In AM 730's absence ...

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In AM 730's absence ...

Postby radiofan » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:59 am

Around 11PM last night CKDM 730 in Dauphin, MB was booming into Pitt Meadows with a nice clean signal.

Also, nice clean strong signals from KDWN 720 in Las Vegas, NV and CBX 740 Edmonton.

Hopefully a few others from the Western US on 730 will make an appearance soon.
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby jon » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:59 am

Late yesterday, I wrote this piece for Dan Sys' Canadian Radio News on Facebook:
730 DX OPPORTUNITIES

Despite the fact that it is only a couple of weeks since the longest day of the year, reception from Mexico (XEPRS-1090 and XERF-1570) was reported as far away as Edmonton in the last week, so 100KW XEX-730 from Mexico City might be worth a try, depending on where you live, by nulling out CKDM (Dauphin, Manitoba).

A lot depends on whether KULE in Ephrata, Washington, actually cuts their power to their licensed 29 watts at night. A Seattle DX'er that I spoke with told me that many U.S. stations in the Pacific Northwest are not reducing their power as much as they should be at night.

KNFL in Boise, Idaho, may even be an even bigger problem for some, with its night-time 500 watts and four-sided star pattern almost matching N-S-E-W compass directions.

Those close enough to Edmonton will also find CBX-740 provides enough adjacent channel interference to drown out any chance of XEX.

Definitely worth a listen if DX is of interest, and you regularly received CHMJ-730 from Vancouver.

Soon after, I found some mailing list threads from a DX club I belong to, and they were reporting reception of station(s) from the South Pacific on 729 KHz! That kind of reception comes in the early hours of the morning when there is a darkness path between you and the South Pacific.
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby skyvalleyradio » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:55 pm

DXing for over 50 years now, this is my first opportunity to DX 730 from home and I've got all the easy ones now! After logging Spanish-language music station KULE Ephrata via ground-wave, KYYA Billings showed up with syndicated talk (Jim Bohannon show). Some sources list this station having a sports format. Next is KNFL "ESPN Boise" and last evening CKDM Dauphin just after sunset. Watching for favourable overnight propagation to the Pacific, I've gotten up the last few mornings approx 4am on the hunt for 20 kW R. Polynesie in Tahiti on 738. Weak carrier only the first few nights, but early this morning I was rewarded just after 4am with a sudden spike in signal & heard reggae, Hawaiian/Pacific music & hip-hop with a French language DJ. I never did get a solid ID in the 1/2 hr of usable audio before the signal took a dive, but make the assumption this was Tahiti. Now comes the big challenge: 100 kW XEX in Ciudad Mexico but this will require strong Aurora conditions favouring Mexican signals and a low noise floor - difficult in summer. 900 XEW Ciudad Mexico shows up a 1/2 dozen times every winter during aurora conditions but I've never logged it during summer. Regional DXers in Wash. don't seem to log XEX so this is a real long shot. Regarding Wash. AMs not powering down at sunset, this is sometimes the case. However, I've been monitoring 730 since CHMJ left the air last Sunday & every evening KULE has powered down to 36 watts at sunset. KULE during the daytime with 1 kW can often be heard here so I think the signal from Ephrata does quite well here at the coast. Even during darkness, I can sometimes hear KULE very faintly in the noise or while adjusting my phaser box between my wire sloper antenna & amplified tunable loop. Logging 5 new AM stations within a single week hasn't happened for a long, long time!! :walk:
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Re: AM 730 knocked off air by Burns Bog fire

Postby kal » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:28 am

Here at the top of Citadel Heights in PoCo I cannot pick up any signal from AM730. That's on my trusty Grundig G8.

I'm really interested to get back into AM DXing. In childhood my goal was to knock off one station (or more) for every frequency on the AM band. I still have my WRTV handbook with the entries crossed off and pretty much accomplished my goal. I used a big Telefunken radio and various long wire antennae.

