Tag Archives: Mediumwave

Special DX Test via WCGA: May 1, 2022 at 04:00 UTC

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Loyd Van Horn at DX Central who writes:

Wanted to share this with you…..our final DX Central Live stream for season 2 will coincide with the upcoming WCGA-GA DX Test coming Saturday night/Sunday morning. You should have a GREAT shot at hearing this one….would love to have you join us for the livestream, too, if you can make it!

The link to the release with all of the details can be found below….

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Apr 28, 2022

The Courtesy Program Committee (CPC) of the National Radio Club (NRC) and the International Radio Club of America (IRCA) is pleased to announce a special DX Test for distant listeners for WCGA on 1100 kHz in Woodbine, GA. The test is scheduled for 5/1/2022 at 12:00:00 AM Eastern Time (0400 UTC Sunday, May 1st).  This test is scheduled to run for 2 hours.

For WCGA, Wesley Cox, will be performing regular maintenance of the station’s audio chain and transmitter during the test. Listeners will hear: Morse Code IDs at 10 WPM at 800 Hz, Morse Code IDs at 20 WPM at 1000 Hz, Tone Sweeps, Long duration tones at 1 kHz, Off-hook Telephone Sounds, Voice IDs and more.

WCGA will be operating on a full daytime power of 10,000 watts during the test on their daytime antenna pattern.   This should aid DXers across the country and indeed the world in being able to receive this test!

RECEPTION REPORTS & QSL REQUESTS

WCGA is actively soliciting reports from DX’ers on their signal. They’re interested in hearing about frequency stability, audio quality, and overall performance. The station will accept both hard copy reports via USPS mail and email reports. They would love to receive audio recordings in either .WAV or.MP3 and videos in .MP4 video.

Reception reports should go directly to:

Wesley Cox

Owner/General Manager

News/Talk 1100 WCGA

714 Narrow Way

St. Simons Island, Georgia 31522

wcganews@yahoo.com

Physical QSL card senders will receive a physical QSL. Email QSLs will receive email QSL.

Best audio narrative recording and received via email in MP3 or MP4 about themselves and their passion for radio that includes their reception of WCGA and the who, what, when, where, why and how of that event taking place will receive a special prize from the station. DX’ers who submit recordings must grant permission to broadcast their recordings. The decision of WCGA staff on the winner is final.

The IRCA/NRC CPC would like to thank the owners of WCGA, Wesley Cox, and Hall of Fame DXer, Jim Renfrew, for helping to arrange the test.

Good luck to all DXers!

About the CPC

The Courtesy Program Committee (CPC) is a cross-functional group comprised of members of both the National Radio Club (NRC) and International Radio Club of America (IRCA) for the purpose of coordinating and arranging DX Tests with AM radio stations.  These DX tests both allow radio stations to conduct valuable equipment tests on their transmitter and audio chain as well as enable DX hobbyists to receive the testing station from greater distances than would normally be possible.  The CPC membership consists of:  Chairman Les Rayburn, Paul Walker, George Santulli, Joe Miller and Loyd Van Horn.

For radio stations interested in coordinating a DX test with the CPC, please visit the following Web site for more information:

https://amdxtest.blogspot.com/

For more information on the types of content heard during a DX test, the video  “An introduction to DX Tests” is available at DX Central:

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International Radio Club’s Reprints collection of 900+ articles

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nick Hall-Patch, who shares the following announcement:

The International Radio Club’s Reprints collection of 900+ articles about antennas, radio propagation, receivers, accessories, plus items of general interest to MW DXers, continues to grow.   We’ve published an update to the index, at https://www.ircaonline.org/editor_upload/File/reprints/irca-reprint-index.pdf  ,  so that everyone can get access to these latest additions.

We’re also pleased to start offering reprints that did not initially appear in IRCA’s DX Monitor, but are not easily found elsewhere.  For example, we’ve obtained permission from the family of the late prolific author, Dallas Lankford, to organize and republish his out of print articles. 

(if you’ve used the index before, you may need to refresh the browser page to see the latest update, dated December 2021)

Click here to check out the IRCA Index (PDF).

