Thursday 16 April 2015

The Lonely 49 Meter Canadians

It's been many years since I've cruised through the SW broadcast bands but of late I've had a yen to tune through some of the low band frequencies ... 5-6MHz. In searching some of the helpful online frequency references, the Short- wave info site in particular, I was reminded of Canada's tiny voice still whispering away on shortwave, even after the demise of Radio Canada's shortwave presence in 2012.

Apparently there is still activity coming from CKZU (6160KHz), CKZN (also on 6160KHz), CFVP (6030KHz) and CFRX (6070KHz). These are all low-powered (100-1000W) relays of local AM station content and make for interesting DX targets for listeners.

The nearest to me, CKZU, is directly across Georgia Straight and line-of-sight from me. It relays the local AM-band powerhouse, CBU-690. Needless to say its signal is very strong.


With its antenna system located on the mudflats of Richmond (Steveston), near Vancouver, it should get out pretty well despite its 500W power limit.


The antenna system, I am told, consists of a four pole (wood) support for a two-element wire beam of sorts ... one element being the dipole driven-element and the other a reflector. From the looks of the orientation I would say that it is beaming south-east towards the central USA.

Are you able to here CKZU on 6160 from your location? Its overwhelming strength here blocks any chance for me to hear its east-coast cousin, CKZN in St. John's, Newfoundland, rebroadcasting local CBN. If you are in the eastern half of the continent, perhaps you are able to here CKZN's 300W signal?

CFVP is in Calgary and relays local CKMX on 6030 at just 100W. I can hear a carrier there in the daytime but long before my local sunset the frequency becomes dominated by Radio Marti (in Spanish) from Florida ... perhaps you can do better from your location.

Lastly is CFRX, relaying CFRB from the city of Toronto, on 6070. This gets out well and is heard here even before local sunset at 1000W.

It appears that most of these stations have, at one time or another, been slated for decommissioning, and have only been saved by the dedication of station engineers who basically maintain these on their own time, with station owners paying the rent and electricity bills.

Please let me know if you are able to hear any of the 'lonely' Canadians on 49 meters.


Anonymous said...

Steve - I hear CKZU on 6160 most nights on my regen. It's weak but usually Q5. Not sure about the 6030 frequency but if I remember correctly, Radio Marti is the stronger signal here in the SF Bay Area.

CKZU is a constant at night though.



Steve McDonald said...

Thanks Dave. The next time I am in Vancouver I am going to drive down to their site and snap some pictures of their HF antenna. I'm not sure about the 6030 Calgary outlet either...maybe someone closer can check it. I can hear a carrier there during the day but for 100 watts, it should be a lot louder than it is. I suspect it is Radio Marti creeping through during the daylight. I'll keep listening.

Steve McDonald said...

It seems that CFVP in Calgary is indeed on-the-air ... although not overly loud.
VE6XMB and another listener (using a remote Perseus in Alberta) have confirmed that it is operational although not very loud. I rather suspect that its 100W transmitter or antenna system is in need of a look-see as, even at the 10W level, it should be easily readable here on Mayne Island.Its ERP must be just a few watts. I can see a weak fading carrier all day long on my Perseus waterfall but at around 2100Z, Radio Marti's carrier pops-up a few Hz lower and then pretty much takes over the frequency. Perhaps my best bet for a logging is in the very early morning hours.

Anonymous said...

I don't hear CFVP "Voice of the Prairies" very often so also suspect they are running 10 watts. An update: Sadly, the classic country music is long gone: simulcast CKMX 1060 is all-comedy with the imaging slogan "Funny 1060" which is what one should listen for. Also, the sounds associated with commercials may be another means of weak detection & verification. It's very disappointing that the CRTC won't consider taking applications for commercial & non-commercial SW broadcasters - there are a number of Canadians ready & willing to step up to the plate if licenses could be issued

73 Mike VE7SKA