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DX-TV & FM NEWS (28/02/22)


By Keith Hamer & Garry Smith

January 2022 Reception Reports

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The Quadrantids meteor shower event on January 3rd, 2022, was generally disappointing. Chris Howles (Lichfield) described the Quadrantids as a ‘damp squib’ with just the one ‘ping’ from NDR (Info Heide) on 87.90MHz at 1712.


Here in Derby, several ‘pings’ on the lower FM channels (particularly at 87.60MHz) were heard but monitoring Band I channel R2 (59.25MHz) produced nothing. This came as no surprise as only Moldova on channel R2 seemed the only likely contender due to the reflection distance involved and there were plans to switch off the transmitter on the 1st. However, according to Chris, the switch-off was postponed once again.


Archive Band III Test Cards


The results were in complete contrast to 45 years ago when, on January 3rd, 1977, Garry Smith (Derby) found that the lower Band III TV channels were alive with at least 18 ‘pings’ from various countries between 1242 and 1324UTC, mainly of test cards. The biggest surprise was the sight of the Russian ‘0249’ monoscopic test card on channel R6 (175.25MHz) at 1254UTC, followed by the Czechoslovakian test card shortly after, also on R6. The Swedish “Girl’s Head” test card on E5 (175.25MHz) and the Norwegian ‘Norge Televerket’ PM5544 on E6 (182.25MHz) also popped up.


Tropospheric FM Reception


Returning to the present-day, a fair amount of tropospheric DX was received by George Garden (Gourdon, Scotland) between the 12th and 15th. Signals were mainly of UK origin, the most distant on the 13th being 93.3MHz (BBC R4) Llangollen (15.6kW), 100.7MHz (Classic FM) Arfon (3.75kW/H, 15kW/V) and 101.5MHz (Classic FM) Tacolneston (125kW). The latter two stations were received at high levels. On the 14th, 87.8MHz (RTÉ Radio 1) Clermont Carn (Éire, 40kW) was identified.


On the 14th from 0900, reception in Derby included several German stations such as WDR-5 on 88.80MHz and 90.03MHz. Other stations on 87.90, 91.00, 91.10 and 106.40 MHz were also received.


On the 14th, Chris Howles identified several German stations, the highlight being 87.70MHz (MDR Kultur) from Chemnitz. The first signals were logged at 0630 on 95.40MHz (SWR-2) Bad Marienberg, 89.90MHz (NDR Kultur) Torfhaus, and 94.60MHz (MDR Sachsen-Anhalt) Brocken. A fair number of Dutch and Belgian stations were present throughout the day until 2345.


Tim Bucknall (Congleton) encountered Irish FM stations between 1015 and 1058 on the 13th. These included 88.80 RTÉ Radio 1, Maghera, 89.00 (RTÉ Radio 1) Suir Valley, 90.00 (RTÉ Radio 1), 92.20 (RTÉ 2FM), and 99.60 (RTÉ Lyric FM), the latter three originating from Mullaghanish. The following morning, Tim identified a fair number of transmitters located in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, the latter included the outlets at Nordhelle, Biedenkopf and Langeberg.


Tropospheric TV Reception


On the 14th, Stephen Michie (Bristol) decoded Sandy Heath DVB-T television multiplexes on channels D24 (ITV) and D27 (BBC A). Unidentified signals were present (but not viewable) on other channels including D22, D23 and D26, but these were blocked by co-channel signals.


Niels van der Linden (Épinal, France) identified three Austrian ORS multiplexes on D21 (MUX-B), D24 (MUX-A) and D41 (MUX-C) from the Bregenz 1/Pfänder 70kW transmitter.


Southern Hemisphere


Alex Zapara (Perth, Australia) discovered a late-afternoon Sporadic-E opening on January 5th into South Australia with many Adelaide stations received for approximately two hours. Tony Mann (Perth) reports that by mid-January, there was a rapid decline in Sporadic-E activity, but this trend has also been noticed in the run-up to past solar peaks, notably in December 1977, 1978, and 1997.


Ivan Dias (Brazil) advises that the current Sporadic-E season is one of the worst he has ever experienced with only one opening in November and another in December 2021, with FM signals from Uruguay and Argentina. Nearer the Equator line, the difference in reception opportunities was greater, with good openings virtually every week.

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A few remaining analogue stations exist in some of the smaller Brazilian cities, but these will be switched off by December 31st, 2023. Over 90 per cent of the country has digital coverage.


Another Retune


Another major Freeview channel reshuffle took place on January 26th. Talking Pictures TV showed a reminder featuring a Bush TV125 dual-standard television receiver, dating back to the Sixties, undergoing a retune. These receivers were popular amongst TV DX-ers on account of their high-gain characteristics thanks to three vision IF stages.


Stay Tuned!


Our thanks go to all our readers and DX colleagues who have submitted reception reports and information this month.


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 column by the end of the month at the latest.




Fig.1: Russia: The 0249 monoscopic test card.

Photo: Garry Smith.


Fig. 2: Sweden: “Girl’s Head” test card received on channel E5 on January 3rd, 1977.

Photo: Keith Hamer and Garry Smith.


Fig. 3: Czechoslovakia: ‘RS-KH’ electronic test card received via the Quadrantids Meteor Shower event on channel R6 on January 3rd, 1977.

Photo: Garry Smith.


Fig. 4: Czech Republic: CT-2 network identification graphics in 2012.

Photo: Keith Hamer and Garry Smith.


Fig. 5: Prague: rooftop view of aerials in 2007.

Photo: Keith Hamer and Garry Smith.


Fig. 6: Talking Pictures TV: A Freeview retune reminder featuring a Bush TV125 dual-standard receiver.

Photo: Keith Hamer and Garry Smith.


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