View Full Version : WLW Cincinnati

06-14-2010, 11:10 PM
The other night, I picked up WLW on my AM dial. Next day, after my husband googled the call letters, he started reading the station's wiki.

Author claimed WLW was once a very strong station, being heard from coast to coast, and it was so strong, people could pick it up in their metal bedsprings. Anyone have experience with this "pest"? Thanks!

06-15-2010, 12:24 AM
Lynn, WLW was one of North America's most-freqently logged MW (AM) stations by DXers when I DXed MW in the 1960s and 1970s. It was received here almost every night, just like WBBM, WSB, WCCO, and the other class IA clear channel stations.

They operated with 500 kW in WWII, but they have had only 50kW since then (like all other clear channel stations).

BTW, I have a book about WLW.

06-15-2010, 02:42 AM
This is an excellent site for anyone interested in A.M. broadcast...


73, Ed NN2E
Owner / Operator - Murphy's Law Test Site & Thunderstorm Proving Grounds

06-15-2010, 10:15 AM
During the day AM waves travel via groundwave so they are usaully limited to 150-200 miles at the most. The conductivity of the ground plays a role in it, as well as the path. If you were on the ocean, daytime AM reception of well over that is possible. When I was recently on North Carolina I was able to pick up all the NYC 50kw AM stations during the day at over 300 miles on a little battery powered AM radio. The ocean, with the salt in it, is great for daytime AM.

At night Am signals will ride the ionosphere and travel hundreds even thousands of miles. With the right receiving equipment, it isnt uncommon to pick up American/Canadian AM signals in Europe. DXing AM is best in the winter due to the longer nights, which means more time that the ionosphere can carry AM signals. Also thunderstorms in the summer give off electric discharge that affect AM signals.

In Northern VA you should have no problem picking up 50kw stations from up and down the east coast. On a good night I can pick up WWL out of New Orleans in Upstate NY.

06-15-2010, 10:45 AM
Sometimes I think about buying a communications receiver and start DXing MW and SW again. Unfortunately, electrical noise is so high around here that I'm not willing to invest in a receiver like an Icom-R75.

06-15-2010, 11:33 AM
As a teen, I was really into AM DXing....but that was when (a) there were less stations on at night, (b) AM was still the band of choice and satellite radio was not in vogue yet (making AM the "heartbeat" of a city), and (c) interference from other sources was not an issue.

In the late 1990s I was somewhat into it again because of the expanded band 1610-1700, allowing me to get many distant stations like California.....but then locally, TIS stations popped up for so many cities, and again, I lost interest.

IBOC on FM isn't helping the FM side for us DXers either.....


06-15-2010, 08:08 PM
In a former life http://www.qsl.net/wa5iyx/mwamlist.htm
A lot of the veries from 1962 were noting "40 years on the air". Now that itself is 48 years ago :( Wish I could say that getting the 1949 Stewart-Warner FM section fixed in Aug '62 had me migrating to that band for DX, but it was more like 1970-72 (with a more-modern piece of equipment) before that took over.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

06-15-2010, 09:39 PM
I still DX AM during the winter usually, when FM is dead and I have nothing better to do. It is rural enough where I live that there is no interference to worry about, just stuff in my own house which I can control. I also enjoy using the car radio, when its off and out in the open there is absolutely no interference. Besides having fewer locals, another nice thing is IBOC AM during the day hasnt caught on here yet since things are pretty low budget.

But I can see what the people who are older say about AM nowadays. There is less clear channel protection. For example most nights I get WHCU instead of WWL. Even though WHCU is downstate, 1000kw can travel pretty far at night on AM. When 2 big 50kw stations shut down in Montreal last year, my interest in Dxing those channels came up. I tried once but they were empty.

I think the Montreal stations and WWKB who supposedly cut back to 10000kw show the future of AM. I doubt many people tune in to channels from far away on AM at night anymore, unless they DX. You will probably begin to see 50kw stations cutting back the power at night, since they only need to cover there city of license.

06-15-2010, 10:05 PM
Forgot to say, I still AM DX in the daytime, especially on coastlines, just to see how far a groundwave signal will go.

Was in Bermuda in 2005 for that reason alone. It cost me a bit, but I learned a lot. Many of the NYC stations made it there easily (using Superadios II & III + Select-a-Tenna only). Even high-up-the-dial WWRL 1600 eked in! It was groundwave too....no fading. Was there in late June when the sunlight was at its longest.

My extremes in the day were: Boston (WBZ) to Miami (best was WWFE I guess) to PR (WKAQ) to Turks/Caicos (RVC 530).

I hope to go again, whenever money rains on me, especially if and when WQAM 560 Miami gets the 50kW they are applying for....they'd have to send the signal east!

....and BTW to stay on topic....WLW in the 1970s IMO was one of the slickest radio stations out there. Loved to hear them. Too bad I have/had 710 Miami.


06-15-2010, 10:14 PM
At night one used to be able to tune in the locals in an area that had some disaster (natural or otherwise) to hear first-hand accounts of what was going on. One of those on my list (WJAZ) was caught on covering events re some civil rights demonstrations. I listened to 680 from SF in the wee hours after the Mar 27, 1964 Anchorage quake to see what tsunami effects were there (negligible vs. Crescent City, et al). I tried (without much luck) to monitor KFI LA during the Aug 1965 Watts riots. As recently as in the past decade I listened to KOMA after some OK City tornadoes.

Now it's just finding some radio/TV outlet with online streaming of such things.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

06-24-2010, 02:10 PM
I've enjoyed reading all of your posts. :)

I'm almost 31, and new to DXing and recording my finds. I was always interested in how stations travelled. My dad used to tell me about his DXing in Brooklyn in the 50s and 60s, back when people were used to picking up distant stations. To him, it was normal to pick up a station from, say, Boston.

I loved his one story of how "And when the conditions were just right, I could receive [random distant station]." I can't recall the name of it now! boo...

By the time I decided to record my findings, it was fall 2004 and a boyfriend and I were driving from DC to Vermont. We started seeing what stations we could get as we sat in the rolling parking lot that was Baltimore 695. We broke up, but the DX memories will always be with me.