Friday, February 8, 2013

Diego Garcia AFRTS 1485 kHz QSL and Audio

Diego Garcia - a tropical, coral atoll located south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean (Photograph Wikimedia Commons).

It was a pleasant surprise to hear AFRTS, Diego Garcia on 1485 kHz for the first time during a holiday/dxpedition at the South African coastal location of Cintsa (45 km from East London).

The 200 watt signal made it through over a distance of 5 366 km on the 16th July 1991 via the FRG7 and 50 metre longwire antenna.

The reception turned out to be a rare occurrence as the station has not been heard here since, despite numerous attempts to tune in!

The AFRTS 1485 kHz AM tower, showing the lagoon and cargo ships in the distance. Apparently there are many sharks in the lagoon which offers a good swimming opportunity until one spots gray dorsal fins! The photograph (courtesy of the VQ9Z website) was taken from the top of the 90 ft. VQ9Z log periodic antenna tower.

I was fortunate to receive a QSL letter (pictured above) and a postcard of an aerial view of the atoll from Chief Journalist and U.S. Navy Officer in Charge, Steven Pitruzzello, in response to my reception report.

Steven added, "Our 1485 station normally operates at approximately 80 percent of its 250 watt capability, so you're doing well to have received our signal over such a distance. I have no record of our station being received in South Africa prior to your reception."

At the entrance to the 1485 kHz transmitter "shack" (Photograph courtesy Joe Talbot).

Another view of the entrance to the "shack", showing the medium wave transmitter inside (Photograph courtesy Joe Talbot).

Close up of the medium wave transmitter (Photograph courtesy Joe Talbot). Thanks to Joe for his kind permission to include the above four photographs. Visit Joe's website for additional photographs.

Coconut Plantation, East Point, Diego Garcia (Photograph Wikimedia Commons).

Audio Clips

Recorded on the 16th July 1991 at 2028 UTC - a remarkable peak!

Recorded on the 16th July 1991 at 2030 UTC.

The DX location at Crawfords Beach Lodge, Cintsa East, South Africa.

Any memories or futher information regarding AFRTS Diego Garcia on 1485 kHz medium wave would be greatly appreciated. You are welcome to add your comments below.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

8AL Alice Springs NT 783 kHz - Audio

Mediumwave stations from the Northern Territory are rarely heard at Fish Hoek so it was a pleasant surprise to hear 8AL Alice Springs NT on 783 kHz on the 13th April 2007 and a month later on the 13th May 2007. There was intermittent interference from the usually dominant co-channel 6VA, Albany WA.

Audio Clips

13th April 2007 1829 UTC : An "ABC local radio" id was announced by the male presenter of the overnight programme.

13th May 2007 1734 UTC : Part of the ABC newscast by the female announcer included Sports news.

Alice Springs Telegraph Building (Photograph Wikimedia Commons).

Monday, February 4, 2013

6VA Albany WA 783 kHz QSL

6VA Albany WA on 783 kHz was heard on the 13th September 1989 via the FRG 7 and 30 metre longwire antenna at Fish Hoek.

Chief Engineer Gary Wheatcroft kindly responded to my reception report with an informative letter and included a listener club membership card.

The 6VA transmitter building and antenna mast, situated at Albany WA (Photograph Google Street View) .

Friday, February 1, 2013

Solomon Islands SIBC Honiara 9545 kHz QSL - Audio

The Pacific remains an interesting target area for the South African dxer. Apart from Australia and New Zealand, memorable and sensational shortwave catches such as the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu have been reported in South Africa by a few experienced dxers.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation was heard on 9545 kHz on the 4th August 1989 via the FRG 7 and 30 metre longwire antenna at Fish Hoek. I was fortunate to receive a QSL card in response to my reception report.

Audio Clip

It was a surprise to hear the S.I.B.C. 22 years later, during the March 2011 dxpedition at Seefontein. The station made it through on 5020 kHz on the 30th March 2011 at 1912 UTC.

Honiara, Solomon Islands (Photograph : Wikimedia Commons).

Monday, January 28, 2013

6MM Mandurah WA 1116 kHz QSL and Audio

6MM Mandurah WA on 1116 kHz was heard and identified for the first time on the 27th July 1989 via the FRG 7 and 30 metre longwire antenna at Fish Hoek.

Senior Technician Sydney Smith responded to my reception report with an informative letter and kindly included a 6MM car sticker as well as a photograph of the studio building.

The 6MM Studio Building (Photograph courtesy of Sydney Smith).

Inside the 6MM studio (Photograph Mark Leonard).

Audio Clip

The 2 kw signal from 6MM was heard over a distance of 8 657 km with a very good consistent level on the 13th May 2009 at 1647 UTC via the Sony SRF-M37V ultralight receiver and 220 metre BOG at Fish Hoek.

