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Radio skip #5233589 10/08/19 07:03 AM
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cwilliamsws6 Offline OP
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Anyone else fascinated by the phenomenon of radio skip?

At night at home, or while driving home from work around 10pm, I can pick up 650 WSM from Nashville here in Columbus. Usually during my drive to school around 7 am it's still coming in clear enough I can listen to it then too.

I have a Google map going where I have plotted the locations of transmitters of DX stations I've listened to and gotten the callsigns for. If I can figure out how to share it I will edit the link into this post.

I also have shot skip on my CB radio a lot. I have a Cobra 29 Chrome with a power mic and Tram 3500 pushed with a 200 watt linear and I've talked out as far as South Sudan before.


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Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233600 10/08/19 07:17 AM
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supton Offline
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Sorta. I play with amateur radio time to time, and it can be interesting where the RF goes. But for myself I tend to be more fascinated by the electronics used; I also tend to stick with Morse code for the added challenge (among other reasons).


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Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233615 10/08/19 07:35 AM
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Hoot_r Offline
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Always. My morning drive usually consists of 700 WLW (Cincinnati), 750 WSB (Atlanta) and 1110 WBT (Charlotte).

Such long range reception is often referred to as "F-skip", owing to the electromagnetic reflective properties of the F layer in our atmosphere. A concentration of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun destroy this layer and other adjacent atmospheric layers during the day. But when darkness falls, these layers reform over the earth, permitting long range reception over a specific frequency spectrum. This is the principle that allows international shortwave broadcasters to cover extremely long distances as well. The phenomenon works best when both the transmitting and receiving locations are under cover of darkness.

FCC regulations stipulate that certain AM frequencies (called "clear channels") are protected from interference by other AM broadcasters -- this is why many smaller local stations either reduce their power output or sign off at sunset, to prevent such interference. These clear channel frequencies are the ones most often heard clearly at night from cities such as Nashville, Cleveland, New York, Denver, Cincinnati and others.

(Sorry for the outpouring of information -- former broadcaster here.)


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Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233620 10/08/19 07:39 AM
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cwilliamsws6 Offline OP
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No need to apologize, I found it very informative and learned quite a bit from it.

Yeah, most of the stations I can pick up at night are all clear channel stations. Most local stations here I believe broadcast on 1000 watts daytime then cut to 500 at night.

I can pick up 700 WLW clear as a bell at night but even during the day too.


2002 Trans-Am WS6, auto + LS6 "Me Fastr" (sold)
2007 Honda CR-V LX "The Linoleum Falcon" 210K miles
Carquest conventional 5W-20, Carquest Premium 84356 filter
"Bad decisions make good stories."
Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233622 10/08/19 07:43 AM
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I used to listen to KOMA OK . City , at night . It was considered a " cool " station , at the time .

I always heard there were a few stations in Mexico that broadcast with massive amounts of power . WAY more than would be legal in the USA . These stations " beamed " the signal across the border into the USA .


Wyr
God bless
Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233628 10/08/19 07:49 AM
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Reddy45 Offline
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I play around with shortwave on occasion. A few months ago I picked up a nightly NHK Japan broadcast that was transmitted from South America. Most nights I can also pick up Cuban shortwave radio programming. It's a big world out there.

Re: Radio skip [Re: WyrTwister] #5233640 10/08/19 08:02 AM
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incognito_2u Offline
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I was driving late one night in New York a couple of years ago and while scanning AM radio, I came across a weak, but listenable station at 540 Khz. Turns out it was 540 WFLA out of Florida. I emailed the program manager and gave them the time and what was being broadcast at the time (sort of a "skip report") who replied confirming the info and Thanking me for letting them know. Found it amazing that I was able to listen to a station that is almost 1000 miles away.


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Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233645 10/08/19 08:06 AM
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Chris142 Online Content
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My dad explained how am radio works and how it Skip's. I have talked all over the world on a CB when the sunspots were active.


