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Newstalk 870 Can Be Heard at the North Pole Says a Listener in Finland!

Our signal heard in Finland!  The Newstalk 870 tower
(Newstalk 870 photo)

We’ve always told you the Newstalk 870 radio signal carries a big punch, but this is rather incredible!It’s not the first time this has happened, but when it does, it’s always fun: we recently received an email from a fellow named Hakan Sundmann in Helsinki, Finland.

A retired businessman, Sundmann belongs to one of a number of small radio-listening clubs. They are popular in this northern nation because its location makes it possible to receive numerous radio signals from around the globe.

Sundmann told us he has friends in Lapland (north of the Arctic Circle) with some radio equipment. From his email:

“My setup consists of a Perseus SDR-receiver and the antenna system, consisting of long wires hanging on the branches of trees, was designed for DX reception on the AM broadcast band. Because of the long antennas and favourable atmospheric conditions we were able to pick up your signal.”

He and his friends publish a magazine called Radio World, and he was kind enough to send us a brief audio clip of Newstalk 870 which was heard roughly 4,760 miles away!

While the audio is obviously scratchy and you have to listen very closely, you can hear our legal identification, followed clearly by the intro music for Fox News. The audio was recorded Nov. 2 of this year at 6:00 a.m. local time at his location in Finland. That would have been approximately  4 p.m. our time here in Tri-Cities.

How is this possible? Newstalk 870 is the second-largest AM station in Eastern Washington with a transmitter that cranks out 10,000 watts. The only bigger “stick” (as we say in the radio industry) is 1510 AM KGA in Spokane (which is 50,000). AM waves travel tremendous distances, often due to what is called “the skip.”¬† It’s hard to explain easily, but a powerful signal and the right atmospheric conditions sends AM waves halfway around the world.

From time to time we receive such emails from folks in that northern part of the world, and it’s fun to correspond with them and hear how we sound over 4,000 miles away! Give the audio a listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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