Best Low Power AM DX Catch

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Best Low Power AM DX Catch

Postby jon » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:52 pm

Eldon-Mr.CFAY wrote:what are your best Low Power AM dx catches????

Thought I should start a new thread on this one.

Your own CFAY at 5 watts was pretty good, even if it was only to South Burnaby....

I have a few QSL cards from CBC LPRTs received in Burnaby, and heard a lot more than I could verify because how do you prove which one you heard when there are several on a frequency. I think there were even a few at 20 watts still around then, though the vast majority were 40 watts. But CBXB-860 in Banff is, by far, my best catch, heard through all the B.C. LPRT open carriers, and by nulling XEMO, shortly after Monday morning signon of CBXB.

In the 250 to 1000 watt range, there certainly were quite a few. KMBY-1240 in Monterey, California, was a regular Saturday nights after midnight or so. KBGO-1580 in Waco, Texas was one of the more interesting, around sunset in the winter. At the time, I had assumed they were 500 watts as it was past sunset in Waco, but now I have to wonder if someone forgot to cut the day power from 1000 watts.
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Re: Best Low Power AM DX Catch

Postby Eldon-Mr.CFAY » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:01 pm

Greetings,
Thanks Jon, good idea to start a new thread about Low Power AM DX catches. As I stated previously I would rate KIQS 1560 at 250 watts Daytime Only from Willows, California as one of my best which I got a verified letter from the station for a reception report. As I recall it was on top of the frequency on sunrise skip for close to an hour with KPMC 1560 Bakersfield also on the air at 10,000 watts. KPMC was usually the dominant station at night and most of the time from Surrey and Greater Vancouver on 1560 back in the 70s although other stations came in near sunset and sunrise skip time. I remember trying like crazy to get KDFL 1560 Sumner , Washington many times with its "Music for Pep Cats" slogan!!! KDFL went through quite a few formats and ownership changes but back in the 70s they had some interesting programming at times. Playing obscure and old songs on vinyl with mostly local programming, KDFL was a daytimer too with only 250 watts or 1000 watts later on. Yep I did get them too at sunset skip a few times but not as well as that KIQS reception on 1560. Hearing KURB (later as KAAR and KKNW) on 1510 with only 250 watts Daytime Only from Mountlake Terrace, Washington was another good dx catch especially since KGA 1510 Spokane had 50,000 watts and dominated at night and still does!!! I got a reel taped verification from KURB from Dick Ellingson who was on-air and program director there back around 1970/71, my only reel tape verification by the way from a station!
From Texas hearing WACO 1460 Waco, Texas with only 1000 watts at night and getting them verified by letter was another good dx catch from Surrey and Greater Vancouver, B.C...

Yes Jon interesting your CBC LPRT reception and glad that hearing CFAY in Surrey at 5 Watts from South Burnaby you consider a good AM DX catch too. By the way I hope we verified your reception on that back then too!!!! I cannot remember. I know Brian Crash Williams who did a show on CFAY verified Bruce Portzer hearing us in Seattle with 8 Watts on 1357 khz... back in June 1969. Curious what CBC LPRTS you got verified.??? I know Pat Martin in Seaside, Oregon also has a few verified included on of his favorites, the CBC LPRT in Ucluelet on 540 Khz...

Toomas and others that have dxed please let everyone know what your best Low Power AM station DX is that your have received in terms of lowest station powers.

