Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dead Air on 1040 KHz Brings Daytime DX

A belated story from Sunday, May 23.

Tuning across the MW broadcast band with the Tecsun PL-600 early Sunday afternoon, I discovered local powerhouse station WYSL-1040 (20KW, 4.9 miles distant) off the air for some reason. What an opportunity! WYSL normally overloads the receivers here plus or minus 20 to 30 KHz either side of 1040. I grabbed the 24-inch loop and headed for the backyard away from household noise to see what I could hear on 1040 KHz and adjacent frequencies.

20 KHz up, across the Appalachians and coming in nicely with good strength was KYW-1060, Philadelphia, PA (50KW) at a distance of 232.0 miles.

Stronger yet, 10 KHz down on 1050 KHz was CP24 Radio 1050, Toronto, Canada (50KW, ex-CHUM), across Lake Ontario, a distance of 105.0 miles. Approximately 50 miles of this distance is over water, giving a certain amount of signal enhancement due to the lower path loss. On a good day I have heard this station in the spill-over of WYSL with a narrow filter. This signal enhancement axiom seems to be true of all signals coming across the Great Lakes, from Montreal at the east end of Lake Ontario to WJR-760, Detroit, MI, clear across the west end of Lake Erie, nearly 300 miles distant.

On 1040 KHz itself was an ESPN Radio station, at least it was identifying as such. It appeared to be in the New York City area from the talk heard, and at good signal strength. Although they never did give their call letters, the odd thing was that they identified their frequency as 1050 KHz on several occasions! One possibility exists here in that the station might be WEPN-1040 (50KW), 238.6 miles, out of New York City. It is an ESPN Radio station. Very weird that it should identify as transmitting on 1050 KHz when it was most definitely on 1040 KHz. I even had to check the dial several times to make sure I was correct on this.

1030 KHz was vacant, not totally surprising. The only two possibilities here would be WWGB, Indian Head, MD (50KW) at 304.5 miles, and WNJE, Flemington, NJ (15KW) at 217.7 miles, but neither was making the grade. WBZ-1030, Boston, MA (50KW), has a regular appearance at night when WYSL switches to lower power.

Tuning down another 10 KHz, pointing the loop south brought in the obvious in KDKA-1020, Pittsburgh, PA (50KW), at a distance of 200.9 miles with good signal. This oldtimer also comes in well at night after WYSL switches to lower power.

Local WYSL-1040 puts in a daytime 20KW signal here in the neighborhood of ~76 dBu and is the strongest signal on the MW band here at the farm. With an antenna pattern pointed roughly northward, at some 4.25 dB gain in that direction, its effective radiated power is equivalent to some 53 kilowatts aimed right at me, and less than five miles away. WYSL also runs critical hours and nighttime power levels of 13.2KW and 500 watts respectively. Even at the 13.2 KW level during critical hours, its signal is a whopping ~74 dBu. The next closest contender, WHAM-1180 in Rochester, NY (50KW), at 11.2 miles distant, booms in here at some ~64 dBu.

By the way, all the distant stations documented above were also received on the Sangean DT-400W ultralight. With the Tecsun PL-380 just arriving yesterday, it will be interesting to see how it performs in tests against these two powerhouse stations.


JKBDS said...

Very nice blog, Bill. (in Schwarzenegger voice) I'll be back!

Keith Beesley
Seattle WA

gkinsman said...

Hi Bill,

Any thoughts on the PL-380 yet?


Radio-Timetraveller said...

Hi Keith,

Thanks for the nice comment, glad you like the blog.

Hi Gary,

I am working on a comprehensive review of the PL-380 as we speak. Am trying to portray it from a true user's standpoint. Should have it ready in a couple of days, hopefully, and will publish it here.

By the way, I love the radio. I have never been this excited about an ultralight before. It's performance is amazing.


Greg said...

Funny that I've been in exactly the parallel situation here in Toronto, struggling to log WYSL through the noise from CP24 on 1050.

A few comments:

* CP24 on 1050 is still CHUM - those are still the official call letters. If you listen long enough you'll hear them identify as CHUM. I happen to work across the street from CP24. CHUM radio used to be located elsewhere but last year they moved into the same complex and the old CHUM 1050 sign from the old building was re-erected on the wall of the current location, where CP24 is located.

* Odd that you'd hear WEPN on 1040. They're located on 1050 (unless they moved very recently). I can't imagine why they'd move to 1040, because that would greatly increase the interference to them from WBZ in Boston. Especially because WBZ's HD signal goes out on 1040.

Radio-Timetraveller said...

Hi Greg,

Thanks for the update on CHUM. Just saw your comment, some many days later, so sorry for the late reply.

Happy DXing, and good luck on catching WYSL.


Glenn Hauser said...

According to the 2009 NRC AM Log the WEPN station on 1040 is WNJE in Flemington NJ, part of the ``WEPN group`` and relaying 1050 24 hours.
Glenn Hauser, OK