Now’s the time to grab longwave DX!

If you’ve been wanting to log France Inter as longwave DX, you’re running out of time. France Inter is shutting down their 162 kHz longwave service on December 31, 2016.

I’m grateful to SWLing Post contributor, Ron, who has persistently reminded me that these are some of the last days to catch France Inter as LW DX here in North America.  Indeed, he shared a bit of interesting and encouraging news a couple weeks ago:

On the Radiodiscussions DX forum, Jim Farmer over in San Antonio got and recorded France Inter on 162 khz using a PK loop and Sony 7600GR.

The PK Loop he’s referring to is this one and, of course, the Sony ICF-SW7600GR is one of my staple portables.

While I’d love to try to grab France Inter with my Sony, my schedule makes it very difficult to arrange. Fortunately, I have SDRs which allow me to record spectrum throughout the night, then review the recordings in the morning.

Throughout the month of December, I’ve been recording a small chunk of longwave spectrum–with my WinRadio Excalibur–during the night and reviewing it in the morning in hopes that I could grab an opening from France Inter.

I was rewarded on December 19, 2016 around 0300 UTC. Though there was atmospheric noise that night in the form of static crashes, I snagged France Inter on 162 kHz.

My spectrum display from the Excalibur.

The 162 kHz carrier was barely above the noise floor (see above), so it was certainly weak signal DX. Here’s an audio sample:

Click here to download the mp3 file.

When that short LW opening happened, I was also able to snag Medi 1 from Morocco on 171 kHz. Again, not fantastic copy, but I’m happy:

Click here to download the mp3.

Mind you, both France Inter and Medi 1 only transmit at 2,000 watts–that’s flea power compared to our shortwave broadcasters. It’s amazing those signals can even hop the Atlantic.

Correction…an SWLing Post reader, qwerty.am, comments:

Actually, the power of France Inter and Medi1 is 2000 kW and 1600 kW respectively. So the power of most SW broadcasters should be called a “flea power” in comparison to what is used on longwave. The smallest output on LW band in Europe is 50 kW, it’s used by Denmark and Czech Rep. The 162 kHz transmitter is closing on Dec 26th, according to the latest news.

Wow!

Again, if you’d like to grab  longwave stations before they disappear, now is the time! Our LW broadcasters are disappearing rapidly. Fortunately, winter (here in the northern hemisphere) is the best time to chase LW DX.

Thanks, again, Ron for your encouragement! I’ll keep listening and recording!

9 thoughts on “Now’s the time to grab longwave DX!

  1. qwerty.am

    Actually, the power of France Inter and Medi1 is 2000 kW and 1600 kW respectively. So the power of most SW broadcasters should be called a “flea power” in comparison to what is used on longwave. The smallest output on LW band in Europe is 50 kW, it’s used by Denmark and Czech Rep. The 162 kHz transmitter is closing on Dec 26th, according to the latest news.

    Reply
  2. rtc

    Congratulations!
    Was about to send you this link:

    http://njdtechnologies.net/category/630-meters/

    This is a 630 meter ham website but it is good for both
    LW (below) and MW (above) 472 khz.

    Try for LWBC at your local sunset and some time after.
    Run your receiver in “exalted” mode (bfo on) for better
    weak signal results.

    Are you planning on trying for a QSL?
    Jim sent his report to Radio France since France Inter
    apparently never heard of QSL’s.

    Reply
  3. DanH

    OK, the transmitted power is impressive, but LW is dead to me. I’m not hunting beacons here on the US west coast. West Coast LW beacon hunters please invited to reply. I may change my mind.

    Reply
    1. rtc

      Dan,
      Chasing beacons (or NDB’s,Non Directional Beacons) can be rewarding.
      Most run 25 watts but a few like my local BH 224 run 400.
      They ID in slow Morse Code so you can use a visual chart to “copy”
      them:

      http://www.w1wc.com/morse_code/

      Canadian NDB’s use a continuous tone,broken by the ID…U.S. ones
      just ID.

      You will find them from 198 to 430 khz and 510 to 518 or so;Jim in
      Texas got one on 524 the other night.

      Once you “copy” the ID go here to find its location:

      http://www.dxinfocentre.com/ndb.htm

      or here:

      http://www.airnav.com/navaids/

      Run your receiver with the BFO (SSB setting) on for best results;an
      AM only set will work but not as well.

      At your location you should be able to do Pacific Ocean NDB’s we can only dream of.

      Good NDB DX to you…

      Reply
  4. JimF

    Hi, Thomas. Thanks very much for the mention of my France Inter logging. I’m fairly new to LW DXing, and this was my first ever transatlantic reception on the band! I have to give props to Ron for some great DXing advice and for encouraging me to get the PK loop antenna.

    The location where I received France Inter was a small park I recently discovered that’s just a couple of miles from my home. It has much lower levels of RFI than my house and yard.

    As Ron mentioned, I sent a note to Radio France International to see if they can help with a QSL request. I will let you know what I find out, and I look forward to hearing if you have any success with that. 73s.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *