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2008 was the year I retired from DXing and was the last time I'd logged e-skip catches (analog TV stations). In 2013 I'd un-retired, but my monitoring for digital TV signals was unfruitful. Enter 2014, and FM DXing with it. Still analog. Still e-skip friendly. Propagation is picking up as summer begins, and last week I logged my first e-skip catches in six years! (But wait. There's more.)
As the season begins I've been keeping a radio tuned to 88.5, my lowest open channel. The Sangean ATS-909X is well suited for this task because it has a squelch feature, so it simply mutes itself when there's no signal. On Memorial Day a spanish station broke the squelch a little after noon and I went right to my Sony XDR-S10HDiP to see what was coming in: one Mexican station after another. I also turned on the TV and found a fairly good signal on channel 6 (an analog broadcast of Mexico's channel 5 network - yeah, confusing). The opening was to Monterrey and shifted northward to Texas over the next hour. The 5/26 loggings are now on my FM DX Page , with audio clips posted on the WTFDA Forum .
I would have to wait a week for the second opening, but Sunday's did not disappoint. This opening went to western Oklahoma and western Kansas, providing distances nearly on the edge of single-hop range. And with this opening New York's last DX record fell: as a TV DXer I'd caught KLNE channel 3 in Lexington, NE back in 1999, a record distance of 2,229 km. My farthest catch on Sunday was KLMR 93.5 in Lamar, CO, a record-breaking 2,322 km! In its first tropo season and its first week at e-skip, FM DXing has snatched away TV's long held records by large margins. This is absolutely phenomenal.
Sunday's audio clips are posted on the WTFDA Forum also.
A third opening from Memphis to Kansas City just occured before work today, and I'm still going through the recordings for that one. Seems I'm arcing my way to the Northeast gradually. I'll get a kick out of hearing my old locals when there's an opening to New York, and I have enough co-workers from Philadelphia to make that first opening worth recording. I'm kicking myself for not picking this up sooner.
I'm still trying for digital TV, now armed with three tuners and a high-gain antenna. The first two e-skip openings were into areas that have low-band DTV stations, but none of them made appearances. Hopefully my new equipment will prevent a repeat of Summer 2013 and I can log an American TV station again, just as I used to during every e-skip opening during the analog era.
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