The 6MM transmitter building and 73 metre antenna mast, situated at West Pinjarra (Photograph Google Street View).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

WGN Chicago IL 720 kHz QSL and Photographs

WGN Chicago IL on 720 kHz made it through to Fish Hoek on the 26th of February 1989. The station was heard over a distance of 8 517 miles / 13 707 km via the FRG7 and 25 metre longwire antenna.

I was fortunate to receive a QSL card in response to my reception report (click onto the relevant images below for a higher resolution).

Included with the reply was a promo card with a photograph featuring Bob Collins and Friends, signed by WGN business and agribusiness reporter Max Armstong.

The WGN Transmitter Site

An impressive aerial view of the 750 ft. WGN antenna tower in the foreground with the 250 ft. self-supporting auxiliary antenna tower behind and the transmitter building on the left (photograph courtesy Bart Shore).

Another aerial view showing the WGN transmitter building (photograph courtesy Bart Shore).

Thanks and appreciation to Bart Shore for his kind permission to share the two impressive aerial photographs above !

The WGN transmitter building (photograph Google Street View).

Friday, January 25, 2013

CKEC New GLasgow Nova Scotia 1320 kHz QSL

It was a pleasure to hear Canadian mediumwave station CKEC New Glasgow, Nova Scotia on 1320 kHz on the 16th of February 1989. The station made it through via the FRG7 and 25 metre longwire antenna at Fish Hoek.

I was fortunate to receive a friendly QSL letter from Doug Freeman, CEO President and Managing Director, in response to my reception report. Doug also kindly enclosed a photograph of the CKEC main transmitter room and added :

" ... To reach South Africa from a Canadian medium wave station is quite a feat - certainly our first ! Congratulations ... "

The verification letter received from Doug Freeman.

The main transmitter room of CKEC, showing the 25 kw Nautel tx and 5 kw Gates standby tx (Photograph c1991 courtesy Doug Freeman).

In 2006, CKEC was licensed to convert to FM. As of December 11, 2007, CKEC launched its FM station, 94.1. Simulcasting remained on both the AM and FM stations for 90 days, before converting entirely to FM.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

WVIE Pikesville MD 1370 kHz - Audio

Another highlight from the September 2011 Seefontein dxpedition was the reception of WVIE Pikesville MD (a personal first) on 1370 kHz.

The station (branded as "V-1370") made it through over a distance of 12 616 km via the Icom R71E and 220 metre beverage antenna directed towards Eastern Canada. I thought I'd share an audio clip of the reception from across the Atlantic on the 15th September 2011 at 0436 UTC.

Audio Clip

The six WVIE (Presently WQLL) antenna towers. The night time antenna pattern towards the south-east would have contributed greatly towards the trans-Atlantic reception in this part of the world.

WQLL (Q-1370)

On August 6, 2012, WVIE changed their format to classic hits (branded as "Q-1370"). On August 7, 2012, WVIE changed their call letters to WQLL.

Monday, January 21, 2013

WNGL Mobile AL 1410 khz - QSL and Audio

It was a pleasant surprise to hear and identify WNGL Moblie AL on 1410 kHz (a personal first) on the 15th September 2011 during the previous dxpedition to Seefontein.

The station's 4.6 kw signal made it through over a distance of 13 186 km via the Icom R71E and 220 metre beverage antenna directed towards Eastern Canada.

Station Manager David Renshaw kindly responded to my follow-up reception report with a prompt email reply. David seemed to recognise the call letters from the female announcer on the audio clip and added that there are no female announcers at the station (My guess is that the top-of-the-hour id announcement was possibly pre-recorded and aired during the time when the previous station manager, Daniel diSilva, was in charge).

Audio Clip

A careful listen to the recording at 0500 UTC on the 15th September 2011 revealed the station id : " ... WNGL 14-10. You're listening (static crash) to Archangel Radio ... ".

A Brief History

As the oldest radio station in Mobile, WODX first broadcast from the Battle House Hotel on February 7, 1930.

WODX engineer and equipment (Photograph : Erik Overbey c1930).

The radio station has undergone various ownership and callsign changes : WODX (1930-1933), WALA (1933-1963), WUNI (1963-1984), WMML (1984-1991), WLVV (1991-2009) and WNGL (2009-present).

The WLVV transmitter building and antenna towers, situated on the coast between Mobile and Baldwin Counties (Photograph : Google Maps Street View).

In late April 2010 WNGL received a construction permit to move from the marshland transmitter site (pictured above) to one off Peach Street in Mobile. In late September 2010 the station was reported as active from the new site.