The CPC Chairman is slowly working through last year’s test reports. After completing my work, Joseph Miller, KJ8O, will design cards and send electronic QSLs in the coming weeks. Please be patient with him.
KQKD 1380 DX TEST
There are still station owners who love the radio medium just as we do. One is Ron Schacht, K3FUT, who owns KQKD in Redfield, SD. The company name is Gray Ghost Broadcasting, which is fitting because stations like this seem to be little more than phantoms from an era of broadcasting that is gone today.
KQKD is a literal “mom & pop” operation, with Ron and his wife Denise compromising the board of directors. They are live on the air from 5 AM until 5 PM daily. Many nights they also broadcast the local high school sporting events. Then syndicated programming, including “Red Eye Radio,” fills out the rest of the night, allowing the owners to get some sleep.
They still host elected officials in their studio, run obituaries, help listeners find lost dogs, run a swap shop program, do farm and ranch news, and highlight the local 4H and Future Farmers of America.
It’s a small town local radio station. It’s what the medium does best. Ron lives at the transmitter site and does all the engineering for the station too. When he needed to perform some maintenance on the station’s audio chain and offered to run a test—we jumped at the chance.
There was some confusion about the maintenance date, so the test ran twice—once on December 11, 2021, and again on January 15, 2022.
Bjarne Mjelde, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, Norway’s amazing DXer, was the first to report the test from his remote site in Smøla. He used a Perseus SDR receiver and a 1,115-foot-long Beverage antenna to log KQKD at a distance of 4,040 miles! Bjarne sent in an MP4 video clip of his receiver waterfall with the Morse Code ID coming in very clearly. Years ago, I ceased to be amazed at the catches Mjelde makes from his two remote sites, but the dedication to the hobby and engineering involved never fails to pique my admiration.
Bruce Portzer, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of Seattle also caught the first test by reviewing overnight recordings from his Perseus receiver. He sent in two recordings with the Morse Code IDs audible in both. Nice catch, Bruce.
Don Moman, VE6JY, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, was the first to report reception of the January 15h test when he heard sweep tones at 0607 UTC from his shack in Alberta. Don uses a Perseus SDR and the Wellbrook loop antenna to dig out the weak ones.
Nigel Pimblett, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, logged those same sweep tones from his listening post in Dunmore, AB, Canada. He also logged the Morse Code IDs and 1 kHz long tones before calling it a successful test.
Fred Schroyer, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, was “delighted” to log KQKD’s 500-watt signal from his home in Waynesburg, PA. If Fred continues to pull in DX like this, we’ll have to start referring to him as “The (DX) Beast From the East!” Nicely done, sir.
John Hanna, W9HC, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, noted that “conditions were terrible,” and he had a pitched battle with WKJG, Fort Wayne, IN. Despite those obstacles, he used his SDRPlay RSP1a and a Hustler 5BTV ham radio antenna to copy the test. You can see and hear it for yourself at the link below:
John was a bit confused about the types of sweep tones that we use during our DX Tests. If you find yourself in this camp, watch Loyd’s excellent YouTube video on the topic at DX Central for a few minutes. You’ll be ready for next season’s tests:
Noted DX’er Rick Dau, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, wasn’t going to be outdone. Overall, he pulled in KQKD for South Dakota #28 and #1057 in the log. The Kenwood R-5000 and Quantum loop are working great from his QTH in South Omaha, NB.
Wheat Ridge, Colorado’s favorite son, Craig Barnes, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, was next to check-in. Despite some QRM from KHEY in El Paso, he managed to log KQKD to put a new station into his already impressive logbook.
Tom Jasinksi, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of Joliet, IL, was surprised to find the tones from KQKD coming in “loud and clear” at just after 00:19 CST. Five hundred watts into a decent stick can get out, it seems.
Jim Renfrew, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, can hear a pin drop in California, so it was no surprise to get his report of the KQKD test from his home located between Buffalo and Rochester, New York. Having top-notch equipment doesn’t hurt either. Renfrew uses a Perseus SDR, two longwire antennas running 200 and 600 feet in length, and a Quantum phaser. Excellent work, Jim.
