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Loggings => Satellite, Radiosondes and Other VHF/UHF Signals => Topic started by: Davep on June 17, 2018, 1559 UTC

Title: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: Davep on June 17, 2018, 1559 UTC
For many years I have noticed ducting of VHF Noaa Weather Radio stations that generally occur along the Oceanfront anytime during the year but mainly during the spring and summer . This is a common occurrence here at my qth , I am not sure how prevalent these are inland .  I will attempt to document the ducting , which is usually caused by the difference in sea and air temps , esp cooler sea temps that are commonly overun by much warmer air some height above the cooler air.  This allows the vhf to travel  beyond the line of sight , sometimes for hundreds of miles outside normal listening area.  This can be all north, all South or both of conditions allow, rarely West. Generally these are best during times of no wind, although not as a strict rule.
Radio used is a Unimetrics Seahawk model 24 Marine radio, 12 feet above sea level using only a 12 inch jumper clip as antenna . That way eliminates any possibility of reception due to elevation. The orientation of the wire seems to be more important than the quality of the antenna.
These can disappear and reappear at any given minute.  Closer stations in the path may not be heard at all.
Home station is KHB37 Driver Va  on 162.550 mhz.
The temps will be for my location. The mileage is straight line or flight distance
I realize this is an obscure and possibly location based DX  target , but if you notice any out of area stations please note.

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/station_listing.html (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/station_listing.html)

6/17/18  KHB38 162.400   Mt Holly Nj / Atlantic City.  Strong  /flight dist 193mi  Sea temp 71/ air 84.9 slight breeze 1604UT
Gone 1723 Ut
------------------------------------':------------
Sea temp 71/ air 77.9 calm 340 UT
6/18/18  KEC92 162.475  Salisbury MD / Delmar  strong / FD 109mi 340UT
6/18/18 Unid.     162.475   weak 340 UT
6/18/18  KEC83  162.400  Baltimore MD / Pikesville / moderate /FD 179mi  358 UT
6/18/18  WXJ94 162.550  Lewes Delaware/ Green Hill / strong over KHB37 / FD 140mi    434 UT.   
6/18/18  KEC92  162.475  Salisbury MD/Delmar/ moderate / FD 109mi  1310 UT  calm  Air 80.1 F
6/18/18  KHB38  162.400  Atlantic City NJ/ Mt Holly /weak / CD 193mi  1314 UT
6/18/18  KJY99   162.525  Accomack Va/ Onley / moderate, weak/ FD 60mi     1349UT   
6/18/18  WXM80 162.475 Upton NY/Riverhead/ strong / FD 289mi/ fcst Hartford,New Haven, New London 1653  UT
6/18/18  WXM57 162.400  Heathsville Va/ moderate / FD 78mi  2154 UT[/
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sea Temp 79 air 77.3 calm
6/19/18  WWH26  162.425  Mamie NC/ Outer banks / weak / FD 59mi  0024  UT  faded 0046 UT 300watts
 6/19/19  KEC92  162.475 Salisbury MD/Delmar/ moderate/ FD 109mi  0041UT
6/19/18   310 UTC  no stations

Sea 75 air 83.1 calm
6/19/18  WWG33 162.450 Margarettsville NC / Margarettsville/ weak/ 76mi   1213 UT 300wts southwest
6/19/18  KEC92    162.475 Salisbury MD / Delmar/ moderate/FD 109mi       1216 UT
6//19/18 WWH26  162.425 Mamie NC/ Mamie/ strong/ FD  59mi                  1220 300wts
no stations 1400 UT
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sea 76 Air 78.4 winds briefly up to 40mph around 2300
 6/20/18  KIG77 162.475 Cape Hatteras NC/ Buxton / weak / FD 112mi   201 UT
 Also Accomack and Heathsville very weak back up after storm listed Out of Service
no other Stations

