TV DX (7/17/17)

For some unknown reason, I woke up around 4am this morning. Just for kicks, I looked at the current stations being received by the automated receiver on my phone. I noticed lots of stations from Chicago which I’ve never picked up, especially with the indoor antenna pointed to the west-southwest. I then noticed WVTV from Milwaukee, WI (207 miles) and then WTLJ in the Grand Rapids, MI area (232 miles).

Not wanting to get out of bed, I quickly scanned the tuner on my iPhone using the Channels app. I was able to confirm WFLD (127 miles), WQPT (137 miles), KWQC (137 miles) and WQAD (137 miles).

Did anyone else pick up any distant stations this morning?

WFLD - Chicago, IL
WFLD – Chicago, IL (127 miles) via HDHomeRun Connect
WQPT - Lynn Center, IL
WQPT – Lynn Center, IL (137 miles) via HDHomeRun Connect
KWQC - Lynn Center, IL
KWQC – Lynn Center, IL (137 miles) via HDHomeRun Connect
WQAD - Lynn Center, IA
WQAD – Lynn Center, IA (137 miles) via HDHomerun Tuner
VHF propagation (7/17/17)
VHF propagation (7/17/17)

TV DX Log from automated tuner (7/17/2017)
*stations in bold are confirmed

WFLD – Chicago, IL – 127 miles
WCIU – Chicago, IL – 127 miles
WPWR – Chicago, IL – 127 miles
WJYS – Chicago, IL – 127 miles
WSNS – Chicago, IL – 127 miles
WXFT – Chicago, IL – 127 miles
WMAQ – Chicago, IL – 127 miles
WGN – Chicago, IL – 127 miles
WGBO – Chicago, IL – 128 miles
WYCC – Chicago, IL – 128 miles
WQPT – Lynn Center, IL – 137 miles
KWQC – Lynn Center, IL – 137 miles
KLJB – Lynn Center, IL – 137 miles
WQAD – Lynn Center, IL – 137 miles
WVTV – Milwaukee, WI – 207 miles
WTLJ – Allendale, MI – 232 miles
KGAN – Walker, IA – 240 miles
KRIN – Walker, IA – 240 miles
KFXA – Van Horne, IA – 240 miles

TV DX (7/11/17 – 7/12/17)

The tropo propagation was hopping on Tuesday July 11, 2017 into Wednesday July 12, 2017 here in eastern Illinois. With my automated HDHomeRun tuner scanning constantly, I started seeing stations showing up from eastern Iowa to northwestern Illinois to St. Louis, MO to southern Illinois. (KYOU, WTJR, KDNL, KPLR, KSDK, KTVI, KMOV, WSIL, WPSD)

Then I noticed WMYO coming in from Louisville, KY. Then a little while later, several stations from Indianapolis/Bloomington, IN. (WXIN, WFYI, WRTV, WHMB, WTTK, WIPX) Finally, I picked up WSTR over 200 miles to the east in Cincinnati, OH!

This is really crazy because my indoor antenna is pointed to the WSW with buildings blocking everything to the east. Amazing how strong propagation can enhance signals.

While all of these automated hits are great, I don’t consider them to be true captures unless I have some sort of screenshot/photo of the picture. Sadly most of these happened when I was unavailable to scan on a TV. I did, however, capture a couple of new ones to me.

WSIL
WSIL – Harrisburg, IL (175 miles) via TiVo OTA tuner
WHMB
WHMB – Indianapolis, IN (111 miles) via HDHomeRun Connect
WXIN
WXIN – Indianapolis, IN (111 miles) via HDHomeRun Connect

TV DX Log from automated tuner (7/11/2017 – 7/12/2017)
WHMB – Indianapolis, IN – 111.5 miles
WFYI – Indianapolis, IN – 111.7 miles
WRTV – Indianapolis, IN – 111.7 miles
WTTK – Indianapolis, IN – 111.8 miles
WXIN – Indianapolis, IN – 111.8 miles
WIPX – Bloomington, IN – 124.2 miles
WTJR – Quincy, IL – 161.5 miles
WSIL – Harrisburg, IL – 175.2 miles
WMYO – Salem, IN – 178.6 miles
WPSD – Paducah, KY – 204.9 miles
KYOU – Ottumwa, IA – 206.6 miles
WSTR – Cincinnati, OH – 210.4 miles

TV DXing with an indoor antenna

I’ve always been fascinated by picking up distant stations whether it’s on the ham band, shortwave or more recently TV. I live on the first floor of an apartment building with no ability for outdoor antennas so I figured my DX opportunities were limited. I’ve tried numerous indoor antennas from the flat thin things that hang in a window to the amplified square boxes. None really brought the channels in that I wanted to watch. Most of our stations are to the west-southwest of me which is great as there is a window on that side of the apartment. The problem is Fox and ABC are in the northeast and east directions which are blocked by walls and other apartment buildings.

