AM broadcast band DXing with:
Antenna 1: 6-foot diagonal wooden-frame loop (“loop”)
Antenna 2: 23-foot “fishing rod” vertical with MFJ-1020C amplified pre-selector (“vertical”)
Combiner: Quantum Phaser (“phaser”)
Receiver: RTL-SDR dongle, Ham It Up upconverter into laptop
Includes audio of some station identifications, best heard with headphones. All times given in MST and UT; the dates are MST.
December 28th, 2014
Santa brought me a new laptop (although I seem to remember getting the bill) and this was my first big session with it. It has much better battery life, which is nice because I can’t be plugged if in if I’m using the amplified vertical antenna, thus I lose my phased setup. I can still run just the loop, but I like having the phaser option.
I started at 4:54pm (2354UT) at 1320 kHz and gradually worked my way down the dial, catching some of the usual suspects. However, I did get a webcast match to 1300 KAPL Phoenix OR, but unfortunately it faded out before I could hear anything over the air specific to that station, so another missed opportunity. I did finally get one new one, although just based on their very specific slogan, “This is Riverside’s best sports talk, Fox Sports 1350” (I did finally hear the call letters for this one in January):
1350 KTDD, San Bernardino CA, weak at 6:37pm, 600, slogan and city (new; phaser), 277 miles
I decided to leave the computer recording on 1340 kHz from 7:15-8:07pm (0307UT) to see if something new would bubble up, but despite hearing at least three different stations in the recording, nothing to log.
December 29th, 2015
I set up just before 8pm (3UT) and decided to work in the same frequency range as yesterday. I sat on 1320 kHz for more than an hour getting re-logs of KFNZ and KAWC, but also picking up an unidentified Spanish-language station that I never could figure out.
My next stop on 1240 kHz was much more productive. This is one of the six “graveyard” frequencies where there are hundreds of 1kW stations around the country that sort of blend together into a fog unless you have one nearby. As propagation varies, various stations will briefly pop up and hopefully while they are identifying themselves. That happened, and I heard something like “NewsTalk 1240 K-?-?-Y”. I eventually went back to the audio recording, applying a bit of frequency filter, and was surprise to get:
1240 KODY, North Platte NE, weak at 9:22pm (0422UT), 1000W, call (new; phaser), 785 miles
That is a long distance for a graveyarder!! I’m helped by living out west where the overall station density is much less, but there are literally about 30 equally powered stations on this frequency closer than North Platte that I haven’t logged. The actually audio was “…coverage of the Nebraska Cornhuskers on NewsTalk 1240, K-O-D-Y, North Platte”, and here is the recording:
Then at 9:31pm (0431UT), I caught an ad saying “only one place in Durango…”, which had to have been KDGO. Unfortunately, that faded right out and did not come back for me to get a good ID. Another one for my “wish list”.
I had a bit of a mystery on 1250 kHz. I kept hearing a Spanish-language station with music, and a slogan that sounded like “La Estacion Que Ma(s)!”. The end of that may be wrong, my Spanish isn’t very good at all. I wasn’t able to match that with anything on the online lists that I usually use.
Off to graveyarder 1340 kHz again. Unlike striking out on nearly an hour’s listening last night, after about 20 minutes, a call suddenly bubbled up, and one that I really wanted:
1340 KIKO, Miami AZ, medium at 10:44pm (0544UT), 1000W, call (new; phaser), 122 miles
It’s an oldies station, but it’s too weak to get on groundwave during the day, and probably not far enough away to get reliable skywave propagation here. One step closer to finishing Arizona.
I thought maybe I had another new one on 1340, but it turned out to just be a re-log of KACH Preston ID, which is over 500 miles away, so still a good catch here for the second time. After that, I worked my way up to 1370, where I stuck around for a while, and was rewarded with a surprisingly clear identification from a new one:
1370 KXTL, Butte MT, medium at 11:37pm (0637UT), 5000W, call (new; loop), 793 miles
“Southwest Montana’s talk radio leader A-M 13-70, K-X-T-L”:
Once the local 1490 signed off just after midnight, I worked a little more in the 1500 kHz region, but nothing new. Still a very good night!
December 30th-31st, 2014
I set up at 9:29pm and decided to do some more graveyarding on 1240 kHz. A variety of things were coming in, oldies on KJAA, Catholic talk, maybe Protestant talk, Spanish music, and Coast to Coast AM. Finally, at the 11pm top of the hour, the Catholic Immaculate Heart Radio affiliate came through:
1240 KJOP, Lemoore CA, weak at 11:00pm (0600UT), 1000W, call (new; phaser), 427 miles
If, like me, Lemoore doesn’t ring a bell, their identification makes it clear, “K-J-O-P Lemoore, serving the Fresno area”:
Although I know that I sometimes get 1190 XEMBC out of Mexicali, I can’t seem to ever get enough of an ident to log it. It took a while, with KVCU and KNUV (also Spanish) mixing in, but I finally got a webcast match and heard their “Cadena 11-90 AM” (en espanol) slogan over the air to finally pin it down
1190 XEMBC, Mexicali BN, medium at 11:55pm (0655UT), 100W, webcast and slogan (new; phaser), 216 miles
I continued through the midnight hour until 2:30am, but did not get anything new on several frequencies – sometimes the magic stops working.