6/20/18  KEC92 162.475 Salisbury MD/Delmar/ weak fading/ FD 109 mi/ 1229 UT
no other stations
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------color
Sea 76 Air 75.2 calm
6/21/18  KIG77 162.475  Cape Hatteras NC/ Buxton / strong/ FD 112mi  404 UT 
6/21/18 WWH26 162.425 Mamie NC/ Outer Banks/ moderate w fading/ FD 59mi Faded 410 UT
6/21/18  Unid     162.525   garbled
6/21/18  KJY99   162.525 Accomack Va/ Onley/very weak/ 60mi  430 UT
Very nice South with armchair copy KIG77
Sea 81 air 83.7
6/21/18 No Stations 2300 UT
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Sea 78 air 80.4  Thunderstorms http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/contour/natlanti.cf.gif
6/22/18  WWH26 162.425 Mamie NC / weak 59mi 115 UT faded 130 UT
6/22/18  KIG77   162.475 Hatteras NC weak/ 112mi 125 UT faded 130 UT
 Very short duration , faded to noise at the same time
no other stations

Sea 77  Air 80.2 rain wind 13kts
6/22/18no stations 1758 UT
6/22/18no stations 2320 UT
--------------------------------------------------------------

Sea 80.3  Air 87.3  Storms
6/23/18  6/23/18  No Stations 2100 UT
6/24/18 no stations 200 UTC
 
Sea 79.9 Air 83.3 calm
6/24/18  WNG37  162.450  Washington DC / moderate/ 153mi  / 1308 UT
6/24/18   KEC83  162.400  Baltimore MD / Pikesville /strong/FD 179mi  / 1310UT
6/24/18   KEC92    162.475 Salisbury MD / Delmar/  strong /FD 109mi    /1310UT,
6/24/18  KJY99   162.525  Accomack Va/ Onley / strong / FD 60mi     1318UT   
strong North
__________________________________________________________________
Sea 82.7  Air 89
6/25/18. KEC92. 162.475 Salisbury MD / moderate/ 109mi / 0053
6/25/18  WXM57  162.400 Heathsville Va/ weak / 78mi / 0053 Ut
6/25/18.  kJY99    162.525 Accomack Va/Onley/ weak/ 60mi/ 0054 UT

6/25/18 no stations 1856 UT
-----_---------------------------- ---------------------------------------
Sea 77 Air 79 windy
6/26/18 no stations 1544 UT
-------------------------------------------------
6/27/18no stations 402 UT
6/27/18 no stations 1416 UT
-------------------'---'------------------------------------
Sea 78  Air 75.6  w 5kts SE
6/28/18  KJY99 162.525  Accomack VA /Onley / strong/60mi     350UT
6/28/18  KEC92 162.475 Salisbury MD/ Delmar/ strong/ 109mi
6/28/18  Unid    162.475 under KEC92 unreadable
6/28/18  Unid    162.450  unreadable 
6/28/18  KEC83 162.400 Baltimore/ Pikesville/ weak/ 179mi / 409UT
6/28/18  no stations 1238 UT
Sea 77 Air 92.1
6/28/18 no stations 2012 UT
-----------------------------------------------------
Sea 79.5  Air 77.7 calm
6/29/18no stations 356 UT
6/29/18 no stations 1243 UT
Sea 79 Air 85.6 breezy
6/29/18 WWH96  162.425 Mamie NC / moderate/ 59mi /  2020 UT
6/29/18  wXM57  162.400 Heathsville Va / weak/ 78mi/ 2020 UT
---------------------------------------_---------------------------------
6/30/18 no stations 2246 UT
------------------------------------------------------------_-------------
Sea 82.4 Air 79.9
7/1/18  KEC92  162.475 Salisbury MD/ strong/ 109miles 305 UT
 7/1/18  WNG591  162.500 Coudersport PA/ Coudersport/ moderate / 357mi Id 328z 600watts
7/1/18  KJY99 162.525 Accomack Va/ strong/ 60mi  347UT i
---_------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sea 82 Air 81.5
 7/2/18  KEC92   162.475 Salisbury MD / strong/ 109mi  142 UT
/2/18  WWH26  162.425 Mamie NC / weak/ 59mi/142 UT
 7/2/18  WXK97  162.500 Sudlersville MD/ moderate/ 162mi /201 UT
7/2/18  KEC92  162.475 Salisbury MD/ strong 109mi /  1142 UT
7/2/18  WWG33 162.450 Margarettsville NC /weak/76mi / 1146 UT
7/2/18  WXM57 162.400  Heathsville Va/ strong/ 78 mi/ 1148 UT
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7/3/18 no stations 1421 UT
==============,,=,=======,===============================
Sea 83.7   Air 79.9
7/4/18  KHB38 162.400 Atlantic City NJ/ My Holly/ moderate-weak/ 193 mi/,417 UT
 7/4/18 KJY99 162.525 Accomack / strong/ 60mi/ 418 IT
 no other stations
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------'
7/5/18
no stations 256 UT
7/5/18  No stations 2226 UT
7/6/18  no stations
7/7/18 no stations
7/8/18 no stations
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sea  78.2  Air 76.8  winds currently 12Kts was 25 -30
7/9/18 KHB38 162.400 Atlantic City NJ/ Mt Holly/ strong/ 193 mi  /1655 UT
7/9/18  KIG77 162.475 Cape Hatteras NC/ Buxton/ strong/ 112mi/ 1656 UT
7/9/18 KJY99/ 162.525 Accomack / strong/60mi/ 1659 UT

