venerdì 25 agosto 2017

More eclipse DX reports

These from direct contributors did not make it in time for DXLD 17-34, but will be in 17-35! Glenn

Belated Medium Wave Eclipse Observations

Hello, Glenn, I've just finished listening to WOR 1892 and realized I should have sent in my eclipse medium wave observations. I hope you don't mind if I share some here.

My QTH is about 10 miles north of Columbia, MO, in the totality zone, which began at 1:13 PM CT Monday. I monitored for several minutes before totality and until 30 minutes afterward, using a Grundig FR-200. Like you, we had plenty of QRN from thunderstorms to our north. We had no rain here during the event.

I was surprised not much was coming in prior to the eclipse. 1630 from
Wyoming was the first I heard. Then I began hearing KSTP. Here are some of the others I received after the event, though the list isn't exhaustive. Too many stations weren't coming in well enough to verify fully.

1700 - Des Moines
1630 - Wyoming alternating with KCJJ, Iowa City
1590 - Something playing Dave Ramsey
1550 - KAPE, Cape Girardeau, MO
1540 - KXEL, Waterloo, IA
1530 - WCKY, Cincinnati, OH - Great signal, surprisingly
1520 - The country station in Sikeston, MO, briefly
1510 - WLAC, Nashville, TN
1500 - KSTP (as noted above)
1460 - KXNO, Des Moines, over the Catholic station in St. Charles, MO
1430 - KZQZ, St. Louis, with a steady signal for most of my monitoring 
1300 - WNQM, Nashville, blocking out KMMO, Marshal, MO
1290 - WIRL, Peoria, IL, briefly
1280 - Unidentifiable local announcer in Tennessee
1260 - IL station in St. Louis area
1200 - A couple unidentifiable signals. One carrying religious
       programming. Possibly Fargo, ND?
1190 - Unidentifiable talk, possibly WOWO?
1160 - Alternating signals from religious stations in Chicago and
       Nashville, TN
1110 - KFAB, Omaha
1090 - Possible mix of KXEN, K.C., MO, area and KAAY, Little Rock, AR
1030 - Spanish station, Memphis, TN, area
 890 - WLS, Chicago, weak

Nothing unusual below that

In spite of the cloudy sky, the eclipse was spectacular. However, I
expected it to get darker. It was similar to a coming storm during
twilight, and it was over all too soon. 
73, (John Wesley Smith, --
Where Preparedness Means Survival

Eclipse Loggings from Southern IL

Hi Glenn, I was able to make it down to the (near) total eclipse in southern IL, 9 miles NNE of Sesser. Found a public boat access out in the country, and had the whole parking lot to myself. Everyone was trying to pile into Carbondale, but this spot was between one and two miles north of the northern edge of the zone of totality, so there was no demand for this particular location. I was there primarily to observe radio phenomena, so the 99.5+ percent obscuration would not likely produce any observable difference in propagation than if I was shoulder-to shoulder with the crowds (with no room for antennas or equipment) down in Carbondale and adjoining areas.

Cloud static levels on LW were insurmountable, with static crashes peaking at 40-60 db over S-9, on the Yaesu FT-817 w/converter and pre-amplified box loop, so did not spend much time there. A sampling of NDBs were logged before the static reached these high levels. This was about 2 1/2 hrs. before the eclipse, so these should be groundwave signals:

233  AZN  St. Joseph, MO     1540
344  UNU  Juneau, WI         1549
366  EOK  Keokuk, IA         1551
371  FQW  Murfreesboro, TN   1553
396  GOI  Fort Knox, KY      1558

The 4-foot active whip was hauled up into a nearby tree about 15 feet above the ground at 1615z, giving a big improvement in performance compared to putting it on the roof of the car.

WWV on 2.5 was inaudible at 1620z, with 5 MHz giving 35444 signals, and 10 MHz at 55555.  All X-band MW and WWV signals were logged using the Sony 2010 and the active whip up in the tree.

Reception of WWV on 10 MHz at 1729z had easily-audible WWVH in the background with its informational announcement. I don't ever recall hearing WWVH at this time on this frequency, except maybe in the winter. The total obscuration for my location was at 1821z.

Checks on 5 MHz had a 55545 signal from WWV, with rapid flutter audible on the signal, but not degrading the quality of the audio to any significant degree (1728z). 2.5 MHz was inaudible at 1730. By 1735, 2.5 was audible with 35233 signals.
2.5  1801z   35233
2.5  1807z   45333  Increasing static levels.
2.5  1819z   45333

X-band loggings:

1620. Syndicated financial advice program (Dave Ramsey). WNRP,    
      Pensacola, FL most likely as Dave Ramsey show is on their   
      schedule from 1:00 - 4:00 pm weekdays. 1838z

1630. Station with a sports format; presumed WRDW, Augusta, GA. 1836z
      KCJJ Iowa City, IA with local weather forecast. "The Mighty 
      1630." 1836z

1640. "CBS Sports Radio" format; presumed WTNI Biloxi, MS.  1835z
      Talk program with callers discussing child-rearing practices; 
      presumed WSJP Sussex, WI. (1835z)

1650. "CBS Sports Radio" format. KCNZ, Waterloo, IA; website shows Fox 
      Sports affiliation.

