Historic DX Test Tonight: WNJC, 1360 kHz, Washington Township, NJ, FT-8 Weak Signal Mode, September 26, 2020

WNJC logoFrom Boston Area DXers mailing list:
Duke Hamann of WNJC has announced another weekly DX Test of WNJC 1360, including a historic first-ever test of the FT-8 mode during a medium-wave broadcast test.
Reception reports can be sent to Duke at: kc2dux@duxpond.com
The test will be in two parts:
WNJC DX TEST PART ONE 0000 EDT-0100 EDT (0400-0500 UTC)
The test begin late tonight starting at midnight on the East Coast of the United States. Late Saturday/Early Sunday, 9/27 at 0000 EDT (0400 UTC) and initially air the same Morse code IDs, jingles, sweep tones, telephone off-hook sounders and other test material. This time, however, WNJC will use a backup antenna tower that has never been used before. It is located on a site the station has leased for 30 years. The land owners have refused to renew the lease as they want to develop the land, so the station will lose this tower site in 6 months. Power will be 1250 watts and the antenna pattern will be non-directional.
This should provide a good opportunity for the test to be received in Europe.
WNJC DX TEST PART TWO 0100 EDT-0200 EDT (0500-0600 UTC)
The second part of the test is really exciting.
Duke Hamann will be testing for a second hour using the amateur radio mode FT-8, developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT, a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist.
FT-8 is a “sound card mode” where you simply input audio from your receiver into your computer’s sound card, then use software to process that audio digging out weak signals in the noise. How well does it work? Using the software and the audio from your receiver, you can decode signals that are as much as -24db below the noise.
This means if you’re on the West Coast, and ordinarily you think you would have no chance of hearing the WNJC Test, tonight you may be able to put a new station in your logbook. In fact, worldwide reception may be possible using the FT-8 mode.
Chief Engineer Duke Harman explains:
“It will be a one-way transmission every 15 seconds for 1 hour calling “CQ WNJC FM29.″ I am going to try to do it Sunday at [0100-0200 EDT] 0500-0600 UTC. The audio frequency will vary between 200 Hz and 4000 Hz in 200 Hz increments over a five minute period then repeat.
(200, 400, 600, 800, 1000 Hz, etc.) All you would need to do is tune your radio to 1360 in AM mode, connect to your computer and receive. Looking forward to doing this unique test!
There are a ton of resources on the Internet for hams who want to get started in FT-8. It’s one of the most popular ways for hams to communicate. Whatever you read, simply substitute the word “receiver” for transceiver. Ignore anything about transmitting, calling CQ, etc. We won’t be transmitting—just listening.
An audio cable to run from your receiver’s headphone or line out jack to your computer is helpful. But for many folks make FT8 work fine using a microphone placed near the speaker of their radio. Portable radios may work great too. No fancy SDR or communications receiver needed.
Best bet is to set it up now and test it during the day on the ham bands. The most popular frequencies for FT8 (so you can test your ability to receive) are: 14.071 mHz (20 Meters) USB
Search for YouTube videos. Tons of help on the web. But don’t wait, test our your receiver and computer today in order to be ready tonight for this historic test.
Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114

Leave a Reply