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7/10/18 Sea 80 Air 85.1  breeze
7/10/18 no stations 1847 UT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sea 78   Air 73.0 calm
7/11/18  KIG77 162.475 / Cape Hatteras NC/ strong/112 mi  252 UT
7/11/18  WWH56 162.425/ Mamie NC/ Strong / 59mi
7/11/18  KJY99    162.525/ Accomack / strong 60mi  253 UT7/13/18



7/13/18 no stations

________________________________________________
7/19/18 WXL59  162.475  Rocky Mt NC/Tarboro/ moderate /109mi /1313 Ut

8/6/18 WXM80 162.475 Upton NY/Riverhead/ strong / FD 289mi/ fcst Hartford,New Haven, New London 2150 UT
-----------------------end of logs-------------------------------------


The reception from Baltimore , Washington DC , inland Maryland and Pennsylvania , these are due North of the receiver if you draw a line and I believe they tropo straight down the Chesapeake Bay.

Hatteras is probably as far South i will hear, because the coastline turns West abruptly at Buxton NC .  Although I have heard New Bern NC  before, it is rare.

Title: Re: Noaa Weather Radio VHF Logs 2018
Post by: Josh on June 17, 2018, 1815 UTC
When I lived in Omaha, usually every morning there was a tropoduct along the mighty Missouri river up to Sewer City Ia I mean Sioux City Ia. This was nice as you could use their repeaters and have some fun on the drive to work. The trip home did not have such great tropo as the am drive but did sometimes. It also helped that the hiway I used was pretty much the highest ground between Sioux City and Kansas City or something like that.

The tropoduct seemingly followed the river, so I imagine you will hear many stations along the coastline when the duct starts ducting. When your duct starts getting leaky, just apply more duct tape
Title: Re: Noaa Weather Radio VHF Logs 2018
Post by: Davep on June 18, 2018, 1320 UTC
Thanks Josh
Title: Re: Noaa Weather Radio VHF Logs 2018
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on June 18, 2018, 2119 UTC
I have local and semi local stations on all of the channels here I think, but I can give a listen from time to time, especially when the forecast looks promising.
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: R4002 on August 03, 2018, 1116 UTC
Date: 3 August 2018
Time: 1045-1100 UTC / 0645-0700 local
Receiver: TYT TH-9000D VHF-FM mobile transceiver (136-174 MHz)
Antenna: 1/4 wave VHF mobile antenna with Chevrolet sedan ground plane ;)
Location: Richmond, VA

I'm listening while driving through downtown, at points one station would completely blanket the other, then vise-versa.  Lots of multipath going on in an urban area - anyone who's been to Richmond knows the downtown / central business district area is full of hills and valleys - add that to the steel-and-concrete around you at street level and yeah, VHF does some interesting things.  There's a reason most two-way systems in this area are on 450-470 MHz and the public safety system is on 800 MHz (well, they're on 800 MHz because Motorola wants more money, but I digress...)

