water and ground waves in DX

Bob Nelson raccoonradio@yahoo.com
Sun Nov 16 10:44:25 EST 2003

The other day I was in Salem near the Beverly-Salem
bridge, in the parking lot of a restaurant, waiting
for them to open (just before 11:30 am). I spent
a moment turning the AM dial to see what I could pick
up. It had rained recently (the storm clouds going out
to sea) but now was partly cloudy (and this was
just before all that windy weather we got).

Well, stations from the Cape and Maine came in very 
well (even better than usual) and I was surprised to
hear country music on AM 1010. I didn't hear an ID but
figure it was not WINS, and not CFRB... but a look at
radio-locator.com indicated it just might have been
VOCM from Gander, Newfoundland! 

Perhaps not surprising; I've gotten Canadian AM
DX (in the daytime) before here on the North Shore.
Before they moved to FM, CHSJ in St. John, New
Brunswick came in like a local up in Gloucester!
(Especially at Stage Fort Park on Rt. 127, which is
right on the water.)

I mentioned this on a DX board. Being here on the
North Shore, I'm used to Maine and Cape Cod AMs
coming in "over the water" (like WFPB 1170 
in Orleans). Someone mentioned that water helps
reception of ground wave stations, and perhaps
the recent rain we'd had helped it, too.

Adding to the "water helps AM reception" theory,
there's a moment in Sen. Zell Miller's new book
where the longtime Georgia politician mentions
how he grew up loving the Grand Ole Opry's
Sat. night broadcasts on WSM 650 out of Nashville
and he remembers "pouring water on the ground wire to
make the music come in clearer". Interesting.

So I guess living next to the ocean AND having
"wet ground" would help my daytime (and nighttime)
AM DX, eh?

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