More AM broadcast band DXing with my 6-foot diagonal wooden-frame “loopzilla”, RTL-SDR dongle, Ham It Up upconverter combo from the back patio. Includes audio of several station identifications, best heard with headphones.
November 23rd, 2014
First, I forgot one in my previous log for the 23rd. I had only been on 1300 kHz for a couple minutes, but caught a top-of-the-hour ident from Mexico:
1300 XEXU, Nogales SO, weak at 10:59pm (0559UT), 100W, call (new), 238 miles
This one rose out of a blend with country music from KROP in California; it’s a little rough, but listen for “ekes-eh-ekes-duble-ooooo” and “Nogales, Sonora”:
November 24th-25th, 2014
This session technically started on the 24th a little after 11pm MST (6UT) and my two logs were indeed before midnight. The FMscan website has a on-line database that predicts what stations should be the strongest for a particular frequency range, including the AM broadcast band. It suggests that I might be able to hear 590 CJCL out of Toronto. I had already logged 4 stations on the frequency, but there’s nothing SW of me on 590, so a SW-NE alignment of the loop might be fruitful. I quickly got ESPN Sports, which matches CJCL, but also matches KXSP out of Omaha. That would be good, too. But, eventually Spanish music faded over, and while I didn’t hear the call letters, I did get a webcast match and over-the-air slogan for a new Mexican station:
590 XEBH, Hermosillo SO, weak at 11:52pm (0652UT), 1000W, slogan and webcast (new), 389 miles
Very luckily, just after what I described in my log as “an unholy mess” at 11:59pm, the cacophony cleared just enough to get the call:
590 KXSP, Omaha NE, weak at 11:59pm, 5000W, call (new), 1011 miles
Not Toronto, but a nice catch anyway. It’s hard to hear, but listen for “K-X-S-P, Omaha’s ESPN Radio …… am590espnradio.com”:
I spent another hour unsuccessfully getting new stations on 600, 610, and 620 kHz, before quitting at 1am.
November 25th-26th, 2014
I was back at it a little before 11pm on the 25th. I ended up on 800 kHz, which is generally dominated by XEROK out of Cuidad Juarez (which used to be a Rock and Roll “border blaster”, befitting its call letters), with occasional XESPN out of Tijuana (which used to be what you would guess it would be, and isn’t anymore). But, I had heard via email of someone else in Arizona picking up KBRV out of Idaho recently despite their nominal 150-watt nighttime power. Sure enough, this night I was able to null out XEROK and occasionally get country music. It didn’t take too much longer to get the call letters leading into the weather:
800 KBRV, Soda Springs ID, weak at 11:37pm (0637UT), 150W, call (new), 562 miles
They identified as “K-B-R-V, The Bear” before then weather, then went into a country song:
Unlike last night, I spent two more hours fruitlessly going for new stations. Half of that was spent on 900 kHz, which at times was completely devoid of audio, just static. I’m wondering if XEDT or some other station was just an open carrier, but not strong enough to completely silence the channel. Anyway, I did occasionally get sound here, but unidentifiable. I tried some other frequencies, but just got re-logs. I should mention that when I’m listening for stations, I usually have something else going on the laptop. So, unless I’m working through frequencies quickly, I’m not just twiddling my thumbs.
Times near sunrise or sunset can be good because the range in timing of the start of nighttime skywave propagation combined with the times when many stations change between daytime and nighttime power. I.e., a station could be on a higher daytime power, but most of the path between you and the station is in darkness, so you get more distant propagation. Plus, other stations on the frequency might already be at their lower power yielding less interference. Unfortunately, since we stay on standard time all year and there’s not as much variation in sunrise/sunset times this far south, work and after work exercise get in the way during the darker half of the year.
But, it’s Thanksgiving vacation, so I set up a little before 4:30pm with local sunset at 5:20pm. I was actually choosing some of the frequencies to try to log some more Arizona stations still based on the principle that skywave can start up with a low sun angle before sunset. Even if I didn’t get the Arizona station, I might get lucky with something further, and that worked out well.
On 790 kHz, I was trying for KNST out of Tucson which drops from 5000 to 500 watts near sunset and doesn’t send a lot of their signal up this way. I was indeed getting talk radio, but country music faded in and after a few minutes I got the call letters:
790 KGHL, Billings MT, weak at 4:40pm (2340UT), 5000W/1800W, call (new), 809 miles
They might have actually been on night power by that point, but I didn’t bother to check what they were supposed to be doing at that exact time. In any case, I got the call letters:
I went down to 760 kHz to try for KTBA out of Tuba City on the Hopi Reservation. This is a longshot due to its 250 watt daytime power and may be a station that I never log from here. I was getting a financial advice program and presumed it was KKZN out of Colorado, which would be a new log. But, right at 4:45pm, the signal suddenly disappeared! The nighttime power cuts are calculated for a particular month to the nearest 15 minutes and generally the same time for the entire month. That would be consistent with Colorado, but I never got a chance to confirm. This left very faint stuff in the background, one of which might have been KTBA, but I gave up.
Then, I got nailed by another nighttime power cut, this time on 600 kHz a few seconds before 5pm (0UT). I think this might have been a new log, but again couldn’t confirm it. Fortunately, I was luckier on 580 kHz. I was trying for KSAZ out of the Tucson area before they dropped from 5000 to 390 watts. I really should be able to get them with their non-directional antenna pattern during the day, but haven’t had any luck. But, sure enough, another state came through almost a minute after the top of the hour:
580 KUBC, Montrose CO, faint at 5:00pm (0000UT), 5000W/1000W, call (new),
Stations can sometimes be granted permission to stay on day power beyond their nominal sunset, and I’m not sure whether sunset had occurred there. But, it was a new log in any case, “K-U-B-C Western Slope weather”:
I worked a few other frequencies until about 20 minutes after sunset, but didn’t log anything else new.