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Re: Radio skip [Re: WyrTwister] #5233672 10/08/19 08:35 AM
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Hoot_r Offline
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Originally Posted by WyrTwister
I used to listen to KOMA OK . City , at night . It was considered a " cool " station , at the time .

I always heard there were a few stations in Mexico that broadcast with massive amounts of power . WAY more than would be legal in the USA . These stations " beamed " the signal across the border into the USA .

There were in the 1930s and 40s, most of which were owned by private American interests (doctors, salesmen and evangelists). These stations were not bound by FCC regulations limiting output power, and ran hundreds of thousands of watts into directional antenna arrays aimed at the continental US, broadcasting both day and night. In between sales pitches and talks, these stations often featured live music by well known American artists. The Carter Family performed numerous times on stations XERA and XET in the late 30s and early 40s, and helped boost both ratings and the demand for their recordings.

Most of these so-called "border blasters" had either left the air, or had their output powers greatly reduced by the late 1940s. Those that did remain still found a way into the radios of Americans via rock music and creative personalities like Robert "Wolfman Jack" Smith who broadcast on XERF into the early 1960s.


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Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233688 10/08/19 08:58 AM
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PiperOne Offline
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I am amazed at the places I can get WSM at night or WLW. Those old Blaw-Knox antennas not only look incredibly cool...they work well! Timmins ON is the furthest north I've gotten WSM, and Cheyenne WY is the furthest away that I can recall. WLW seems to be more hit and miss but that's maybe due to the format being similar to other stations so you need to listen for a bit to be sure it's them...WSM sounds like no other so it's pretty quickly obvious when you get to them. WSB comes in up here (southern Canada) from time to time.


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Re: Radio skip [Re: PiperOne] #5233703 10/08/19 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by PiperOne
I am amazed at the places I can get WSM at night or WLW. Those old Blaw-Knox antennas not only look incredibly cool...they work well! Timmins ON is the furthest north I've gotten WSM, and Cheyenne WY is the furthest away that I can recall. WLW seems to be more hit and miss but that's maybe due to the format being similar to other stations so you need to listen for a bit to be sure it's them...WSM sounds like no other so it's pretty quickly obvious when you get to them. WSB comes in up here (southern Canada) from time to time.

...and on your side of the border there was CKLW and CHUM -- both great catches down this way.


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Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233747 10/08/19 10:46 AM
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If you grew up in flyover country in the early sixties it was KOMA, KAAY or WLS . Surprised when I lived in Norman in the sixties that KOMA came in better in South Dakota than it did in OKC. Then there was infamous XCRF sending Wolfman Jack from across the river from Del Rio.

Last edited by csandste; 10/08/19 10:48 AM.

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Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233787 10/08/19 11:13 AM
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AlaskaMike Offline
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Ahh, WLW--love that tower! At one time WLW ran 500,000 watts using a water cooled transmitter. The cooling pond is still there, but not used anymore of course.

At slightly higher frequencies here in AK I routinely hear Russian naval FSK signals, and quite a few over the horizon radars, both Russian and Chinese. In the past I've even heard the PLUTO-II radar from Cyprus.

Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233797 10/08/19 11:20 AM
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ctrcbob Offline
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I'm one of the few people that listens to AM Radio. Up until a couple years ago, I did a lot of night driving and loved to hear far distant AM stations. WBZ, WKBW, WHAM, WWVA, WOR, KDKA and others I've forgotten about. The farthest I've ever heard was WKBW (Buffalo) back around 1964, when I was on a ship off the coast of Mar de Plata, Argentina. Listened to it three nights out of five.

Back then, you could "tune" (tweek) the radio dial to lessen the interference. Can't do that with the new style digital receivers.

Ah..... Memories.


Bob CTRC USN Ret.
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Penfield NY
Roswell NM

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Re: Radio skip [Re: cwilliamsws6] #5233900 10/08/19 01:13 PM
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I watched the recent showing of Country Music on PBS and they talked about the "Border Blasters". Until I saw the TV series, I had never before heard of them. Are they still in operation?

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