Monday, November 16, 2009

Out West Again

I am in Arizona again, at the little desert town of Quartzsite.


Just as the landscape changes incrementally as you cross the country, so does the radio reception. From Rochester, NY, WSM-650 out of Nashville, TN is not receivable during daytime hours. Cross over into Ohio and then head southwest out of Cleveland, and it suddenly appears, weakly at first, then getting stronger as you approach the I-70 cross-country corridor. Astonishingly, it remains readable all the way to St. Louis and into Missouri during daytime hours, where it finally fades to nil.

Spending night one near Spiceland, Indiana, near Indianapolis, the next morning before sunrise the Cuban radio time ticks are quite strong. I tune down to 530 KHz, and there is Radio Enciclopedia, weak, but copyable. Now why do I have so much trouble with this station in Rochester? KOA-850 Denver, CO is also in there, as is WBAP-820 in Dallas, TX. Both are tough catches at home. We proceed west.

Night two is spent in Joplin, Missouri, the extreme southwestern corner of Missouri, just 7 miles from the Oklahoma border. Leaving at 6AM, hopping on the Will Rogers Turnpike after crossing into Oklahoma, I tune to 530 KHz. There, and beaming in like a local this morning, is Radio Enciclopedia again. We are at mid-country now, and I wonder if the west coast is in. Tuning up to 640 KHz, there is KFI, Los Angeles, weak but readable. Nice!

As you pass Oklahoma City and get onto I-40, heading west, long distance daytime DX starts to show. KGNC-710, Amarillo, TX is readable from 40 miles west of Oklahoma City. The land becomes flat as a pancake, and mostly treeless. Passing Amarillo, from the panhandle of Texas, the "Talk Monster", KKOB-770, Albuquerque, NM (50KW) appears, very weak, at a distance of several hundred miles.

At night three I arrived in Tucumcari, NM, and the remainder of the trip was spent camping in the wilds of New Mexico and Arizona. But from this point on, little DXing was done, except to see how far west WWL-870, New Orleans, LA could be heard. Benson, Arizona, 40 miles southeast of Tucson, seemed to be the practical limit, where is was very weak at sunset, while camped on a mountain top about 10 miles north of town. I am going to make a concerted effort this winter to see if it is receivable in Quartzsite (extreme western) Arizona, near the California state line.


November already. On the Yahoo Ultralight group, I've been reading recently that JOUB, 774 KHz, Akita, Japan has been receivable all the way into Oklahoma for most of October. Last week I decided to have a check of this frequency at sunrise. It was receivable for three of the five days I checked, Nov 8-10, on the Tecsun PL-600. On Nov 10, the signal was strong enough to copy the audio on the Sangean DT-400W barefoot! A nice catch.

WWL-870, New Orleans, LA, is still elusive. One October evening just at sunset I caught WBBM-780, Chicago, IL underneath another station. Chicago is a long way from here, well outside the usual 1200 mile nighttime DX bubble.

Finally, long distance daytime DX is a daily thing. With the tunable loopstick, KKOB-770, Albuquerque, KALL-700, North Las Vegas, NV, and the San Francisco stations KNBR-680, KCBS-740, and KGO-810 are copyable on both the Tecsun PL-600 and Sangean DT-400W. All are in excess of 500 miles except for KKOB.

A day off today, and I might spend it building a box loop! Hope to have more reports soon.


Stephen said...

I think WWL could be possible in western AZ. I've heard it a few times here in El Cajon, CA, either by nulling KRLA Glendale, or by catching it in one of KRLA's fades, or more likely a combination of the two.
Now... if you had an extra large passive loop, like 8 to 10 feet per side or larger... I wonder what AM daytime DX might be possible?

Radio-Timetraveller said...

Hi Stephen,

Farther west than about Benson, AZ (south-central), WWL gets difficult without a loop. That's at night of course. Could be a dead zone in there. From western AZ you have to catch it just at the right time. 4-5AM local time seemed to work for me.

Radio-Timetraveller (Bill)