New Years’ Eve Sporadic E-skip DX

New Years Eve here in Melbourne produced a nice opening of FM signals from Queensland. It was a very warm day, so sitting inside a stifling little room wasn’t exactly my definition of fun, but some of the results proved worth it. Despite the fact that I had to pack for a flight to Queensland that night, I spent most of my afternoon by the radio listening and recording these signals.

90.5 4RBL “Rebel FM” Beaudesert QLD

Despite Queensland coming in most summers here in Melbourne, this particular station seems to be a touch rarer. First time reception for me, and as a fan of the music they play on Rebel, I was particularly glad to hear a bit of it.

90.5 2WEB/t Lightning Ridge NSW

An interesting catch, given that this is a low-powered translator of the AM station from Bourke in north-west New South Wales. Received just after the aforementioned Rebel FM reception. Particularly stoked to grab this one as it’s listed in the ACMA book as only putting out 25 watts. A fairly clear ID comes in at the end of the recording.

91.1 4MCY “Hot FM” Nambour QLD

This clip shows what a real mess this frequency was that day. In addition to the permanent ABC radio station from Bendigo (which can’t even be heard here), two DX signals were fighting it out. The clearest one with the American voices was Hot FM from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, with the other ad heard suspected to be Rebel FM from Tara, also in Queensland.

91.3 2NOW/t “Now FM” Lightning Ridge NSW

Nice end to a song with a good promo heard here identifying the station.

92.5 4GLD “Gold FM” Gold Coast QLD

As a high-powered commercial station on the Gold Coast, this isn’t a hugely rare catch, but still interesting. Caught the start of the news with some good clear IDs. The signal strength was something to note as well.

95.1 4RGK “Sea FM” Gladstone QLD

Sadly no clear ID was nabbed here, but I included it as a) I’m 99% sure it was this station (other Rockhampton/Gladstone stations were in at the time), and b) it made a fair effort to get over the permanent local NewsRadio signal from Traralgon that normally sits at 2-3 bars signal strength on the Sony receiver I use. Another first time catch for me.

104.5 4MMM Brisbane QLD

Got a good chunk of the traffic, news and the intro to the first song. All the Brisbane stations were in very well at this stage, as the photo below from Triple M’s sister station B105 will show.

The Sony unit I use is notoriously difficult to use for capturing RDS signals. Even on the semi-local stations it tends to struggle to decode the station name and information. So I was amazed when after a few seconds sitting on 105.3 the unit managed to grab the station name and proudly display it, along with 3 bars of signal. I couldn’t get Triple M or Nova to display their data, but B105 showing up was still pretty impressive.

107.9 4ROK “Hot FM” Rockhampton QLD

One from the top of the dial, literally. I nabbed Brisbane JJJ on 107.7 before this, but getting Rocky on 107.9 just shows how good an opening this was, nothing on the FM dial was missed. The faint signal in the background is ABC local radio from Ballarat that is only a faint permanent signal where I am due to my shielding to the west.

Stupidly, I was too busy mucking around recording to do a proper log, but I can basically confirm that everything between the NSW border and Rockhampton was coming in at at least one point that afternoon. The signals were at times so strong and consistent that I had the portable boom box in the bathroom (the one that can’t even pick up the Geelong stations from here in Clayton) locked on 99.3 4JJJ from the Wide Bay/Bundaberg area, and when I say locked on, I mean barely fading at all for a good 20 minutes.

So funnily enough, I was listening to the Queensland stations all afternoon, and by 7PM that night, I was up there myself listening to them again as local stations. Also worth noting that while up there in Coolangatta on the southern Gold Coast, I received a good block of 91.5 Radio Nouveau Caledonie, my first ever non-English speaking nation reception, and only my second international FM reception. I’m led to believe New Caledonia frequently appears in Coolangatta, and I was aided by being in a 14th floor apartment with views directly to the east, but for my little Tecsun unit to nab that made me very happy that day. It even impressed a few of the local folk too.