So the other day I was driving from Fargo to my family's farm
on my usual every-2-to-3-week visit. Along the way I was playing with the radio. After I switched off AM 1100*
since Mark Levin wasn't hosting his own show, I went to FM and was shocked that I was receiving my usual FM station, KFNW-FM**
, well into South Dakota. They do have a good-sized tower, running at the maximum legal wattage, about 20 miles from Fargo
, but usually I start losing them around Sisseton. Instead I was able to pick them up pretty well past Webster, in spots from Garden City all the way to Willow Lake, and even a good signal just after I turned from SD 28 onto the county road that goes by the farm (which can be explained possibly by the line of sight, 170 miles at this point, barely missing the most northwest part of the Coteau des Prairies.)
More impressive: when I was going across the rolling terrain along SD 25 near Garden City, on the north sides of hills I was picking up KFNW, and on the south sides I was receiving KSEZ
out of Sioux City IA, something like a 180 mile line of sight. They're another 100kW station, but with a shorter tower than KFNW's (196 meters to KFNW's 485) and not enough elevation difference to make up for it. On Highway 28 near the end of my trip I was able to listen clearly to most of the Linkin Park song that's in the end credits of the new Transformers*** movie.
My best guess is that I was experiencing mild tropospheric propagation
thanks to the atmospheric conditions at the time (extremely still and not particularly warm; possibly a temperature inversion.)
*,**,*** Yes, I have an odd combination of tastes. You may have noticed.