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HF/MW/LW General Discussion - General discussion on monitoring the HF (High Frequency), MW (Medium Wave), and LW (Long Wave) spectrum (0.5 - 30 MHz)

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Old 11-03-2018, 8:46 PM
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Default List of MW stations in North America

For anyone interested, I did a search of the FCC's database of AM stations in North America, opting for a list of all stations. Having copied and pasted the very long list into a plain-text file and finding it pretty cumbersome, I removed some unessential columns, such as licencing data, etc. and reduced the sizes of the columns a bit. You can download the list here:

http://gerryb.altervista.org/radio/MW_Freq_List.txt

Note that you'll need to view the list with a monospaced font, such as Courier, etc. to keep the columns aligned. The list covers all of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as some South American countries. Many of the stations are listed twice to reflect their day and night power levels, so at first glance you'll see what look like duplicate lines.

I'm not sure how long I'll leave the file on my personal website. but I've blocked it from the search engines, since it's not relevant to the rest of the site's content.
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Old 11-04-2018, 8:09 AM
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Hi GB46,

Very nice listing! Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

Cheers! Dave
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Old 11-04-2018, 8:29 AM
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Nice, thank you!
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Old 11-04-2018, 8:34 AM
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well done. Thank you!
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Old 11-04-2018, 8:45 AM
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There are 24,730 records in that list! Wow! (I read them into Microsoft Excel)

Cheers! Dave
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Old 11-04-2018, 8:58 AM
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You're welcome, everybody!

Fortunately, the plain-text editor I use (AkelPad) is capable of selecting columns, so to remove one I hold the Alt and Shift keys while running my cursor across a column then downward until I reach the bottom of the file, then press Delete. I can also cut a column and paste it into a new position. Scrolling a selection that large is a bit of a slow process, however, but I'm fussy enough to keep at it, and have lots of time on my hands in retirement.
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Old 11-04-2018, 9:03 AM
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GB46,

Let me ask you a question. Would you want to parse the columns or do you me to write a Microsoft Excel macro script that will attempt to parse the columns? Since the spaces are not all equal, it may be a bit of a trick to separate the actual text into Microsoft Excel columns. Let me know. Thanks!

Cheers! Dave
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Old 11-04-2018, 9:07 AM
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There are 24,730 records in that list! Wow! (I read them into Microsoft Excel)
Can Excel distinguish the separation of columns by the spaces between them? My spreadsheet, which is a clone of an old Excel version, requires commas or tabs between the columns. I tried inserting them in the text file, but the spreadsheet stopped responding when I tried importing the file; it was much too large. Even if it had been successfully imported, the resulting worksheet would have been too slow to load or browse through.
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Old 11-04-2018, 9:12 AM
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GB46,

Let me ask you a question. Would you want to parse the columns or do you me to write a Microsoft Excel macro script that will attempt to parse the columns? Since the spaces are not all equal, it may be a bit of a trick to separate the actual text into Microsoft Excel columns.
I didn't see this post when responding to you about Excel. That's what I thought, and that unequal number of spaces, in fact, makes it difficult to convert the file into a comma-separated file, as well, but I have some trickery for that. Anyway, you can try it if you want to, but I won't be able to open it in my spreadsheet program.
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Old 11-04-2018, 9:16 AM
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GB46,

I think I can write a script that will "look" at non-spaces for the columns up to the location and parse those. Then I will have to "cut" the longest location out of all the columns and paste those in the next column. Then I can run the first script on the rest of the data since there are no spaces. The final task would be to figure out how to clean up the locations column. I am using Microsoft Excel 2013.

Cheers! Dave
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:51 AM
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GB46,

I think I can write a script that will "look" at non-spaces for the columns up to the location and parse those. Then I will have to "cut" the longest location out of all the columns and paste those in the next column. Then I can run the first script on the rest of the data since there are no spaces. The final task would be to figure out how to clean up the locations column. I am using Microsoft Excel 2013.
I'm not "script-literate" myself, although my text editor has a macro feature that helps me automate some procedures.

