Tropospheric ducting in April 2018

NOTE: The table below is fully sortable please click headline (i.e. Station) to sort the table.

(T) stands for a tentative log. Sometimes in the recording title, you’ll see DV or LH letters. That represents antenna/position. DV stands for (FM) Dipole in Vertical and LH stands for Cubical Quad Loop in Horizontal. Other combinations are possible.

Hover over the station name to see remarks. All data is relevant to the reception date.

Regarding tropospheric radio propagation April 2018 was, shall I say, better than March? This post will summarize three days of tropospheric reception from April 2018.

First signs of potential tropo conditions were noted on 4th April and continue to develop for the next few days. In the South of the UK, signals from Northern France appeared on the band. It appears that I only received tropo usual sites from France such as Lille, Caen and Reims-Épernay. All signals were rather weak with bouncing reflection effect.

On 6th April 2018 conditions continue and spread over Belgium. Apart from regular signals from Northern France, I was also receiving enhanced signals from Egem in Belgium. Majority of these were weak and not worth to compile in a log. For the next two weeks conditions back to normal.

18 April 2018

F5LEN’s prediction maps for 18th of April, 2018
W. Hepburn prediction maps for 18th April 2018

On 18th of April 2018 prediction maps began to show a partially green colour on the South of the UK indicating a potential temperature invention. It was my working day so not enough time was given for DX. Despite an early weak up, It was rather a disappointing day but new sites were received.

I see from the remarks that I was using Airspy HF+ SDR along with Kenwood car stereo for this tropo catches. Shortly after wake up, at 0523 UTC, I heard very weak 94.8 BBC Coventry & Warwickshire from Meridan with partial ID. The station was received on a vertically polarized dipole and Aisrspy HF+. This was a new site for me. Recording of this reception is here. The distance is 122 km. TX ERP is listed as 2.20kW.

At 0527 UTC 101.0 Nostalgie Vlaanderen from Oostvleteren in Belgium (this site is no longer listed) came in playing Seal. This was also received on a vertically polarized FM folded dipole. Although the signal was not strong, it was the first catch of this site. You can listen to the recording here. The distance for this reception is 225 km and the TX ERP was listed as 20.00kW.

At 0720 UTC I stopped on 93.1 MHz and I was hearing BBC R4 transmission. The search for a site revealed potential candidates for this signal. The signal was received on a vertically polarized FM folded dipole. I excluded two TX sites, Blaenplwyf and Belmont. These were too far for the tropo conditions range. The remaining sie is Folkestone, which appears to be in the tropo direction. The site has a vertically polarized transmission. Signals from Lille were heard that day so it is highly possible that I was receiving 93.1 BBC R4 from Folkestone. The site ERP is listed as 100W and the distance to me is 125km.

Later at night, I was receiving enhanced signals from Manningtree in Essex. Visual map log below.

Visual log from fmlist.org
UTC ITU MHz Station Location kW Pol. PS PI Mode Km Play
0523 G 94.8 BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Meridan 02.20 M Mono 122 Play
0527 BEL 101.0 Nostalgie Vlaanderen Oostvleteren 20.00 V Mono 225 Play
0558 F 103.7 France Inter Lille 126.00 H Mono 251 Play
0604 F 88.7 France Musique Lille 126.00 H Mono 251 Play
0720 G 93.1 BBC R4 Folkestone (T) 00.10 V Mono 125 Play
0732 F 95.6 France Musique Caen 100.00 H Mono 312 Not available
0735 F 98.0 France Culture Lille 126.00 H Mono 251 Play
0803 F 94.0 France Culture Rouen 100.00 H Mono 284 Play
0806 F 95.6 France Musique Caen 100.00 H Mono 312 Play
0817 F 105.2 France Info Lille 250.00 H __INFO__ F206 Mono 251 Play
1012 F 89.6 RDL Saint-Omer (T) 02.00 V Mono 216 Play
2220 G 103.9 BBC Radio Suffolk Manintigree 05.00 M Mono 93 Play
2223 G 106.4 Kiss FM Ipswich 20.00 M C383 Mono 106 Play
2232 G 88.1 BBC Radio 2 Manintigree 05.00 M Mono 93 Play
2234 G 90.3 BBC Radio 3 Manintigree 05.00 M Mono 93 Play
2236 G 92.5 BBC Radio 4 Manintigree 05.00 M Mono 93 Play
2238 G 97.7 BBC Radio 4 Manintigree 05.00 M Mono 93 Play

19 April 2018

F5LEN’s tropo prediction maps for 19th April 2018

Good conditions continue onto the next day. Same as above, a very little time was spent on DX although new sites were received. At 0723 UTC 90.4 VRT Klara from Egem (BEL) was received on a vertically polarized dipole and an Airspy HF+ SDR. Egem site is very often here but 90.4 VRT Klara is a first-time reception.

