DX-TV & FM NEWS (031022)
By Keith Hamer & Garry Smith
Reception Reports for August 2022
Normally, the month of August heralds the wind-down of the Sporadic-E season, but this year it took a turn for the better with some surprise reception. In
Weak, short-lived fluttery images, lasting 5 to 15 seconds, were noticed several times between August 12th and 14th on channels R1 and R2 by Niels van der Linden and his sons in Épinal, France. This suggests that reception was due to the Perseids meteor-shower event which is one of the more intense displays during the year.
The number of flutters was far less than in previous years. This was to be expected due to the fewer number of outlets remaining in service. In the past, meteor-shower reception in Band I during the Perseids has been overwhelmed by Sporadic-E reception, thus making it difficult to differentiate. Tuning to channels in Band III often produced pings and this shower was always one to look forward to.
Band I images have been encountered many times in Épinal throughout the summer, but always at low levels. However, the first Sporadic-E reception which provided strong pictures in colour emerged on the 22nd, between 0735 and 0805UTC, on channel R2 (59.25MHz) when the ‘Pirvey Kanal Europa’, a Russian service, was identified via the transmitter Grigoriopol (50kW ERP) in Moldova.
Tropospheric enhancement occurred between the 10th and 15th, which enabled Stephen Michie (Bristol) to receive several UK TV transmitters. On the 10th, these included Sandy Heath multiplexes (BBCA D27 and ITV D24) and Crystal Palace (D23, D26 and D30). The latter reception blanked out the local Siston relay at around 0540 and, according to Stephen, it is the first time this has happened since the digital switchover. In the days of analogue allocations, a digital clash from
Sporadic-E activity was noted by Stephen on the 19th and 21st, the former with Italian signals from 0917 on 87.50 and 87.90 MHz, and on the latter date from ‘PR1’ (Poland) on 88.00MHz from Krosno/Sucha Góra. This was identified by its ‘JEDYNKA’ RDS.
Chris Howles (Lichfield) describes a double-skip opening to the Middle East which occurred on the 21st. At around 0645, Chris discovered a weak opening to the Balkans at the lower end of the FM band in addition to a couple of Bulgarian stations. Around 0657, a weird PI code of 42E5 came up on 87.60MHz which Chris initially dismissed as a false encode and reset the RDS Spy, but it re-appeared. He searched on the default settings on FM List but nothing came up so he then switched it to the double-skip setting and there was the answer – ‘
There are two ‘KAN’ outlets on this frequency, namely, Jerusalem and Safed, the latter seeming a more likely match judging by the directions of the other signals which were around at the time. Chris double-checked the music being played, a Bob Dylan song, against the web stream to be sure, and it matched. This is Chris’s furthest confirmed FM DX capture at 3,685km, assuming it was Safed. If it was Jerusalem, it would have added another 100km. Several other
Between the 10th and 14th, Chris logged tropospheric reception from The Netherlands,
TV In Éire
A recent edition of the Teleradio News magazine described the introduction of television in Éire some 60 years ago. Éire was one of the last European countries to introduce a TV service although, until its introduction, viewers along the east coast had the privilege of receiving 405-line signals from UK transmitters as far back as 1949. Elaborate aerials were used over the decades to receive the UK’s UHF channels. A few years ago while visiting the Howth Peninsula near Dublin, Brian Manley (Greenwich) spotted such an aerial which consisted of a vertically-polarised UHF grid array facing a large parabolic reflector. Éire operated both the 405-line and 625-line systems until the late 70’s when the former standard was switched off.
According to Stephen Michie, the last transmitter to be switched off was the Letterkenny (1kW ERP) outlet on Channel B6 (179.75MHz vision, 125MHz sound) which used vertical polarisation.
A variety of test cards were transmitted including Test Card ‘C’ and the Marconi Resolution Chart. Test Card ‘E’ was supposedly used, but there seems to be very little official information to confirm this. Do any readers have a recollection of this particular test card being shown?
Test Card ‘E’’ was radiated by RTP in Portugal into the early ’70s until colour was introduced.
We thank all our readers and DX colleagues who have submitted information and reception reports for this month’s column. Please send DX-TV and FM reception reports, or any reminisces from the old analogue days, via the e-mail addresses shown at the top of this column, by the end of the month.
CAPTIONS TO PHOTOGRAPHS
Figs. 1 to 3: Moldova Channel R2, identified as Pirvey Kanal Europa.
Off-screen pictures supplied by Niels van der Linden, Épinal, France.
Fig. 4: An elaborate aerial installation was noted on the Howth Peninsula near Dublin, Éire.
Photo: Brian Manley (Greenwich).
Fig. 5: Test Card ‘E’, thought to have been used by RTÉ in Éire.
Photo: Keith Hamer+Garry Smith.