162.400 MHz - WXL42 Winston-Salem, NC 1000 watts - heard "Surry County, North Carolina" - weaker UNID station underneath
162.425 MHz - several stations mixing together, heard "North Carolina" in the mud, possible WZ2543 Richlands, VA 300 watts
162.450 MHz - several stations, WWG33 Margretsville, VA 300 watts fighting with KZZ28 Covesville, VA 1000 watts and a third station mixing in at points...I can hear KZZ28 when the band is closed
162.475 MHz - WXK65 (Richmond, VA 1000 watts) SIO 555 local WX station, they're SIO 555 with the antenna disconnected
162.500 MHz - WNG586 (Henderson, NC 300 watts) SIO 333 or so, another UNID station underneath it
162.525 MHz - KJY86 (Halifax, VA 1000 watts) SIO 444 on peaks, then another station (likely KJY99) came in for a few seconds
162.550 MHz - hearing WXL92 (Lynchburg, VA 1000 watts) mixing in with KHB37 (Norfolk, VA 1000 watts) with Norfolk being the winner

I can hear NOAA Weather VHF DX basically every morning during my (short) morning commute that starts at roughly 0645 local time.  Antenna is a standard NMO mount 1/4 wave VHF antenna mounted on the trunk lip with good condition (read: removed paint) to the chassis of the car.  When the band is open I often check the STARS statewide VHF trunking system frequencies for activity, the go-to one being the Fork Mountain, VA control channel (152.7125 MHz) and that was coming in full scale this morning as well. 

WXL42 - 183 miles/295 km
WZ2543 - 240 miles/387 km
WWG33 - 68 miles/109 km
KZZ28 - 73 miles/117 km - this transmitter has some serious elevation - I can hear it with my Motorola MTS2000 and Boafeng UV-5R HTs if I'm outside
WXK65 (local) - 7 miles/11 km
WNG586 - 100 miles / 160 km
KJY86 - 98 miles / 158 km
KJY99 - 98 miles / 158 km
WXL92 - 94 miles / 151 km
KHB37 - 80 miles / 129 km
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: Σ on August 03, 2018, 1249 UTC
I used to listen to NOAA weather radio most mornings (prior to the Internet) while getting ready for work. When I heard other stations creeping in I'd get on 146.52 during the commute and usually get some interesting contacts. There were also a couple of repeaters that would be regularly heard during tropo as well.

NOAA is a good indicator for 2m tropo just like TV Ch 2 used to be an indicator that the 6m band was open.

Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: Davep on August 04, 2018, 1920 UTC
Thanks for the log R4002 . Interesting !   

Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: R4002 on August 05, 2018, 1436 UTC
KHB37 out of Virginia Beach, VA and KHB36 out of Manassas, VA often fight each other during the band openings...but I find the "in between" channels - from back when NOAA Weather Radio was only 3 channels 162.400, 162.475 and 162.550 - the in between channels that were added later, 162.425, 162.450, 162.500 and 162.525 are good listening targets since those are the "fill-in" stations.  KZZ28 must be on a mountaintop though...because I can hear it with a handheld radio and a stock antenna even when the band is completely closed. 
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: Davep on August 06, 2018, 2232 UTC
Hearing WXM80  on Long Island at nearly 300 miles and  KHB38 Atlantic City 200mi this afternoon, with a good signal on the marine radio.

I rarely hear anything from the West even though they may be a lot closer.
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: R4002 on August 07, 2018, 1033 UTC
Dave,

You have the advantage of the ocean - temperature inversion ducting - whereas I only get mine from weather systems.  Do you hear the Richmond transmitter ever (WXK65 on 162.475 MHz)?  It's located on one of the many towers just south of the James River in Richmond.  1000 watts too. 

When I drive to work this morning I'll see if I can hear any early morning ducting
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: Davep on August 07, 2018, 1251 UTC
No , never heard it here . Every once in awhile Rocky Mt and maybe a few others but they will be NW , SW .

Btw , I lived most of my life in Richmond ! 
Thanks for helping , tropos common here almost daily . I'm wondering how often these occurr inland . Thanks for any logs.
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: R4002 on August 07, 2018, 1320 UTC
Heard stations on all 7 NOAA Weather Radio frequencies this morning (0645-0655 local time).  Heard KHB36 out of Manassas, VA very strong on 162.550.  162.400 had KEC83 (Baltimore, MD) booming through with another station underneath it that I couldn't ID.  Also heard WNG588 out of Mount Jefferson, NC on 162.500 but with very severe fading as I drove through downtown.  162.450 had two stations on it, one of them being KZZ28, unable to ID the second.  I heard a strong signal on 162.425 and they were discussing the forecast for Northern Virginian Mountain Forecast including Skyline Drive (possible WZ2527 out of Fredericksburg, VA?) no ID heard.

Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on August 07, 2018, 1524 UTC
I have signals on all 7 frequencies right now (1524z) which is pretty normal for here.  It is interesting that they do not all use the same deviation.