At 0735 UTC 92.4 BBC R3 from Swingate was here playing Classical music. The signal is almost clear, without major noise.

At 0743 UTC unexpected 94.2 BBC R4 signal appeared on the band. Given previous catch of 92.4 BBC R3 from Swingate, I tend to believe that 94.2 BBC R4 was coming from Hastings site. I received this signal on a vertically polarized FM dipole antenna. If the signal was genuinely coming from Hastings, It’s my first DX of this site. TX ERP is listed as 500W and the distance would be 155 km.

At 0809 UTC 89.6 BBC R2 was heard. The signal was weak but confronted with BBC web stream. I marked this catch as Hastings but it also could be Les Platons. Received on an FM dipole antenna in V.

At 0844 UTC weak signal of 91.2 BBC R3 was heard. Given tropo direction, I tentatively marked this reception as Blunsdon. I received it on FM folded dipole in vertical polarization. The site is listed as 200W and the distance would be 109km. This is the closest possible site. Another tentative (stronger) TX site would be in Bilsdale West Moor, North Yorkshire. The site is rated at 5.00kW.

UTC ITU MHz Station Location kW Pol. PS PI Mode Km Play
0723 BEL 90.4 VRT Klara Egem 50.00 V Mono 255 Play
0735 G 92.4 BBC R3 Swingate 11.00 M Mono 130 Play
0743 G 94.2 BBC R4 Hastings (T) 00.50 M Mono 115 Play
0749 G 97.1 Heart Suffolk Ipswich 03.40 M Mono 105 Play
0752 G 98.0 Phoenix FM Brentwood 00.05 M Mono 41 Play
0809 G 89.6 BBC R2 Hastings (T) 00.50 M Mono 115 Play
0813 G 90.9 BBC R3 Belmont (T) 14.35 M Mono 175 Play
0817 G 93.1 BBC R4 Belmont (T) 14.35 M Mono 175 Play
0830 G 102.8 Heart Kent Canterbury 01.00 M Mono 99 Play
0844 G 91.2 BBC R3 Blunsdon (T) 00.20 V Mono 109 Play
0908 F 89.4 France Musique Boulogne-sur-Mer (T) 01.00 H Mono 176 Play
0945 G 95.1 BBC Radio Norfolk Stoke Holy Cross 04.00 M Mono 140 Play
0950 G 100.2 Dream 100 FM Tendring 02.00 M Mono 96 Play

20 April 2018

Friday, the 20th of April 2018, was my working day. I stick with afternoon shift for the entire week. Friday supposed to be the best day for tropospheric occurrence according to predictions. There was a lot of hope for strong signals that day as the forecast was showing a green colour on the map. Two previous days, with a high-pressure system and continues heat wave over Europe give you the sense that something is brewing.

F5LEN’s predictions map for 20th April 2018

Two previous days were not the best regarding distances and signals strength. A pinch of hope was given for Friday. I wrote then on SkywavesDX forums:

There’s still hope for tropo when temperatures start dropping. The whole central Europe is covered by heat from North Africa. This will, eventually, be replaced by a cooler air mass.

First catch at 0813 UTC was 100.7 Radio 100,7 from Dudelange in Luxembourg. Unfortunately, this is only an air scatter and the reception was weak. There is a possibility that the duct wasn’t reaching here yet. According to the maps, the tropo lift was predicted from the West of the UK. A grim of hope for Irish signals was in my mind. Did it happen?

At 0854 UTC I received strong RDS signal of 89.3 BBC R2 from Holme Moss transmitting tower. I was receiving the signal on a vertically polarized FM folded dipole. RDS reception proved that tropo lift is real. As temperatures start to recover more and more signals from West of the UK began to show on an SDR spectrum.

90.6 BBC Radio Shropshire, The Wrekin TX site

At 0915 UTC I received 96.0 BBC Radio Shropshire from The Wrekin. This is first-time reception of this station and location. The multiplex transmitter is rated at 4.80kW and the distance is 187 km.

At 1018 UTC I was receiving an extremally weak signal playing Corona – The Rhythm Of The Night song. Upon further investigation, it appears to be 97.2 Heart Wiltshire from Blunsdon. Shortly after, at 1024 UTC, very weak Classical music was heard on 100.8 MHz. It was 100.8 Classic FM from Blunsdon.

Blunsdon, Wiltshire TX site

97.2 Heart Wiltshire TX ERP is rated at 0.70KW. 100.8 Classic FM ERP output is slightly stronger and rated at 0.72kW. Nevermind the weak reception, I was quite surprised that I received these two signals indoors. The distance to Blunsdon is 109 km.

At 1043 UTC my time for FM DX was just about to finish when I heard an extremally weak flute music on 98.7 MHz. My adrenaline level has risen instantly! Yes, it was 98.7 RTÉ Lyric FM from Kippure in Ireland! I was receiving it on a vertically polarized FM folded dipole antenna.

