DX-TV & FM NEWS
By Keith Hamer & Garry Smith
Sporadic-E seemed slow to materialise, and we had to wait until May 8th to enjoy our first real opening in the United Kingdom. Band I analogue TV signals were encountered on at least ten days throughout the month and observations in Europe unearthed several potentially new, or ‘mystery’, channels.
Bands I/II TV Reception
Here in Derby, on the 13th at 1315 UTC, very strong football and athletics scenes emerged on channel R3 (77.25MHz) without an obvious on-screen logo. By 1345 on R2 (measured at 59.24MHz), ballet scenes and the ‘1’ (inside the rectangular) of Moldova could be seen. At 1348, the signal faded up on R3, then disappeared. By 1413, an unidentified station was present on R3 sporting an ‘S’ or ‘5’ logo in the lower-right of the picture. Chris Howles (Lichfield) received pictures on R2, measured at 59.255MHz, but they were too weak to identify.
During the morning of May 20th, Gösta van der Linden (Rotterdam, Netherlands) received a ‘new’ unidentified R2 transmitter operating in Ukraine sporting the Cyrillic logo “UA: Перший” (UA: Pershyi).
On May 27th, another new channel emerged, this time on R1 (49.75MHz). Niels van der Linden (Épinal, France) noticed a programme, which became relatively strong and identified by its logo as ‘Publika TV’, a Moldovan news channel.
Here in Derby on the 25th, strong unidentified signals were observed on R2 from 0710, featuring a news presentation. A square logo, split horizontally into two sections, was displayed in the lower-right of the picture.
CCIR FM Reception
Simon Hockenhull (Bristol) experienced his first taste of the Sporadic-E season on the 8th when he discovered a mix of Spanish, Italian and Rumanian FM channels as high as 90MHz.
From 1600, dozens of Italian stations were flooding the band, according to the report submitted by Tim Bucknall (Congleton). Greece and Spain were also identified. On the 12th, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Iceland (87.70 RÚV Rás 2 and 88.70 RÚV Rás 2) were identified. The 14th was a hectic day for Tim with no fewer than 15 countries logged which included Serbia, Hungary, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Germany, Albania, Rumania, Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Portugal, Austria, Morocco, and Spain.
Chris Howles produced an extensive log for both the OIRT and FM bands. An early evening two-hour opening on the 12th produced OIRT FM transmitters in Belarus and Russia. Ukraine was added to the list the following day. Throughout the day, the CCIR FM band was busy with Sweden, Finland, Rumania, Slovakia, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, and Montenegro providing excellent catches. The afternoon rewards in Derby included Sweden, Bulgaria, Poland, Croatia and Greece. On the same day, Stephen Michie (Bristol) identified Spanish and Portuguese stations on the lower FM channels.
A good opening on the 19th produced many Spanish and French goodies for George Garden (Gourdon, Scotland) on channels as high as 102.4MHz. On the same day, Al Hine (Kirkwall, Orkney) used his Ford car radio to capture various stations heard throughout the afternoon and early evening. Unfortunately, once the RDS locked, the frequency details disappeared and could not be retrieved.
The authors have already been there, and got the tee-shirt, especially with the Ford models. Maybe the Ford radio manufacturer feels that the listener would not understand or benefit from such information other than the station name even though the latest cars have warning signals flashing up to let you know when the driver’s door is wide open!
Intense tropo enhancement occurred towards the end of the month. The 31st was the best day for George who identified FM and DAB stations in Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands.
A temporary mast structure (16ft to 20ft) can be useful for testing aerials or for erecting an additional DX-ing array during the main season. Sometimes, a pivot with a bracket secured to a wall can offer a solution, depending on the available ground space surrounding the property. The system needs to be lightweight so it can be raised, and ideally lowered, single-handed, especially during the onset of windy weather.
The authors have experimented with various structures over the decades and following dialogue and enquiries from enthusiasts, some useful pivots and brackets are now being made available through HS Publications, which produced the famous D-100 DX-TV Converter in the early 1980s. Please feel free to contact us via E-mail for further details regarding pivots and brackets which are currently available.
Please send DX-TV and FM reception reports, news items, photographs and equipment details to us via the E-mail addresses below:
CAPTIONS TO PHOTOGRAPHS
Fig. 1: UA: Перший (Ukraine) R2 (Photo: Gösta van der Linden).
Fig. 2: Publika TV (Moldova) on channel R1 (Photo: Niels van der Linden).
Fig. 3: Unidentified R3 signal sporting an ‘S’ or ‘5’ logo (Photo: Keith Hamer+Garry Smith).
Fig. 4: Radio Galega Música (Catoira, Galicia) on 88.00MHz (Photo: Al Hine).
Fig. 5: Not for the faint-hearted! A very useful mast with ground pivot and bracket, supporting a 5-element Band I array (Photo: Keith Hamer+Garry Smith).