What I do in the editor is put a tab character in the clipboard, then paste a whole column of them just before the first character of each column except the first one. My next step is to search for all tabs preceded by spaces, replacing them by tabs alone. This can take a lot of passes, so I usually start with tabs preceded by two or three spaces. Of course, before I insert those tabs, I have to search the original file for pre-existing tab characters.

The whole thing can also be done using commas as separators (creating a CSV file), but many files already contain commas, which can throw the whole CSV database out of whack.

Gerry
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Old 11-04-2018, 11:41 AM
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Not to discourage spreadsheet magic -- been doing so since 1979 -- but for those who are challanged with a limited PC or spreadsheet knowledge to manipulate the large file there is a very good alternative.

The National Radio Club is still publishing its AM Radio Log -- 39th edition -- and its wonderful AM Pattern Book -- 8th edition -- for the MW DXer looking at probabilities of who may be lurking underneath the dominent station.

NRC Publications - Books

For the record I was a member of the NRC and the IRCA in the 1960s into the 1970s. I used both publications... recommended. Back then for the foreign MW stations I used the WRTH. Now I would look to the web.

https://www.mwlist.org/

Hope that helps.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:52 PM
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Hi Tom,

Thanks for the links. I too have the WRTH Handbook. That is a great resource. I wasn't aware of MWLIST (https://www.mwlist.org/) so a big thanks for that link! I was shocked to learn of Julian Moss' (G4ILO) passing from that website. His VOAProp application is awesome. As for the Microsoft Excel efforts, some of us retired folks have too much time on our hands. For me, I have a terminal illness called MELAS and am pretty much confined to home due to a compromised immune system. We'll see if I can still work the magic. LOL!

Cheers and 73! Dave K4EET
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Old 11-04-2018, 1:21 PM
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Dave, the only reason now. why I still keep a Windoze netbook is to program the DMR HT. My Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 tablet won't handle a file that size. But it is a fun challenge. In 1984, of the 25 spresdsheet packages I reviewed for Auerbach Management Publications, Javelin with its 10-way data view might have been the best software for importing and handling such data. Some kind of database would be better suited fir the task. Be well.
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Old 11-04-2018, 3:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB46 View Post
Can Excel distinguish the separation of columns by the spaces between them? My spreadsheet, which is a clone of an old Excel version, requires commas or tabs between the columns. I tried inserting them in the text file, but the spreadsheet stopped responding when I tried importing the file; it was much too large. Even if it had been successfully imported, the resulting worksheet would have been too slow to load or browse through.
On my version of Excel, you can easily parse them into individual columns. Select the column of text to parse (probably just select the entire A column) and go to the Data menu. Click the "Text to Column" option and start the parse wizard. Move through the wizard to select the how you want the columns to look, what data types for the results (for this you probably want them all text), and press Finish. You should then have the data in columns as you expect.

Attached is the result of my parse using the original text file. Note, to keep within the max file size limit of RR, the data has only the stations up to 600 KHz, but that should show that the above process works.
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File Type: zip AM-Radio-Station-Data.zip (70.3 KB, 21 views)
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Old 11-04-2018, 4:06 PM
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On my version of Excel, you can easily parse them into individual columns. Select the column of text to parse (probably just select the entire A column) and go to the Data menu. Click the "Text to Column" option and start the parse wizard. Move through the wizard to select the how you want the columns to look, what data types for the results (for this you probably want them all text), and press Finish. You should then have the data in columns as you expect.

Attached is the result of my parse using the original text file. Note, to keep within the max file size limit of RR, the data has only the stations up to 600 KHz, but that should show that the above process works.
Thanks! I'm sure it works, but I can't open your file, as I'm using a 3rd-party program based on a very old version of Excel, Excel 97.

Meanwhile, I've spent some time converting the text file to a tab-delimited file and successfully imported it into my spreadsheet. It took a long time, because any major changes in the resulting worksheet, such as layout, search and replace, etc. made the program stop responding for a while. It also takes a long time to open, but works OK for just browsing the data. I haven't tried using an autofilter with it; that's another thing that can slow the program down significantly.

I suppose that my worksheet would be much faster in a newer version of Excel, but I've never installed one, as the outdated app I use handles my other worksheets very well, since they're quite small.

