From 1979 onwards, I have received overseas TV DX via F2 propagation on several occasions from both Sydney NSW and Melbourne Vic Australia. F2 TV DX reception came to its peak during the sunspot solar maximums of 1978 to 1981, 1989 to 1991, and 2000 to 2002. My very first experience of receiving long distance television was on the 24th November 1971, when ATV0 Melbourne Vic TV audio was received via Sporadic E from my previous location in Sydney, NSW. The programme showing at the time was "Love American Style".
Despite the large quantity of Sporadic E TV DX received after November 1971, I didn't actually receive F2 TV DX until the 18th March 1979, when 49.75 MHz chR1 Russia video was received. This was soon followed by chR1 China on the 31st March 1979, and England later that year. BBC1 Crystal Palace U.K. channel B1 TV was noted on a number of occasions from 1979 to 1981, with the first reception noted on the 17th November 1979. The picture received at the time was a simple B/W test card consisting of two oblongs. The same black over white oblong card was also received and photographed in Perth Western Australia by Anthony Mann on the 29th November 1979.
One notable F2 DX reception was heard by both myself and Todd Emslie in Sydney, NSW, when we had simultaneous BBC channel B1 TV audio on the 31st January 1981. The chB1 signal was received with audio only on 41.5 MHz using our Realistic Patrolman 50 multi-band VHF radios. Strong line pairing caused by presumably BBC B1 video was noted across the local SBS channel 0 signal at the time, but no picture of the BBC could be resolved. Programming included test card music, opening announcement for the day, "Horseback", and "Multi-Coloured Swap Shop". Todd Emslie managed to record some of the chB1 DX reception on audiotape. At the time, my tape recorders were both being repaired and hence couldn't be used. Despite this, the BBC subsequently sent a verification letter.
Unfortunately, from 24th October 1980 to 5th January 1986, the channel 0 (46.25 - 51.75 MHz MHz) frequency allocation in both Sydney and Melbourne was being used by local TV broadcasts (SBS) and this made it almost impossible to see most Band 1 TV DX while SBS0 was on air.
However, we were fortunate enough on a number of occasions to catch F2 TV DX during early morning periods when SBS channel 0 was off the air. One particular reception of TSS Vladivostok Russia chR1 TV noted in Sydney NSW, during the morning of 15th March 1981, included displays of Letterbox and Leningrad electronic test cards. A clock was also briefly noted just before sign on. Both Todd and myself were frantically taking as many photos of the reception as possible from our perspective locations, before SBS Sydney was due to switch on their local ch0 transmitter at 0900 local time.
One interesting reception noted on most evenings, was the characteristic "sleybell" audio effect on 49.75 MHz. This audio effect was caused by several Chinese chR1 video carriers being received simultaneously by evening TEP. We were able to monitor these Chinese chR1 signals on the Patrolman 50 radio. As viewed on a TV screen, the chR1 signals would produce strong CCI beat bars.
In addition to F2 TV DX, mobile radio utility signals and pagers were occasionally noted on the 30-50 MHz band. One frequently DX signal was noted on 35.58 MHz which identified themselves as "Radio Call Paging Service of Oklahoma City". Since that time, most paging services have changed to Morse code identifications, rather than recorded voice announcements, which made them more difficult for quick verification.
After moving to Melbourne Vic Australia on 28th May 1981, F2 TV DX continued with more signals from China and Russia. From 1989 to 1991, which were the peak years of sunspot cycle 22, TV signals were noted from China, Russia, Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, Dubai, and even Sweden. The Malaysia reception on 13th March 1989 included the news "Dunia Jam 10" (News At 10), RTM Identification slide and a clock. At the time of receiving Dubai UAE on 27th November 1990, the station appeared to be coming on air, displaying a number of indistinguishable slides followed by the Chicken Steps Logo, which was regularly displayed on the Dubai station at the time. More F2 mobile and utility radio signals were noted on the 30-50 MHZ band during 1989 to 1991.
The 1989 to 1991 Sunspot Maximum was the best that I have personally seen. Also, as the SBS TV was no longer on channel 0, it was clear for whatever DX could come through. Band 1 TV FM DX signals were a regular occurrence and both picture and audio were resolved from China and Russia TV when conditions were extra intense. The sunspot maximum around 2000 was somewhat less intense, though there was a degree of TV and mobile radio DX noted during that time.
The preceding information provides a general summary of the F2 TV DX reception that I have received over the years since starting TV DX back in 1971. All of the off-screen photos were taken in Melbourne by myself, apart from TSS chR1 Vladivostok Russia received in Sydney NSW Australia. The photo of BBC1 chB1 Crystal Palace UK was taken by Anthony Mann in Perth WA on the 29th November 1979.
F2 TV DX Photos
China chC1 test card (8/4/1989).
China chC1 writing (13/3/1989).
China chC1 movie (5/4/1991).
Dubai, UAE chE2 chicken steps logo (27/11/1990).
Dubai, UAE chE2 promo slide (27/11/1990).
RTM chE2 Malaysia clock (13/3/1989).
BBC chB1 oblong card, 29/11/1979 received
by Anthony Mann, Perth.
Malaysia chE2 female news reader (13/3/1989).
Malaysia chE2 male news reader (13/3/1989).
Malaysia chE2 news promo (13/3/1989).
Malaysia chE2 RTM promo slide (13/3/1989).
Vladivostok, Russia chR1 clock (15/3/1981).
Vladivostok, Russia chR1 electronic card
Vladivostok, Russia chR1 letterbox card
© 2009 Robert Copeman