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Incredible Christmas Trop NJ->GA, SC

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  • Incredible Christmas Trop NJ->GA, SC

    Tropo is about the farthest thing from my mind this time of because of the low probability of it (I've had one notable December trop opening in the 15 years I've been paying attention to this, and it was a brief Myrtle Beach cameo), and two, like for everyone else, just because of awful 2019 FM dial conditions (also my nulls don't seem to be as sharp as they used to be...maybe the IBOC is just stronger now...who knows). All in all, getting notable tropo seems to have lottery-like odds these days on FM.

    I generally leave my antenna pointed south with my Airspy tuned to 89.7 (about the only relatively open channel in any direction here these days), and something made me open up the laptop screen around 11 AM when I noticed I had an active RDS hit. Checking further it was PI '0000' with classical, which is a dead giveaway for WCPE in Raleigh. WCPE is a beacon here for North Carolina trop. I tuned to the adjacent frequency next door and noticed an NPR signal on 89.9 that was steady. Completely unusual, and the only station that made sense in that direction is WJWJ in Beaufort SC (only heard via tropo 2 times prior). Lo and behold, ETV Radio and South Carolina Public radio mentions followed. Around 11:15, I found a 95.5 playing Zeppelin, a match to WIXV in Savannah which later ID'd. This is the first Georgia station I've heard via tropo. WEAS was ID'd shortly thereafter, and I also heard WYKZ from Beaufort (unfortunately due to poor operator practice, I did not get a recorded clip from them). In SDR audio review, I also found WGCO from Midway, which is 682 mi. What was most befuddling during all of this was the very reliable APRS map was very hint of long haul trop at all until later Christmas night (and favoring VA/NC to GA/FL).

    With the timing of the opening (Christmas Day!!) and the total unexpectedness (in the back of my mind I knew some tropo might be possible this week with the inversion lingering and relatively mild weather, but nothing like this), this opening definitely goes in my top 5 of all time. Several stations from Raleigh (89.7 WCPE, 91.5 WUNC, 93.9 WNCB, 104.3 WFXK) hung around for nearly all day, and WJWJ actually reappeared around 6 PM briefly. I've been hoping for a long time to hear GA via tropo and for it to happen like that...go figure.

    Some clips...the signal qualities are not great but these were actually in fairly well...keep in mind some IBOC and general CCI. WGCO and WEAS probably would have been in RDS quality if not for IBOC.


  • #2
    Really incredible FM DX. I saw your postings Christmas Day, but I found no tropo FM or TV here in Poughkeepsie. FM is very difficult southward due to all the NYC signals and their IBOC's, plus loads of locals and translators. I've never had GA on tropo, either FM or DTV. Channel 16 WSAV DTV looks to be possible with extreme tropo conditions, but so far no go. Also Christmas Day tropo was going crazy in the Midwest-Great Lakes area, but that tropo didn't extend this far either. Congrats, Nick, on some excellent logs!
    Chris - Poughkeepsie, NY
    DTV DXer since April 2009
    See last 24hr DTV DX on Autologger Map here:
    DTV DX screenshots at:
    DTV DX Videos at:


    • #3
      Reminds me of the time Mike Reid in Toronto had Fargo ND on (I Think) TV 16 back in the late 80s or early 90s just after Christmas Day. I had Sherbrooke while DXing in the car in Peterborough ON. No DXing this trip aside from recording one channel for Ms. Family here and heading home tonight. Also freezing rain and now a power outage.
      Saul Chernos
      Burnt River ON


      • #4
        Hey Nick! Super tropo DX catches, still worth a high 5 that many months later.
        Randy KW4RZ Goldfield, Nevada DM17


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