Sunday, October 31, 2010

DXing From The Road, Fall 2010

I am currently in southwestern Arizona after crossing the country from Rochester, New York in the last few days of September and the first part of October. Of course I did some mediumwave DXing along the way. The general route was I-90 to Cleveland, I-71 to Columbus, then I-70 all the way into Denver, cutting through St. Louis and Kansas City. From Denver I drove again via I-70 on to Moab, Utah, then south on US 191/163 through red rock canyon country across the Navajo reservation to Flagstaff, AZ, then on from there. Pictured is graveyarder KCPX-1490 (1KW) in Spanish Valley, Utah, ten miles south of Moab.

Here are some DXing highlights from the trip. Note that I did day-to-day checking on some regulars like KOA-850, Denver, and R. Enciclopedia-530, Havana, Cuba. Some may find this redundant; I find it is interesting to see how propagation changes in reception of these stations as you cross the country. Mileages are from the reception point indicated. Times are local (L). The Tecsun PL-380 was barefoot.

Monday, September 27.

First day out. Rain all day, and lots of highway construction, typical. On the truck radio, all across I-90 in northern Pennsylvania and Ohio, boomer KDKA-1020, Pittsburgh, PA (50KW) comes in quite nicely (about 100 miles distant). Best listening station in this area is WKTX-830 (1KW), Cortland, OH, daytime only. It is locally owned, proud of it, and plays a nice variety of old music, mostly 1950s. I wish there were more of these locally owned stations.

Stressed from the rain, I moteled it in Mansfield, Ohio, about 50 miles south of Cleveland. I found myself only one-half mile from Mansfield's own graveyarder WMAN-1400 (1KW). The PL-380 desensed a little on the nearby adjacent channels due to the big signal, but reception was not affected out past +/-30 KHz or so.

Tuesday, September 28. Mansfield, Ohio.

Same night, Monday night after midnight actually. I woke up just after midnight and decided to do a little motel DXing with the PL-380.

0015L WHLO-640, Akron, OH (500W). 51 miles.
0028L R. Rebelde-600, Cuba. Latest location info I have shows Holguin, Cuba, 1424 miles. Good signal.
0033L CIAO-530, Brampton, ON. 237 miles. East Indian music.
0043L WMOB-1360, Mobile, AL (212W). 760 miles. Good catch for low power.

Up again at 0515L, getting ready to hit the road. Raining hard. PL-380.

0531L R. Enciclopedia-530, Havana, Cuba. 1223 miles. Great signal.
0540L KVNS-1700, Brownsville, TX (880W). 1337 miles. Another good catch for low power.
0605L KOA-850, Denver, CO (50KW). 1173 miles.
0645L WTRU-830, Kernersville, NC (10KW). 340 miles. "The Truth", over WCCO-830, Minneapolis, MN.
0642L WGY-810, Schenectady, NY (50KW). 461 miles.

It is interesting to note that Cuba seems to always boom into Ohio (and Indiana). I have found this to be the case on all my trips through the midwest. Cuba is much weaker in Rochester, and seasonally sporatic when casually listening without the help of loops, etc.

By Tuesday night I make it all the way to High Hill, Missouri, a quiet exit off of I-70 with two motels and not much else, about 70 miles west of St. Louis. Noise level is low.

Wednesday, September 29. From the motel using the PL-380.

0402L CKDO-1580, Oshawa, ON (10KW). 737 miles.
0404L WZRX-1590, Jackson, MS (1KW). 456 miles.
0408L R. Enciclopedia-530, Havana, Cuba. About 1400 miles. Fair signal, not nearly as good a Ohio-Indiana.
0420L WCBS-880, New York, NY (50KW). 940 miles. Good signal.
0422L KOA-850, Denver, CO (50KW). 717 miles. Strong signal.
0429L WABC-770, New York, NY (50KW). 925 miles.

Wednesday afternoon, using the truck radio. I-70 mile marker 220, central Kansas. It is early afternoon and the sun is high in the sky. Denver is a still long way off, but I find Denver is making a strong daytime DX appearance already. I should have checked these stations 50 or 100 miles ago when I was closer to Kansas City.

KHOW-630 (5KW). 367.5 miles.
KKZN-760 (50KW). 370.0 miles.
KOA-850 (50KW). 356.1 miles.

The surprise here is little KHOW-630 with only 5 kilowatts, received at 367.5 miles. Its signal was better than KKZN-760's 50KW signal! This distance would be impossible during daytime hours on the east coast.

Wednesday night puts me into Hays, Kansas. From the motel using the PL-380.

2059L CBW-900 (CBC), Winnipeg, MB. 761 miles. Interesting interview with Ingrid Betancourt.
2106L WSM-650, Nashville, TN (50KW). 717 miles. Fair signal.
2110L KRSL-990 (30 watts), Russell, Kansas. 27 miles. Weak. Flea power. Much competition from a couple of other unknown stations. Interesting that 30 watts struggles over a distance of only 27 miles at night.

Thursday, September 30. Hays, Kansas. Still at the motel. PL-380.

0420L R. Enciclopedia-530, Havana, Cuba. 1480 miles. Weak.

No more DXing was noted until I hit Utah.

Thursday, October 7. From a desert campsite ten miles north of Moab, Utah. Reception approximately one hour before local sunset time. PL-380.

KKOH-780, Reno, NV (50KW). 541 miles.
WBBM-780, Chicago, IL (50KW). 1161 miles. Weak, under KKOH.
WSM-650, Nashville, TN (50KW). 1271 miles. Mixed with KMTI-650, Manti, UT.

Sunday, October 10. Three miles north of Mexican Hat, Utah. Mexican Hat is about as remote and far away as you can get from mediumwave outlets in this part of the southwest. The closest station is KVFC-740 in Cortez, CO, 73 miles distant, a little 1KW outlet. Big gun KTNN-660 (50KW), The Voice Of The Navajo Nation, is 96 miles, and its not-overpowering -95dBm strength is still heads and shoulders above any other station.

A mid-afternoon low bandscan (530 KHz - 1000 KHz) was done, using the PL-380.

1437L KLLV-550, Breen, CO (1.8KW). 97 miles.
1439L KTNN-660, Window Rock, AZ (50KW). 96 miles. The powerhouse.
1441L KOAL-750, Price, UT (10KW). 173 miles. Weak.
1441L KVFC-740, Cortez, CO (1KW). 73 miles.
1442L KHAC-880, Tse Bonito, NM (10KW). 115 miles. Weak.
1444L KNDN-960, Farmington, NM (5KW). 94 miles. "K-Indian" Navajo station with great country music.

That's it! Only a half a dozen stations could be heard between 530 and 1000 KHz. And about half of them were weak. Talk about a quiet band. Coupled to the 24-inch loop, many more stations were received. It is amazing how much extra signal even a 24-inch loop provides, making a dead band come to life.

It is interesting to bandscan with the PL-380 in such an extremely quiet location. The PL-380 has more whistles, strange whoops and heterodynes than I thought.