Sunday, September 27, 2009

DXing The Edge

Out at the edges of the mediumwave broadcast band here in the western hemisphere - that would be 530 KHz and 1700 KHz - channels are thinly populated. US stations don't operate at all on 530 KHz. Here you will find only a few Canadians, a single Cuban, and a small handful of others. At the other end - at 1700 KHz - in the area called the X-Band (1620 KHz - 1710 KHz), the US is sparsely populated at best by only a half-dozen or so stations per channel. These stations generally run 10KW during daylight hours and only 1 kilowatt at night. The relatively low power and far-spaced distances make for some very interesting nighttime DX possibiltities, "sans interference". Let us continue....

The following station lists have been garnered from the FCC lists, the latest (2009) World Radio TV Handbook, and the Internet.

530 KHz

CKHL High Level, Alberta, Canada 1KW/400W (defunct)
CIAO Brampton, Ontario, Canada 1KW/250W
CJFT Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada 250W (defunct)
CIRS Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada 50W (tourist information)
TIRI R. Sinfonola, Cartago, Costa Rica 10KW
R. Enciclopedia, Havana, Cuba 10KW
R. Vision Cristiana International, S. Caicos (Turks & Caicos) 40KW
La Voz de las Madres, Capital Federal, Argentina (power unknown)
R. Republica, San Justo, Argentina 5KW/1KW
HCDC1 530 AM (Radio Iris?), Quito, Ecuador 1KW
FIRS, Stanley, Falkland Islands 15KW

1700 KHz

KBGG Des Moines, IA 10KW/1KW
WEUP Huntsville, AL 10KW/1KW
KVNS Brownsville, TX 8.8KW/880W
KKLF Richardson, TX 10KW/1KW
XEPE (XEKTT) San Diego 1700, Tecate, Baja California Norte, Mexico 10 KW
R. Eternidad, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 5KW/1KW (daily, 6AM-7PM, per web site)
R. City (possibly inactive), Partido de Almirante Brown, Argentina
Radio Cristiana Príncipe con Dios, Villa Fiorito, Argentina

1710 KHz

AM 1710, R. Estudio ESBA, Capital Federal, Argentina
OBU4R R. Nuevo Tiempo, Huancayo, Peru

So back to the DXing. Two nights ago I couldn't sleep. I found myself wide awake at 3AM. In the middle of the night I fired up the Tecsun PL-600 receiver and parked it on 1700 KHz and waited. Conditions were good. The Kp-index was at 0 or 1, very low. In one hour I had logged three stations and a possible fourth.

Loggings for Sep 26, 2009:

1700 KHz, 0715 UTC, KBGG, Des Moines, IA. 1KW 814 miles. ESPN, sports talk. Local Des Moines ads.
1700 KHz, 0732 UTC, KVNS, Brownsville, TX. 880W 1621 miles. Positive ID at the 30 minute news break.
1700 KHz, 0750 UTC, WEUP, Huntsville, AL. 1KW 741 miles. Positive ID.

And a possible fourth?
1700 KHz, 0755 UTC, KKLF, Richardson, TX. 1KW 1227 miles. Ads for the Richardson/Dallas area.

In between, I tried a couple of other frequencies:

1600 KHz, 0738 UTC, WAAM, Ann Arbor, MI. 5KW 309 miles.
1710 KHz, 0745 UTC, ????, Spanish music. Weak, and in and out of the noise.

What's this? Oh, now this is interesting. The only stations documented to be on 1710 KHz are in South America - Argentina and Peru. Could it be?

The next morning, September 27, on my way to the coffee shop at 6AM I turn on the truck radio. Fading up out of the noise between 5:55AM and 6:05AM is some nice Spanish music. No ID at the top of hour, though. For fleeting seconds, here and there, it fades in, weak, but readable. Remember what I said about the greyline in a previous post? I check the greyline map for this time frame sometime later in the day. Perfect conditions - a nice greyline path to Argentina and Peru at 6AM! Perhaps one of these was the station I heard? I will keep trying.

R. Enciclopedia, Havana, Cuba, still eludes me on 530 KHz. I hear Spanish on this frequency occasionally, but no positive ID yet. CIAO, Brampton, Ontario, Canada dominates as it is just across Lake Ontario from this location. And it will not totally null in the receiver, not in the evening or early morning. I am also hunting for XEPE San Diego 1700, a 10KW station I hear routinely when I am wintering in southwestern Arizona. One day it will make the trip all the way to New York.

DXing the edges of the mediumwave band can be fun. Give it a try.


Greg Shoom said...

1710 kHz is a favourite spot for pirate broadcasters to set up shop, so Spanish on that frequency may be coming from closer than Argentina. As for the Spanish on 530, it probably isn't CIAO. According to their website at Spanish is one language they don't presently broadcast in.

Greg Shoom said...

CJFT in Fort Erie hasn't been on 530 kHz for years. I think they moved to FM way back in 1991. One of your sources is horribly out of date.

Radio-Timetraveller said...

Thanks for the info, Greg.

Finally arrived in Arizona this weekend, after a cross-country trip.

The FCC source still lists CJFT, so that is the inaccurate source.

Didn't know about the pirates on 1710. Very interesting.

Bill (Radio-Timetraveller)

Stephen said...

XEPE may be a difficult catch in NY. I think they may use a directional antenna with a broad null to the east. They do maintain 10kW power at night, though.

jos_nqn said...

Here in patagonia Argentina, receive 1710 ESPN is easy with a short veberage (200 mt aprox) also 1560 kgow texas some days.
with al little condx can hear it with my k9ay at home (is a big k9ay)

always figthing with local electric noise

joe, neuquen, argentina


Hi Joe,

Thanks for your comment. Not sure what you were hearing on 1710, as the American mediumwave band ends at 1700. Possibly a pirate?

Anyway, good luck with the QRN noise there. And good DXing.