mercoledì 23 agosto 2017

Eclipse DX Report from Glenn Hauser


We travel straight up US 81 from Enid to just south of Fairmont, Nebraska, right on the line of totality, and the closest part of it to Enid; joining what turn out to be hundreds of other cars parked along a side road, County road G (or was it H, two of my favorite letters). Despite cloud cover maps showing this could be one of the worst areas along the track. 

We arrive and set up an hour before at 1700 (all times UT!). We find a good spot not far from the hiway. With camera ready, nothing special, I alternate monitoring on the hand-held DX-398 from my lawn chair, and on the Nissan caradio, which is much more sensitive, but no BFO and no DFing with it.

My prime target was going to be 50 kW KTWO Capser WY on 1030, where totality strikes a few minutes before. But MW DXing conditions are horrible due to a nearby storm --- we could constantly see a downpour to the southeast (and which causes flooding in the Kansas City area; but dry here --- we could use some precip vs the dusty road with lots of traffic on it) --- and hear a huge storm static level. On MW this is always worse on the lower frequencies. View of rain to the SE:

KTWO has the additional disadvantage of being adjacent to 50 kW KMMQ near Omaha. At 1708 UT my first log of 1030 finds two JBA carriers slightly offset from each other. There are two other 1030s on the map closer than Casper, KBUF Holcomb, SW KS (Garden City market), which is 2.5 kW non-direxional; and KCWJ Blue Springs MO (Independence/Kansas City) which is 5 kW with a lobe in this direxion. Compared to the remnant of 1040 WHO, and some others at 10 kHz BFO steps, I decide that one of the 1030s is slightly on the plus side, but is it KTWO? 

The MW Offset List I have bookmarked,
is dated October 5, 2014; is there one more recent? Of these three 1030 stations, the only one listed is KTWO, as 2 Hz on the high side, but that was as of December 9, 2009, and it ranged down to 1029.9986. So that is hardly conclusive. Fortunately I will soon have some other easily identified Eclipse DX!

The only other major Casper-area station is 830, KUYO Evansville, 25 kW ND, but there is no chance of that with the noise level. If I did get something on 830 it could just as easily be WCCO on groundwave. 

BTW, reference is the brand new 38th edition NRC AM Log 2017-2018, just received August 21 while I am away. See

Meanwhile we are entertained by NET Radio, which plays classical music all day (like Radio Kansas), so I can hardly complain; rather than NPR talk shows, and even skips some NPR news on the hour. So I do wish that were also available. At the site we are getting NET Radio on both 89.1 with RDS as KHNE-FM_ which is Hastings; and 91.1 as KUCV-FM_ which is Lincoln. At 1856, NET Radio says they are featuring ``celestial music`` today, including something connected to Mark Twain`s ``A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur`s Court``, wherein he astounded by ``predicting`` an eclipse.

620, at 1725 I find a nearby station talking about the eclipse. Must be KMNS Sioux City IA, 1 kW U4, sports format, which I never get in Enid.

1630, at 1729, here we go! Spanish has got to be KRND Fox Farm WY (Cheyenne), 10/1 kW U1. 1730 ID mentions 94.5 I think: no, listed translator is on 94.7. While it`s fairly strong on the car, at 1732 on the DX-398 it`s JBA. At 1733 a SAH develops on 1630 of 330/minute = 5.5 Hz, probably vs KCJJ Iowa City; is it getting skywave boost too or groundwave? Only other 1630 possibility is KKGM Fort Worth. By 1735, KRND is fading down.

1650 also has Spanish at 1730, which has got to be KBJD Denver CO. Stronger at 1742. 1650 IDs at 1804 as ``1650 AM, Radio Luz``, i.e. KBJD.

1690 has something weaker than 1650, surely KDMT Arvada CO, but why not same level with 10 kW ND? 1690 in English has an area-code 303 ad at 1749, clinching it as Colorado. 

1500, at 1743, KSTP St Paul MN is fading in and out with ads including phone 651-485-0409, i.e. a SE Minnesota area code . At 1814, another ad with 952- AC, also MN. So there`s a skywave signal audiblized by the eclipse which is at a right angle, way out of the totality path.

