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Is Your Morning Edition Sounding Fuzzy? You May be Hearing 'Ducting.'

Duct not Duck

We have been getting quite a few comments from listeners concerning signal issues during recent broadcasts of Morning Edition. What listeners are hearing is the natural phenomenon of "tropospheric ducting." While tropospheric propagation can do some really cool stuff to radio signals (like bounce them from very, very far away), it mostly just mixes distant signals broadcasting at the same frequency. That's no fun and can result in lot of static or just bad noise. 

Ducting, as far as we know, doesn't actually enable time travel.

The phenomenon is particularly common in Southeastern North Carolina because of the prevailing Atlantic weather patterns that result in frequent temperature inversions. These inversions occur primarily in the morning hours and are especially strong during summer months. If you want to learn more about this pesky issue, we suggest this ducting forecast website. Note that the Wilmington area is frequently in the "very strong" or "intense" ducting forecast colors. 

It's not all bad news, though. WHQR streams online right here. If you're experiencing ducting, we suggest trying our web stream (in the upper left of this page.) We love FM radio, but computer streaming is not effected by ducting, one of its advantages! 

Thanks for listening. Remember, radio is a sound salvation:


Former Graduate Fellow Jason Hess was an MFA student in creative nonfiction writing at UNCW. Jason is originally from Scappoose, Oregon. He holds a BA in Spanish and English from the University of Idaho. His studies and wanderlust have brought him to live in Costa Rica, Idaho, Spain, and now North Carolina.