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Yesterday I had a drive from here on Cape Cod up through the western suburbs of
Boston into southern NH and then back.
Around 6:45 p.m. EDT (2245 UTC), as sunset was getting close, TA hets started
popping up across the AM band on the car radio. It was interesting to note
signal variations at different spots along Route 128 (the inner of two loop
roads around Boston - the outer one being I-495). The topography along the
highway made those variations understandable. The TA signals were only
slightly noticeable in rocky areas or in ones where hotel and office buildings
loomed over the road.
Things cranked up when I got to the "Needham flats", a wide open marshy area
adjacent to the Charles River. The transmission sites for 850, 1200, 1330, and
1600 are located nearby. Broadcast engineers long ago recognized the
"get-out-ability factor" of the riparian wetland area. Algeria on 531 and 549
occasionally slid into audio; 981 from there was putting a nasty het on the
oldies from WCAP Lowell. Spain was another big-time het contributor. 639 was
a loud one, bits of audio intermingling with 640 CBN. Even local 740 WJIB was
taking grief from 738 Barcelona. 612 Morocco was spanking 610 WGIR NH with a
pretty fierce whistle.
After proceeding south into rockier areas of Dedham, Westwood, and Canton, the
strengths of the TA hets dropped appreciably. "Big Blue" (Great Blue Hill,
elevation ~600 ft.), being on a line between the ocean and that section of
roadway, no doubt had something to do with that signal reduction. After
passing the Route 24 interchange in the Randolph area, with "Big Blue" then out
of the way, the TA signals cranked up again, doing well right up to the
Braintree Split (Route 3 interchange), only a couple of miles inland.
Mouth of the Mediterranean signals were more the big bruisers instead of the UK
stations which had been the heavy hitters the previous two days' sunsets at
Saudi 1521 must still be off the air since that usually-monster het was just a
weak-ish one - probably from Spain.
Mark Connelly, WA1ION
South Yarmouth, MA
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