After many years, I can finally receive Trans-Pacific DX on Medium Wave here in landlocked Calgary, western Canada. But I need to get up early for this!
Trans-Pacific DX, or TPDX on Medium Wave, is a big interest for radio listeners on the west coast of Canada and United States. You can try to hear local broadcast stations from Asia, Australia and New Zealand in between North American stations on the AM broadcast band. Since foreign stations in these regions use 9 kHz spacing, local AM stations cannot completely drown them out.
Above, you can see the signal from HLCA in Dangjin City, South Korea on 972 kHz. As part of Korean Broadcast System, HCLA is a 1500 kW powerhouse. We can see that after traveling 8,600 kilometers to Calgary, it shows -76 dBm signal strength, or about S9. After some beam steering on my wideband loop array, this was a similar signal strength to several nearby Canadian stations just above and below.
We know that the seasons for TPDX are fall and spring. Early morning, or two hours before local sunrise, is the best time for TPDX. In part, this is because the ionosphere is changing to the east and North American DX interference is dropping off. Also in part we find regional stations are still on their more restricted night patterns with lower power.
I received this signal from South Korea pretty steadily between 6:30 and 8:00 a.m., my local sunrise before we switched to Standard Time.
Also during this period, I was able to listen to good signals from four Japanese BCB stations on 567 (JOIK), 594 (JOAK), 747 (JOIB) and 828 kHz (JOBB). These signals travelled between 7,300 to 8,300 kilometers and were part of NHK radio network with power between 100 to 500 kW.
Trans-Pacific DX – Phasing Helps
Using a two-loop phased array antenna made a big difference, especially by reducing co-channel interference.
At first, wide splatter from my local Calgary station CFAC on 960 kHz was covering HLCA. By tuning my loops, I was able to reduce CFAC strength by 25-30 dB, eliminating splatter. Korea jumped right out of the noise. Also, my array was able to reduce nearby signals from CJYR and CJME without reducing HLCA. All in all, a great experience with TPDX and I am sure more to come.
If you are interested in trying TPDX, you can find a great list of Asian stations here.