Many other high-end MW frequencies have night-like pileups.

By 1740 the eclipse is quite partial, the Moon biting a big chunk out of the Sun. Light not perceptibly diminished yet, but wind picks up and the temperature is dropping. By 1750 it is darkening, and we can hear crickets chirping in the field as well as killdeer. Dark horizon:

During most of the eclipse there are lots of clouds, but thin enough not to obscure the Sun very much, including at totality which starts right at local noon CST = 1800 UT August 21. Now there is clear sky for a considerable ring around the Sun! Contrails, perhaps from the NASA research jet chasing totality:

Our undivided attention for the next 3 minutes goes to viewing and photography. The diamond ring effect flashes, and then the glorious corona. Here`s my photo:

Most of the other eclipse viewers are in a hurry to drive out as soon as totality is over, and it takes more than half an hour. Cops are directing traffic, halting it on US 81 to let them get out. I am in no hurry as there is a lot more to monitor.

1080, bandscanning down as far as I can get anything vs the storm noise level, at 1815 there is a an ad with 972-AC, which means KRLD Dallas, also way out of the path in the other direxion. Gone by 1822. Got to be skywave, as it barely makes it to Enid on groundwave.

1120, at 1816, KMOX has faded in during their own live eclipse coverage in St Louis, counting down to totality there at 1:17:31 CDT. At 1819:20 they say it`s ending; by 1821 signal is fading a bit. Nice to hear this despite 1110 KFAB. 

1510, what`s next? Maybe I can get WLAC Nashville, next big city on the totality path. At 1826 I`m hearing British accent, must be that filler for Rush; Yes, the EIB jingle, and 1830 WLAC ID, no eclipse coverage! Best distance for me of the lot; see table below.

1630 & 1650 & 1690, the CO/WY stations are gone before I recheck them at 1830.

1690 at 1834 now has something, ad about credit, mixed with C&W music? The talk I would now expect to be WVON Chicago, but no idea about C&W.

I haven`t been doing any SW or ham monitoring. Brother Scare has been making a big deal of the Eclipse over his Tabernacle in SC, so I tune him in at 1845 on WRMI 11580 to hear him singing some Aleluias, 1846 ``Praise God`` and long pause. He`s speechless! Or rather, I soon discover at 1848 that his audio feed has been cutting out, tsk2.

By 1854 the Eclipse here is about three-quarters. Sitting in the driver`s seat, I notice that the notched Sun is being reflected from my watch face onto the inside car door.

Heading back down US 81 to Enid, at 2116 I notice that 1350, KMAN Manhattan KS is talking about what is *going* to happen regarding the eclipse, a bad time to be running a delayed playback of some talkshow. 2120 plugs translators on 93.3 and 93.7. I don`t write down the calls or locations. Should have, as NRC AM Log does not mention either. More and more AM stations will be adding more and more FM translators.

Approximate city-to-city distances from Fairmont NE in km and statute miles, as in ---

 766/476  Casper WY
 416/258  Holcomb KS
 335/208  Blue Spring MO
 611/380  Cheyenne WY
 637/396  Denver CO
 230/143  Sioux City IA
 605/376  Saint Paul MN
 877/545  Fort Worth TX
 878/545  Dallas TX
 671/417  Saint Louis MO
1065/662  Nashville TN
 830/516  Chicago IL Berwyn
 473/294  Enid OK
1732/1076 Walterboro SC
(Glenn Hauser, NE & KS, August 23, DX LISTENING DIGEST)


NOW, backing up, about my trip to Fairmont NE and back, other non-eclipse radio logs, this time in frequency, not chronological order:

550, August 21 circa 1600 UT entering Nebraska on the other side of KFRM, its pattern is very evident as circle tangent to the southwest, making it a bigsig daytime in Enid, but now it`s weakening and with a ripple SAH, which I can only conclude is caused by KFYR Bismarck ND, which is also 5 kW day, but non-direxional and has a tremendous groundwave coverage area. At the Eclipse site in Fairmont NE, I get a 5 Hz SAH on 550 between the two. KFRM Salina used to announce that its transmitter is in Cloud County, Kansas.