I'd love to get back into this and would welcome some advice on hardware and antennae.
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Re: AM 730 knocked off air by Burns Bog fire

Postby jon » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:16 am

I could say a lot on the subject, but I am nowhere near the authority on DX that you will find in the IRCA membership. Membership is $10 per year for 34 issues a year delivered by e-mail as Adobe PDF documents. Here is the e-mail to ask for info and join: ircamember@ircaonline.org

As I understand it, for the standard broadcast band (520-1710 KHz), there are three price points for receivers:
  1. Portables for under $200, many below $100
  2. Traditional Communications Receivers with the Icom IC-R7x series generally considered the best of the bunch under $800
  3. Software-Defined Radios, which capture huge swatches of the band at the same time and store a digital recording on your computer; a Seattle DX expert that I know just bought the Elad FDM-S2
Then there are antennas. There are special considerations if you are close to local AM transmitters, some that also effect your choice of receiver.

As for North American station lists, the National Radio Club offers member pricing to IRCA members for its AM Radio Log and AM Station Antenna Pattern Book. I also recommend the IRCA Mexican Log, and the IRCA Sunrise/Sunset Map set. All these are paper publications.
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby jon » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:41 am

I moved Kal's post here as the majority of it is about DX.

I should also mention that, at the low end, I ended up using two portable C.Crane radios for DX: the CCRadio-EP and the CC Skywave. As it turns out, each "sounds different" when listening to a given frequency for distant stations. So much so that you might miss something "important" if you only used one.

The added advantage of the CCRadio-EP is that it allows you to turn off the internal AM and FM antennas and attach an external antenna. The internal AM antenna can easily overload when 50KW transmitters are nearby. For example, even several miles from the CFRN-1260 transmitter, you can hear CFRN under semi-local CKJR-1440! But you will need an external audio amplifier, such as ghetto blaster, if you use an unamplified external antenna like the TERK Advantage.
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby skyvalleyradio » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:33 pm

kal - the biggest barrier to contemporary AM DXing is noise pollution. Computers, compact flourescent bulbs, shitty Chinese-made power supplies in modern electronics such as big-screen TVs, your neighbour's grow-op, hydro lines especially those with bad transformers. Without being smug, I daresay it's worse in the cities than out here in the sticks where there's enough space between my antennas & sources of RF noise. Blame Industry-Canada (or whatever they're called these days) the FCC etc for not enforcing more rigid standards. However, before you get discouraged, others ARE DXing from urban locations but are sometimes hampered on occasion due to an unforseen noise source. To get the most out the hobby in 2016, a good hi-quality amplified, tunable loop such as the Quantum DX Pro v3.0 I am using is a must. The passive Terk Advantage works great on a cheapie budget but won't drag out the real weak ones ypu're after. Many urban AM DXers prefer using one of the current crop of excellent portables - such as the Sangean ATS-909X or new Tecsun PL880 which is getting good reviews. This allows you to jump in the vehicle, head away from the crowded, urban areas away from the noise for some serious DXing. The Icom R7x series of desktops receivers that jon mentions are no longer made or available. Among my receivers, I use the excellent Icom R75 - the last production unit of these just recently sold out. i won't bother getting into the subject of outdoor, wire ,flag or beverage antennas unless you have a ton of real estate to work with. :-)The IRCA hard-copy references that jon mention are good to have. However, these are out of date before they even hit the printer. I Do recommend joining IRCA if you want to share resources/loggings/station info with an eager world-wide community dedicated to AM DX. There are a number of excellent, current station listings & logging info always kept up to date. The best Canadian station reference guide is by Dan Sys, well-known contributor to RW. Dan's monthly "Canadian Radio News" takes care of the current changes" Hopefully, there's some info here you can use, & we'd welcome having some more re-discover the fun of DXing the AM dial at night :rockon:
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby kal » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:58 pm

Thanks for all of this information. I'm most grateful.

My real interest at one time was SWL and then I got my advanced ham ticket but I haven't done anything there, other than an occasional foray onto 2 m, in 35 y. My HF rig is good for a museum though. It must span a meter and a half.

Collecting QSL cards from AM and SWL was a lot of fun. I have a CJJR card from its early days but my favourite is from Radio Hanoi in the early 70s. It wasn't common to be addressed as "comrade"!
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby skyvalleyradio » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:01 pm

for kal & any other AM DX wannabe's here are THE reference guides to have handy & minimized on your computer while DXing (noise considerations aside!)

