Tropospheric Ducting

This morning, I got up and was pawing through some stuff lying dormant on the hard drive, and found an old page I’d written to monitor various ham radio propagation pages. When I took a look at it, I saw that there’d been a bunch of band openings overnight, and there was still some activity going on.

Not having any radio gear, I did the next best thing, and sat myself and my camera up in front of the Sony upstairs, watching for anything out of the ordinary. As it ends up, there must’ve been a tropo duct between here and Kansas City and slightly beyond, as well as as little bit of enhancement to the east. This is first time I’d been able to watch stations from KC, and they were booming in. In fact, the local channel 9 was really torn up by channel 9 in KC. That was fun to see.

Alas, it didn’t last long for me — maybe an hour or two — but there was plenty to see:

  • WSEC-DT, Jacksonville IL (76 mi)
  • WPSD-DT, Paducah KY (153 mi)
  • KCWE, Kansas City MO (210 mi)
  • KRCG-DT, Jefferson City MO (78 mi)
  • KCTV-DT, Kansas City MO (214 mi)
  • WDAF-DT, Kansas City MO (214 mi)
  • KMCI, Kansas City MO (210 mi)
  • KMIZ, Columbia MO (103 mi)

The downside was that I couldn’t just tune to a digital channel on the Sony — I had to let it find the DT stations, and then I had to figure out what it had found. Not too cool, but still, it was a fun event, and fun to play with. There were other stations that I had suspicions about, but didn’t see ID slides for. I’ll catch them some other time.

The bummer is that in a few years, the fun and ease of chasing analog broadcasters will be done, as everyone will be required to be DT. I think the signal level needed at my antenna to pull a DT out of the mud is much higher than that of the analogs, and I fear that this kind of signal chasing will long be gone.