Your Farthest Actual Listening Distance?

Discussion in 'Tuners' started by musichal, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. audmod01

    audmod01 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    957
    Location:
    Tioga, TX
    The greatest distance for my favorite station, WRR 101.1mHz is a little over 60 miles away. I have an FM relay station, KWRD at 100.7 that broadcasts at 10kW only 4.5 miles north of my house. I use an outside Winegard FM only antenna with 9 elements pointed straight south to Dallas. WRR's signal comes in at -59dBm and KWRD is coming in at -9dBm on the back end of my antenna. I am using alternately a Kenwood KT-7500 in narrow bandwidth, a Fisher 202-R or a Fisher FM-200-B. Most of the time the Kenwood delivers the best reception in stereo with mostly full quieting. Occasionally signal conditions degrade due to weather and some noise begins to enter the sound. Occasionally the two Fisher tube tuners begin to get KWRD audio faintly in the background of the WRR signal (weather conditions again).

    Years ago I lived about 48 miles SE of Austin, TX and used to listen to KRBE which was at the time a classical music station from Houston, TX. The distance was over 100 miles. This was in the early 1960s. I was using my Harman-Kardon F-50-XK tuner and picked up stations from both the east and west coasts in full stereo and quieting due to weather conditions and ducting effect. The condition would last for hours, especially in the morning with signals gradually fading out by around 11AM or noon. I also occasionally picked up stations from Mexico, but my antenna was oriented more for east or west directions.

    Joe
     
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  2. KiM3Ce

    KiM3Ce AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,119
    Location:
    Arizona
    When I lived in Dallas I had an Accuphase T-100 in my apartment. One night I picked up one of the Chicago high-power AM stations, WBBM. I've heard of people in Cuba getting those signals.
     
  3. vwestlife

    vwestlife Active Member

    Messages:
    431
    That's "only" 800 miles or so -- pretty typical for a 50,000-watt clear channel AM station at night on a good receiver.

    AM signals travel much farther over salt water than they do over land. Here's 880 WCBS from New York City as received during the daytime about 1100 miles away on a Bahamas cruise ship:

     
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  4. audmod01

    audmod01 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    957
    Location:
    Tioga, TX
    vwestlife;

    That is true. AM signals are reflected by the ionosphere and depending on sunspot activity etc. and the signals can be heard for thousands of miles without much trouble. The biggest problem with AM is all the interference being generated by modern lighting and various digital equipment. My amazement was related to east and west coast FM reception coming in as strong as local stations in full stereo. That was easier for tube equipment to deal with decades ago as the FM dial was not so fully populated as it is now. Many modern metropolitan areas have an FM dial almost fully populated leaving very few channels to receive weak stations for DX seekers. Few tube type tuners can deal with even alternate channel strong local signals when tuning in a weak station. It takes a modern FM tuner or receiver with very good RF selectivity and narrow IF ceramic filters to minimize alternate and adjacent channel interference. The front end has to have excellent sensitivity without being overloaded by a strong local adjacent or alternate channel signal. It is a very challenging task to design such a good tuner. Fortunately there are a few excellent designs that are available to those of us who like to do FM DXing.

    Joe
     
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  5. 39cross

    39cross AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    900
    Location:
    Beverly, MA
    When atmospheric conditions are right, I get stations from the mid Cape area in full stereo, 65-75 miles away. Yesterday was one of those days. The signal travels over Cape Cod Bay and Massachusetts Bay. I don't regularly listen, as it's rare when it works this well, but it's always fun when it happens.

    More rarely I will pick up WMEA in Portland ME, which is listed at 90 miles, when it comes in, it comes in surprisingly strong. This is just using the standard dipole antenna.

    <update 10-13 - today these same stations are coming in either via fuzzy mono or not at all>
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  6. dewdude

    dewdude I fix stuff.

    Messages:
    3,077
    Location:
    Manassas, VA
    So are we talking traditional tuners...or in general?

    I don't use a traditional tuner anymore...any radio tuning I do is using a SDR. Basically I have a small USB box with some band filters that digitizes the antenna signal at up to 10msps (million samples a second). This is sent to the PC where software does the final "tuning" as well as all demodulation of the signal. I can...in theory...tune half of the FM band at once.

    But the software is able to do all kinds of things....plus Im running a low or no IF...so there can be slightly less loss in the path.

    Anyway...I've done well over 100 miles on these with just a foldes dipole. It may be been tropo....but I was also on the side of a "mountain" with a pretty clear shot to North Carolina where this station was on a 2000' tower.

    With a standard whip...Ive gotten 60 miles or so. But Ive also gotten low-power stations well outside of fringe. 45 miles doesnt seem impreasive till you realize its a 2000 watt stationon a short tower.

    It should be noted the SDR software will do all kinds of additional IF stage processing on the signal. So it's doing some clean up of weak signals. Stationa crowded by HDRadio on one side I can isolate...but only getting half the full deviation makes a pretty distorted signal.
     
  7. 39cross

    39cross AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    900
    Location:
    Beverly, MA
    I'm curious to know more about SDR, how one gets started in that? Sounds like cool stuff.
     
  8. danj

    danj modern primitive

    Messages:
    4,490
    Location:
    Somewhere in Oregon
    I live in Keizer, Oregon and I listen using my Denon to stations in Eugene (60 miles) and Portland (50 miles) regularly. I frequently listen to JPR AM1280 out of Roseburg, which is about 120 from here, as the crow flies and can pick up a few of the Seattle (225 miles) stations during the day using my outdoor AM antenna. When I wanna listen to a DISTANT station I pull out my trusty Grundig Yachtsman and hook it to the outside antenna, which, alas does little for FM reception. I have a simple outdoor dipole for FM, without which I get few stations in either band inside my house with metal siding and roof.
     
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  9. grillebilly

    grillebilly Empty Head Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,538
    Location:
    Fairfax VA
    There were times I remember growing up that we were vacationing at the beach in NC that we would pick up AM stations in the middle of the night from NY. As far as current FM stations, about 30 miles.
     
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  10. RxDx

    RxDx Speaker collector Subscriber

    Messages:
    907
    Location:
    Virginia, the colonies
    AM reception on the beach at the Outer Banks of NC is outstanding during the day, too.
    Multiple catches from NYC, for instance.
     
  11. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,401
    Location:
    Norman OK
    When I began this thread I didn't title it accurately. I was interested in distances for listenable FM stations routinely (or usually anyway) receivable for music. However, I like hearing about long catches, too, so that's good. My Little Eton Satellit hears AM stations five or six hundred miles away pretty much routinely, and I often catch a Salt Lake City station about nine hundred distant, generally with a tuned loop as a magnifying glass.

    My FM reception still sucks. Workin' on an indoor antenna now. Copper and aluminum aren't getting it done, so I'm trying wood.
     
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  12. Vinyl Rules!

    Vinyl Rules! Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    733
    Location:
    28615
    When I was an undergrad student at UNC-Chapel Hill I had a Harman Kardon 930 receiver that locked on to a station broadcasting from Houston for about 3 1/2 hours. I didn't realize it was a Houston station until they did a traffic update!

    We were living in old single-story married student housing, and I had a folded dipole taped to the wall. Houston, TX to Chapel Hill, NC is a long E-Skip.
     
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  13. 911s55

    911s55 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    325
    Location:
    Puget Sound
    >
    Your Farthest Actual Listening Distance?
    Usually about seven feet.
     
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