Rob Keeney, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, West Union, SC, heard sweep tones, the 1 kHz continuous tones, and bits of Morse Code from his shack. The Airplay HF+ Discovery, Wellbrook ALA1530LNP, and the 30X90 foot Superloop antenna were his weapons of choice for this long-range hunting expedition.
Steve Ratzlaff, AA7U, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, was about to call it quits and go to bed. But suddenly, at 0637 UTC, he heard four sweep tones cut through the noise, despite the constant interference of KLPZ. Later, he logged a Morse Code ID. Steve does his DX in the desert at Sahuarita, AZ, just Southwest of Tucson.
Not everyone was so fortunate. Mark Connelly, the technical wizard from South Yarmouth, MA, couldn’t get past dominant station WNYM despite his magic hat full of tricks. Better luck next time, Mark.
Where witchcraft failed, so opted to “cheat” by using an online SDR a bit closer to the action to log the test. Kostiantyn Pravotorov, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of Zaporijja, Ukraine, used a KiwiSDR located in Fort Collins, Colorado, to log the test and sent along with four excellent recordings of the feat. I hope you are well in Ukraine, my friend. The USA stands behind your country, fighting for freedom from the Russian invaders.
Gote Lindstrom, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of Tenhult, Sweden, also used KiwiSDR technology to his advantage. He used a receiver in Minneapolis, MN, to log the test starting at around 0653 UTC.
Paul Staupe, W0AD, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, was also listening in Minneapolis on his own AirSpy HF+ Discovery and a 500-foot-long Beverage antenna. He sent along a great recording with the Morse Code IDs, sweep tones, etc. I envy you that antenna, Paul.
Bob Wien, KG6RJW, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, had no trouble logging the test using a C CCrane receiver. He heard sweep tones, 1 kHz continuous tones, Morse Code IDs, and some audio. It was a new station for his log too. They don’t call it “The Land of Enchantment” for nothing.
Tom Laskowski, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, logged the KQKD test for his SD #16 into the log. Speaking of “Strange Magic,” he found conditions unusual. He could see sweeps, Morse Code, and long tones on the waterfall display of his SDR but found the actual audio from the test challenging to hear. Switching to portables, he heard them much better on his Sony, Panasonic RF-2200, and even barefoot on his CCrane Skywave. Remember, Tom—It’s not the size of the wand, it's…
Bill Coury, N8UUP, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of Ypsilanti, MI, has a lot of impressive catches on his SDRPlay RSP2 and MPA-30 Loop antenna. He added another one by logging KQKD easily at 767.6 miles. His recording from around 1:27 AM was one of the best we received. Keep it up, Bill.
Jim B, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, in Springfield, MA, also logged the Morse Code IDs from his shack. This added to the New England listeners who could capture the 500-watt signal from the Plains. He used a 140’ DKAZ antenna and a 160 Meter invested V fed into a Quantum Phaser to tweak the signal. His receiver of choice was a Yaesu FTDX3000.
Shawn Axelrod, VE4DX1SMA, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, has no shortage of DX milestones from his perch in Winnipeg, Canada. Using a mix of analog legends like the Drake R8 and modern SDRs, including the SDRPlay RSPduo, Shawn pulled in the KQKD test from an overnight recording. He reports the test was “heard easily right after it started.” That’s excellent work, sir.
David Walker, AA9UC, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, sent in a nifty test recording including sweep tones, an off-hook telephone sounder, and Morse IDs. All recorded on his CC Crane Skywave SSB portable. This tiny, ultralight radio is a natural performer. I take one out with me when I walk my dogs at the end of the day. It puts lots of new SSS stations into the log.
Strangely, David could copy any trace of the test on his Icom R-75 or Yeasu FT-920 despite being connected to a 120-foot-long wire antenna.
Many suspect Rob Ross, VA3SW, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, might be in league with the Devil. How else to explain some of the DX he hears from his QTH in London, Ontario, Canada? He listened to the KQKD signal for only 55 seconds out of the entire duration of the test. And he credited his Elad FDM-S2 SDR for saving the day. He managed to tinker with filtering, finding the signal only audible in the USB mode at around 0625 UTC. While he credits the Elad, we’re checking out his story with some paranormal investigators in the area.