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Guest Post: Calculate Station Distances Using Excel Formulas

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bob Colegrove, who shares the following guest post:


Calculate Station Distances Using Excel

By Bob Colegrove

Introduction

On occasion, I’ve wanted to know just how far away a station was from my home.  I’ve never been much of a contester, but I know distance can play a part in the results.  There are a number of Internet cites which let you enter latitude and longitude information and then calculate the distance across the surface of the earth.  These are alright on an occasional basis, but I often wind up getting the data mixed for the two locations, and it is not handy when you want to make several measurements.  Here’s a way to generate the distance from your home to thousands of stations with just a little effort.

Many years ago, armed with my faded knowledge of high school trigonometry, I used Excel to calculate the surface distance between any two points on earth.  I managed to find the spreadsheet (file dated 1998) which has no fewer than 11 steps in the algorithm.  Although it worked, when I came back to it a few months later to make a change, I couldn’t remember my thought process.  There are Internet sites which develop earth surface calculations in highly esoteric terms and heavy-duty math.  But life is short, and I wanted to cut to the chase.  There are, in fact, several formula variations which have somehow managed to distill all this down to a neat single-cell calculation, and they seem to work very well.

Construction

The spreadsheet figure below is the simplest form used when you have decimal latitude and longitude data as input.  The convention is to use negative numbers for the Western and Southern Hemispheres.  Home is your reception location and all other locations are compared with that to determine the distances.  If you’re curious, the home location (yellow cells) used in these examples is the monument marking the geographic center of all 50 US states in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.  Google Maps is one easy source to determine the exact latitude and longitude of any point on earth.

To calculate the distance between any two points on earth, copy the formula below directly into a cell, then change the reference cell names as appropriate, and you’re ready to go.

=ACOS(COS(RADIANS(90-$B$5)) * COS(RADIANS(90-B9)) + SIN(RADIANS(90-$B$5)) * SIN(RADIANS(90-B9)) * COS(RADIANS($C$5-C9))) * 3959

$B$5 and $C$5 are the cell references for your home address (yellow in the figure above).  Of course, the dollar signs indicate these data remain fixed in each calculation.  B9 and C9 are corresponding latitude and longitude for the example radio station, WTOP (green).  Change these four cell locations as necessary.  The constant, 3959, at the end of the formula is the average radius of the earth in miles.  Use 6371 if you want kilometers.  The data cells in Columns D and E are populated with the formula and produce the result. These values are dynamic and can be replicated down the columns for the rest of your station location data.

Degrees, Minutes, and Seconds Format

The US FCC on-line database contains latitude and longitude tower locations for medium wave stations in Region 2, North, South, and Central America.  However, coordinates are in degrees, minutes, and seconds format and must be converted to digital format for calculation of distances.  The conversion process can also be done in Excel.

In this case, the inclusion of the coordinate hemispheres, N or S, and E or W is important.  Whereas, the hemispheres in the decimal example were signed + or -, the inclusion of the appropriate letters here is necessary.  Cell L5 reads

=IF(H5=”S”,-I5-(J5/60)-(K5/3600),I5+(J5/60)+(K5/3600))

and cell Q5 is similar for longitude, except “W” is substituted for “S.”  These formulas are then replicated in columns L and Q for each data item.  Columns R and S contain the distance calculation formulas as described above.  Line 14 is not necessary, but can be used to see if your formulas are correct; that is, the distance from home to home should be zero.

Let Excel Get the Information for You

What follows is for anyone tired of copying cumbersome latitude and longitude data.  Unfortunately, it only works on the current version of Microsoft 365 Excel, and apparently goes off into the big cloud in the sky to instantly download the information.

  1. Enter the town followed by either the US state, Canadian province, or other country name (Column A).
  2. Copy these locations to the next column (Column B).  The cells in Column B will become temporary geography cells.  Note:  As shown above, the data have already been converted to geography format (Step 4).
  3. Make sure you have all the geography cell locations selected (Column B).
  4. On the Data ribbon select Geography.  A map icon will appear at the left of each cell, and the state, province and country will be truncated.
  5. For the first latitude (Cell C7), enter =B7.Latitude; likewise, =B7.Longitude in Cell D7.
  6. The formulas in C7 and D7 can be replicated down your list.
  7. Columns for miles and kilometers (E and F) can be added using the distance formula as described above.

The geography data (Column B) cannot be replicated.  If you want to add data later, you will have to reapply the geography format for the new data.  Or, latitude and longitude can still be inserted manually for any additional entries.  The geography data (Column B) are not needed beyond this point and can be deleted or hidden.