(https://i.imgur.com/xieoHVg.jpg)
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: R4002 on August 07, 2018, 1809 UTC
I have signals on all 7 frequencies right now (1524z) which is pretty normal for here.  It is interesting that they do not all use the same deviation.

(https://i.imgur.com/xieoHVg.jpg)

You're also receiving using a discone antenna high up in the air, not a 1/4 wave VHF whip at street level :D

I think its a question of the age of the transmitter - as they are all specified for regular "wideband" (by land mobile definition) 20 kHz bandwidth (or 25 kHz bandwidth, depending on who you ask) 20K0F3E emission type.  I have noticed that NOAA weather radio sounds better on wideband settings on receivers with that capability.  The TYT TH-9000D, which is my primary mobile VHF radio, has three FM deviation/bandwidth settings, 25K, 20K and 12K.  NOAA Weather Radio sounds best in 25K (wideband), but there is very little difference between that and 20K (middle band).  With DX listening, the 20 kHz setting seems to work best.  It's perfectly listenable in 12K mode (which is 11K0F3E emission, apparently for Part 90 VHF land mobile compliance). 

I put the radio in 25K or 20K mode for 2 meter amateur use and listening to NOAA Weather Radio, but use narrowband for everything else.

I imagine the older NOAA transmitters are pushing more deviation than the newer ones but its harder to say for sure.
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: Davep on August 08, 2018, 1821 UTC
On a RS scanner upstairs it's not uncommon to hear all or many of the surrounding stations .  The logs above were observed at maybe +13ft sea level to try and kick out anything that would be normal for the antenna at around 25 ft asl.
I used a 6 inch jumper for the antenna that could be moved directionally

What distance at 1000 watts would you guys think would indicate a definite tropo?  100 miles?

You would think FM BC DX  would be all over the radio, I haven't ever seriously checked that out although I've heard New Jersey FM just casually noted.
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: R4002 on August 09, 2018, 1448 UTC
On a RS scanner upstairs it's not uncommon to hear all or many of the surrounding stations .  The logs above were observed at maybe +13ft sea level to try and kick out anything that would be normal for the antenna at around 25 ft asl.
I used a 6 inch jumper for the antenna that could be moved directionally

What distance at 1000 watts would you guys think would indicate a definite tropo?  100 miles?

You would think FM BC DX  would be all over the radio, I haven't ever seriously checked that out although I've heard New Jersey FM just casually noted.

Which brand of RS scanner are you using?   I have compared the receive capability of my RadioShack Pro-96 handheld to my TYT TH-9000D (both with the same antenna at the same location - a 1/4 wave NMO mount trunklip mount VHF antenna on my car) and the TH-9000D does noticeably better with receiving weak signals than the Pro-96 does.  I realize, of course, that the Pro-96 was designed for 800 MHz trunking back when that was a brand new concept...Richmond Police has since gone to encryption so the 96 has been turned into a regular VHF/UHF intercept radio but anyway...

For 1000 watts I think 100 miles is about a minimum for DX propagation - I would think that 70-80 miles is considered "fringe" or maximum range for FM broadcast band stuff, and the powerhouse stations are doing a lot more than 1000 watts.  With a roof-mounted TV/FM antenna you could easily do 100 miles from the transmitter on the FM band, presuming the FM broadcast station you're listening to has some decent antenna elevation, which brings me to my next point...

It's also a question of antenna elevation, especially for FM BCB but also for NOAA WX DXing.  As I mentioned with KZZ28, it's located near Covesville, VA - there are several mountains with peaks over 1200 feet ASL, presuming the antenna for KZZ28 on 162.450 is on a tower on one of those mountains, it would make sense why I can hear it almost all the time on a HT in Richmond, about 73-74 miles away and its transmitting 1000 watts.  Unfortunately the NOAA Weather Radio information webpages don't have anything on antenna elevation, only estimated coverage area (which one assumes is for strong signal coverage with a portable receiver located inside a building, not fringe coverage). 

I can also hear WAFX-FM 106.9 MHz on my car radio on a regular basis with good quality signal, sometimes mixing in with a second station...that seems to be playing country music - WAFX is apparently doing 100 kW with a HAAT of 300m / 980 ft at a distance of 64 miles from Richmond.  Now, that's with one of these newer-style roof-mounted vehicle FM antennas that incorporate a loading coil so its not the best FM BCB setup.  Trying the same thing with a Tecsun PL-660 gives me a quality FM stereo signal, even with strong locals on nearby frequencies (WBBT-FM on 107.3 MHz and WBTJ-FM on 106.5 MHz). 

