Vancouver's short-wave station CKFX

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Postby skyvalleyradio » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:02 am

In todays CRTC apps, Rogers has applied to delete the license of CKFX - the long running short-wave simulcast of CKWX. Apparently, its been off air for some time - how long I don't know. I have talked with other hams and short-wave enthusiasts all over the globe who have logged this little 10 watt signal in the short-wave 49 meter band which mostly functions as a long-distance medium when both the transmitter and receiver have a path of darkness between them (or sunrise/sunset). In my collection of radio station directories going back to the early 1920's, the first reference I can find to CKFX is 1931. Can anyone tell me when this short-wave transmitter first came on air? Did Sparks Holstead first fire up this transmitter when he moved CFDC (first callsign for 'WX) from Nanaimo to Vancouver to serve marine traffic?
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Postby jon » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:07 am

According to a biography of the late Laurie Irvine, written by Gord Lansdell on broadcasting-history.ca, CKFX shortwave went on the air somewhere between 1934 and 1937, simulcasting CKFC. It is easy to get confused because the CKFX call letters have been used by other stations over the years.

I'm going from memory here, but the CKWX's shortwave simulcast transmitter went off the air in the late '90s in a "death due to natural causes", i.e. - old age. When it became clear that there was no plans by Rogers to put it back on the air, a group of local enthusiasts offered to pay all the expenses. But Rogers still refused.

The CRTC request is clearly a more formal way to deal with the situation.
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Postby Jack Bennest » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:33 am

Image


more later
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Postby skyvalleyradio » Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:38 pm

wow! I love the QSL card, Top Dog. The only CKFX card I've seen was from the 1950's and belonged to a ham op I knew as a kid!
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Postby cart_machine » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:52 pm

jon wrote: I'm going from memory here, but the CKWX's shortwave simulcast transmitter went off the air in the late '90s in a "death due to natural causes", i.e. - old age. When it became clear that there was no plans by Rogers to put it back on the air, a group of local enthusiasts offered to pay all the expenses. But Rogers still refused.

I asked Jack Wiebe about this when he was still working for the company and he told me the tx was deemed too expensive to operate.

cArtie.
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Postby Dan Sys » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:24 pm

Yeah, this is really sad news for all us old time DX'ers. Back in the 60's & 70's there was a certain amount of prestige involved among Short Wave DX'ers (world wide) to log CKFX 6080 and get a QSL card. The chief engineer at WX in that era was bombarded with CKFX reception reports from Short Wave enthusiasts everywhere from Australia to Finland.

Not sure when they unofficially signed off (haven't been into Shortwave for years), but the CKFX calls have been in North Bay, Ontario at 102.1 (The Fox) since the late 90's/early 00's):
http://www.foxradio.ca/

Vancouver does have another Shortwave station though, which is still on the air according to the CBC website:
http://www.cbc.ca/frequency/shortwave.html
CKZU 6160 (the CBU-690 repeater) was also heard world-wide back then, but with 500 watts it was a much easier catch.
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Postby skyvalleyradio » Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:40 am

Dan Sys wrote:Vancouver does have another Shortwave station though, which is still on the air according to the CBC website:
http://www.cbc.ca/frequency/shortwave.html
CKZU 6160 (the CBU-690 repeater) was also heard world-wide back then, but with 500 watts it was a much easier catch.

I haven't heard this in a long time because its usually buried in the mud that is 49 meters. I usually try for this when out vacationing on the beaches of Tofino with my 300' wire strung through the shoreline trees but no luck - even in the daytime when the band is mostly dead. Wonder how much power CKZU is running these days?
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Postby johnsykes » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:38 am

I remember very clearly when I first moved to Vancouver in 1969, WX, when it did its mandatory station breaks, CKFX was proudly mentioned too. Too bad its gone...if anything, it served as a great ad for Canadian radio to listeners elsewhere in our world.
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Postby Jack Bennest » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:08 pm

from the more later bureau


dennis duffy's book - imagine please


"CKFC and its shortwave counterpart VE9CS remained under the direct control of
United Church until 1936, when they were leased to the Standard Broadcasting Company (not standard broadcasting) ,

The company agreed to carry the scheduled church broadcasts and sell the balance of the time to approved sponsors. The shortwave operation continued as
CKFX. Laurie Irvine was engineer and Ian Clark was manager."-

Ian Clark became owner of CFJC in Kamloops
Laurie Irving was at CFJC - then WX and later BCIT
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Postby Dan Sys » Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:29 am

Sky:

300 foot wire in the trees? In the world of BCB DX'ers that used to be called a beverage antenna. I once participated in a beverage DX'pedition to Jordan River in the 80's with legendary Victoria DX'er Nick Hall-Patch. It was pouring rain and we were soaked right through, but we did manage to log AM stations from Japan & Australia.

Needless to say a lot of Molson & Labatt beverages were popped open to compliment the outing. Wonder if that's how beverage antennas got their name?

According to this copy/paste of a search from the TV Radio World site, CKZU is operating with 1,000 watts these days:

TvRadioWorld Local Broadcaster Matches
? British Columbia
Vancouver BC
6160 - CKZU (CBC Radio 1) (1kW) // CBU-690... news/information
Click for FCC data | Click for address information
Vancouver BC
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Postby skyvalleyradio » Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:11 pm

Dan - thanks for the power info on 6160 kHz. Beverage antenna? I think the beverage was in your hand and the antenna on your hat :lol: 300' of wire strung along the shoreline at Tofino has yielded AM signals from all over the Pacific on a good communications rig in fall & winter months. My best catch from there is 1575 kHz in Bangkok supposedly at 500 kW output power. I've run into a number of DXers over the years out there who like to set up shop for some vacation DXing with similar setups. I've done a little FM DXing from Jordan River too - but on the FM band when tropospheric enhancement along the Pacific coast can yield even low-power FM signals from Wash, Oreg & ocasionally northwest Calif on a good vehicle radio when conditions are excellent!
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Postby jon » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:16 pm

There is an annual DXpedition to the Washington coast West of Hoquiam that yields some incredible results. As well as Trans-Pacific on medium wave (Broadcast Band), some years they also get Trans-Atlantic DX from Europe and Africa.

In October 1979, while driving through Coos Bay (Oregon) at noon, I noticed the 40 watt CBC repeater on 540 KHz in Ucluelet (like Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island) one of the strongest stations on the dial on the low-end car radio.

The Pacific Ocean is a marvelous conduit for DX.
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Postby Dan Sys » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:53 pm

Sky:

The beverages are always in my hand! However, just out of curiosity I did a bit of research on the beverage antenna and it turns out that it got its name from one Dr. Harold Beverage:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Beverage
A bit more about beverage antennas from the Manitoba DX Assn:
http://www.angelfire.com/mb/amandx/bevant.html


Jon:

Not too many CBC LPRT's are left on the AM band anymore, but 540 in Ucluelet is still there and I doubt they will ever flip that one to FM because of its abnormal coverage. That thing is heard all up & down the West Coast.
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Postby sparky » Fri Apr 13, 2007 3:16 pm

It's probably been 35 years since I've been near a Short Wave radio.

Just wondering if CFVP [Voice Of The Prairies] from Calgary at 6030 is still on the air? I believe it was operated by CFCN 1060. Is CKMX sending out Classic Country music to the world on this one?
"You get a bunch of clowns together and sooner or later you've got a circus"
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Postby jon » Fri Apr 13, 2007 3:46 pm

Not sure, but CFVP is still licensed, next coming up for renewal August 31, 2010. And, yes, it is licensed to simulcast CKMX.
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