My acquaintance with spreadsheets dates way back to Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS. I used to love that program, and even taught it at a business college during the 1990s and wrote a user's manual for the students. By then, however, Windows apps had already started replacing most of the DOS apps.
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Old 11-04-2018, 4:32 PM
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In no way do I want to disparage the work done on such a massive list, but the FCC has a query tool that's open to the public...

https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/am-query

How up to date it is is anyone's guess; the other lists mentioned here might well be better. But there's at least another tool we can use

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Old 11-04-2018, 5:52 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks! I'm sure it works, but I can't open your file, as I'm using a 3rd-party program based on a very old version of Excel, Excel 97.

Meanwhile, I've spent some time converting the text file to a tab-delimited file and successfully imported it into my spreadsheet. It took a long time, because any major changes in the resulting worksheet, such as layout, search and replace, etc. made the program stop responding for a while. It also takes a long time to open, but works OK for just browsing the data. I haven't tried using an autofilter with it; that's another thing that can slow the program down significantly.

I suppose that my worksheet would be much faster in a newer version of Excel, but I've never installed one, as the outdated app I use handles my other worksheets very well, since they're quite small.

My acquaintance with spreadsheets dates way back to Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS. I used to love that program, and even taught it at a business college during the 1990s and wrote a user's manual for the students. By then, however, Windows apps had already started replacing most of the DOS apps.
Glad you got it converted. I attempted to save the file in Excel 97 format, but even the shorter file was too large for RR attaching. I too worked with Lotus 1-2-3, although I wasn't that much of a fan. I've used Excel nearly since it's first release and liked that it would read and save many of the various formats used back in the day (why did they change the file format every time they released an update???) and spend way too much time converting files from whatever a client had to the version of 1-2-3 that we used for our company's folks to work with and then back again so the client could then open it. Once many of the work computers started running Windows, I demoed Excel for our management and desktop folks and they added Excel to our approved list.
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Old 11-04-2018, 7:36 PM
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In no way do I want to disparage the work done on such a massive list, but the FCC has a query tool that's open to the public...

https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/am-query

How up to date it is is anyone's guess; the other lists mentioned here might well be better. But there's at least another tool we can use
That's where I got my data, Mike. I pasted it into the file from a query on that site in order to produce a comprehensive list that I could use offline, because I don't like having to go online every time I want to look something up. The results of the search produced some data that I didn't need, and that made the list too cumbersome, so that's where all my editing came in,

A lot of the other radio-related information that I store locally was treated the same way.

As for MW DXing, I would enjoy it a lot more if there were more frequent station IDs. Often a station's callsign is never stated, so I have to go by clues, such as the location mentioned in one of the (far too frequent) ads. I use that and the station's frequency to try and match it to a station in the list. It doesn't always work, however.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
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As for MW DXing, I would enjoy it a lot more if there were more frequent station IDs. Often a station's callsign is never stated, so I have to go by clues, such as the location mentioned in one of the (far too frequent) ads. I use that and the station's frequency to try and match it to a station in the list. It doesn't always work, however.
FCC rules indicate that a broadcast station must give a legal ID (e.g. "WLS Chicago Illinois") when they first sign on, just prior to signing off, and every hour, as close to the top of the hour as possible (generally within 5 mins). Often they will give an ID at other times, but those may not meet the "legal definition" (e.g. "From the Windy City, this is 89 - WLS").

You are correct that often the easiest way to ID a station is to 1) know their frequency, easy since that's what your radio is tuned to, and 2) know what city they're in or near to, pretty easy to guess from a local commercial. Stations that simply rebroadcast signals aired on many stations via satellite make this difficult since their content mostly brands using the generic identification ("This is iHeart Radio") and often mostly play national commercials. To ID them you pretty much need to wait for the top of the hour (at least most will do the ID at pretty much the exact top of the hour).

There's a way to guess these as well, if you're lucky though. Check the web site for that station group and look for a station list and that may narrow it down to just a few stations that share the same frequency. If you have a directional loop antenna, you may further narrow down the station by nulling the signal out using the loop (making the signal go away by rotating the loop) and your station is most likely the one that's off either end of the loop.
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