Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spring 2011 DX Notes - Denver To Rochester

Better get the trip caught up so we can move on. We are continuing on across country to New York from Denver. The majority of the reception reports below are daytime loggings, as usual. Local times are noted. Radio is a 2006 Ford Ranger truck radio with extended antenna.

Let me explain. One of the things I did in Denver was to check into the local hobby shop and buy a 36 inch piece of flexible, stainless steel music wire. This I attached to the truck whip antenna, extending it some 30 inches. It improves reception enough to make a difference in marginal situations.

Monday April 18

So, Monday morning about 8:30AM I start out of Denver headed east to New York. The route is I-70. Approaching Kansas, I begin to wonder if I will have a repeat of last year's fantastic daytime DXing experience crossing the high plains of Kansas and Missouri over to the Mississippi River. In that story, you may recall that I logged my best daytime distance record of 827 miles, that being the reception of KKZN-760 (50KW) Denver, Colorado in Pocahontas, Illinois in mid-afternoon, some 36 miles east of the Mississippi River. KGAB-650 (at only 8.5KW!!) Cheyenne, Wyoming was perhaps the better catch that day, logged just as I crossed the Mississippi River at 791 miles.

At 1158L passing mile marker 14 in western Kansas, I log a weak KGNC-710 (10KW) out of Amarillo, TX, at a distance of 241 miles. A weaker station is underneath, perhaps KCMO-710 (10KW) Kansas City, MO at 393 miles, or KNUS-710 (5KW) Denver, CO at 177 miles. Interesting reception, as Amarillo's KGNC's pattern is pointed almost due south and away from me. I am in the exact null of Denver's KNUS and off the side of Kansas City's KCMO.

Somewhere in the next few miles, I pass into Central Daylight Savings Time, crossing the time zone.

At 1323L and mile marker 35, sports station WWLS-640 (5KW), Moore, OK becomes apparent. She is weak, but readable, at a distance of 332 miles.

Five miles further along at mile marker 40, I tune to 690 KHz and catch little Pueblo, CO station KWRP-690 (250W) at 1328L and 193 miles distant. KWRP operates with a single tower, so we have no extra help from pattern gain here. A great catch for this low power and distance.

KXXX-790 (5KW), Colby, KS, just down the road, booms in. It has a good selection of country music.

At 1450L, approaching Wakeeney, KS, near mile marker 125, sports station WHB-810 (50KW) out of Kansas City presents a good signal. This, at a distance of 284 miles to the east.

At Hays, KS, I stop for the night. Like last year, Denver's KHOW-630 (5KW) at 306 miles, KOA-850 (50KW) at 298 miles, and KKZN-760 (50KW) at 310 miles all present excellent signals into Hays. Tomorrow we shall see how far their signals continue on during the daylight hours.

Tuesday April 19

Up early and on the road, as is my custom. It is only 5AM. When on the road in the heartland of the US during pre-dawn early morning hours I always try to make a game out of hearing stations "coast-to-coast", that is, from all four sides of the country. I am not disappointed this morning. Between 0505L and 0548L I log the quad four: KFI-640, Los Angeles, CA, WCCO-830, Minneapolis, MN, WWL-870, New Orleans, LA, and WSB-750, Atlanta, GA. They are all 50KW powerhouse stations with varying signals this time of the morning. KFI-640 out of Los Angeles is the last to be heard at 0548L. She is weak.

At 0558L and still dark, I catch CBC-540 (CBK, Saskatchewan) with some nice Radio Australia programming. 961 miles, but easy nighttime reception. I am passing through Salina.

The sun is up, it is cold, and winter has made another spring appearance today. At 0649L I hear KWMT-540 (5KW), Ft. Dodge, IA at 299 miles. It is snowing, with several inches of snow on the ground already. The local conditions where I am are rain to misting rain. And a cold rain I might add.

Denver's KHOW-630, KOA-850, and KKZN-760 are nowhere to be found now that the sun is up. They will not be heard from again during daylight hours. Conditions are different this year.

Coming into Abilene, KS at 0705L, I log WJAG-780 (1KW) out of Norfolk, NE, at 214 miles. I've never come across this station before. Add another odd "W" in the log west of the Mississippi.

At 0715L, east of Abilene and parked on 790 KHz, I hear mention of "west Texas" from a very weak station. Could this be KFYO-790, Lubbock, TX (5KW)? It does not appear to be Colby, Kansas KXXX-790. Unknown. 462 miles if so. This would be excellent DX.

Forty miles west of St. Louis I stop for the night. Severe weather is about, in the form of hail and tornadoes. The tornado sirens have gone off to a packed Busch stadium, hosting some 40,000 fans to watch a St. Louis Cardinals game.

Wednesday April 20

Another cold, drizzly day. I am hearing WMT-600 (5KW) Cedar Rapids, IA all the way into St. Louis, across the Mississippi, and through southern Illinois and Indiana into Indianapolis nearing mid-day (319 miles). It fades east of Indianapolis.

Spent the night in Mansfield, Ohio, about 50 miles south of Cleveland.

Thursday, April 21

A quick six hour trip home.

Curious station placement in this part of the country is WYNE-1530 (1KW), North East, PA, and Buffalo, NY powerhouse station WWKB-1520 (50KW). Not only are they only 10 KHz apart in frequency, but they are also a scant 65 miles apart in distance along the I-90 corridor connecting Erie, PA and Buffalo. Cruising across I-90 through the northern tip of Pennsylvania, WNYE's 1KW signal is received very strongly. Parked on 1520 KHz trying to receive WWKB, at first I thought I had an IBOC station next door, with all the sideband splatter. I discovered WYNE runs AM stereo. I wondered if WYNE's close proximity to 1520 was the reason I couldn't hear blockbuster WWKB this close to Buffalo.

It wasn't until I got home to Rochester that I discovered why. Buffalo's WWKB-1520 puts almost zero signal into this part of northern Pennsylvania towards the towns of North East and Erie. The entire I-90 corridor running southwest out of Buffalo is in the deepest notch of WWKB's tower pattern. This notch is so good, that WWKB doesn't really even show up on the radio until you get within about 30 miles of Buffalo. Nice antenna work!

WYNE is operated by Mercyhurst North East College. The station is one of those rare stations authorized to operate during daylight hours only.

WYNE is also used as a teaching facility for Mercyhurst North East’s liberal arts/radio broadcasting associate degree program. Students learn everything from on-air broadcasting of news, sports and weather, to how to operate radio equipment, to advertising sales.

Arrived home early afternoon. Back to DXing from the east coast! More to come.