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Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

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bbb
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Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by bbb » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:12 pm

I've been in a rental car flipping through FM stations several times while driving in the Death Valley area, trying to tune in any hint of music or news. For some reason, I've been able to tune in to 89.9 FM near Keeler or Swansea a few times. This is the area east of Owens Lake. The station comes and goes. It definitely disappears west towards Lone Pine, and further east toward Darwin it is gone as well. But for a few miles on highway 136/190, there is ambient sound at that station. I've never heard a commercial or anything recognizable at that frequency.

I captured the station the last time I was in the area, and it sounded like humpback whale noises. It can really be heard starting around 25 seconds in on this video clip:



Does anyone have any clue who might operate this station and whether there's a further story? It seems like a strange and empty stretch of desert for an FM station.
Last edited by bbb on Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by jacknv7 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:44 pm

The Spring/Summer 2017 edition of Desert Oracle reported on strange radio signals originating from different locations deep in the desert. But the signals were found on the AM band so not sure if it is the same thing you picked up. Here are a few of the signals mentioned in the article...

"4089 - A baffling beacon from deep within Death Valley.
4096.6 - "Kelsie" broadcasts a dash pattern from somewhere in the Mojave National Preserve.
4097.25 - The "Inyo Whopper" sounds like a choir of goblins.
6626.2 - "Rainy" makes a drip-drip sound and "Rocky" chirps like a flying squirrel.
4078 - This little robot tells the temperature from somewhere in southwestern Arizona."

The article is in Desert Oracle No. 6 but I see it is out of stock...

https://www.desertoracle.com/

Could also be some other pirate radio station.

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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by kwalsh » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:52 pm

Can’t listen to the clip, Flickr wants me to log in and I don’t have an account.

It’s possible someone is using the FM band to transmit something over a short range. There are cheap low power devices that transmit in the FM band meant to connect a CD player, phone or whatever to the FM radio in a car by broadcasting on an unused FM channel. Mr. Microphone is an early example of the concept.

The output power is suppose to be quite low. But if connected to an external antenna or juiced in some other way could certainly cover a few miles. Maybe some new age resident in the area has whale song playing into such a device in their house. Or what sounds like whale song is actually some sensor data someone has hacked together to transmit over a short range.

The fact you’ve heard it multiple times in the same area and it is a small area makes it likely it is some sort of very low power local transmission rather than picking up a distant station by unusual propagation. FM frequencies don’t propagate far - no ionospheric propagation like the much lower AM bands.

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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by jacknv7 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:42 pm

I wasn't able to listen to the clip either and I was logged in to my Flickr account. I got a message that the clip is private.

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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by D.A. Wright » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:56 pm

In years past there used to be a low powered station in Independence around that frequency. Sometimes there would be something playing, sometimes dead air. Didn’t have much reach, couldn’t pick it up below Lone Pine or above Aberdeen.

Also might be something of a spurrious signal eminating from China Lake. When I lived in Ridgecrest, the trunk lid often would pop open and the car’s alarm would go off on my ‘92 Cadillac for no apparent reason. Always in Ridgecrest, but never anywhere else. The dealer could never figure it out. We concluded the base would occasionally pulse some sort of radio wave that somehow mimicked or affected the frequency of my key fob remote.
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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by Kauri » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:18 am

D.A. Wright wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:56 pm
When I lived in Ridgecrest, the trunk lid often would pop open and the car’s alarm would go off on my ‘92 Cadillac for no apparent reason. Always in Ridgecrest, but never anywhere else. The dealer could never figure it out. We concluded the base would occasionally pulse some sort of radio wave that somehow mimicked or affected the frequency of my key fob remote.
That's interesting! There's a shopping mall in the north Bay Area I used to go to, until my car's factory security system was triggered there and it wouldn't start. Turns out our local Toyota dealership often gets calls from folks there with the same issue, and one of the local mechanics figured out there's a quarry nearby that has a very powerful radio system which probably messes up these security systems. Somehow things like that happening near Ridgecrest, in the desert, doesn't surprise me, but in the Bay Area, with a more dense population, I wouldn't have expected it.
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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by bbb » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:13 pm

jacknv7 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:42 pm
I wasn't able to listen to the clip either and I was logged in to my Flickr account. I got a message that the clip is private.
I just uploaded to YouTube and swapped in the link so hopefully you should be able to see it now.

