Thursday, November 08, 2007

Radio Waves All Around

I forgot that sunset was earlier since Daylight Savings Time is over and drove part of of my trip home last night at dusk. I also forgot that at sundown some radio stations go off the air while others lower their transmitting power. This along with the change in the "reflectability" of radio waves off the ionosphere at night allows your car radio to pick up stations from far, far, away.

On other trips I have tuned into the traffic reports from a station in Los Angeles, California (1240 miles/ 1995 KM) and my car radio picks up certain radio stations from Denver all the time. As I searched for stations on this trip I tuned into a car commercial out of San Antonio, Texas (981 miles/ 1570 KM), a traffic report from Chicago, Illinois (840 miles/ 1352 KM), a sports talk program from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (1190 miles/ 1915 KM), another traffic report from the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area of Minnesota (750 miles/ 1207 KM), another commercial from a station in Albuquerque, New Mexico (585 miles/ 941 KM), the announcement of a contest for BYU football tickets from a station in Salt Lake City, Utah (695 miles/ 1118 KM), and another traffic report from Nashville, Tennessee (1000 miles/ 1609 KM). I'm not too surprised by all the traffic reports since I was traveling during most big cities' rush hour.

There is something about racing through the plains at night surrounded by a cocoon of darkness that normally makes me feel isolated in time and space. Tuning into radio stations from other states and even countries makes me feel grounded again.

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