleans, LA (1900 miles)

One of my absolute favorite discoveries during this project was the brilliant hour-long "Quirks and Quarks" show on CBC Radio One. The episode I heard contained several interesting segments on various scientific topics. It was so refreshing after hearing hours upon hours of political, conspiracy, sports, and infomercial broadcasts from the all-too-typical United States stations.

Quotes, excerpts, and oddities:

• "You look pretty!" "Thank you! You look pretty too!" (Two female announcers on 1170 KLOK)
• Invitation to a "peaceful, weekly meeting" at an abortion clinic in Mountain View, CA.
• "If it looks good, worship it!"
• "I became sexually impotent."
• "You know what I'm gonna play right now? You're young enough to know this one."
• "Panzy pundits and politicians!"
• "I have worms on all kinds of flowers."
• "Satan's business is in the realm of the spiritual!"
• KAZA 1290 briefly aired the sound of a phone off the hook.
• "The discarded cello was indeed old."
• "Uhhhh Ohhhhhh Ahhhhhhh Ooooooo Eeeeeeeee!" (Chanting on an Asian language station)
• "What are all those pockets on your jacket, Jay?" "Emergency snack compartments."
• "We are honored to be on this flamethrower of a station!"
• "Everybody kisses his ass. He has the cleanest ass in baseball, this Tony La Russa."
• "There's nothing wrong with the south, but they screwed up Italian food."
• 08 Oct 2011, 11pm PDT; KSTE missing from 650 kHz
• 08 Oct 2011, 11pm PDT; KMKY (1310 kHz) HD seems to be off; country music audible on 1300 kHz


• Eton E5
• Kaito AN-200 passive loop antenna
• Kaito KA1103

15 September 2013

w6cx repeater affected by fire

A wildfire recently struck Mount Diablo in the San Francisco bay area. I heard an activation of the emergency alert system on a local AM station to announce an evacuation order. I followed the news to learn how the community was affected and how much of the fire was contained. I was also curious about the status of W6CX, a two-meter repeater owned by the Mount Diablo Amateur Radio Club.

At first, the repeater was operating normally. I heard at one point that the regular power supply was interrupted, but a backup power supply was available. I'd be curious to find out how much downtime the repeater had during this emergency.

Operators using the repeater mentioned that the Salvation Army and possibly other organizations were using the repeater to coordinate emergency activities. They stated that repeater traffic should be minimized to keep the service available for emergency purposes. On Sunday September 8, two nets that would've been held on the repeater were affected: one net was cancelled, and another was moved to a simplex frequency.

Fortunately, the Mount Diablo / Morgan fire is now 100% contained. I hope that the community can get back to normal soon.

09 September 2013

fcc member seeks am radio overhaul

Ajit Pai, a member of the US FCC, is hoping to modernize AM broadcasting regulations. I originally saw this story tweeted by Ulis Fleming and Jeff McMahon, and now my local CBS affiliate on AM is interviewing Mr. Pai about the story.

A quest to save AM radio before it's lost in the static

One part of his proposal is that all AM stations use digital broadcasting, purportedly to reduce interference problems. I only own analog AM receivers, and stations broadcasting AM HD are an annoyance for DXing because of the static on adjacent channels.

For the majority of the population, AM radio is not a very attractive option. AM radio struggles to compete with the internet. And it's unlikely that FCC will take the needs of hobbyists into account. Any changes to AM broadcasting regulations will undoubtedly focus on business requirements of broadcasters.

29 August 2013

taiwan ends north america broadcasts

Radio Taiwan International ended shortwave broadcasts to North America on July 1, 2013. RTI was a frequent reception of mine, almost if not entirely via North American relay stations. Most recently, RTI was using the WYFR transmitter in Okeechobee, Florida. That transmitter site also shut down on July 1.

I always enjoyed learning something about Taiwan from RTI broadcasts. Politics, tourism, culture, food, and music were regularly featured during their broadcasts, and I was often hearing details or viewpoints that I wasn't hearing anywhere else. The QSLs I received from RTI typically included several interesting items and colorful photos.

Here are a few articles featuring RTI from my archives:

Radio Taiwan International QSL (August 2006)
Shortwave reception (September 2011)
Mooncake (September 2005)

Since I began listening to shortwave radio, these transmitter sites have gone dark:

• Delano, California (Voice of America)
• Sackville, NB, Canada (Radio Canada International)
• Okeechobee, Florida (WYFR)
• Bonaire (Radio Netherlands Worldwide)

17 August 2013

radio havana cuba video

Here's a video about the formation and purpose of Radio Havana Cuba. It mentions the goal of opposing the news coverage of Voice of America and Radio Marti, shows some station equipment, includes interviews with some RHC personnel, and discusses some historic events such as the Bay of Pigs and Elián González.

