Re: Possible El Cajon / La Mesa, CA TPs 2010-10-20, incl. a st...

Gary DeBock

Hi Stephen,
It appears that your TP-DXing was quite successful this morning, especially in comparison to the DXers in western Washington and BC (who apparently suffered through an Asian propagation dive). I've taken a snip from your 774-JOUB recording during the time of strongest reception, and cut it down to reasonable size in the following 49 second, 580 KB recording: .  This signal may well be the strongest TP received by anyone on the west coast this morning, because of the propagation meltdown here in the northwest.
In general TP-DXers very rarely record MP3's longer than about 5 minutes (or 5 MB) in size, because it's somewhat inconvenient to download and listen to 30 minute (or 30 MB) recordings. I haven't yet had a chance to listen to your other recordings, but in the future, you may wish to wait until you are actually receiving a TP before starting the recorder. There aren't too many DXers who will eagerly download a 30 MB recording, or listen to a half-hour MP3. You are doing great with your PL-380 and SAT, however, and the west coast TP-chasing group would be very interested to read of your loggings, should you wish to post them on the IRCA club reflector (you don't need to be an IRCA member, to do this). I'll listen to your other recordings when there is more free time-- congratulations again on your TP-DXing success. 
73, Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA)    
In a message dated 10/20/2010 9:03:39 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, pianoplayer88key@... writes:


Hi all...

Well, this morning from around 5:40am to around 7:10am, I had nothing better to do (well, ok, I guess I could have slept), so I broke out the Tecsun PL-380 and Select-A-Tenna to see if I could hear anything, and I'm glad I did.  I heard what I thought may be signals on several TP frequencies that would be new catches for me, in addition to the 657-Pyongyang (which I didn't hear this morning) and 774-JOUB (which, well, I'll get to that later) that have already been confirmed previously.

I uploaded them all to this folder on SkyDrive, as well as a text file with some notes.  I will link and explain them individually below, as well.

The first one was 702kHz, recorded 5:41 to 5:43am PDT.  (Would that be GMT-7 cause we're on Daylight Saving time, or would it still be GMT-8?)  I definitely heard a 2kHz heterodyne here, but can't tell for sure much else.  I did try 703kHz to dodge a respectable signal from KALL-700 and slight residual splatter from near-local XEWW-690, but I'm not sure it did any good, notwithstanding it put me a little closer to KSPN-710's splatter (but maybe a little farther from their IBOC).

Next, I recorded 972kHz from 5:48am to 5:57am PDT.  The 2kHz het here was quite loud, and I even think I heard some audio at times.  I couldn't tell for sure, but I even thought I may have heard two TP stations battling it out, or was it a TP on 972 fighting with side splatter from something on 970?  Anyhow, I did see a 34,12 reading on the PL-380 at least once.  I did try 973 kHz briefly to try to dodge 970, but ended up going back to 972.

Up next we have 1008kHz, from 5:59 to 6:01am PDT .  Other than a possible 2kHz het here, I'm not sure if I heard much of anything.  I think this is one where I accidentally tuned to 1009 instead of 1007 (which I subsequently corrected, but didn't edit out) to try to dodge 1010, but I think I wound up back on 1008.  Any ideas on this frequency?

Now for something up toward the top of the band - 1557kHz, 6:10am to 6:15am PDT .  I heard the soft mute cutting in and out some, and may have heard a trace of audio, but I'm not sure.  I'm aware of a station that I think is in Taiwan on the frequency with some Family Radio programming, but I don't know if that station is possible to receive here in southern California, and I couldn't tell what this signal, if anything, was.

