AM Radio Coverage
Thu Mar 1 10:47:38 EST 2007
WBZ does better the farther north you go in Europe. In southern
Europe, 1030 is more apt to be dominated by stations from Argentina and
Brazil (and splatter from Spain on 1026 and Portugal on 1035).
I heard WBZ OK just before local dawn in western Ireland in 1977 on a
cheap Realistic 12-655 portable, but it was not as good as Boston's 850
and 1510 and maybe just comparable to 680 and 1260.
Since 1510 went fulltime 50 kW, they have often been the best US
station heard in western Europe. New York City 50 kW'ers sited on
island (660, 880) or salt-marsh sites also do well there. Local dawn
in Europe, with interference from the east fading, is the best time to
hear US and Canada stations.
You can most certainly receive European stations in the US, but any
kind of consistent reception requires several "ducks" being lined up:
* Favorable ionospheric propagation (low geomagnetic activity / A & K
* Good timing: local sunset here is often best and Euro-dawn (around
midnight here) can also be good.
* Directive receiving antenna, ideally a system forming a cardioid
nulling west or southwest (see the Flag antenna info at
examples). A loop and whip combination with a phasing unit has been
used successfully for a cardioid-producing set-up that can be operated
on top of a stationary vehicle at optimum receiving sites (an activity
known as "DXpeditioning").
* Communications-type receiver with several narrow IF bandwidths from
1.8 to 4 kHz - examples: Drake R8B, AOR 7030+, Icom R75, WinRadio G313i
* Good location: seashore is best, a hilltop or an open marshy area can
do reasonably well inland; a sufficient separation from transmitters,
power lines, other potential interference sources is advised. Some
hill or building blockage in directions you DON'T want to hear (e.g.
west) can also help in reducing interference.
* A bit of knowledge on what the targets are helps. The
European-African Medium Wave Guide ("http://go.to/emwg") is pretty much
the "bible" on the subject and the World Radio-TV Handbook, available
in most bookshops, is also very useful. Membership in a club like the
National Radio Club ("http://www.nrcdxas.org/") is just the thing for
folks who take this aspect of radio seriously. A local group, the
Boston Area DXers, meets in Stoneham once a month; see
"http://www.naswa.net/badx/index.htm". The group's interests include
AM, FM, shortwave listening, and ham radio.
One must remember that European stations transmit on channels that are
a multiple of 9 kHz, rather than 10 kHz. In some cases the separation
is only 1 kHz (like UK on 1089 vs. WBAL on 1090), hence the need for
tight filters in receivers. Occasionally a transatlantic signal will
get strong enough to overwhelm a domestic on a simple radio. More than
a few times on the car radio I've heard Algeria - 549 taking out the
550's and Saudi Arabia - 1521 destroying WIZZ/WWKB-1520 when going down
Wharf Road onto Granite Pier in Rockport around sundown.
For sample reports showing the typical European, African, and Middle
Eastern signals that have been received in this area, see
Some audio clips are available from links at
"http://home.comcast.net/~markwa1ion/dx_audio.htm". You might be
surprised at how loud some of the transatlantic AM's come in here in
Massachusetts, even at inland sites such as Sudbury.
Mark Connelly, WA1ION - Billerica, MA
Subject: Re: AM Radio Coverage
On 28 Feb 2007 at 17:14, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> I remember that when we lived in Portugal, in the mid to late 1950's,
> my Dad would listen to WABC during the evening. He wanted to listen to
> WBZ, but couldn't because of the cardiod (sp?) pattern of BZ which
> sent most of the signal west. Are my recollections faulty?
So if they can get US stations in Europe, howcome we don't get
European stations in the US (on medium wave, that is)?
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