Radio Farda 1575 kHz / UAE Heard in Grayland WA on SRF-39FP


Guy Atkins
 

The highlight of my 2-night DXpedition over the weekend in Grayland, Washington was certainly the logging of Radio Farda, 1575 kHz in the UAE. This was during grayline conditions last night (Nov. 2 UTC date), less than an hour past local sunset and just before Al-Dhabbaya, UAE sunrise. It's a distance of 7,538 mi. / 12,131 km., per the Google Earth "Distance Tool" from the R. Farda antenna array to Grayland Beach State Park!
 
To my knowledge, R. Farda has not been heard before on the West Coast of North America with a receiver of any type, communications receiver OR a cheap portable.
 
I had R. Farda the previous night on my Perseus SDRs before 0200, but didn't realize what I was hearing. I first thought it was an early fade-in of an Asian, but of course 0130-0155 UTC is *far* too early! I never expected to hear a TA on a *barefoot* ultralight portable from Grayland, much less on my Perseus receivers and Wellbrook Phased Array antenna. When I realized that it might have been R. Farda after all, I was more prepared the next evening.
 
Sure enough, a het was first heard and seen on 1575 with the Perseus spectrum display at 0130, and audio faded up with dance / techno music at 0140. Five minutes later between music selections, I heard an Arabic language announcer with mentions of "Arabiyya". The best reception (poor-fair level at best) was around 0150 with a pounding, bass-heavy dance / techno tune and Arabic vocals.
 
Would it be possible to hear anything at all on a barefoot SRF-39FP? I had pre-tuned the Sony between a Spanish station on 1570 and 1 kw. KBAL, Lebanon, Oregon on 1280. The radio was ready to go, already rotated for best null of 1280, and waiting for me on the railing of the outside porch. When Farda seemed like it wouldn't get any stronger, I dashed outside the yurt (cabin) in Grayland and slapped on the headphones...woo-hoo!! There was the dance / techno music, in parallel to what I was hearing on Perseus! The signal (only moderately weaker than on Perseus) lasted only 15-20 seconds on the small Sony before it was gone into oblivion on both radios.
 
Here's a short MP3 of how this TA station sounded on the Perseus SDR:
 
As luck would have it, my Wellbrook Phased Array (prototype) antenna was oriented approximately correct for grayline reception of Radio Farda--to the Northwest at 300 degrees. Hmm...perhaps this wasn't technically a "trans-Atlantic" reception, as the grayline took the signal north-northeast over Russia, Siberia, across Alaska, and down along the British Columbia coastline.
 
The only other possible TA noted during this DXpedition was 1008 kHz, heard both nights with dance and electronica music before 0200 UTC, but not found on the Sony ultralight. 1008 may be a reactivated GrootNieuwsradio, Holland, or possibly a Spanish SER station.
 
This Grayland DXpedition was highly productive overall; I'll be sharing full details early this week.
 
Guy Atkins
Puyallup, WA USA
 
 

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