1660.  Sleep-number bed ad with mentions of Kansas City and phone 
      number with 816 a/c. That a/c shows as Kansas City, MO. Station 
      had a sports format.  KWOD, Kansas City, KS. 1815z
      Sports format, and ad for a local golf course; annc. had a 
      Michigan accent. Sounded like Lake Doster Golf Club, which shows 
      up on search as Plainwell, MI, which maps just north of 
      Kalamazoo. Likely WQLR, Kalamazoo, MI. 1815z
      Music station with mention of "94.7" turned up as WBCN,   
      Charlotte, NC; website as "94.7 Smoke, It’s All About The 
      South." 94.7 turns out to be a translator, yet gets top billing. 

1670. Sports format dominant; being c/c’ed by another sports station 
      only a second or two behind the dominant. WOZN, Madison, WI, and 
      other station could be WMGE, Dry Branch, GA; shows Fox Sports 
      affiliation. 1832z 

1680. "Congratulations…you have northeast Louisiana’s best radio 
      station…playing the most variety …Ninety-nine-seven My FM." 
      KRJO, Monroe, LA.
      Talk format in background about social issues; likely WPRR, Ada, 
      MI. 1831z

1690. Strong signal with Frank Sinatra song; possibly WPTX, Lexington 
      Park, MD? Standards format listed on 1830z
      Urban talk radio format in background; WVON, Berwyn, IL good 
      possibility. 1830z.

1700. Strong sigs on a sports format. KVNS, Brownsville, TX only 
      English language sports station listed. Methinks it’s really Des 
      Moines. More research reveals that indeed KBGG Des Moines is 
      currently a News/Talk and Sports format; schedule revealed a 
      local sports program during this time block. 1829z

Tuning 1600 and below starting at 1853z yielded strong co/channel on most frequencies, with most channels indistinguishable from graveyard freqs. WCKY Cincinnati on 1530 had a rapid fade-up at 1855z. With all daytimers on the air, and 24h stations on daytime patterns/power, the c/c was difficult to sort out. 

The most interesting thing that was noted was that in the time leading up to the full eclipse, the band still retained more of a daytime quality to it, with individual stations being audible. Starting around eclipse time, the band opened up rapidly, as if it took some time for the D-layer to "soften up" in order for the band to open. I should note that the opening became less pronounced on the lower end; below about 800 kHz. This opening lasted for approximately 45-50 minutes after the total eclipse. Receiver: Sony ICF-5900W and 4-foot active whip in tree.

Due to the static crashes on LW mentioned before, I did not attempt to do any extensive tuning there, which was a shame, but after all, it’s summer in southern IL, so it goes with the heat, humidity, and cicadas. One station in particular jumped out at me: EOK  Keokuk, IA on 366 kHz had enhanced by at least two s-units (between static crashes), and was punching through the noise quite well at 1825z. 

Speaking of cicadas, they started quieting down about 5 mins before totality, and during totality, there were just a few crickets chirping, The air temp dropped from 93 to about 80 degrees. A big tree in the middle of the parking lot was casting hundreds of very skinny crescent shadows of the nearly-eclipsed sun on the gravel. 

I would have gotten this to you sooner, but I had made a series of I-Phone videos that needed to be listened to multiple times in order to be a bit more accurate. Would have liked to have made a pre-eclipse recording of the world below 1600 kHz, but felt I had a better chance by focusing on the X-band with its lower density of stations. 

Reception of WWV on 2.5 helped push me toward this as well. By the time I’d finished recording the X-band, the band below 1600 had mushroomed into full scale graveyard-channel-like reception. It was a great time. 73, (Steve Zimmerman, Aug 25, DX LISTENING DIGEST)

I rode the Amtrak eclipse special from Chicago to Carbondale and back yesterday. I had an old walkman style radio with me to listen to on the train but at the eclipse party in downtown Carbondale I was too busy to tune around on the MW band to check for distant stations during the lack of sunshine on the ionosphere. The eclipse in Carbondale was almost a no show. A cloud came along and hid most of the totality but for about ten seconds the ring of fire around the moon was visible through a hazy hole in the cloud. It got very dark and the crickets started chirping. 

Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun Times was there at the Saluki stadium at Southern Illinois University and wrote an article about it today's paper. I don't know how long the article will be available on line (William Hassig, DX LISTENING DIGEST) Viz.:

STEINBERG: Clouds intrude but Carbondale eclipse still thrills

STEINBERG: Clouds intrude but Carbondale eclipse still thrills

CARBONDALE — As if a total eclipse of the sun weren’t dramatic enough.

