May 2022 Reception Reports
Keith Hamer & Garry Smith
MAY 2022 RECEPTION
FM band signals identified during the first week of May by Tim Bucknall (Congleton) included France, the Czech Republic, Spain and Poland.
On May 20th, during a two-hour opening towards the evening, Chris Howles (Lichfield) identified Morocco, Spain and Portugal. An opening lasting almost three hours around mid-afternoon on the 22nd occurred to the south-east producing Bulgaria, Rumania, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Roger Bunney (Romsey) has recently installed an omnidirectional FM X-aerial and the initial reception included Arabic signals from North Africa. Switching from the vertical to the horizontal X-aerial, Angel FM (Isle of Wight) on 91.50MHz dropped to almost zero. Caen (France) could then be heard as they are co-channel.
A path into North Africa on the 27th at 1850UTC produced an unidentified Arabic station on 88.00MHz for Stephen Michie (Bristol).
The OIRT FM band towards the upper end of Band I has been active at times. On the 3rd, Gösta van der Linden (Rotterdam) identified Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
On the 23rd at 0816UTC, Chris noticed activity on 70.31MHz with BR Kanal Kultura from Myadzel (Мядзел, Miadzieł, Belarus), being identified. The following morning at 0741, a Russian station on 67.60MHz, Radio Rossii, from Kingisepp, was present. The 25th proved fairly productive between 1645 and 1721, with various stations located in Belarus being received.
Monitoring the lower FM channels can be confusing when short-lived stations seem to pop up. Simon Hockenhull (Bristol) and other DX-ers have had a few false alarms due to those in-car FM transmitters that some people use to feed their ‘phones to their car radios.
Simon monitors Radio 2 on 89.90MHz from Wenvoe. It is a weak signal and shows up very quickly if there is any co-channel due to Sporadic-E activity. Simon comments that the shelved original plans to close the historic BBC Broadcasting House on Whiteladies Road in Bristol have now been re-introduced. The BBC is moving to an industrial estate on the outskirts of the city.
TV Reception Reports
Some Band I TV signals were observed by Niels van der Linden (Épinal France) on May 1st between 0920 and 0955, on channel R1 (49.75MHz). Similar reception on R1 was noted again on the 3rd during the morning and also on the 13th. On May 10th between 0640 and 0715 on R1, a programme, tentatively logged as Publika TV from Moldova, was seen.
The bad news broke for DX-ers early on the morning of May 3rd. The Moldova-1 (M1) analogue transmitters throughout Bands I, II and III were switched off, having lived on borrowed time for the past couple of seasons.
Not all of the VHF analogue services in Moldova have closed. Some services, but not M1, are still available on channels R2 (59.25MHz) and R3 (77.25MHz). Their ERPs are unknown but are probably not as high as the M1 transmitters we received over the years. Reception of these remaining stations might be possible, along with any other existing transmitters in eastern Ukraine and Rostov-on-Don (Russia), although these rely on a greater skip distance.
Some of these transmitters are located roughly at similar distances to those of Jordan, Syria and Iran, which often frequented our screens in recent years, once the higher-powered European transmitters on channels E2 (48.25MHz), E3 (55.25MHz) and E4 (62.25MHz) were switched off.
Fortunately, the USA and Canada operate digital multiplexes in Band I, or ‘lo-band’ as it is known. On May 2nd, between 1710 and 1825UTC, Pascal Colaers (Carlsbad, California) received KNOP-TV via Sporadic-E on channel A2 (55.25MHz) from North Platte, Nebraska, USA (16kW ERP) over a distance of 1,710km. FM stations from the same region, including many of them with HD Radio, were also present.
Niels van der Linden (Épinal, France) reports that TV multiplexes from three sites in the Czech Republic were decoded on May 18th during a tropospheric lift. These were:-
D21 T2-MUX-24-US Ústi nád Labem 20kW, at 615km
D26 T2-MUX-21 Cheb/Zelená hora 20kW ERP, at 480 km.
D34 T2-MUX-22 Plzen/Krasov 100kW, at 535 km.
Note that the Czech Republic uses the DVB-T2 HEVC/H.265 system. ‘HEVC’ is an abbreviation for ‘High-Efficiency Video Coding’. This system is also used in Germany.
Chris identified some early-morning tropospheric catches from 0511 on the 18th, which included the following: 87.90MHz Omroep Zeeland, Goes, Netherlands; 91.80MHz Radio Uylenspiegel, Hazebrouck, France; 91.80MHz France Musique, Bourges; 94.20MHz France Culture, Nantes. During the evening at 2130, 88.00MHz NPO Radio 2, from Hoogersmilde, Netherlands, was heard.
On the 22nd, Stephen Michie (Bristol) heard 99.8MHz Mona FM, and 103.7MHz France Inter, both from Lille. Croydon stations were also present, and again on the following day.
We would like to 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, photographs and equipment details to us via the E-mail addresses shown at the top of this post.
CAPTIONS TO PHOTOGRAPHS
Fig. 1: Roger’s new FM installation
(Photo: Roger Bunney (Romsey)).
Fig. 2: A rather overgrown and neglected entrance to BBC Broadcasting House, Bristol, in June 2016.
(Photo: Keith Hamer and Garry Smith).
Fig. 3: KNOP-TV, Nebraska, via Sporadic-E on Channel A2.
(Photo: Pascal Colaers (Carlsbad, California, USA)).
Fig. 4: News programme from the Czech Republic on channel D21.
(Photo: Niels van der Linden (Épinal, France)).
Fig. 5: The latest graphics used by GBC in Gibraltar.
(Photo: Kevin Hewitt (Gibraltar)).
Fig. 6: Iran on Channel E2, received in 2010.
Photo: Paul Farley (East Sussex).