My Billerica, MA home QTH is about 15 miles inland on the east bearing to Salem / Marblehead, MA and also southeast to the downtown Boston waterfront. On the northeast bearing (towards Scandinavia, UK) it's about 20 miles to the shore at Ipswich, MA ("clam town") luckily along wet flat terrain: Shawsheen and Ipswich River valleys. A bit north of due east Cape Ann sticks out, increasing the overland distance to about 30 miles on about a 5 or 10 degree swath of TA bearings.
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I previously lived in Arlington, MA (about 7 miles from open Atlantic at Revere Beach but only 2 miles from brackish parts of the Mystic River in Somerville-Medford). TA's I could usually get well on a Spacemagnet loop at Arlington in the '70s turned out to be less regular and generally weaker after the 1979 move to here in Billerica when I used the same indoor loop antenna. By using higher and better outdoor antennas, I could get some of the lost signal back.
When I DXpedition from the car, such as at my favorite local site Granite Pier in Rockport, MA, the differences versus either my former or present home QTH would "knock your socks off". This is true whether we are talking about daytime groundwave (from Maine and Atlantic Canada) or TA's and Latin Americans coming in around sunset. V-Soft and Radio-Locator signal strength charts and maps show 20-25 dB gain on a given distance groundwave path over water versus over land. The upper end of the AM dial is affected the most. I am convinced that a similar gain occurs on low-angle skywave since strengths around sunset of stations such as the Algeria clandestine on 1550 have been routinely observed at 30 dB stronger at Granite Pier than at home when the same receiver (SDR-IQ or Perseus) and a similar antenna (2 m by 2 m amplified broadband loop) is used.
My parents lived at West Yarmouth, MA on Cape Cod 1974-2001 and had closest route (2 miles) to salt water on south and southeast bearings. At nearby West Dennis Beach, Turks & Caicos on 530 and WOKV Florida on 690 could be received at noon all year with any halfway-sensitive receiver / antenna combo. Atlantic City graveyarders boom in during the day. From many weekend visits to the W. Yarmouth house basement with my R-390A (and later R8A), and a sloper off the top of one of their pitch pine trees, I can testify to how great the Latin Americans used to pound in there. I had things like Radio Caaguazu - 645 Paraguay (+ Argentinians, Brazilians) that didn't have a prayer of being heard at home. Recently my wife and I purchased vacation / retirement property in South Yarmouth, MA. I'll be seriously DXing again without having to do it in the cramped confines of a car at a public beach or pier.
Mark Connelly, WA1ION - Billerica, MA + South Yarmouth, MA
--- In ultralightdx@..., Tony Germanotta <germanotta.tony@...> wrote:
I live about 20 miles from the Atlantic on a rise by a little freshwater pond. There is a marked difference in trans-Atlantics when you are on the shore. Even on local groundwave transmissions. Chuck Ripple is another 10 miles farther from the Ocean and I can sometimes hear things that don't reach him on MW. That's the magic of DXpeditions. And it doesn't hurt that you wind up on a pretty beach, even if it is usually in the offseason.
I first got into DXing trying to hear the Phillies. I discovered I could go to Virginia Beach on Sunday afternoons and hear the game easily on any transistor radio. Mostly, I was getting the transmissions from affiliates in Atlantic City or Wildwood, N.J., and they just followed the salt water path right to Virginia Beach. But go that extra 20 miles inland and all of the signal was gone.
I was working for a newspaper at the time, and it intrigued me. I figured thousands of local sailors stationed in Norfolk would love to listen to their home teams, (this was before the internet.) so I went hunting for info. I found the NRC and the IRCA in a reference book called the Dictionary of Associations and contacted some folks there to ask why this was happening. I also had gotten a Select-A-Tenna, so I tracked down the engineer who built that and interviewed him, and ordered a bunch of reprints on loop antennas and built my own. I bought a GE Superradio on their advice and eventually bought my Sony 2010 at a ham fest in Orlando. One of the radios my wife had bought me early on at the recommendation of the local Radio Shack, a Patrolman model, was a terrible MW radio, but it had a shortwave band and I tuned in the first night to catch the DX Partyline show from Quito Ecuador. I was hooked. Here were some folks having a blast talking about listening to distant radio stations and they were broadcasting from a place that seemed so exotic in its own right.
I took that Patrolman back and ordered a Sony 4920 and it became by constant travel buddy on countless reporting trips. I need to try that one on some UL listening. It certainly should qualify, being small with no bells and whistles, just dual conversion and an analog dial with 7 shortwave bands.
I do notice here that after a lot of rain, the Europeans seem to come in a little stronger at my home. I wonder if it is just improving the ground conductance up here on my little hill. There are no real hills here along the coastal plain. I may be at the highest point in all of Chesapeake and it's about 20 feet above the lake level.
On Feb 12, 2010, at 12:55 PM, Guy Atkins wrote:
Gary and I have also discovered that within the city limits of Puyallup there can be major differences in TP MW reception. Gary lives a few miles closer to salt water Puget Sound than I do, and he is also in the fertile valley area where presumably the grounding is better. I live farther to the east on a high, somewhat rocky ridge. At times Gary has heard signals I've found inaudible, and on rare occasions the situation is reversed. 73, Guy
Re: Guy Atkin's Independent Testing of PL-380 7.5" Loopstick
Posted by: "D1028Gary@..." D1028Gary@... dxergary
Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:22 pm (PST)
Puyallup is about 90 miles from the ocean, but only about 5 miles from salt
water (Puget Sound). The TP propagation here is nowhere near as favorable
as on a Pacific Ocean beach, but probably much better than 90 miles inland
without any salt water nearby.