Radio Havana Cuba (youtube, 7m)

If you listen to Radio Havana Cuba, how did you discover it? Scanning, frequency/schedule lists, word-of-mouth, or some other method?

24 February 2013

something caught my ear

During a trip to New Zealand in January 2013, I came across a rock music station on mediumwave.

New Zealand flag. Source: Wikipedia
I regularly listened to AM radio while driving during the trip. I enjoyed being immersed in local stories and dialect through news and talk broadcasts. An AM music station caught my attention, and I quickly saved the frequency on my car radio. I had discovered Radio Hauraki on 1125 kHz near Dunedin.

Hauraki's beginnings

From Wikipedia:
To break the state monopoly, Radio Hauraki was originally formed as a pirate station in the Hauraki Gulf, the only offshore radio station ever to broadcast in the southern hemisphere, in a famous and historic story that saw the loss of one life.
Broadcasting began on 1480 kHz in 1966. A documentary called Rock the Boat (which I haven't yet seen or obtained) tells the story about the station's origins. Here's a YouTube video comprised of photos and audio, titled Radio Hauraki - the final minutes:

These days, Radio Hauraki is one of eight networks in The Radio Network, which is a New Zealand division of the Australian Radio Network, which itself is a partnership between Clear Channel and APN News & Media. Programming for each of the eight networks is widely available across New Zealand on FM. Maybe it would seem more unique if Hauraki were still a regional station rather than a national one, but New Zealand could itself be considered a single region or broadcasting market. It's approximately the size of Colorado in the United States, with a population of around 4.6 million people. Many cities and regions, one radio market.

What am I hearing?

I heard Radio Hauraki play lots of great songs from established bands such as AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and Smashing Pumpkins. It hit me right in the demographics.

One evening, I pulled my car to the side of the road and recorded a portion of the broadcast. Part of the goal was to capture the station identification, which was accomplished in the first 25 seconds. Recording in the car was an awkward arrangement, with my smart phone on the floor recording output from the speaker in the driver's door. To minimize interior noise, the windows were closed and the vent/air conditioning was switched off. Since the content was to my liking, this went on for 13 minutes and 20 seconds.

The recording starts with DJ Mikey Havoc discussing recently-played songs. One was by a band with a cool name: We Were Promised Jetpacks. Then he mentioned what would be played after the next two tracks. I didn't notice at first that he revealed what it was, so I later went into detective mode to seek it out. It wasn't a normal song, as I'll explain.

The first song was Young Bloods by The Bronx, a great punk song. Next was Bug Powder Dust by Bomb the Bass, which certainly pushes the boundaries for a rock format.

What I heard next was surprising. The intro was a simple piano part, then a voice came in and started telling a story about a search for early human remains. My brain was stimulated, perhaps in the way that the rat from the Pixar movie was stimulated after tasting the combination of strawberries and cheese for the first time.

What was this? I've listened to a lot of electronic music in which synthesizers, samples, and voices are often mixed together. Voice recordings from television shows, movies, news programs, and interviews are commonly used. The Orb's Little Fluffy Clouds is one of my favorite examples of this, with Rickie Lee Jones describing the appearance of the sky when she lived in Arizona. The song's Wikipedia page states that an out-of-court settlement was reportedly reached for the unauthorized sample.

I wanted to know what I heard on the radio. For the remainder of my trip, I couldn't do much more to investigate than listen to it again and search the web for the spoken phrases. A reference to a book kept popping up, but I couldn't figure out who was using part of the book in a radio track. I also couldn't figure out how this ended up on a rock radio station.

Divide and conquer

When I got home from my trip, I synced my audio recordings to my computer, then used Shazam to identify the background music: God Moving Over the Face of the Waters by Moby. I already knew from web searches that the text was from A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

Listening to my recording again, I finally noticed that Mikey Havoc had said "It's almost time for some Friday night Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything." After the first recording, I had skipped ahead to listen to the mystery song, which starts at 7:21 in this particular audio file. So I hadn't noticed it the first time, and skipped over it many other times.

I learned that Radio Hauraki had an iOS app, so I downloaded it and still occasionally listen to the stream. I hear another Havoc Nights weeknight show, and heard that another chapter of the Bill Bryson book would be played. It was also implied that this was a nightly feature. The same Moby backing music was used, but a different section of the audiobook was played.

So the cynic in me reached out to the station via Twitter:

@RadioHaurakiNZ The Bill Bryson audiobook playback must be a paid promo. Playing it every night, methodically going through chapters... yes?
2/13/13 12:28 AM

And the reply just over an hour later:

@cobaltpet nah it's just fuelled by Havoc's love of Bill Bryson and all things learning
2/13/13 1:42 AM

Well, whenever advertising or money are potentially involved, I always allow for the possibility of someone lying about it.

But it certainly got my attention.

Radio Hauraki logo. Source: Wikipedia