1160 after dark
Not exactly the Playboy Channel, but there's lot to like about 1160 kHz. John Bryant encouraged me to report loggings and apply for awards, so I took the PL-380 out of the breadbox last night and hooked it up to a radio-tuned air loop. After knocking off Croatia and Morocco at sunset, the band seemed to collapse down here. Time to look for close-in stuff! After a brief hiatus to watch some TV, I snagged a couple of new domestic stations.
1160 0344Z WJFJ Tryon, NC Religious station begging for money, giving local phone number, which differentiated it from WYLL. 500 W, 650 miles. All-time new logging.
1160 0400Z WEWC Callahan, FL Spanish Tropical. Hearing a YL speaking SS got me excited, as I thought it might be WBQN in Puerto Rico. The lively music (good beat, easy to dance to), and TOH ID put an end to that. According to Wikipedia, Callahan has a population of 962, some demo! 250 W, 300 miles. Relog from regen (being on the coast and 5000-W daytime, this one's easier right at sunset or sunrise), new on ULR.
Conditions at 03-0400Z on 1160 are a good indicator of overall band conditions from down here. Some nights KSL is in over the nearby mess, other nights it's a struggle to hear the Chicago religious station, WYLL. On the 80- and 40-meter ham bands, if I can hear the UK well earlier in the evening, Japanese and other Far Eastern stations will usually be quite strong at their local sunset a few hours later. Sunset in the Far East is way late for me to stay up. Knowing what to expect lets me know when to do an all-nighter and when to sleep.
Last night at sunset, though Croatia and Morocco were readable, Absolute Radio 1215 was a faint whisper. Croatia and Morocco are obviously south of England, so the signal paths to me are farther from the auroral zone. This helps me understand why KSL never showed up here last night. In fact, there was very little E-W propagation, as evidenced by no reception of Puerto Rico or the Caribbean Lighthouse on 1160, either. While over-water and not that long, those paths cross the magnetic field, while the N-S paths to northern Florida and North Carolina are more or less parallel to it. If you're wondering whether it's worth isolating yourself from the family for an evening of DXing, information like this can help you decide.
While written for ham operators, this article about the 160-M (1800-2000 kHz) band discusses some of the propagation conditions that set MW apart from SW. http://www.spacew.com/cq/cqmar98.pdf Note that the authors emphasize checking high-latitude geomagnetic conditions, rather than relying on the mid-latitude data transmitted by WWV/NIST. I have links to some of these data sources here: http://kr1s.kearman.com/ Sure enough, Iqaluit (63° 45' N) and Yellowknife (62° 28' N) recorded geomagnetic disturbances about 0300Z!