570, August 21 at 2106 UT, WNAX Yankton SD is playing ``The Star Spangled Banner``, nice rendition by a baritone, a cappella, IDed as Gerald ---, since a Minnesota Twins game is starting. WNAX makes it to Enid on groundwave, but not without KLIF CCI. 

1130, August 20 at 1735 UT, I am trying to hear KLEY Wellington KS, which has been JBA in Enid on daytime groundwave, where its listed 250 watt daytime power used to be quite sufficient that far away. It must have been what I was hearing before, but so weak I suspected to be something more distant, maybe Houston. KLEY also supposedly ONE WATT at night. It`s still far too weak on the road, but gradually improving; still weaker than 1140 OKC or 1150 Salina or 1120 Tulsa. As soon as we get into Kansas, KLEY is quite better, surprisingly at 1735 UT with an ad for the Pratt area Chamber of Commerce, which is far on the other side of Wichita and surely not in KLEY`s coverage either, but then a Wellington ad for RCB Bank. 

1738 UT back to programming, which is a drama for kids about Pawnee Ann and her decoder badges, also mentions Hapnore (?) Candy. Or is it Bonnie Ann? No, ``Pawnee Ann Hillside``.  Strange. 1749 outro credits as having been ``Kansas Radio Theater on Rocking M Stations``; so that`s what many/all of them carry at noon Sundays. 1751 The Wave ID for KLEY with 100.3 translator. 1752 back to music. 100.3 was just starting to fade in north of Medford OK. To enquire about their true AM power, I was considering dropping in for a visit at KLEY which we have passed many times on US 81, except now it`s on a detour in KS so we don`t go by it; bridge out? This area had heavy flooding 11 months ago when I was going to the Kansas City convention. Around Wellington, of course, 100.3 is loud & clear and $tereo.

1390, August 21 at 1959 UT, I make a point of listening to the local station here as I am not going to hear it in Enid vs local NSP KCRC 1390 (& 1330 & 1360 & 1420 & 1450 spurs). It`s KNCK Concordia KS, 500/54 watts U1. Illegal ID only as ``You are listening to KNCK, 98.3 FM, we are Concordia Radio`` and Oldies. Exactly same canned non-ID heard at 2125 UT. 98.3 is in fact a paltry translator, K252EY.

1610, etc., during the entire trip up and down US 81, frequent chex for TIS stations, but none heard on the X-band in NE or KS. There might have been some along the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway from exit 72 north of McPherson; like there were last year along the Tallgrass Prairie Scenic Byway off I-35. 

On 530, only hear the usual NOAA Weather Radio Wichita relay by the Kansas Turnpike Authority. 

BTW, the Travel Info Center at the Belle Plaine service plaza on the turnpike south of Wichita is always closed when I go by there: after 6 pm in summer, 5 pm rest of year. I complain when belatedly ordering a new map and other material by mail. Don`t they have any idea how much traffic goes by there while it`s closed? Of course, the KTA would have precise figures. Another welcome center just south of Nebraska at Belleville KS is advertised on the hiway but when we go there, the building is out of service! I suppose we have ex-Gov. Brownback to thank for that. Good riddance in so many other ways! At least Salina and Concordia enjoy Dairy Queens, unlike Enid. Concordia`s is packed after the E-vent, so we visit Salina`s coming and going.

92.1, just as we are leaving Enid, Sunday August 20 at 1655 UT, we note that KAMG-LP has finally returned to the air after weeks and weeks of open carrier. Now modulating again with praise music in Spanish --- however, there is a problem – not just an echo, but a double echo! Hooked up two or three satellite feeds just in case one or two crap out again? No announcement at 1702 between musix, let alone a legal ID. Recheck around 0400 UT August 23, seems non-echoey.

We spend the night in Salina KS in order to get an early start the next day to Eclipseland. We are pleased that the Motel 6 cable TV provides two public TV stations, KPTS and KOOD and all their subchannels (Glenn Hauser, NE & KS & OK, DX LISTENING DIGEST)