My first QSL in 2017 arrived yesterday from Jeff Pierce, Operations Manager at 560 WGAN in Portland, Maine. Jeff confirmed my audio file of the WGAN repeater WGIN on 1400 kHz.
WGIN was received briefly one morning on last year’s DX pedition to Lista. 1400 kHz is not the most interesting channel there as this frequency is almost always occupied by either CBG in Gander, Newfoundland and/or WOND in Pleasantville, New Jersey. Other US stations rarely make it through, even though there are plenty of stations which it should be possible to hear on this frequency.
WGIN does not have own programming, it merely relays the programming of News Radio WGAN. Previously, it used to relay the programming of 1490 WBAE branded as “1400 and 1490 The Bay”. WBAE is an old friend of ours and can be heard easily on 1490 kHz every time at Lista. Both 560 WGAN, 970 WZAN, 1400 WGIN and 1490 WBAE belongs to the Portland Radio Group.
The transmitter of WGIN is located in Biddeford south of Portland and is meant to cover the York County. The power of the transmitter is 1 kilowatt.
The traditional (and for my part annual) DX-pedition to Lista took part during the first week of February. My DX partners in crime this time was Torgeir Nyen and Tore Johnny Bråtveit.
Conditions were very different from my last 5-6 trips to Lista thanks to much more disturbed conditions this time. This naturally lead to less North American stations being heard. Stations from Central and South America were present on many frequencies though. It has been many years since we heard so many stations from Latin America – a welcome change from what we usually hear at Lista!
Besides the usual 800 metre long antenna directed towards the East Coast of North America / Florida / Cuba, we also set up an antenna aimed at UK and Spain. This antenna proved very successful with UK and Spanish stations popping up on nearly all frequencies. Many of the Spanish stations were new to us. The UK/Spain antenna also provided a number of stations from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, a DX area which for us is mostly uncharted territory.
Highlights worth special mentioning was hearing RdP Açores on 828 Khz and Mauretania on 783 kHz. Personally, I especially enjoyed hearing the UK low power stations L&D Radio on 1134 kHz and Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio on 1575 and the new Dutch low power stations Groeistad Radio and Radio Babylona, both on 747 kHz. Most interesting Transatlantic catches noted so far: 960 YVSS Radio San Sebastián, 970 CX22 Radio Universal, 1200 WJUA Pine Island Center FL and 1490 WCEC Haverhill MA.
Our log is now available as a Google Docs spreadsheet. As usual the log is a work in progress with new stations added as our recordings are examined.
West Coast stations are a rare treat at our Lista QTH. Propagation has to be very good for their signals making it all the way to Southern Norway. Still, we have managed to hear a number of the most common stations through the years. One of the stations heard by us is KGA on 1510 kHz, which was heard with quite a good signal at times back in October 2008.
My previous attempts to get a QSL from KGA have been unfruitful. I noted some recent replies to other DXers from Jerry Jensen who is their Market Manager and was tempted to get a reply from the station as well. And this time: Success! Mr. Jensen replied promply to my e-mail too and verified my reception of the station. Jerry Jensen tells me that he has Norwegian ancestors, his grandfather came from Tingvoll in Central Norway.
KGA is an all sports station based in Spokane, Washington. The power of their transmitter is 50 kilowatts daytime and 10 kilowatts nighttime.
KGA was only my 4th QSL in 2016 making 2016 an all time low when it comes to QSLs. Certainly, 2017 can’t be worse than that…
Last season’s DX trip to Lista was not a big success with in general mediocre to poor conditions. Listening through the recordings afterwards haven’t been very exciting either. Luckily, there were exceptions. One of the biggest surprises when reviewing the recordings was discovering the signal of a station I haven’t even heard about earlier: Radio Glan Clwyd broadcasting from Bodelwyddan in North Wales. The station faded up on 1287 kHz one afternoon playing pop music with some jingles in between the music played.
Radio Glan Clwyd is a hospital radio station broadcasting from Glan Clwyd Hospital (or Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Welsh). Station Manager Chris Reeves, who is even a HAM with the call sign GW8FVI, confirmed my reception of the station and says the station broadcasts with a power of 4 watts ERP from a 10 metre vertical antenna.
My very first QSL from Washington State arrived quite some time ago when Rick Van Cise, Program Director at KOMO in Seattle sent a kind e-mail confirming my reception of KOMO on 1000 kHz. A couple of weeks later an envelope also arrived in my mailbox containing a.o. some KOMO pens and even a KOMO ice scraper which will no doubt be used now that fall and winter arrives here in Norway.
Receiving stations from the West Coast of North America is rare at our listening post at Lista. We have been able to catch only a handful of stations from the west coast through the years. My report to KOMO dated back to November 2009 when we enjoyed pretty good reception of KOMO on 1000 kHz. Reception of KOMO is of course completely different in Arctic Scandinavia where the 50 kilowatt signal of KOMO can easily be heard in the winter season.
In January I was again back at Lista on the south western coast of Norway with my good friend Torgeir Nyen for a weekend of DX-ing and a much needed break from the usual work and family life. A 800 metre long antenna towards the East Coast of North America / Florida / Cuba and a 500 metre long antenna towards the Midwest/West Coast of North America was again rolled out, with the hope of catching many new US and Canadian stations.
Sadly conditions were pretty poor and well below average this time making it one of the less memorable trips to Lista. Just like last year, propagation indices were pretty good, but the actual propagation was poor with average signal levels. Add to that significantly more splash from nearby European stations than usual. The frequencies 1360 and 1370 kHz were e.g. unusable due to splash from nearby UK stations most of the time.
Just like the last several years, signals from Central and South America were more or less absent during the entire DX-pedition. The Transatlantic signals making it through to our radios were mainly from the US and Canada. Despite average to poor conditions, some interesting stations were noted such as 950 WTLN Orlando FL, 1280 WPKZ Fitchburg MA, 1380 WPHM Port Huron MI, 1390 WMER Meridian MS, 1420 WBSM New Bedford MA, 1420 WCED DuBois PA, 1590 WIJK Ocean City MD and 1610 CHRN Montréal QC.
Our log is available in a Google Docs spreadsheet. As usual the log is a work in progress with new stations added continuously as the files from our Perseus and SDR-IQ trawlers are examined.
Hearing daytimers from Texas is by no means a common occurence. At Lista in January 2014, however, we were lucky to catch the signal of Christian station KCTA signing off at 00.00 UTC. Their signal was quite good at close down, even beating the signal of superdominant station on 1030 kHz WBZ in Boston for a minute or two.
KCTA is a daytime only station broadcasting with a power of 50 kilowatts. For this they call themselves “the most powerful station in South Texas”. The station is located in the coastal city of Corpus Christi and broadcasts traditional and conservative Christian programming.
My attempts in contacting KCTA by e-mail resulted in absolutely nothing. A letter and CD sent by postal mail (yes, this is still possible…) was substantially more successful. Gracie Dinsdale sent me a nice and friendly letter also by postal mail. Besides confirming my reception of the station, Gracie also enclosed a colourful KCTA calendar, some stickers and a pen. Such a reply is certainly not a common occurence in 2016!