DX Radio Trans-Atlantic FM

Once thought to be impossible, it is now a reality.

June 26, 2003

Paul Logan in Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland received this great top-of-the-hour ID from WHCF Bangor, Maine on 88.5 MHz at 1900 UTC. WHCF Audio clip
Paul also heard CKLE from Bathurst, New Brunswick from 1930 UTC until well past 2000 UTC with very good signal strength. CKLE ID clip.

David Hamilton in Ayrshire, Scotland received firstly local news then the Fisheries Broadcast hosted by John Murphy on 97.1 MHz via the CBC transmitter CBTB-FM at Baie Verte, Newfoundland at 2000 UTC. Audio clip 1 and Audio clip 2. CBC St John's NL has this webpage detailing the court case and this webpage about the Fisheries Broadcast programme.

Paul Logan writes

Well I never thought it would happen. And while it was happening, I still didn't really believe, but tonight from probably 1845 UTC up past 2000 UTC there were FM conditions to North America.

The first sign was of course all those TV carriers getting higher and higher right up to A5 with me. But then around 1845 there were brief blasts of North American speech on 88.5 interspersed amongst the huge European opening which was in full swing. I just didn't believe my ears. A station came up with a reference to New York and then talk about comedy. (I thought it must be AFN Europe) Then there was a french language station on 88.5 for ages - maybe 20 minutes and very strong which was giving hints at its source being outside Europe but I didn't want to get too excited - and then while on the phone to David Hamilton the yl dj said Radio Canada and I couldn't believe my ears. And David cursed me when I realised the tape wasnt running!!!.

Next was light music on 88.5 coming up to 1900 followed by a full ID on the hour from WHCF Bangor, Maine. (I literally started to shake!). Then the next one up was 92.9 and a good hour's signal from CLKE Bathurst NB. (Tim was treated to live ads down the phone!). I have tons of this one on tape, and called the station and talked with a disbelieving dj!

The others heard were CBC English on 88.5 - two candidates - CBME-FM Montreal, and the much more likely CBVG-FM from Gaspe Quebec (just north from Gloucester county NB and hence CLKE). The French CBC station on 88.5 may well be CBAF in Moncton NB.

Finally 97.1 was up and both David and I heard a fisheries programme with John Murphy - this is CBTB Baie Verte NFLD with 5.58 kW power. There were references to Fortune Bay in NFLD and talk of fishing markers which can be checked up on. I have this and most of the other receptions on tape.

Other freqs which were throwing up likely signals were:
88.7 - countryish music early in the opening while Maine was there
95.9 - pop music
97.5 - pop music - likely VOCM St John's NL.
99.3 - possibly french language (battling against local Lyric FM) - 3 listed in Quebec of which CBV-6 in Malbaie QC is the favorite.
92.9 - CBTR Roddickton, Newfoundland, at 2019 with a North American announcer saying "that's 7119 in the Saint Johns area". This is a 2kW station carrying CBC from St John's, NL.

After further replay and analysis of the recordings, Paul's logbook is:

MHzUTCITUStationProgramme Details
88.51815CANCBAF Moncton NByl with "Radio Canada" id talk about Brazilian music in FF
88.51815CANCBVG Gaspe QCCBC English, comedy show, mixing with CBAF. Gaspe just North from NB. Later very good at 1959
88.51900USAWHCF Bangor MEid on top of hour and news. Fair to good at times. Later strong Gospel music.
88.71910? N. American Station, country, with Mark Knopfler country song not RTE or Radio2. Strong but brief.
92.91930CANCKLE Bathurst NBads, frequent id's very very strong. Still there at 2000 and after.
92.92020CANCBTR Roddickton NLCBC fisheries prog- brief burst of signal giving number in "St. Johns area".
97.12005CANCBTB Baie Vert, NLfisheries programme, received on 97.05 due to local QRM. David Hamilton also received this.
97.52010CAN?VOCM St. Johns NL presumedRock music station, heard at same time as 97.1 Baie Verte.
97.52015USAWFRY Watertown NYFroggy ID, references to Reeba Mcintyre and morning show
97.52015USAWOKQ Dover NHPromo for "Funny Families" mentioning Hamptons
99.32015CANCBV6 la Malbaie QC?three Quebec stations listed but this one close to northern New Brunswick which seemed to be the centre of the opening. In FF audible on 99.35 battling with local Lyric FM.

Equipment used:
4 element Yagi

David Hamilton writes

Hi all .. now that I have calmed down a bit I can tell you a little about what happenend. About 18.00 I did notice on the 6 metre cluster that UK stations were working into Canada etc. so I checked A2 and A4 for carriers and for the next hour the carriers got steadily stronger. Paul Logan did phone me that he was hearing us stations on 88.5 and I did say a few choice words to him when he told me his recorder wasn't running.

So this was it. After the disapointment of my short reception on Monday I started tuning around. I did hear some weak tv audio on 87.75 and some french on 88.3 and 88.5 but nothing strong enough for a recording. After a short while I thought this is not going to happen so I actually tuned to 97.1 to see if there was any tropo.

After 5 mins I heard a weak YL, then it got stronger and I thought I was dreaming. The recording button was hit with a vengence. Paul Logan and Tim Bucknall were phoned and were told I was getting Canada on 97.1 .. yes 97.1 .. I think Tim and Paul were in a state of shock. Shock doesn't adequately describe how I was feeling at the time!

The first reception was of a court case about a driving accident and the next was the fishing report with John Murphy ... thanks Mark Hattam for the website ... this has turned out to be CBTB-FM in Baie Verte, Newfoundland, Canada. I did contact the station and did a small interview for them.

I have over 20 recordings to sort out and also possible A2 video pics and screen grabs from A2 and A4 video. So what's next ... South America? Well after last night anything is possible as Paul had N America up to 99.3 MHz. Thanks everyone for the help especially Paul Logan and Tim Bucknall.

Equipment used:
Sony ST SB920, 2 x 6 element stack
Icom PCR 1000, dsp, 4 element band 1 yagi
Plustron TVRC 5D band 1 tv
Spectrum Lab software


©Copyright 1996-2009 by Mark Hattam

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