TV and FM DX News

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The Latest Loggings for March 2021

DX-TV & FM NEWS

 

By Keith Hamer & Garry Smith

 

[email protected]

[email protected]

 

Not a bad start to the year! The Quadrantids meteor-shower event in early January was particularly productive on the lower FM channels on the 3rd during the afternoon. Activity seemed to diminish during the early evening. There were lots of other pings (mainly pop music), but the most striking ones were German and Eastern European speech on 87.6, 87.7 and 88.0 MHz. A couple of TV receivers were set to monitor Band I channels R1 (49.75MHz) and R2 (59.25MHz), which were reasonably interference-free during the afternoon but, alas, nothing was seen, but snow!

 

Chris Howles (Lichfield) noticed activity on both the OIRT and FM bands, the latter producing stations with RDS.

 

Tim Bucknall (Congleton) logged several OIRT FM transmitters operating in Belarus during the Quadrantids. More meteor-shower activity occurred on the 8th when German and French stations were logged. On the 10th, transmitters in Germany, Sweden, the Czech Republic and France were identified. The French signal at 0326 on 91.30MHz (France Inter) from  Marseille/Grande Etoile at 1,225 km was an ‘excellent long burst’, according to Tim.

 

It is worth checking out the lower FM channels for meteor-shower activity, even outside the main peaks. As an experiment, in the ’70s, one of the authors used to run TV receivers in Bands I and III and was able to receive daily meteor-shower captures for three years, or more. Band III was quite productive at times and the daily airing of test cards helped identification. Russia R6 (175.25MHz vision), Italy D (175.25MHz vision) and Finland E9 (203.25MHz vision) were the most ‘exotic’ countries identified by the test card. The more frequently received signals originated in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria, mainly on E5 and R6.

 

Sporadic-E

Sporadic-E activity materialised on January 12th and 14th, which produced a host of OIRT FM stations from Belarus for Tim Bucknall (Congleton). On the CCIR FM band, Sweden was identified. Signals were received between 1153 and 1206. On the 14th, Belarus OIRT FM was present again during a short opening between 1133 and 1135. Tim’s receiving equipment consists of an Elad FDM S2 receiver, Reuter Elektronik RDR54D1 and HS Publications 6-element 76-94MHz aerial with a rotator.

 

DX Down Under

Tony Mann (Perth) reports that a memorable day for FM DX-ing was January 7th when Leigh Rainbird, VK2KRR, at Wagga, NSW received some 27 stations from the Bali, Lombok, and Flores region of Indonesia, at about 3,000 km. At about the same time (mid-afternoon, from Perth), Tony received some high-power FM stations from Cairns and Rockhampton, Queensland via double-skip Sporadic-E. Several Indonesian FM stations were logged on the 7th via single-skip Sporadic-E on the Broome Globaltuner by Tony, Todd Emslie (Sydney) and Robert Yeo.

 

 

December 31st, 2020 provided the most intense opening of the season in Perth. There was an eight-hour Sporadic-E opening to the north, starting at 6.00 am, to stations predominantly around 1,000 to 1,200 km distant. There were DX signals on some 69 FM channels, some two or more deep. All the major northern WA towns, from Derby to Roebourne, and mine sites were represented. Most of the mine sites heard are about 1,000 km north. Some identified transmitters include Christmas Creek (90.9 Hits), Hope Downs Village and Mine (89.5, 91.1 and 93.3 MHz), Cloudbreak (97.1MHz), West Angelas (90.3 and 91.5 MHz), Telfer (100.5 and 106.9 MHz), Newman (88.9 and 94.3 MHz), and Brockman. An aboriginal station heard on 104.5MHz was probably 8KIN Todmorden, South Australia, at 1,880 km.

 

A Quiet February

February was extremely quiet, which is not uncommon for the time of year. A glimmer of hope materialised towards the end of the month with a promise of high-pressure building; in Derby, it only produced enhanced reception of ‘France Musique’ from Lille (France) on 88.70MHz. Over in Norfolk on the 27th, John Ballantyne noted DAB+ signals from ‘VLAANDEREN 2’ (Belgium) on block 5A (174.928MHz), tentatively being logged from the high-power Egem site. John uses a Pure Elan E3 receiver fed from a vertically-mounted loft Band III aerial equipped with a low-noise (0.3dB) medium-gain (15dB) amplifier with further amplification near the receiver.

 

On the 26th, in Épinal (France), enhanced conditions enabled Niels van der Linden to receive ‘SR Fernsehen HD’ (Germany) on channel D32 from the vertically-polarised Göttelborner Höhe (50 kW ERP) outlet (Fig. 1). Another photograph shows the identification caption of ‘Vià Moselle TV’, a French programme aired on MUX 1, received on channel D36 (horizontal polarisation) from Metz-Luttange (100 kW ERP).

 

Wesley Colaers (Vancouver) advises that some remaining CTV analogue TV stations in Canada ceased operation on February 26th. These included:-

 

ALBERTA (AB) PROVINCE

A2, CFRN-TV-5, Lac-la-Biche, 8.7kW ERP.

A7, CFRN-TV-7, Lougheed, 21.0kW ERP.

A12, CFRN-TV-4, Ashmont, 26.7kW ERP.

A12, CFRN-TV-3, Whitecourt, 17.9kW ERP.

A13, CFRN-TV-12, Athabasca, 3.3kW ERP.

 

SASKATCHEWAN PROVINCE

A7, CKMJ-TV, Moose Jaw, 98.0kW ERP.

A10 CCIC-TV, Yorkton, 56kW ERP).

 

40 Years Ago

F2 propagation began its revival in 1981 with the first signals emerging on channel R1 (49.75MHz) on February 17th between 0830 and 0850 UTC, their source unknown. On the 26th between 1235 and 1250, a weak unidentified African signal on E2 (48.25MHz) from the south was detected.

 

In the same year, tropospheric enhancement at the end of January and early February produced many German, Belgian and Dutch stations in Band III and UHF. A mystery PM5544-type test card without the centre cross on channel E23 just before midnight on February 1st was tentatively identified as Thames TV from Crystal Palace.    

 

That’s all for now. Good DX-ing!

 

 

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.

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS

 

Fig. 1: SR Fernsehen HD (Germany) on channel D32 (vertical polarisation) from Göttelborner Höhe (50 kW ERP), received by Niels van der Linden, Épinal, France.

 

Fig. 2: Vià Moselle TV (MUX 1) received on channel D36 (horizontal) from Metz-Luttange (100 kW ERP) by Niels van der Linden, Épinal, France.

 

Fig. 3: CCIC-TV channel A10 with the CTV news during its final days of analogue operation in February 2021 (Photo: Wesley Colaers, Vancouver).

 

Fig. 4: BRT-1 (Belgium) programme schedule on channel E43 from Egem (1000 kW ERP) received on January 30th, 1981 (Photo: Keith Hamer+Garry Smith).

 

Fig. 5: Thames Television PM5544-type test card from Crystal Palace (Photo: Keith Hamer+Garry Smith).