TV and FM DX News
Update for September and October 2020
By Keith Hamer & Garry Smith
Sporadic-E activity continued well into September, an ideal grand finale to the main season. High-pressure, and its associated settled weather, produced tropospheric enhancement on various dates keeping DXers reasonably happy, putting smiles on their faces, and giving endless entertainment during these dark times.
Morning Sporadic-E openings lasting up to an hour on September 2nd, 4th, and 6th, were observed by Gösta van der Linden and Niels van der Linden in both Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Épinal (France), respectively. These were all unidentified images on channel R1 (49.75MHz), but on the 6th, between 1010 and 1045UTC, Niels identified the Russian 1TV network on R2 (59.240MHz) from Rostov/Don. At 1100 on the 17th, Tom Crane (Hawkwell) discovered a weak R2 carrier which he measured as 59.240MHz.
OIRT FM signals from Ukraine were encountered by Chris Howles (Lichfield) during a brief mid-morning opening on the 3rd. Wesley Colaers (Vancouver, British Columbia) has commented that OIRT FM stations from the Vladivostok area of Russia have been received, but the lack of TV signals on channels R1, R2 and R3 (77.25MHz) strongly suggests that these transmitters are no longer operational.
Between the 15th and 19th, Tom Crane identified a variety of TV multiplexes which included The Netherlands (Channels D24H, D27H and D32H), Belgium (D55H and D56V) and France (D36H).
On the 8th, 11th, 16th and 17th, Chris Howles logged a plethora of FM transmitters in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France. Éire was added to the list on the 18th.
On the 17th, many strong Dutch and French stations were present in Derby from 0730. RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourg) from Dudelange was logged on 88.90MHz and by Tim Bucknall (Congleton). Chris also heard it in addition to the Hosingen outlet on 92.50MHz.
George Garden flits between Gourdon and Stonehaven in Scotland for DX-ing. At the latter location, an external vertical dipole for FM and DAB is used but at the former, George has to rely on the receiver’s rod aerial which can be orientated to reduce unwanted signals. Despite simple aerials, results are usually impressive.
George has an excellent sea-path over to Scandinavia, Germany, and the Benelux countries. Between the 17th and 21st – and in addition to dozens of UK stations – transmitters in Éire, Belgium, France, Denmark, The Netherlands and Germany were identified. Even a handful of remaining Norwegian FM outlets emerged on 97.2, 99.9, 102.1 and 103.0 MHz.
DAB offerings included Norway, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands, the latter typically on channels 6B (Oost-Noord), 9D (Noord-West), 8A, 8B (DAB 2S).
Éire: 87.8MHz ‘Radio 1’ (Clermont Carn 40kW)
Belgium: 102.6 Musique 3 (RTBF) (Tournai 30kW)
Belgium: 95.7MHz Radio 1 (Egem 50kW)
France: 105.2MHz France Info (Lille 125kW)
Norway: 97.2, 99.9, 102.1 and 103.0 MHz
Denmark: 87.8MHz NOVA (Varde 10kW)
95.1MHz DR P2, 97.2MHz DR P3, 99.9MHz DR P4
(all So. Jutland 60kW)
98.5MHz DR P4 (Holstebro 60kW)
Netherlands: 101.2MHz Sky Radio (Hilversum 200kW)
Germany: 95.6MHz N-JOY
Germany: Unidentified signals on 87.9, 98.7 and 104.8 MHz.
George successfully identified Norwegian DAB reception on the 17th from mid-day on 13F (NRK Reg3 SorRog). On the 18th at 0046, tropo produced 13F NRK Reg3 SorRog and 12D RIKS. Later that day, DAB signals were received from Denmark on 13B (DAB 2N), 12C (DK DAB1) and 8B (DAB 2S), The Netherlands on 9D (Noord West), 8B (DAB 2S), 8A, 6B (Oost-Noord), and Germany on 5C. On the 21st, Danish DAB was heard again on 12C (DK DAB1) and 8B (DAB 2S).
During the openings, stable pictures were observed from DR Ultra (Denmark) on channel D59 via the Viborg or Videbaek transmitters, both operate with 50kW ERP (Fig. 1).
Iain Menzies (Aberdeen) has had little success with TV signals via Sporadic-E this summer. However, Iain is over the moon with his Danish DAB successes on the 20th. Danish, Dutch and German FM signals were present the following morning.
Whilst parked-up at around 0700UTC on the 21st and 22nd, Simon Hockenull (Bristol) tuned into a feast of distant UK and French stations on the car radio. The strongest and clearest signal was the Dutch Radio 1 service on 95.70MHz from The Netherlands, identified by its RDS. A relative of Gösta’s living in Denmark has photographed several examples of DX reception from Poland, Lithuania, and Russia. One example shows Russia received on Channel D47 from Kaliningrad (35kW ERP) airing the 1TV news (Fig. 2).
October 1st and 2nd produced many strong UK FM signals for George Garden, the most distant being 101.10MHz Classic FM from Holme Moss (125kW ERP). A weaker opening occurred on the 18th.
Gibraltar: We have been advised by Kevin Hewitt (Gibraltar) that, in order to meet its international obligation to free-up the 700MHz frequency band for mobile broadband services, Gibraltar Freeview (GBC HD and GBC SD) on Channel 56 closed during the morning of September 29th and transferred to Channel 30. Until the retune, Channel 30 aired only HD broadcasts (Fig. 3). At least the process was less painful than the frequent retunes inflicted on UK viewers!
Switzerland: There are plans to reactivate some low-power DVB-T transmitters in the border regions with Vorarlberg, Liechtenstein, and Germany. Finally, watch out for Sporadic-E over the Festive Season and the Quadrantids Meteor-Shower event in early January. Have fun!
Please send DX-TV and FM reception reports, photographs, and equipment details to Garry Smith, 17 Collingham Gardens, Derby DE22 4FS or contact us at the e-mail addresses shown at the top of this column.
Captions to Photographs
Fig. 1: DR Ultra from Denmark (Photo: George Garden).
Fig. 2: Russian news programme, received in Denmark on Channel D47 (Photo: Gösta van der Linden).
Fig. 3: Gibraltar Freeview retuning advice (Photo: Kevin Hewitt).