Alaska from the Lower 48 States

For years one of the most difficult DX catches from the much of the continental US has been the state of Alaska. It's not for a lack of stations, as there are some high power outlets there. Much of the difficulty is in the far Northern location, and the tough propagation path from north to south.

Over the years, it has been observed that AM skywave signals are enhanced along the sunrise/sunset terminator line. This is called greyline DX. Some amazing catches have been had this way, such as India from the northeast US by a very senior DXer some years back. Alaska at dawn in late Spring and early Summer may be possible.

I can guess that there are several reasons why this hasn't ever been really investigated. First, sunrise DX is nowhere near as popular as sunset DX. Most people listen in the evening and nighttime. Second, is that the "DX Season" is often considered over by March or April. Yet, the ionosphere isn't as season-sensitive as commonly believed. Last reason is Spring and Summer are thunderstorm seasons. Noise in summer is much worse than Winter. However, noise is least at dawn and may be no worse than wintertime. For the northeastern US, the propagation path also goes across the Auroral Zone. It will be hit and miss to catch a good path through there. You never know until you try, and to my knowledge few have bothered, dismissing the idea without ever researching it first hand. The past three years have been fruitless, but less than optimum antennas have diminished the results. The sunspot count is reaching it's minimum, and that will help.

Here's the plan: Starting in late Spring, the dawn greyline does a pivot over the city of Anchorage, AK and swings over the whole US. This happens in June and early July in the eastern US. The western US has this beginning earlier, in mid-May. This greyline is probably the best chance to hear this difficult state. Here are a series of GeoClock graphics showing the terminator as it swings across the US. Starting in late May, I will be recording 750 kHz from about 4:30am to 5:30am EDT near Providence. The equipment this fourth year will be a Palstar R30CC and a copper tube loop antenna on top of an 80' (24m) tower. The loop will be oriented to minimize WSB in Atlanta, GA and reduce the Venezuelan station. In years past, these have been the pests along with normal electrical noise. Hopefully this antenna will minimize all this. We shall see.

Here is a list of Anchorage stations:

550   KTZN   5kw   U1
590   KHAR   5kw   U1
650   KENI  50kw   U1
700   KBYR  10kw   U1
750   KFQD  50kw   U1
1080  KUDO  10kw   U1

Click on the frequency for a list of other Western Hemisphere stations.
Courtesy of the FCC Database.

Of these, KFQD would be a good choice in the Northeast. WSB could be nulled as it's at 90 degrees (roughly) to the bearing toward Anchorage.

    At dawn in Providence, RI at 4:50am EDT June 14th.
    Note the nice greyline from Anchorage to Providence.

    Same view from Pittsburgh, PA at 5:30am EDT June 14th.

    And from Chicago, IL at 5:00am CDT June 14th.

    From Denver, CO at 5:15am MDT June 7th. Note the
    earlier date as you approach the west coast.

    And from Los Angeles, CA at 5:35am PDT May 14th
    Note that this is earlier in Spring as you go further west.
    The addition of a mostly saltwater path, and shorter
    distance makes it easier from the west coast.
    Alaska is heard fairly frequently in the Pacific Northwest.

Last update: 05 May 2006