Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chicago FM radio band scan

Here's a band scan of all FM radio stations heard Wednesday night in Chicago with a Degen 1103. I attached it to two random length wire dipoles, oriented north/south and east/west and could switch between the two.

I used V-Soft's signal strength database to ID the strongest stations. This helps when not all stations are in Chicago.

For medium and low strength stations, I used the FCC database for various queries:
for all stations within 100km of me, for instance, click here.

You can get radio coverage maps from the FCC, or more refined maps from Radio Locator that show how likely it is to pick up the station.

Antenna is the orientation of the dipole; so the note "east/west" means the wire is strung east/west and sensitive to signals coming from the north or south.
Station IDs were either heard, inferred from strength, music type, from the list of Chicago stations, or best guess from distant station lists.

Frequency Call sign Strength Antenna notes
87.7 WLFM-LP spanish news (tv carrier)
88.1 WCRX east/west dance mono
88.1 WSSD north/south R&B / announcer talking over song
88.5 WHPK-FM strong "very local, college"
88.9 WIIT weak east/west college
89.3 WKKC smooth music
89.5 hip-hop
89.7 WONU Christian
90.1 WMBI-FM strong Christian
90.5 WRTW? rap
90.7 WAUS weak classical
90.9 WDCB north/south
91.1 WGSI weak focus on the family / fox news / faint music
91.5 WBEZ strong
91.9 WJCH piano music
92.3 WPWX rap
92.5 clear (trace)
92.7 WCPT
93.1 WXRT-FM
93.3 clear (trace) north/south
93.5 WVIX spanish
93.9 WLIT-FM talk
93.7 WTRX-FM or WBCT north/south country
94.1 clear (trace)
94.3 WJKL christian
94.7 WLS-FM rock
94.9 clear (trace)
95.1 WIIL
95.5 WNUA jazz
95.7 clear (trace)
95.9 WEFM or WERV-FM east/west jazz
96.3 WBBM-FM rock?
96.5 clear
96.7 WSSR
97.1 WDRV
97.3 WQBW? faint "Milwaukee, WI 104mi"
97.5 WHMS lite
98.1 WIBN or WZOE north/south "seeger, classic hits radio online"
98.3 strong local CPU
98.7 WFMT classical
98.9 WBYR "fort wayne, IN ""The Bear"" 153mi range"
99.1 WXTT east/west "Extra rock Danville, IL 114mi"
99.5 WUSN country
99.9 WCPQ strong
100.3 WILV 70's
100.5 clear (trace)
100.7 W264BF east/west Christian
101.1 WKQX alt
101.3 clear
101.5 WBCH? WBNQ? WNSN? modern WBCH? WBNQ? WNSN?
101.9 WTMX R&B
102.1 clear (trace)
102.3 WYCA east/west gospel
102.7 WVAZ love or Christian
102.9 clear (trace)
103.1 WVIV-FM spanish
103.5 WKSC-FM modern/dance
103.7 clear (trace)
103.9 WXRD east/west rock (political)
104.3 WJMK rock
104.5 clear (trace)
104.7 WCFL east/west christian
105.1 WOJO spanish
105.5 WJLE country
105.9 WCFS-FM country
106.3 WSRB hip-hop
106.7 WPPN spanish
106.9 WXXC Marion, Indiana!
107.1 WZVN rock
107.5 WGCI-FM hip-hop
107.9 WLEY-FM spanish

Since formatting is horrible, here is the Excel spreadsheet.

If a frequency is not listed, it was a channel subject to bad interference from a neighboring station.

The idea of finding the clear channels is to find one suitable for meteor scatter work: a normally too-distant station (because it is over the horizon) can suddenly boom in because the signal is reflected from a ionized meteor trail halfway between the listener and broadcaster.

Some interesting results: WXXC and WBYR, located in Marion and Fort Wayne, IN, at 150 miles away.


Chris ( said...

Nice bandscan. I could probably fill in the unsure spots for you, like 93.7 (WBCT for sure, if you're doing the scan in the city) and some others. I'm curious what your level of interest is in radio and what you know of the WTFDA. :) I like bandscans haha. I was just in Chicago last night and was checking on RDS info and if my list needed updates.

Dean W. Armstrong said...

Thanks, I agree it is likely WBCT (300,000W vs. 12,000W) at nearly the same distance.

I like radio stuff but have never gotten into any of the specialized organizations.

Is RDS popular at all in Chicago? I know it's not as popular in the USA compared to Europe.