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Site Charts Solar Activity

Indiana engineer says ‘it seems to have started way too early this year’

Reader Frank Hertel sends in a tip for radio and TV engineers who find themselves answering questions about “bad reception” on certain days lately.

He shares a link to the Solar Activity Terrestrial Report. The site frankly is pretty technical but starts off with a nice day-by-day visual that could be of help in such situations.

Hertel, based in Evansville, Ind., is with Newman Kees RF Measurements & Engineering. “Here in the Midwest, the solar disturbances, added to the weather/early morning inversions, have engineers regularly trying to explain the reasons as to why, on some days, reception will be bad, and often other distant signals will interfere and even be receivable.”

“It seems to have started way too early this year and signs are that it will be getting much worse.”

Hertel added, “We have a low-power Channel 36 digital that is sometimes getting wiped out by two stations early in the morning and clearing by about 9 to 10 a.m. CDT. One interfering station is 200 miles away. When the problem raises its head, the local low-power Channel 36 digital is only receivable to a distance of about seven miles. Without the problem, it is receivable out to a distance of 30 miles.”

He said 950 MHz STL systems are having problems too, “not to mention many Class A FMs experiencing early-morning complaints from their listeners that they are hearing someone else (other distant FMs), instead of their local (albeit slightly distant FM), to which they normally listen.”

— Paul McLane