Note:  I logged on to my first mainframe computer in September 1976 and have never ceased to be amazed at what these confounded things can be made to do.  I tried as best I could to trip the system with small, obscure towns in faraway places, as well as duplicate names.  I finally succeeded with a relatively large city, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.  To be fair, I tried to get it to accept alternate spellings.  So, if you need that one, you’ll have to enter it manually.

Medium Wave Example

This example is for medium wave DXers in Region 2, the Americas.  It makes use of the FCC AM database at https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/am-query.  The database currently contains more than 24,500 entries, many of these are duplicate entries for stations using different daytime and nighttime powers.

  1. Download the database as a pipe-delimited text file.
  2. Import the file into Excel.
  3. Create additional columns to convert the latitude and longitude data from degree-minute-second format to decimal as described above.
  4. Add some rows above and enter your home coordinates in decimal.
  5. Create another column to calculate the distance from home to all the stations, again using the base formula above.
  6. Hide any columns in the FCC database that you don’t need.
  7. Finally, by creating an Excel table from all of the data, except your home location, you can do some on-the-fly filtering.

The example below shows some of the stations near our example home in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.  The Distance column on the right has a filter applied to limit the listing in the table to stations within a 150 mile radius, that is, it only lists potential daytime stations.  You could also use the conditional formatting feature of Excel to highlight the same information in the unfiltered data.

Shortwave Example

The AOKI log, http://www1.s2.starcat.ne.jp/ndxc/, has listings for all of the recent broadcasting cycles, B21, A21, etc.  The Excel format files are zipped for download, and include the latitude and longitude of each station.  Unfortunately the coordinates are not only in degrees, minutes and seconds, but they are all mashed together in one cell for each listing.  Excel to the rescue again.  Select Text to Columns in the Data Tools portion of the Data ribbon.  This feature will allow you to divide the single column into four columns each for latitude and longitude, that is, degrees, minutes, seconds and hemisphere.  Then you can use the conversion formula to change degrees-minutes-seconds to decimal.  Note that the first three digits used for longitude are minutes (they go up to 180); the remaining numerical columns have two digits each (up to 60 or 90), and the hemisphere columns (alpha) one character each.

Accuracy

Here are a few things affecting accuracy:

  1. The constants 3959 or 6371 used in the formula for miles and kilometers are generally accepted averages for the earth’s radius.  The difference between the equatorial (longer) and polar (shorter) radii is about 13 miles.
  2. If you are using town locations in your data, remember that the actual distance to the tower in that town is likely to be different.  The FCC and AOKI data are assumed to be station tower locations.
  3. Some decimal sources of latitude and longitude data have less resolution, which could lead to a slight error.

You’re on Your Own

You may have noticed the examples shown in the figures all have multiple station locations. My thought in doing this was provide some test for accuracy and secondly to provide a seed for developing the spreadsheet into a more inclusive log of stations. There is likely enough basic Excel knowledge among the folks gathered here, and each person will likely have an individual preference in designing a spreadsheet. Nevertheless, the spreadsheet shown in the figures can be downloaded by clicking this link.

The first sheet shows Figures 1 and 2 from this article; and the second sheet, Figure 3. The link in Cell I2 of the second sheet describes how to use the geography feature of Microsoft 365 Excel. The third sheet is a recent copy of the FCC AM database (Figure 4). To facilitate storage and downloading, only stations from 530 kHz to 600 kHz are included. Numerous unused columns from the FCC AM database have been hidden; so you can still copy the full, pipe-delimited FCC database into Columns A through AH. The FCC database has been converted to an Excel table; the Home location is not part of the table. Try substituting your own location for Home (Cells AI2, latitude and AJ2, longitude) and setting a distance filter from your home in Cell AK4. In the example, the distance filter has been set limiting the list of stations to less than 600 miles from our example in South Dakota. Note also that the Conditional Formatting feature on the Home ribbon has been used to highlight stations less than 100 miles from home.

If you have any interest in developing your own spreadsheet, perhaps you can comment on what you have done, or provide the rest of us with something I have missed. Hopefully, I have provided enough information to get you started.

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DX Central’s MW Frequency Challenge: Week 11 Results and Week 12 Announcement

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Loyd Van Horn at DX Central who shares the following announcement:


Another great week of DX and another productive one for us at DX Central and for many DXers, according to the logs!  We spent the week diving back into another graveyard frequency (1490) and the results speak for themselves!