Cycling around to the low end of the band (after brief attempts at 1566 and 1575, but unsuccessful due to KMIK-1580's IBOC and unrecorded), I think I may have possibly heard a signal that if it is confirmed, would probably be a very good catch in my opinion.  About 7.7 miles west of me, heading 249°, I have a 5kW IBOC station, KOGO-600, that can be a major pest when it's not nulled properly.  Well, I think I was able to get somewhat of a null with the SAT and PL-380, and I recorded this on 594kHz from about 6:21am to 6:27am PDT.  I even saw the signal readings hit 24,05 at least once.  Considering that the barefoot PL-380 pegs the meter at 63,25 when facing KOGO, and reads about 42,00 in the IBOC sidebands 12kHz away from 600, I would especially be interested in knowing if I actually heard any trace of a signal here.

I saved the best for last.  From around 6:32am to 7:11am PT, I recorded JOUB-774.  What makes this one interesting is that I have a local station 7.3 miles from me at a heading of 320° on 760, KFMB.  This station runs 5kW omnidirectional in the daytime, and 50kW directional at night, and I'm kind-of in a strong lobe.  Local sunrise for the station was supposed to be around 6:45am, but I think they may have switched a few minutes earlier, as upon checking around 6:42 or 6:43 on the G8 (which wasn't included in the recording), the RSSI was down.  I expect the first several minutes were likely recorded when KFMB was still on its 50kW nighttime pattern.  At night, if I combine the Select-A-Tenna (tuned to 760) and power pole, KFMB overloads my PL-380 badly, as evidenced in these two recordings, and hits 98,25 on the G8 (which I think is comparably sensitive to the PL-380, or within a dB or two).  Also, with that combination, the '380 desenses badly, showing 50,00 all the way down to 153 kHz, and up to around 3 MHz or so.  Barefoot, KFMB is usually at about 77,25 or so on the G8, desensing 774kHz to show a 41,00 or 43,00 reading when no signal is audible.  If I set my radio on the top of my upright piano (not where my recording session took place, though), I see at least an 81,25 reading, with 47,00 or 49,00 on 774kHz.  (It's a 60-year-old Baldwin Hamilton former school piano, and I wonder if the top edge of the cast iron frame in the piano could have anything to do with the slight signal boost?)  Once KFMB had powered down, though (in the daytime it's a more modest 66-67,25 or so), I heard some very nice signals from JOUB-774.  I saw it hit 20+ dB SNR quite a bit, and even saw a 33,25 or 34,25 reading a couple times.  In fact, during a few times when I was hearing a strong signal, I decided to try for Select-A-Tenna aided reception on another radio that I previously thought would NEVER hear a TP, especially so close to a strong local signal (even though KFMB was down to 5kW by this time).  So, I plugged in my Panasonic RQ-SW20, which is probably several dB less sensitive than the PL-380, and has, in my evaluation, selectivity comparable to the Sony SRF-M37 radios, and, well, I'll let you all decide from the recordings whether I could count it as a TP log on that radio, even though it's not officially recognized as an ultralight.. ;)
 Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera ready for the 25dB SNR, but I did snap a couple other photos which are included in this Picasa link , and you should be able to see how the SAT and PL-380 are positioned relative to each other.  In this photo , for example, the visible straight portion of the cord coming out of the PL-380's headphone jack basically runs within a couple degrees or so of east and west, to give you an idea of direction.  (Also included in that photo is the aforementioned Panasonic RQ-SW20, which at the time wasn't in position for reception of JOUB.)  While I didn't capture the 25dB SNR photo, I did come close.

So now what would be your evaluations of these recordings?  Also, how were your TP DXing sessions this morning?
Gary, with your superior equipment to mine, I'm sure you can beat my reception close to strong local pests.  I'd like to know what you've heard sandwiched between KHHO-850 and its IBOC (IF I actually did hear a station on 594, sandwiched between my local meter-pegging 600 KOGO and its IBOC sideband).  Also how close to KSUH-1450 have you heard a signal?  The first part of my 774kHz recording was made when my local 760kHz pest was on its 50kW nighttime pattern.  As mentioned before, it hits 77,25 on the G8 which I think is within a dB or two of the PL-380's sensitivity.  As I recall from a post a while back , didn't you say that KSUH was a more tame 75,25 barefoot or something like that? ;)

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