The same can't be said about WWUZ-FM on 96.9 MHz even though they're only 35 miles away.  WWUZ-FM is doing 2.95 kW with a HAAT of 144m / 472 ft.  The same situation exists for 96.9 MHz here, there's the powerhouse WKLR-FM on 96.5 MHz doing 50 kW 453 feet HAAT from Chester, VA - only about 14 miles from downtown and WRIR-LP on 97.3 MHz putting out a whopping 42 watts at 149 feet HAAT (but transmitting from downtown Richmond) as nearby transmitters. 

WRIR's signal makes it about 7-9 miles outside of town (heading due west from the city) before fading into the noise, or mixing with a country music station - which I believe is WGH-FM out of Newport News (yet another powerhouse FM station doing 74 kW 120m / 390 ft HAAT).  WRIR really does just cover the city and the nearby suburbs with a broadcast quality signal before disappearing into the noise and the QRM from WGH's distant (but powerful) signal on the same frequency.  Apparently WGH-FM is 70 miles straight line distance from Richmond.
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: Davep on August 09, 2018, 1539 UTC
It's an Pro 2032.  Using the unit's rod antenna.
Yes, the 100 miles sounds good. 

There's also listening for VHF comms from private fishing charters ( some of the captains i know from work) and also Va Pilot on Marine VHF channel 14. I just leave on the squelch and sometimes it's fun to hear them try and communicate with the foreign captains who have shaky command of the language. There's a phone app for real time ship positions , sometimes I know they are coming ( if not visually), and what flag. Most of these comms are  15-30 miles out. 

WAFX - Doesn't surprise me,that's a very tall antenna! It's behind the Dairy Queen/ Burger King / Exxon in Windsor on 460.
Usually Armchair copy way down the Outer Banks as well.

Do you hear WGH Am 1310 day? , just curious
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: R4002 on August 09, 2018, 1647 UTC
I can check WGH-AM on 1310 today on my Chevrolet car radio. 

How active is the VHF marine band aside from the fishing charters on VHF marine channel 14 / 156.700 and the usual USCG/channel 16 stuff?  I remember last time I was on the Chesapeake Bay I could hear lots of private boats and pleasure yachts chatting away on 66, 67, 68, 69, 71, 77, as well as 86, 87 and 88.  Seems like 67, 68 and 69 are the favorites for private boat traffic though - correct me if I'm wrong. 

One of the cool things about VHF marine band is the radios are limited to 25 watts TX power (for marine mobile stations anyway) - I know some of the shore stations are licensed for more power on VHF (usually 50 watts instead of 25).  So its all a question of antenna gain and height.  30 miles on VHF marine band is about the maximum range you could get I would imagine, unless the antenna is on top of the bridge of a very large container or US Navy ship maybe.

Edit:  I see that VIRGINIA PILOT ASSOCIATION has two fixed coast station licenses for VHF marine, KIA731 and WHU615, both of them being base stations in Virginia Beach for 50 watts transmit power on 156.450 MHz (VHF channel 9), 156.550 MHz (VHF channel 11), 156.700 (VHF channel 14), 156.725 MHz (VHF channel 74) and, of course, 156.800 MHz (VHF channel 16). 
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: Davep on August 09, 2018, 1716 UTC
That's correct , the boaters use the upper channels just heard someone on 79.   The charter captains like 12 for calling , then might switch.

There's still plenty of use , but inshore as you have guessed it's more or less a tradition.  Not sure of how far  , but cellphones still work a good ways out , and wherever someone is in the Bay.  I wouldn't leave the dock without a vhf however.

The distances depend on the antenna like you said, a lot higher on a ship and maybe 15 feet on a small boat.  5-30miles

Edit : Va pilot  -they most always use 14 _ 
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: R4002 on August 09, 2018, 1752 UTC
Makes sense to me...it would be silly to go out on the Bay without at the very least a handheld VHF radio. 