98.7 RTÉ Lyric FM, Kippure TX site in Ireland

Ireland has been received only once in the past. It was on 31 October 2017. 98.7 RTÉ Lyric FM from Kippure is a new site for me. The TX ERP is rated at 50.0kW and the distance to the transmitter is 442 km.

At 1116 UTC, I was about to finish my DX session when I scanned the band for the last time. I stopped on 99.2 Mhz. I was hearing flute music again. The signal, however, was extremely weak. I confronted the reception with RTÉ Lyric FM webstream and it appears to be the same transmission! Blimey, I thought! It was 99.2 RTÉ Lyric FM from Mount Leinster in Ireland.

99.2 RTÉ Lyric FM, Mount Leinster TX site in Ireland

99.2 RTÉ Lyric FM Mount Leinster TX site is rated at 200.00kW. The distance to the transmitter is 456 km. This was also my first time reception of this station and the location.

Later I checked FMLIST website for logs and appears that only Andrew Webster from Wiggan and Andy Pritchard from Telford logged Ireland that day. Bear in mind that their location is further West and they have rooftop antennas. Despite very weak Ireland signals, I am very happy with this tropo. It’s a second time when I received Ireland on FM.

Below is the log as well as the highlight video from that day. All signals were received on Airspy HF+ SDR.

There is one more day from April 2018 that needs write up. It will be posted in a separate entry.

 
Tropospheric signals received in Hatfield, Herts (AL10 area)

UTC ITU MHz Station Location kW Pol. PS PI Mode Km Play
0813 LUX 100.7 Radio 100,7 Dudelange 100.00 H Mono 515 Play
0854 G 89.3 BBC Radio 2 Holme Moss 250.00 M C202 BBC_R2__ Stereo 225 Not available
0856 G 90.9 BBC Radio 3 Blaenplwyf 250.00 M Mono 272 Not available
0858 G 91.1 BBC Radio 3 Llangollen (T) 15.60 M Mono 244 Not available
0902 G 91.5 BBC Radio 3 Holme Moss 250.00 M C203 BBC_R3__ Stereo 225 Not available
0904 G 91.9 BBC Radio 3 Tacolneston 250.00 M C203 BBC_R3__ Stereo 126 Not available
0906 G 93.1 BBC Radio 4 Belmont (T) 14.35 M Mono 175 Not available
0908 G 93.7 BBC Radio 4 Holme Moss 250.00 M C204 Stereo 225 Not available
0911 G 94.3 BBC Radio 4 Wenvoe 250.00 M Stereo 213 Not available
0915 G 96.0 BBC Radio Shropshire The Wrekin 04.80 M Mono 187 Play
0918 G 101.1 Classic FM Holme Moss 250.00 M Mono 225 Not available
0920 G 101.5 Classic FM Tacolneston 250.00 M C2A1 Stereo 126 Not available
0937 G 93.3 BBC Radio 4 Llangollen (T) 15.60 M Mono 244 Not available
0940 G 96.8 BBC Radio Cymru Wenvoe 250.00 M Mono 213 Not available
0942 G 98.3 BBC Radio 1 Blaenplwyf 250.00 M Mono 272 Not available
0943 G 98.9 Classic FM Holme Moss 250.00 M Mono 225 Not available
0945 G 99.5 BBC Radio 1 Wenvoe 250.00 M C201 Stereo 213 Not available
0949 G 101.1 Classic FM Holme Moss 250.00 M C2A1 Stereo 225 Not available
0953 G 101.7 Classic FM Wenvoe 250.00 M C2A1 Mono 213 Not available
0955 G 102.0 102 Touch FM Lark Stoke 02.58 M Mono 108 Not available
1000 G 104.8 BBC Sussex Burton Down 02.00 M Mono 99 Not available
1008 G 89.9 BBC Radio 2 Wenvoe 250.00 M Mono 213 Not available
1009 G 90.5 BBC Radio 3 Sutton Coldfield 250.00 M Mono 143 Not available
1011 G 92.7 BBC Radio 2 Sutton Coldfield 250.00 M Mono 143 Not available
1018 G 97.2 Heart Wiltshire Blunsdon 00.70 M Mono 109 Play
1024 G 100.8 Classic FM Blunsdon 00.72 M Mono 109 Play
1030 G 103.7 BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Lark Stoke 01.40 M Mono 108 Not available
1043 IRL 98.7 RTÉ Lyric FM Kippure 50.00 M Mono 442 Play
1101 G 103.9 BBC Radio Wales Wenvoe 40.00 M Mono 213 Not available
1116 IRL 99.2 RTÉ Lyric FM Mount Leinster 200.00 M Mono 456 Play

Maps screens thanks to fmdx.pl
Prediction maps thanks to www.tropo.f5len.org
Prediction maps thanks to www.dxinfocentre.com


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