DX-TV & FM NEWS - 25th October 2021
By Keith Hamer & Garry Smith
September 2021 Reception Reports
25th October 2021
Sadly, Sporadic-E reception seemed to fizzle out by the end of August, for both TV and FM reception, certainly as far as DX-ers in the United Kingdom were concerned. Moldova was the most frequently received country noted in the UK during the summer, possibly due to the favourable skip-distance. Most signals received on channel R2 (measured at 59.24MHz) came from Balti/Mindrestii Noi (30kW ERP). Channel R3 (77.27MHz) signals originated from Strășeni (150kW ERP). Hopefully, Moldova will still be around next season, but it is currently living on borrowed time. A picture of its ‘1’ logo for the HD network is shown here.
In Europe, TV signals were captured on September 2nd in Épinal, France, by Niels van der Linden and his sons. Between 0750 and 0835, an opening produced ‘1+1’ (Ukraine) on channel R1 from Kramatorsk (50kW) and ‘Primul în Moldova’ (Moldova) on R2 (vertical polarisation) from Cimișlia (12.5kW).
Hugh Cocks (Portugal) advises that the TEP (Trans-equatorial Propagation) season has commenced and the Radio Belekan (Mali) STL (Studio-Transmitter-Link) was heard on 52.7MHz during the evening of September 19th. By the 23rd, signal levels were rising and a strong carrier on 53MHz (possibly an STL) was detected from Guinea Bissau. A few low-level multiple carriers on TV channels E2 (48.75MHz) and E3 (55.75MHz) were also discovered.
Via tropospheric enhancement in Épinal, Niels received a low-power re-activated Swiss transmitter on the 17th. He decoded pictures from LFM TV (MUX: LEM 02) which transmits from La Dôle on channel D34 (vertical polarisation) with a power of 2.4kW ERP. Niels has also observed Austrian multiplexes on D22, D24, D25 and D41 from Bregenz 1/Pfänder (70kW ERP). Although only around 300km distant at his French location, Austrian signals would certainly be of immense interest to UK DX-ers during past openings in the analogue days!
The excellent tropo conditions continued into the first few days of September. One of the highlights for Chris Howles (Lichfield) was ‘PR Radio Szczecin’ on 92.0MHz from Szczecin. Also in attendance were FM signals from Germany, Denmark and Sweden (SR P2 on 93.6MHz and SR P3 on 98.8MHz from Varberg).
Paul Farley (Newhaven) visited Cyprus recently armed with TV DX-ing gear. Several countries in the region are still operating analogue transmitters in Band III and at UHF. The only test card Paul saw was identified as Syria via an unknown sports channel on channel E12 (224.25MHz).
George Garden (Stonehaven, Scotland) received many distant UK stations on the 7th, including Classic FM on 100.7MHz from Arfon (North Wales) which is usually blocked by the 8.9kW Heart (North-East) signal on the same frequency from Bilsdale. Classic FM on 101.9MHz was also received from Divis (125kW) and Sandale (125kW) on 99.9MHz. On the 4th and 8th, Stephen Michie (Bristol) identified Kiss, Magic and Heart from Croydon.
Following the Bilsdale mast fire, and the resolution of subsequent legal issues over permission to use land close to the original transmitter site, construction of a temporary mast began by September 14th to provide an estimated 90 per cent of the original coverage.
Another ‘incident’ removed several Freeview TV services from screens, and the various faults lasted almost a week. In the days of analogue broadcasting, a caption such as “We apologise for the breakdown. Programmes will be resumed as soon as possible” would have been shown, accompanied by music, and supplied by the duty Continuity Announcer with regular ‘live’ updates.
More often than not, the problem would be rectified within minutes – and that was the end of the musical interlude, which was often more interesting than the actual programme! In those days, valve and mechanical technology ruled.
Television & Radio Column
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Our thanks to all our readers and DX colleagues who have submitted information and reception reports for this month. Due to the large amount of DX, we’ve had to choose the highlights, but keep them rolling in. Please submit information by the end of the month at the latest!
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CAPTIONS TO PHOTOGRAPHS
Fig. 1: Moldova R2 with centre-screen logo (Photo: Keith Hamer and Garry Smith).
Fig. 2: The Swiss LEM F02 multiplex on D34V from La Dôle (Photo: Niels van der Linden).
Fig. 3: Austrian news opening sequence (Photo: Niels van der Linden).
Fig. 4: The Freeview E4 ‘Off-Air’ caption (Photo: Keith Hamer and Garry Smith).
Fig. 5: Another one bites the dust! What happened to the apology caption? (Photo: Keith Hamer and Garry Smith).
Fig. 6: A Syrian test card received in Cyprus (Photo: Paul Farley, United Kingdom).