I’ve been asked by our fellow Polish DXer to comment a little on his reception of a distant Ukrainian station in OIRT band. So, this time it’s not my DX, but someone elses. Alan’s report went unnoticed on Radiopolska Forum, but there’s a chance it will contribute the history of Polish FM DXing. That’s the reason to give it some attention here…
I’ve been watching live propagation maps for few days. The upcoming tropo was staying somewhere between UK/Ireland and Austria, without any signs at my QTH. Finally on 15th November interesting conditions reached Poland, too. In the evening, stations appeared from Teutoburger Wald, Kreuzberg and Hoher Meißner, but with poor signal levels. Well… something is always better than no reception at all! ;-) The next day was much better – I got Ederkopf, Ahrweiler (!) and Olsberg in the morning. As usually when the tropo starts I must go out. Anyway, remote tuner controlling via internet is really a brilliant thing.
It is October 28. There is some snow outside and sub-zero temperature. Well, nothing indicates an upcoming Sporadic-E propagation… In the morning, few minutes before 9 UTC, I heard a foreign station on 93.9. I was not sure what’s going on, but after a short investigation I realized that CCIR band is really open to Tunisia and Italy via ionosphere – Es. Definitely rare thing at this time of year. Sporadic-E lasted for about 35 minutes and at ~10:20 everything faded away.
Autumn is well known as a perfect season for tropospheric ducting. First notable long-path ducting occurred this year on September 7, but it was just a short propagation. This time, good tropo conditions lasted much longer. Everything started in the evening on October 18 with strong tropo from Lithuania and Belarus. I also got some stations on OIRT band (66 – 74MHz) including Babrujsk (~650km, 73.01 stereo O=5-). Actually I don’t have any OIRT-dedicated antenna and my all receptions were made using Körner 19.3. Stations from Vilnius reached RDS & clear stereo signal (98.3, 102.6, 106.8). Although the distances were not so great, I have received some stations for the first time.
Since I have modded my XDR-F1HD I can receive also everything above ~60 MHz during Sporadic-E propagations. Studio-transmitter links are typically placed below the CCIR band, somewhere between 50 and 87MHz. They often carry a full MPX signal with stereo and RDS, so these signals are quite easy to identify. Italy has a very high amount of such transmitters. STLs usually have low power but they almost always don’t have a co-channel or adjacent interference during reception – this band is empty here!
Although W. Hepburn’s tropospheric forecasts hadn’t predicted any extended conditions, just like almost a year ago (13.09.2011 – Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria – elevated ducting land paths up to 1350km!), the tropospheric propagation reached central Poland between 5 and 8 UTC on September 7, 2012. Tropo was developing all night long. I was receiving a weak but stable signal from Kreuzberg in the evening, which finally peaked to a perfect stereo reception with RDS in the morning. I logged lots of stations from south-western Germany. Unfortunately, bad weather didn’t let them stay for a long time.