I'll add that I've tuned into this station a few times over the last couple of years, so I think it's something different than a one off event.

It would make sense that it might be someone with a small FM transmitter, but it's such an odd choice in programming content. Trying to think back to previous occasions, it was similar ambient sounds which sort of reminded me of Brian Eno music.

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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by jacknv7 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:32 pm

It worked that time :drunkchug:

Very odd and interesting indeed. FCC licensing is showing one amateur license in Keeler and these two FM stations in the area..

Licensee: LONE PINE ADVENT BELIEVERS Service Designation: FL Low Power FM (LPFM) station or application Channel/Class: 278L1
Frequency: 103.5 MHz Licensed

Licensee: GREG BOWLES Service Designation: FX Translator Station (retransmits signal, different channel than main station) Channel/Class: 296D Frequency: 107.1 MHz Licensed

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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by jacknv7 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:07 pm

I took a look at the FCC licenses again and here are stations in the 89.9 range possibly within shot of where you picked up the signal...

KLXD 89.5 FM |VICTORVILLE |EDUCATIONAL MEDIA FOUNDATION
K208BS 89.5 FX |BISHOP |LAWRENCE LEE AMUNDSEN
KLXP 89.7 FM |RANDSBURG |EDUCATIONAL MEDIA FOUNDATION
K210EN 89.9 FX |JOSHUA TREE |CALVARY CHAPEL OF TWIN FALLS, INC.
K210DL 89.9 FX |APPLE VALLEY |CALVARY CHAPEL OF TWIN FALLS, INC.
KWBP 90.1 FM |BIG PINE |CEDAR BROADCASTING, INC.
KWBP 90.3 FM |BIG PINE |CEDAR BROADCASTING, INC.
K212EK 90.3 FX |VICTORVILLE |CALVARY CHAPEL OF TWIN FALLS, INC.
K212BD 90.3 FX |BARSTOW |CALVARY CHAPEL OF TWIN FALLS, INC.
KNLM 90.5 FM |YUCCA VALLEY |ADVANCE MINISTRIES, INC. D/B/A NEW LIFE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by bbb » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:00 pm

jacknv7 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:07 pm
I took a look at the FCC licenses again and here are stations in the 89.9 range possibly within shot of where you picked up the signal...

KLXD 89.5 FM |VICTORVILLE |EDUCATIONAL MEDIA FOUNDATION
K208BS 89.5 FX |BISHOP |LAWRENCE LEE AMUNDSEN
KLXP 89.7 FM |RANDSBURG |EDUCATIONAL MEDIA FOUNDATION
K210EN 89.9 FX |JOSHUA TREE |CALVARY CHAPEL OF TWIN FALLS, INC.
K210DL 89.9 FX |APPLE VALLEY |CALVARY CHAPEL OF TWIN FALLS, INC.
KWBP 90.1 FM |BIG PINE |CEDAR BROADCASTING, INC.
KWBP 90.3 FM |BIG PINE |CEDAR BROADCASTING, INC.
K212EK 90.3 FX |VICTORVILLE |CALVARY CHAPEL OF TWIN FALLS, INC.
K212BD 90.3 FX |BARSTOW |CALVARY CHAPEL OF TWIN FALLS, INC.
KNLM 90.5 FM |YUCCA VALLEY |ADVANCE MINISTRIES, INC. D/B/A NEW LIFE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
Thank you for finding this info. I streamed the 89.9 station (CALVARY CHAPEL OF TWIN FALLS, INC.) and it's definitely a religious station. I found 89.7 KLXP and KWBP on Wikipedia and those are religious too.

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Re: Strange music on 89.9 FM Driving east from Lone Pine to Death Valley

Post by MojaveGeek » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:24 am

Wow sounds like aliens :)

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