As a reminder, our live streams on Sunday nights have been so much fun getting to interact and hear about what you heard in the previous week.  If you haven’t been able to make it to a livestream yet, you are missing out!  Join us Sundays at 1945 CST / 0145 UTC (Monday morning, UTC) on our YouTube channel:  youtube.com/c/dxcentral

A total of 22 DXers from three countries (Mexico, Canada and the US) and 18 US States brought in 127 logs for Week 11 of our MW Frequency Challenge.    76 unique stations in 34 U.S. states and three countries made it to this week’s log. Continue reading

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Presentation: Crystal Radio History, Construction, and Contesting

Many thanks to SWLing Post Contributor, David Day (N1DAY), who shares the video presentation below, offering even more insight into his most recent guest post on the topic of crystal radio DXing.

David has also posted this presentation on his website and notes that he’s happy to share the presentation slides without copyright. David notes:

[…]I have purposely not copyrighted this work so that anyone is free to modify it as they see fit. The only thing I ask is that if you make changes that you do not copyright the derivative work as your own intellectual property so that others can benefit from your knowledge and build upon it as well.

That’s brilliant, David! Thank you.

Presentation:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to check out N1DAY’s website.

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Guest Post: Crystal Radios – Construction, Listening, and Contesting

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Day (N1DAY), for sharing the following guest post:


Crystal Radios – Construction, Listening, and Contesting

By David Day – N1DAY

The date was November 2, 1920 and the world was about to change forever when radio station KDKA out of Pittsburgh PA made its first broadcast of election results from the 1920 presidential election.  For the first time in history people knew who won the election before reading about it the next day in the newspaper.  Radio had arrived!

However, hearing the election results was not as easy as powering up an AM radio receiver because radio electron tubes had only been invented a few years earlier and they were still too expensive for most people to afford in a radio set.  After KDKA’s historic broadcast, large 50,000 watt stations began popping up in all major cities around the world.  Even though a tube-driven radio was not yet commonplace, many people listened to these stations on their crystal radios.  The frenzy around radio in the 1920’s was not unlike the excitement around cell phones and the internet today.  If you didn’t have one, you were simply living in the past.

A family listening to a crystal radio in the 1920’s

Fortunately, in the early 1920’s the crystal radio had been around for a while and it was easy to make or purchase a completed set on a limited budget.  The beauty of the radio was that it was a passive device needing no power source other than the radio station’s broadcast that was received by a good antenna about 50 feet long and 15 or so feet above the ground.  Crystal radios derived their name from use of galena crystals as detectors. Continue reading

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DX Central’s MW Frequency Challenge: Week 9 Results and Week 10 Announcement

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Loyd Van Horn at DX Central who shares the following announcement:


Another great week in the MW Frequency Challenge, and you all continue to pour the logs in!  Our live streams on Saturday nights have been so much fun getting to interact and hear about what you heard in the previous week.  If you haven’t been able to make it to a livestream yet, you are missing out!  Join us Saturdays at 1945 CST / 0145 UTC (Sunday morning, UTC) on our YouTube channel:  youtube.com/c/dxcentral

A total of 29 DXers from three countries (Mexico, Canada and the US) and 17 US States brought in 82 logs for Week 9  of our MW Frequency Challenge.    25 unique stations in 18 states and six countries made it to this week’s log.  The number of logged stations was down, because there are fewer stations on 550 than previous weeks.  But look at that jump in countries…an opportunity here for DXers to get some great international DX!

Most Logged Stations: From runner-up last week to the top spot this week, South Carolina’s Rob Keeney hauled in an impressive 9 stations this week.  Right on his heels, was Mark Connelly (MA) and Stephanie Battaglino (CA) with 7 each.

Most Logged States: Rob Keeney once again took the top spot for heard states this week with 7 logged US states:  FL, GA, MO, NC, NY, OH, TX

Most Logged Countries:  Mark Connelly (MA) brought in the most countries (including US) with 4 total countries:  Colombia, Cuba, US, Venezuela.

Furthest Logging: Brent Taylor of Canada’s Prince Edward Island and his log of YVKE-Radio Mundial in Venezuela was our longest reception of the week at 2,477 miles!  This was only 5 miles more than the #2 spot, Mark Connelly’s 2,472 mile reception of HJHF-Radio Nacional de Colombia in Colombia.  Even tighter, Mark’s log was only ONE MILE more than our third place finish from Marc DeLorenzo for his log of HJHF at 2,471 miles!  Talk about a close one!  Rounding out our top 10 was Jim Renfrew (NY) – 2,358 miles for YVKE, Mark Connelly (MA) – 2,163 for YVKE, Rob Keeney (SC) – 2,034 for HJHF, Brent Taylor (PEI) – 1,962 for WPAB, Mark Connelly (MA) 1,531 for Radio Rebelde, and Stephanie Battaglino (CA) – 1,094 for KTSA.