Barry McLarnon's Canada/US station look-up. Kept updated thanks to input from DXers, you can enter your latitude/longitude to get exact distances to DX target antenna towers:

http://www.topazdesigns.com/ambc/

For international DX, particularly current info for chasing trans-Pacific DX, MWList is an important reference tool:

http://www.mwlist.org/mwlist_quick_and_ ... ea=3&kHz=0

Current version of the FCC's search tool has references for US/Canada/UK/ireland/Australia/Japan including technical data & often coverage maps:

http://fccdata.org/?

This reference has webstream & website links if any & is kept relatively current. Has search tools for FM & TV too:

http://streamingradioguide.com/radio-st ... -state.php

US AM coverage maps separated into 'day' & 'night' databases:

http://www.nf8m.com/patternmaps.html

well-known DXer Alan Davies maintains & keeps updated this essential tool for chasing trans-Pacific AM DX. Has FM 7 TV too:

http://www.asiawaves.net/

Sunrise & sunset are magical times for DXers - often enhancement occurs at this transitional time for the ionosphere & it's effects on night-time "skywave" (DX) reception. Enhancement can occur at either or both the target transmitting station &/or the DX listener depending upon a number of factors. Having exact info of an AM broadcasters' sunrise & sunset times is desirable:

https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/local-s ... lculations

have fun! :wave:
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby jon » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:13 pm

Like skywave, I cannot overemphasize the value of sunrise/sunset times used by stations. They are based on the 15th of the current month, at the transmitter site, and rounded to the closest 15 minute mark on the clock.

Beyond interesting reception enhancements mentioned by skywave, especially at the beginning or each of the month, a huge thing is being able to calculate when different stations on the same frequency change to/from night pattern. It often provides unique 15 minute windows when one station is on day pattern/power and another on night pattern/power, allowing you to hear one of them when the other would normally drown it out. I used these calculations to correctly identify a time when Dan Sys could hear CJLI-700 from Calgary, without being drowned out by a station near Spokane.

In a more general sense, of course, sunrise/sunset maps give you a clue about when you might hear a station based on a Darkness Path to it when the normally dominant station on the same frequency is gone thanks to a mostly Light Path to it.

There are more opportunities than you might think to use these times since sunrise and sunset vary not just East and West, but also North and South except during the Equinox periods that begin Spring and Fall.
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby xwdcatvb » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:22 pm

jon wrote:Late yesterday, I wrote this piece for Dan Sys' Canadian Radio News on Facebook:
730 DX OPPORTUNITIES

Despite the fact that it is only a couple of weeks since the longest day of the year, reception from Mexico (XEPRS-1090 and XERF-1570) was reported as far away as Edmonton in the last week, so 100KW XEX-730 from Mexico City might be worth a try, depending on where you live, by nulling out CKDM (Dauphin, Manitoba).

A lot depends on whether KULE in Ephrata, Washington, actually cuts their power to their licensed 29 watts at night. A Seattle DX'er that I spoke with told me that many U.S. stations in the Pacific Northwest are not reducing their power as much as they should be at night.

KNFL in Boise, Idaho, may even be an even bigger problem for some, with its night-time 500 watts and four-sided star pattern almost matching N-S-E-W compass directions.

Those close enough to Edmonton will also find CBX-740 provides enough adjacent channel interference to drown out any chance of XEX.

Definitely worth a listen if DX is of interest, and you regularly received CHMJ-730 from Vancouver. Soon after, I found some mailing list threads from a DX club I belong to, and they were reporting reception of station(s) from the South Pacific on 729 KHz!


Really? Radio Sport from Whangarei, or RNZ National from Tokoroa?

Who wuz that? Haven't seen either of those mentioned by IRCA or <ultralight> guys...
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby jon » Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:17 pm

Oops, looks like I misread. 729 New Caledonia was what everybody was talking about, but not hearing. 738 Tahiti was what people were hearing.
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Re: In AM 730's absence ...

Postby xwdcatvb » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:27 pm

jon wrote:Oops, looks like I misread. 729 New Caledonia was what everybody was talking about, but not hearing. 738 Tahiti was what people were hearing.


And likewise, I'd fergotten about Nouvelle-Caledonie's relay on 729. It's interesting all three exist so relatively close together in a rough NW to SE line, especially the two Kiwis as they're only ~350km apart, and AFAIK both are ND.

At least the biggie across The Ditch -- 5RN in Adelaide, SA at 50 kW -- is far enough west to be less of a nuisance.
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