Some new DX coming on 800?

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Some new DX coming on 800?

Postby Toomas Losin » Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:27 pm

The video at http://www.twr.org/powerup presents TWR's plans to increase its 800 kHz Bonaire transmitter power to 450 kW, with antenna patterns targetting Cuba and Brazil. If this happens then Vancouver and the rest of the West Coast would be in the line of fire from the Cuban lobe, or could the antennas be set up for a high takeoff angle to serve just the target area, minimizing DX propagation and interference to others on 800?

How well might it be received in the Lower Mainland? Certainly only DXers would care. Japan has stations in the 400 - 500 kW class that can be heard when conditions are right. Bonaire is 1000 km closer but half the path is over land. Perhaps a better comparison would be with the Caribbean Beacon, which allegedly uses 200 kW (sometimes?) and can be heard here weakly when it does; 450 kW isn't that much more but would still help. Experience with the Carribean Beacon suggests that Bonaire would be heard here, but not every night, and would be very noisy when it is. It would also have to compete with the handful of stations already on 800 that make it here (most often CKOR Penticton).

I wonder if this will actually happen. It would be an echo of those days that mostly predated my DXing activity, back when there were more high-power transmitters in use and I had a few holy grails that I never heard because I came along too late. One of those was PJB 800 Bonaire!
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Re: Some new DX coming on 800?

Postby jon » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:40 pm

PJB was the dominant station on 800 in the 1960s on Sunday nights beginning after 1:00 a.m. when KINY in Juneau, Alaska, signed off. At half a million watts, they were twice the power of any other station I heard on the standard broadcast band, 540-1600 in those days. Although it was rumoured that the simulcast stations from the Peoples Republic of China that could easily be heard a few hours later on many frequencies were running million watt transmitters. And possibly the ones we heard from North Korea, too.

Even "The Big 8", CKLW was often off the air on Sunday nights, sometimes allowing CJAD in Montreal to be heard. Even with CKLW on, hearing CKLW or PJB "in the clear" was simply a matter of moving the loop antenna to the one you wished to listen to, thanks to the very different directions they came from geographically.

XELO with 150,000 watts from Ciudad Juarez was "the pest". Anything really interesting had to wait until the small amount of time each week when they were off the air.

A quick check of the IRCA Mexican Log indicates XELO still bears the XEROK calls they gained during their short-lived Top 40 format, but is now only 50,000 watts. They must be using an old transmitter, as the log indicates they are off the air some Sunday nights for maintenance; modern transmitters are taken off the air once or twice a year.

The problem I think you are going to find is that CHAB in Moose Jaw is always on the air, and they always had a good signal into Vancouver, and will make it totally hopeless for me here in Edmonton, even after CFCW moves from 790 to 840 this summer. Even KGO-810 is likely to cause some adjacent channel problems in Vancouver, given their killer signal.

Half a million, or even a million, watts sounds like a lot, but it doesn't make that much difference at that distance, with other, much closer, stations on the same frequency. The only exception to that statement that comes to mind was when the Russian station on 1250 could be heard under KTW Seattle in Vancouver. Even then, it required a good loop on the best possible null of KTW and a spoken word program where the speaker left long pauses. Not to mention that that was a Pacific Coast Russian station with a 99% water path into Vancouver. PJB has to travel across the complete diagonal of the continental U.S. land mass, after crossing the Caribbean!

All that said, conditions can get really favourable sometimes, as I remember hearing Cuban and Central American stations with the U.S. clear channel station on the same frequency on the air. Without the use of a directional antenna. Or, fairly recently, WBAP-820 from Fort Worth, Texas, all alone here on a car radio, with no sign of KGNW (Seattle), CHAM (Ontario), KCBF (Alaska) or KUTR (Utah).
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Re: Some new DX coming on 800?

Postby Toomas Losin » Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:36 pm

The last time I monitored 800 was a year ago. That night CKOR Penticton was dominant most of the time, followed by CHAB Moose Jaw and KINY Juneau. I last logged KPDQ Portland and XEROK Ciudad Juárez in 2011. So there's plenty of competition/interference on 800.

Last night was a three-way battle between CKOR, which was often dominant, with a weaker CHAB and KINY; eventually KINY became a consistent #2 beneath CKOR - only a DXer would listen to the mix hoping for an ID. That suggests that trying to catch PJB from the Lower Mainland would be simliar to hunting for WBZ Boston on 1030, where one needs to wait for propagation to take out the first few thousand km but let through what lies further away.

BTW, KINY is celebrating 80 years of service per announcements on air.
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Re: Some new DX coming on 800?

Postby skyvalleyradio » Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:54 pm

Toomas beat me to the keyboard but pretty much said what I had planned to write. I too was listening last night & it was a 2-way between semi-regular 'pest' CKOR & KINY. XEROK only shows up during aurora conditions & noted MW DXer Pat Martin In Oregon has stated he thinks the XEROK ground-radials & tower are in very poor condition & probably only putting out 10 -20 kW at best. Toomas is right that 800 is a pretty busy frequency now. Add KPDQ Portland @ 500 watts into the mix; also CHAB when conditions to SK are prevalent & you have a busy frequency. TWR 800 Bonaire was a regular when I was a kid growing up in Kerrisdale with a simple wire antenna & Hallicrafters radio. Once the novelty of receiving it by DXers wears off, it will become a semi-regular pest adding more noise to 800 & interfering with efforts to receive trans-Pacific MW on 801 kHz. For myself with a pre-amplified loop, 2 "sloper" wire antennas, a vertical wire antenna & phasing unit, PJB will mostly serve as a barometer for aurora conditions or other long-haul propagation to the Caribbean or South America
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Re: Some new DX coming on 800?

Postby jon » Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:11 pm

Interesting about KINY and KPDQ. I don't recall ever hearing KINY except after midnight because they were then one time zone behind Vancouver. They don't have a lot more night power now, 7600 vs. 5000 watts, and still non-directional.

KPDQ, of course, was a daytimer in my day.

Then as now, I always marvel at how well CKOR (ex-CKOK) gets out with non-directional 500 watts at night.
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Re: Some new DX coming on 800?

Postby Recordman » Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:06 pm

Also don`t forget CJBQ Belleville Ontario which is 10,000 watts also on 800am.
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Re: Some new DX coming on 800?

Postby jon » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:03 pm

This thread prompted me to look at the latest NRC Pattern Book. Its layout is extremely useful, as it shows a map of North America for each frequency on the AM band, and shows the day and night patterns for each station.

On the page for 800, I found the answer to a nearly 50 year old mystery to me: why I ever heard CJAD.

Turns out that CKLW's day pattern sends no signal in the direction of Vancouver, so they disappear as soon as they switch from night to day pattern. The night pattern sends a small, but significant signal to the West. At the same time, CJAD ups power at their local sunrise to 50KW from 10KW at night. Basically, CKLW disappears about the same time that CJAD appears.

CJBQ appears to send no signal whatsoever in the direction of Vancouver, day or night, to protect CKLW.
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