I was able to hear WGH-AM on the car radio in Richmond at 1:15 PM local time but it wasn't a spectacular signal or anything (that's to be expected though!).  Here WRVA on 1140 kHz is the flamethrower.  I am able to hear WFED 1500 kHz out of Washington, D.C. on a nightly basis, however.  Same with the big clear channel stations out of New York, Baltimore, Boston, etc.  On a halfway decent night I can add WLW on 700 to that list with a good radio. 

Glad to hear there's still use of the VHF marine band for its intended use.  Around here (inland) there's more hunting club use of the VHF channels (although the bigger clubs are slowly getting FCC licenses for legal use of the VHF business band + higher power levels) in addition to 11 meter CB.  Most hunting trucks in Virginia have the usual CB whip and a VHF antenna on them.  I've seen several with Shakespeare VHF marine antennas mounted on the tool box in the back! 
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: Davep on August 09, 2018, 2046 UTC
The Va Beach Fishing Center was just using 79, the boat called in for a slip assignment.

I used to listen to WCLM 1450 when I lived there.  The Bobst show came on in the evenings. If you drove by the run down house Studio and honked Bobst would thank the honker before the next record.  Reception was marginal where I lived but wasn't all that far.

WRVA is no problem day or night.  I once tried to drive down the off-road road down to the tx .  I think it's WRVA road or something like that.  It was mostly deep mudholes , I didn't want to ruin the car so I turned around.
Title: Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
Post by: R4002 on August 10, 2018, 1700 UTC
There are a lot of decent AM stations in the Richmond metro area but WRVA is still the powerhouse for sure.  I know several people who are dedicated listeners of WRNL on 910 kHz and WXGI on 950 kHz (both sports stations, WRNL-AM 910 being Fox Sports and WXGI-AM on 950 being ESPN Radio).  WXGI is nearly worthless at night due to its class D status and 45 watt nighttime TX power.  At night those folks have been instructed to tune to one of the clear channel stations playing the baseball game they're looking for (there's always at least one, especially since WRVA is now a Washington Nationals affiliate station...but of course WFED 1500 kHz is their flagship station and it reaches Richmond no problem during the nighttime). 

Back on the topic of VHF tropo monitoring, another thing I've logged is the 152 MHz POCSAG signals.  I know there's been a serious migration up to 900 MHz for paging but there's still heavy use of the 152 MHz band (at least around here).  152.120 MHz, 152.630 MHz and 152.690 MHz are transmitted from multiple locations in Richmond, with easily over 1000 watts ERP.  I've logged 152.180 MHz during band openings and that was apparently coming from a rural paging system in Pennsylvania. 

In addition to paging networks, the 152 MHz band is littered with control channels for the Virginia Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS) Project 25 Phase I VHF trunking system. 

The Richmond control channel can be heard on 152.0375 MHz, check out the RadioReference page for STARS for a list of the primary control channels (frequencies in red) and alternate control channels (frequencies in blue).  http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=3783 (http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=3783)

The control channels have signals on them 24/7 at 100% duty cycle so they can be used as excellent indicators of band openings in Virginia.  Note the use of frequencies in the 161.800 to 162.000 MHz range in the western parts of the state.  I've heard data on 161.825 MHz and 161.875 MHz during band openings and both of those are control channels for mountaintop STARS sites further west of here.  Back when the Virginia State Police was on analog and used 158.985 MHz, 159.000 MHz, 159.135 MHz and 159.165 MHz as their dispatch repeaters, you could hear three different divisions talking on 159.000 during a real serious band opening! 

Another target to check is the Shenandoah National Park repeater network on 166.900, 171.700, 172.4625, 172.650, 172.675, 173.675 and 173.7625 MHz.  SNP's VHF system is apparently a linked repeater system with UHF and microwave backhaul links.  For whatever reason, the 166.900 MHz repeater seems to come in the strongest during band openings to the west, although their Fork Mountain site on 172.675 MHz can also be logged. 

See also the Blue Ridge Parkway VHF repeater network on 172.450, 172.725, 172.750 and 173.7625 (shared with Shenandoah National Park).  The SNP VHF system is 100% Project 25 digital voice but the Blue Ridge Parkway is a hybrid system (supports both P25 digital voice and regular analog FM as the situation requires/as the user requests). 

Even with the general move towards 700/800 MHz and digital trunking, there are a lot of VHF high band monitoring targets.  The STARS control channels are right up there with NOAA Weather Radio because they're transmitting constantly.