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Author Topic: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018  (Read 536 times)

Offline R4002

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Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
« Reply #15 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.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 1455 UTC by R4002 »

Offline Davep

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Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
« Reply #16 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
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 2017 UTC by Davep »
Va Beach Virginia
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Offline R4002

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Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
« Reply #17 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). 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 1704 UTC by R4002 »

Offline Davep

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Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
« Reply #18 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 _ 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 2022 UTC by Davep »
Va Beach Virginia
Modified Dx 394 audio Altec Lansing ACS43
1/2 wave dipole~41mb/
Golden age,Hallicrafters ,G/H500 Transoceanics, An/Grr5 and others

Offline R4002

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Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
« Reply #19 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! 

Offline Davep

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Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
« Reply #20 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.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 2147 UTC by Davep »
Va Beach Virginia
Modified Dx 394 audio Altec Lansing ACS43
1/2 wave dipole~41mb/
Golden age,Hallicrafters ,G/H500 Transoceanics, An/Grr5 and others

Offline R4002

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Re: NOAA Weather Radio Tropo Logs June July 2018
« Reply #21 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

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.