John Johnson of Mesa, AZ, didn’t fare as well as Rob. He heard only a weak tone and two bits of code at around 0006 CST. It wasn’t quite enough for him to claim reception. This is despite his formidable array of tools, including a Perseus SDR, SDRPlay Duo, and a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP loop antenna. While John missed out on KQKD, he did manage to log KLPZ, KHEY, KTKZ, KSRV, KKOO, and KOTA. Not a bad haul.
Darren Hennig, VE4VE, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, used the Elad Door SDR and a Wellbrook ALA-100LN-M antenna to capture the test from his monitoring post in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. His recording was apparent with Morse Code IDs, telephone off-hook sounder, and sweep tones. Well done, Darren!
Brent Taylor, VY2HF, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of Stratford, Prince Edward Island, Canada, in grid FN86. He sent a lengthy recording of his reception. It required headphones and concentration, but I could detect full Morse Code IDs along with the 1 kHz continuous tones from the station. That’s an impressive catch at 1,702 miles! It was fun to listen to Brent. With Bruce Portzer in Seattle logging the test and Brent on Prince Edward Island, I think we can genuinely claim that KQKD was heard “Coast-to-Coast” and beyond.
Steve Hinman’s, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, reception of the KQKD test could be a testimonial for the C CCrane Skywave SSB portable. He logged sweep tones from the test starting around 1:08 AM CST from his shack in Castle Rock, CO. This is an excellent catch with an outstanding little receiver, Steve.
Carl Dabeistein, K0SBV, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, heard KQKD “right off the bat” with Morse Code IDs, sweep tones, and more. Despite not being too far away in Maple Grove, MN, this was an ATNO (All Time New One) in the log for Carl. He employed his trusty Icom R-75 receiver and a 15’ X 32’ Flag antenna to do the job. Great catch, Carl! I am glad we could help put a new one in the log for you.
One of my mentors and heroes, Phil Bytheway wasn’t so lucky. He had “dynamic” music from KRKO, making it nearly impossible for him to identify any other signals. He has also been battling a nasty noise source which has become his nemesis. It is rare that Phil can’t log a test using his R-70 receiver and legendary KIWA loop antenna. Hopefully, we can convince Ron and Denise to run another test this season; Phil, give everyone a second chance.
During this one, the DX Gods were also not in favor of Stan Weisbeck of Spokane, WA. Like Phil, he struggled with the music from KRKO, and no amount of nulling would solve it. Stan also uses the KIWA loop antenna and a Drake R8. As a consolidation price, he did manage a late-night log of KTKZ, which generally only appears at sunset and sunrise.
James Niven, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, had better luck from his DX ranch in Austin, Texas. He logged the test under pest station, KZTS, running a Gospel format. This was a new one in the log book for Niven, giving him South Dakota #8. Later that evening, he added another new station, KKRX, at 0600, running a TOH ID. He sends his thanks out to owner Ron Schacht for running this test.
Larry Travel, K8YYY, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, checked in from West Virginia to note that he heard the test from around 0023 until around 0051. He uses an SDRPlay RSP1A and a Pixel Loop for his medium wave work.
Karl Virtanen, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of Inari, Finland, used a Perseus SDR running JAGUAR software, a DX Engineering RPA-1 preamp, and multiple Beverage antennas that are 3,280 feet in length! That is over half a mile in size! Unfortunately for Karl, he used the Beverage pointed at California rather than the Plains. Despite this “ahem,” handicap, Karl recorded complete Morse Code IDs and sweep tones from KQKD. An impressive catch of a 500-watt signal at 4,097 miles!
KQKD was a new log for many DXers, including Glen Hauser, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of Enid, OK. Glen used an Icom R75 receiver, married to a 100-foot longwire antenna that runs E/W. KQKD is 580 miles from the shack for Glenn, a very nice nice logging indeed. Glen asked for some background on the station. According to Wikipedia, it first went on air in 1963 under the call letters KFCB. On November 16, 1986, a fire destroyed an entire block of buildings in Redfield, including the studios of KQKD. The fire also tragically killed a 17-month-old-girl. According to a wire story about the conflagration, the station was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Happier days now for the station and Glen with a new South Dakota station in the log.