TV Fool report from my location in Champaign, IL

My only remote shot at them is going for the Springfield, IL stations which are 65 miles away. Impossible with an indoor antenna? I don’t give up that easily! I originally tried my old Terk HDTVi (non-amplified) antenna. Sure, it’s bulky but it’s very directional which in my case helps. I was able to pick up the stations in Springfield, but they were in and out. I decided to spring for the Terk HDTVa amplified version of the antenna and I now consistently get stable signals from the Fox and ABC stations now pointed out a west window.

Terk HDTVa amplified indoor antenna

I started doing morning channel scans last summer and to my surprise, I picked up 3 stations out of St. Louis, MO which is just over 150 miles away from here. Some days they were just as strong as some of our local stations! I also managed to pick up WTJR out of Quincy, IL which is 161 miles away. Pretty exciting for an indoor antenna! I figured that was the limit of my minimal indoor setup until last week.

I woke up earlier than normal and decided to do a channel scan. I noticed it picked up 1 new channel that I’d never seen. I was thinking it was somewhere in St. Louis since the callsign started with a K rather than a W. It claimed to be KDCU. I looked it up and it said it was in Derby, KS.

My first thought was this was some receiver issue and it was misidentifying some local station. At first it wasn’t strong enough to show a picture. I left it on just for kicks while I had some breakfast and saw the picture blink a few times like it was starting to decode. I was able to make out 4 letters on the screen which said KDCU. Holy crap! 522 miles away on an indoor antenna!

Seeing how no one would ever believe me, I grabbed my cell phone and took a picture of the screen. I asked around on the WTFDA forum and I wasn’t the only one in Illinois to pick it up. An automated receiver northeast of me in Milford, IL also picked it up and they have a slightly better antenna than I do. 🙂

Propagation map during my reception of KDCU in Derby, KS.
6/22/2017 – KDCU-TV in Derby, KS (522 miles)

So this made me wonder how much I am missing when I’m not able to sit and do channel scans all day. I started looking into automated options and everyone seems to use a variation of the HDHomerun receivers. I just ordered the HDHomerun Connect and it should be here later this week so we’ll see what sort of stations we can pick up when I’m asleep or not here to scan manually.

Anyone else do any TV DXing? What gear do you use? What’s the best distance you have achieved?

2011 CQWW SSB contest

I took a little drive today to my favorite park outside of town to work a few stations in the CQWW contest. I usually don’t work very many contests, but anytime I hear lots of stations on 10m I just have to try a few QSOs. Using the FT-857D in the mobile at 100w and ATAS120A antenna, I was easily working DX. In a short period of time, I worked SN3R (Poland), IR8C (Italy), GW9T (Wales), G5O (England) and F5TTI (France). I setup the video camera and captured these contacts. (sorry about the shaky shots, should have used the tripod)

https://youtube.com/watch?v=yrHGE_xU1iY

Working Spain from the mobile

While I was running some errands yesterday, I decided to tune around the HF bands to see how conditions were doing. I noticed numerous DX stations on 10 meters, but wasn’t sure they’d hear my little mobile station. I stumbled across EA1DR (Oscar) in northern Spain who was coming in pretty strong. I pulled over into a parking lot and tried answering his CQ DX call numerous times, but to no avail. I pulled out of the parking lot and decided to try him one more time. Success! It was a short 30 second contact, but he said my mobile station was doing a great job into Spain. Amazing how one little contact like this can brighten up my day.

Something I’ve been trying to do more of is recording the audio of my HF QSO’s, at least the DX ones. I remembered to hit the record button on my iPhone audio app and captured this nifty QSO.

EA1DR
10-06-2011-EA1DR