Busan is on Korea’s southeastern coast. With 3.5 million people, it’s the nation’s second largest city and lies just 120 miles across the Korea Strait from the Japanese mainland and only 30 miles from the nearest major Japanese island of Tsushima. This location marks the only Japan-facing radio work I did on the south coast, August 2-3, 2013.
Having studied how signals refract over water for 20 years, the setup here is nearly identical to back home on the Great Lakes. However, there is one major difference of epic proportions: Japan uses an FM band unique only to Japan, meaning interference from other stations – aside from those in Japan itself – doesn’t exist. It’s wide open. Such a scenario in radio is actually a two-way street. While those in Korea, China, and Taiwan can readily use this advantage to hear distant Japanese signals, those living in Japan can tune the higher frequencies, which are mostly empty in Japan (aside from a recent expansion for AM rebroadcasters to transmit on FM frequencies), to hear other countries without local interference.
The dial as scanned from three locations in Busan was done so rather casually, meaning very little effort is required to hear these stations from the opposite side of the water. A Samsung Yepp Q2 MP3 player was used merely with earphone wires as an antenna from Dadaepo Beach at night and Busan Tower (500 ft. elevation) and Haeundae Beach, Korea’s most famous beach, in the daytime.
00:00 The audio bandscan time index shows at what time you can find a station
82.6 Underlined frequencies are those strongest stations which were received on seek
– stations displayed in gray are not included in the bandscan recording
00:00 76.1 Fukuoka / JOFW-FM / Love FM / 1kw / 1.85kw ERP (141 mi.)
02:45 77.4 Kumamoto / JOSU-FM / FMK / 1kw / 2.5kw ERP (183 mi.)
03:17 77.9 Saga / JONV-FM / FM Saga / 0.5kw / 2.3kw ERP (138 mi.)
04:06 78.7 Fukuoka / JORV-FM / Cross FM / 3kw / 8.9kw ERP (128 mi.)
04:45 80.7 Fukuoka / JODU-FM / FM Fukuoka / 3kw / 9.4kw ERP) (132 mi.)
04:45 81.6 Saga / JOSP-FM / NHK Saga / 0.5kw / 2.1kw ERP (138 mi.)
05:36 82.6 Izuhara / JOAG-FM / NHK Nagasaki / 100w / 810w ERP (61 mi.)
10:02 83.3 Gonoura / JOAG-FM / NHK Nagasaki / 100w (101 mi.)
10:58 84.8 Fukuoka / JOLK-FM / NHK Fukuoka / 3kw / 9.7kw ERP (128 mi.)
11:59 85.8 Omuta / JOLK-FM / NHK Fukuoka / 30w / 110w ERP (162 mi.)
11:59 86.0 Sasebo / JOAG-FM / NHK Nagasaki / 250w / 1.7kw ERP (139 mi.)
And as a bonus in the recording, the local affiliate of Korean educational network EBS-FM, which turns off for a few hours overnight, was broadcasting some eerie nighttime sounds:
11:59 107.7 Busan / HLQL-FM / EBS-FM / 3kw (5 mi.)
For more Japanese radio content, be sure to check out the Chiba / Tokyo FM audio bandscan from Narita with a half-hour of audio.