Sporadic-E Encounters, Meteor Shower Reflections, and Aerial Experiments

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TV and FM DX Loggings Update

By Keith Hamer & Garry Smith ([email protected] | [email protected])

 

Loggings are for April 2021

 

The first Sporadic-E encounter occurred on April 23rd with an early afternoon opening producing Italian stations on the lower FM channels. In Europe, on the same day, Russian analogue TV signals were observed by Niels van der Linden (Épinal France) with REN-TV on channel R3 (77.25 MHz) logged at 1320 UTC from Rostov-Don. Checking REN-TV’s IPTV channel provided a positive identification. On the following morning, an extremely weak signal was seen on R1 between 0625 and 0710 UTC, which is thought to have been ‘1+1’ (Ukraine) from Kramatorsk.

 

Another weak R1 signal appeared on the 25th between 0725 and 0845, which was also captured by Gösta van der Linden (Rotterdam, Netherlands). During the opening, Ukrainian OIRT FM stations were heard which included 66.53MHz UR-3 Radio Kultura (Antopil 20kW), 67.34MHz UR-1 Persha (Mariopol 20 kW), 69.68MHz Radio Maria (Kiev 5kW), and 72.08MHz Studio Maidan (Kiev 20kW). A station in Moldova was identified on 72.02MHz as Radio Moldova Actualit (Strășeni 35kW).

 

Tropospheric enhancement on the 5th produced Swiss stations for Tim Bucknall (Congleton). At 0045, Tim identified Radio SRF-1 on 88.20MHz from Bantiger and also on 91.20MHz from Saas-Fee/Plattjen. A small number of French and German stations were heard on the 22nd.

 

Meteor-Shower reflections occurred on the 25th producing pings from the Grünten (Germany) transmitter on 88.70MHz (Bayern-2) and 90.70MHz (Bayer-1). Tim received these again on the 28th with the addition of Croatia (HRT-1) on 89.70MHz from Biokovo and 91.30MHz from Labinštica. All of these occurred at around 0400!

 

Kevin Hewitt (Gibraltar) has been venturing up to the Top of the Rock to monitor 6m (FT8) activity. On the 11th, Kevin made over 40 SSB contacts, mostly into Europe with a few stations in North and South America. Typically, conditions began to improve just as he had to pack up his equipment and leave!

 

USA & Canada

 

Fortunately in the USA, they had the good sense to continue with lo-band (Band I) transmissions after digital conversion. Wesley Colaers (Vancouver) has already received two digital TV transmitters via Sporadic-E from the USA. On the 24th, between 1415 and 1455 UTC, he identified KIEM-TV on channel A3 (61.25MHz) from Eureka, California (12.5 kW ERP) at a distance of 1,133km and on the following day, KXLF-TV on channel A5 (77.25MHz) from Butte, Montana (10kW ERP) at 1,225km. Pascal Colaers (California) encountered his first Sporadic-E opening on the 29th which produced KNOP-TV on Channel A2 (55.25MHz) from North Platte, Nebraska.

 

A Look at 40 Years Ago

 

It is always interesting to peruse old logbooks. The first TV signals were received on April 26th, 1981, with RAI (Italy) noted on channel IA (53.75MHz) between 2044 and 2055. On the 29th, an hour-long opening produced Spanish colour bars with a test tone on channel E3 (55.25MHz) from 1700 with ‘CONTROL CENTRAL RTVE’ identification, followed by the test card and station opening. Tropospheric enhancement from the 14th produced an influx of Dutch and German stations including the Südwestfunk FuBK test card on channel E40 with ‘SW3 BADN’ identification.

 

Logs from 20 Years Ago

 

The Sporadic-E season began on April 29th, 2001, with a brief opening at 0730 with NRK (Norway) on E2 (48.25MHz). The following day, TVE (Spain) emerged on E2 but reception was short-lived. There was bad news: analogue closedown was due to commence and DX-ers were about to be robbed of TVE transmitters on E2 (Navacerrada) and E3 (Gamonitiero), these migrating on July 1st to UHF channels E26 and E63, respectively. La Muela E3 had already closed in March and had moved to E33.

 

Aerial Experiments

 

Finally, Dave Bunyan (Sittingbourne) is experimenting with a home-brew tilt-over mast to enable easy access for aerial experiments. It can also be lowered during the onset of windy weather and its height can be adjusted between 5 and 7 metres. Dave is experimenting with a seven-element double-reflector FM design with a front-to-back ratio of 26dB, or better, from 91 to 103 MHz in an attempt to reduce the impact of interference from the many local radio stations in London.

 

Stay Tuned!

 

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.

 

CAPTIONS TO PHOTOGRAPHS

 

Fig. 1: REN-TV (Russia) on Channel R3 (Photo supplied by Niels van der Linden).

Fig. 2: KXLF-TV (USA) on Channel A5 (Photo supplied by Wesley Colaers).

Fig. 3: KNOP-TV (USA) on Channel A2 (Photo supplied by Pascal Colaers).

Fig. 4: TVE (Spain) Channel E2 on April 29th, 1981, received by Keith Hamer and Garry Smith.

Fig. 5: NOS-2 (Netherlands) Channel 27 from Lopik in April 1981, received by Keith Hamer and Garry Smith.