Loyd/DX Central Numbers:

  • 5 stations logged
  • 3 states logged (GA, MO, TX)
  • 3 countries logged (USA, Cuba, Colombia)
  • 1,926 miles for furthest catch (HJHF in Colombia)

Most Logged Station: WGY in Buffalo, NY brought in 10 logs this week for the top spot. Missouri’s KTRS and Cincinnati’s WKRC at 7 logs each were just behind them.

Most Logged State/Province:  As you might imagine, WGR’s logs brought NY to the top spot here with 10 receptions.  NC (9) and TX, MO (8 each) were just behind.

Most Logged Country (outside of US):  Colombia and Mexico each brought in 4 loggings this week.  Cuba and Venezuela (3 each) were just behind.  In all, 15 stations outside of the US were logged this week.

Busiest Time of Day: Overnight hours (67% of logs) continued to be the busiest period for DX.  Surprisingly, sunrise was in the second spot with 14.6% of all logs.  Sunset (11%) and Daytime (7.3%) rounded out the rest of the day.

Most Used Receiver:  While portable use is still going strong, SDRs once again were the king of DX this week with 56 of 82 logs (69%).  Portables brought in 20 logs (24%) of all loggings.  Among SDRs, we actually had a new brand at the top of the hill as Airspy SDRs brought in a total of 22 loggings (40% of all SDR logs).  SDRPlay’s 18 logs (32% of SDR logs) and Perseus’s 13 receptions (23% of SDR logs) were also very popular this week.  For portables, Tecsun’s came out of nowhere this week to take the top spot with 9 loggings (45% of portable logs).  C. Crane radios (4 loggings, 20% of portable logs) took the #2 spot.

Most Used Antenna: Magnetic Loops were once again the most popular option for DXers this week, with 32 logs (40% of all logs).  The Wellbrook loop’s 21 loggings (65% of all mag loop logs) were the most popular used mag loop, with both the W6LVP and YouLoop (9 logs each, at 28%) also bringing in DX.  Termed loops proved to continue to be a popular option as well, with 17 loggings (21% of all loggings).  This week, other loops (such as the AN-200 or Tecun loops) also brought in 17 loggings this week as a popular option.

See the full export of data at our Google Sheet:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OGMctuhKyj3lIxqd6tv9oxw2WhZ3F7Q7qM7TGnOxPak/edit?usp=sharing

With week 9 now under wraps, we look ahead to week 10 and for this week, we have a rather unique challenge.  Rather than focus on a single frequency, we are going to explore the ENTIRE expanded band!  1610-1710 kHz – any licensed station (including broadcast and TIS) count as a valid log.  No pirates, no NDBs, etc.  So the NJ TIS station on 1710?  Counts.  1630 Radio Elohim in El Salvador?  Counts.  The “TVS” NDB on 1650?  Does not count.

With 11 frequencies to contend with – even with much fewer stations per frequency – this should be our largest week yet!

Our Google Form for Week 10 can be found here:  https://forms.gle/41FNE9F81bhCr4ts6

RULES:

Logs for Week 10 will only be accepted for stations received between 0300 UTC Sunday, January 23, 2022 and 0300 UTC Sunday, January 30th (will be announcing the closing during our live stream of DX Central Live!).  Logs must be for licensed stations received between 1610 and 1710 kHz.  This includes all standard broadcast stations in the US and internationally, as well as any TIS stations received.  Logs must be from your own equipment using WebSDRs is allowed for reference, but will not be counted towards the challenge (unless it is YOUR WebSDR).  If you do log from a WebSDR, be sure to mark your location as from the location of the WebSDR itself, not your home location.  All loggings must be submitted using our Google Form at https://forms.gle/41FNE9F81bhCr4ts6  Submissions by any other form including social media, email, etc. will not be accepted.

An eCertificate will be sent to the DXer with the most logged stations during the challenge time period.  Additional eCertificates may be presented at the discretion of DX Central.

Have fun, 73 and best of DX!

Loyd – W4LVH

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