Gary Vance, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of Grand Ledge, MI, submitted an excellent recording of the KQKD test. Despite 705 miles of distance, the signal was clear and readable. In his battle over the noise, Gary employed an SDRPlay RSPdx SDR and a PA0RDT Mini-Whip antenna. We also have a PAR0DT Mini-Whip here and have been exceptionally pleased with its performance and build quality. Keep those reports coming in, Gary.
Eric Fetters-Walp, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, used a remote online SDR in Winnipeg to log the test successfully. You can try that remote receiver yourself at:
Chris Rigas, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, sent two test recordings from his QTH in Wood Dale, IL. The first yielded nothing but bits of code that I could not identify as originating from KQKD. But the second had the unmistakable sounds of the sweep tones, which were clear even on my laptop speakers. Rigas uses a Drake R8 receiver and a Quantum QX Pro Loop in his shack. Really nice grab, Chris!
*Fun fact regarding the sweep tones used in our DX Tests. Engineers originally developed these at WSM radio, 650 in Nashville. Their primary purpose is to test out the audio chain that feeds the impressive transmitter there, but during testing, listeners discovered that they also did a great job cutting through the AM band's noise. Since then, we’ve scientifically proven it in a series of tests conducted by an audiologist in Chattanooga.
Pete Taylor of Tacoma, WA, gave it “the old college try” but could not log KQKD during the test. Only one mile from his shack is KKMO 1360, whose programming “blurts” down the dial to 1430. Pete likes to kick it old-school, using a Hammarlund HQ-180 receiver as his primary rig and a KIWA Loop antenna. Next time, Pete.
Having better luck was Allen Willie, VOPC1AA, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, in Carbonear, Newfoundland, Canada, who managed to snag KQKD on his Icom IC-R75. A 600-foot-long unterminated Beverage antenna aided his efforts. Color me jealous of that antenna, Allen.
Dene Lynneberg, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, employed remote KiwiSDRs over the Internet to log the test. He chose the SDR built and maintained by Stephen Olesen, VE6SLP, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, located in Lamont, Alberta, Canada, to log the test. The receiver is connected to a 250’ loop antenna, fed with a Wellbrook ALA100N preamp. This is a distance of 885 miles, and the signal was loud and clear.
If you’d like to hear a nice MW remote SDR, you can listen to Stephen’s at kiwi sdr.ve6slp.ca:8073 <http://sdr.ve6slp.ca:8073/>
Les Rayburn, N1LF, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, used a Perseus SDR running JAGUAR software and a 20’X50’ Superloop antenna fed with the Wellbrook ALA100 to hear the KQKD test in Alabama. Just for fun, I also copied it on my C CCrane Skywave SSB ultralight portable out in the front yard.
Kraig Krist, Kraig@kg4lac.com <mailto:Kraig@kg4lac.com>, of Manassas, VA, was another East Coast DXer who managed to log the test. He had heavy QRM from CKPC, WKJV, WKJG, and an UNID Spanish station. Kraig uses a WinRadio G33DDC SDR and a Wellbrook ALA1530S + Imperium loop antenna. Kraig included several recordings, but the most impressive thing to me was the waterfall display which clearly shows the 1 kHz continuous tones. Check it out:
Rob Keeney, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, of West Union, SC, found the sweep tones cutting through the noise and the 1 kHz continuous tones. WELE, “The Cat” from Ormand Beach, FL, provided a ton of QRM to ensure things weren’t too easy for Rob. In the end, his AirSpy HF+ Discovery and Wellbrook ALA1530LNP won the day. Excellent job, Rob.
Sean Breazeal, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>, in Stansbury Park, UT was able to overcome KLPZ in Parker to hear sweep tones, Morse Code, and the 1 kHz tones too. Put on some headphones for this one, you’ll need them:
Trust science, folks. The sweep tones prove their value over and over again.
A 500-watt signal was heard in at least four countries and coast-to-coast in North America. As hobbyists, we should all be grateful for radio station owners who are as devoted to the medium as Ron & Denise Schacht. Perhaps with some encouragement, we can arrange for another test this season.
Thanks again, Ron & Denise. You’ve made a lot of folks happy with this.
Hard-Core-DX mailing list