Getting back to the original thread I hope the FCC does consider a Low Power AM licensed service in the USA, it has been talked about for years and several petitions were put to the FCC a few years ago in the 2000s to create this. As I previously stated there are hundreds of Legal Part 15 stations using FCC certified State of the Art Transmitters to broadcast on AM 24/7 with mostly local unique programming and practically all of them are independently owned. They get out in groundwave coverage anywhere from 1 to 4 miles or more using the Rangemaster Transmitter out of Cary, North Carolina or the Chez Radio (out of Bolton, Ontario) Pro-Caster Transmitter (both FCC and Industry Canada Certified) which are state of the art 100 milliwatt AM transmitters with 10 Foot Antennas and loading coils. One trick which we never knew about way back in the ole home-brew transmitter days is that if you mount a 100 Milliwatt State of the Art Transmitter up on a tower and feed the audio programming to it say up 30 ot 50 feet you will get out quite a distance!!! Much more than lower down, I thought that height made only a difference for FM broadcasting but apparently makes a big difference for low power Part 15 Transmitting too!!! Your antenna is still only 10 Feet in length (like a long whip antenna) mounted as part of the transmitter case but all mounted on a small tower , mast, water tower etc...
Part 15 stations in the USA are doing this, one in Indianapolis called KTGR (TRue Gospel Radio with Black Gospel/Urban all local programming) started by Reggie and operating on 1700 khz. gets out with a 50 feet mast up to 6 miles away! He has a neat video showing his installation and describes it in detail. He is using a Chez Pro-Caster Canadian made transmitter out of Bolton, Ontario and highly recommends them! Other part 15 stations include LCR (Langley Community Radio) on 1610 khz. in Langley-Washington (using a Rangemaster Transmitter), WPAU 1640 Paulding, Ohio, KCRJ 1640 (Gulch Radio) Jerome, Arizona, and many others. Some Part 15 AM stations use more than one Rangemaster Transmitter or Chez Radio Pro-Casters in series at various distances to increase their range too. Both Rangemaster and Chez Radio describe how you can do this from their websites in considerable detail. One Canadian Station using a Part 15 Transmitter and getting out quite well with a fulltime Old Radio Dramas format (24/7) is Rumsey Retro Radio in the small Alberta town of Rumsey, Alberta east towards Drumheller. They used to be in Sherwood Park near Edmonton but moved a year or two ago. They operate fulltime on 1580 khz. AM and also stream their programming on the net. So do quite a few other Part 15 AM stations across the USA, they stream on the net. simultaneously.

Anyway take care and interesting to hear about your low power AM Dx catches. Best of dx to you this fall, hope you hear some good AM DX!!!!

73s Eldon
Bye . . Mr. CFAY "Frequently On The Frequency"
The CFAY Website: http://cfayradio.wordpress.com
CFAY Radio: http://tinyurl.com/l9qqmh
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Re: Best Low Power AM DX Catch

Postby Toomas Losin » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:50 pm

I don't remember any spectacular catches as I don't look at power too much. I don't even log power unless I'm alert that it's something special; If I hear something low powered it's because I got lucky.

Thinking about this, there are a handful of Washington and Oregon low-power stations that sometimes show up when I'm trying for something further away; I'd need to look up their power. Then there are the TIS stations on 1610 that I've heard a few times: WQBV569 in Union Gap, and WQEL572 which is used by the US Coast Guard on the Washington coast. There's been a faint carrier on 530 many times which I assume is a TIS somewhere but I haven't heard audio the few times I've tried.

I've also heard very faint CBC transmissions on frequencies where there aren't any listed. The first time was years ago before I knew about CBC relays and wondered if it was just intermodulation. Now one can look it up online to see what's supposed to be there. I think the last time I heard one there was a choice of possible relays.

I've had some surprisingly low-powered beacons from Alaska on the order of 20 Watts but those are longwave (although ICW 525 and SQM 529 are essentially mediumwave). That band has the advantage of mostly being free of cacophony, unlike mediumwave.

KVNS 1700 Brownsville, TX has shown up alone a few times and sometimes can be heard beneath XEPE. Its allegedly 880 Watts at night.

Not strictly low power but I was very impressed at hearing 4BC Brisbane with a night power of 6.3 kW. I didn't believe that little power could make it the 12,000 km to the Lower Mainland so it wasn't even on my list of Australian stations to try for. I heard it by accident while trying for a Chinese station in the 100 kW class; then, it showed up five nights out of the next seven with an ID heard three nights. I was impressed by the power and distance, and took away the lesson about what the ionosphere can do!
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Re: Best Low Power AM DX Catch

Postby kal » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:35 pm

Probably belongs in another thread but you DX guys may be able to help.

This morning, just after 5 am, CBU 690 went off the air without warning. For the next half hour, until the signal returned at 5:30 am, I could hear a weak French language station. Any idea what that station might have been?
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Re: Best Low Power AM DX Catch

Postby jon » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:29 pm

By that time of the day, CBKF-690 in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, would have been on their single tower, non-directional day pattern. 5000 watts would give them a decent signal with CBU off the air. At night, they have a tight null towards Vancouver, but a strong lobe towards Edmonton, which is why they typically dominate CBU here.
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