Or, maybe, as if a meteorological phenomenon as common as a solitary cloud could be jealous of all the attention being lavished on a rare astronomical wonder, and might try to crash the party and spoil the fun.

Or, maybe, because a struggling small town just can’t catch a break in this sagging economy, and fate just couldn’t wait for the eclipse to even be over before it started dampening Carbondale’s hopes that all this national exposure will spark lingering interest in their community, with its surrounding forests and trails.

But as the point of totality approached Monday, clouds gathered in to what had been sunny skies for days. They threatened to wreck the Great American Eclipse, here in an area that was so proud of the length of "totality" — the time the moon would completely cover the sun so it could be looked at safely — that it was ballyhooed on the special eclipse-viewing glasses being handed out by Southern Illinois University: "2 minutes 38 seconds of darkness."


Talk about hubris. People came here and not other places in the country so they could view totality a few seconds longer. And now it looked like they wouldn’t be able to see it at all.

At about 12:30 the waning sun, an ever-larger bite being taken out of its right side, was obscured by a rogue cloud, with an even bigger gray barge of a cumulus-nimbus [sic] waiting in the wings. There wasn’t wind enough to hope.

Across town, a little after 1 p.m., Curtis Conley, the manager of PK’s, a bar on Illinois Avenue, closed up, and sent everybody into the street, more as a favor to his employees than to his customers.

"Everybody wants to see it," said Conley. "I don’t want to make ’em stay inside."

PK’s Bar manager Curtis Conley, left, with owner Gwen Hunt, who started the Carbondale bar 62 years ago. It closed for a half hour during the totality of the eclipse so patrons and employees could go outside and see it. | Neil Steinberg/Sun-Times [capción]

Conley reported "a record week," but other area businesses were less enthusiastic. "You want to take home a case of chicken?" said the manager at the Giant City State Park Lodge restaurant, in nearby Makanda, Sunday night, saying they had 1,400 guests but had expected a thousand more, which would have put them on par with Mother’s Day, their busiest day of the year.

At Saluki Stadium, along with 14,000 others who paid $25 to hear the SIU band play "Thriller" and see three weather balloons sent up with scientific equipment and listen to cable TV hosts fill time, Ed Hill and his girlfriend June Mannion explained why they came down from Barrington.

"It’s bucket list," said Hill, 69.

All seemed fated to end in disappointment. Poor Carbondale. They plan for years, spruce up, beautify their downtown, install new cell towers so everyone can Snapchat the astronomical wonder, and the guest of honor hides in a closet of clouds. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. I felt disappointed, sorry to miss the spectacle, almost personally responsible, wondering if I had dragged a few dark clouds of bad luck along with me. As if the botched eclipse were somehow a cosmic referendum that I had just been measured by and found wanting.

Then, amazingly — miraculously, if you prefer, for those uncomfortable with all this emphasis on science and its clockwork predictability — at 1:15  p.m. the sun peeked into view through a hole in the otherwise thick cloud, an extreme crescent. Hope dawned. A cheer went up.

"The sun!" people at Saluki Stadium cried. "The sun!"  Fingers pointed heavenward.

Ed Hill, an engineer from Barrington, with his girlfriend June Mannion, a pediatrician, viewing the eclipse. "It’s bucket list," said Hill. | Neil Steinberg/Sun-Times [caption]

Then murk again, and the appointed moment arrived — 1:21 p.m. Seconds ticked past. There were no confused birds that I noticed, no insects calling, but an unnatural gloom fell over the stadium, yellowish at the horizon. It was very quiet.

"Oh no, it’s not going to happen," thought Tyler Hong, 18, who had driven here with his friend Jason Leung, also 18, from San Mateo, California.

Then it did happen. The long-anticipated total solar eclipse, a deep blue disk of the moon with the whitish ring of the corona around it, appeared briefly through the clouds. Loud cheers erupted. "Look! Look! Look!" people cried.

"We got five seconds of totality," said Hill, afterward. "I wanted more, but it was definitely worth coming." At other locations around campus viewers reported 10 or 20 seconds.

Not much. But enough.

"Awesome, amazing," said Dan Ruffo, who came from Rochester, New York. His wife Martha, though aware of the scientific nature of the struggle between astronomical and atmospheric titans transpiring above her, had found herself indulging in some magical thinking.

"We came all this way … it can’t be covered by clouds," she recalled thinking. "It can’t be covered up."

And was the flash she saw enough to make the journey worthwhile?

"You’d have to be dead not to think it’s pretty cool," she said.

"We got lucky," said Jason Leung, one of the teens who drove in from California.

"It was definitely worth it," said his friend, Tyler Hong (via DXLD)