Whitefish Point is a radio site on the far southeast shore of Lake Superior. The home of Whitefish Point Lighthouse, it is in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and sticks out as a peninsula at the entrance of Whitefish Bay. The point is at lake level, meaning it lies below all atmospheric ducts responsible for the propagation of signals over the water and is prone to sporadic signals and “fallout” from ducts above. The site is just 30 miles northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, and is 85 miles south of Wawa, 230 miles southeast of Thunder Bay, 115 miles east of Marquette, 170 miles east of Houghton, and 140 miles northeast of Traverse City. Typical reception on this stretch of shore includes Sault Ste. Marie locals, Marquette, Houghton, Northern Michigan, Wawa, Thunder Bay, and Timmins.
WHITEFISH POINT, MICHIGAN BANDSCAN
July 23, 2018 2050-2140 / 62-65°F & windy / saturated
Location: 46°46’20.4″N 84°57’30.4″W
605 feet (at beach level beside the water)
69 stations total / Average distance: 113 mi.
* station was received on seek
88.1 CBON-18 ON Sault Ste. Marie / Ici Première / 3.59kw / 10dBµ, mono (34 mi.)
88.3 CBLJ ON Wawa / CBC R. 1 Sudbury / 4.807kw / 2dBµ, mono (87 mi.)
88.5 WIAB MI Mackinaw City / Classical IPR //88.7 / 50kw / 5dBµ, mono (83 mi.)
88.7 WIAA MI Interlochen / Classical IPR //88.5 / 100kw / 2dBµ, mono (176 mi.)
88.9 WCRR MI Manistique / K-Love / 24.5kw / 3dBµ, mono (92 mi.)
89.3 WSHN MI Munising / K-Love / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (127 mi.)
*89.5 CBSM ON Sault Ste. Marie / CBC R. 1 Sudbury / 46kw / 20dBµ, mono (34 mi.)
89.9 WHWG MI Trout Lake / Gospel Opportunities / 1kw / 10dBµ, mono (40 mi.)
89.9 WLJN MI Traverse City / Christian / 100kw / 3dBµ, mono in null (142 mi.)
90.1 WNMU MI Marquette / Public R. 90 / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (140 mi.)
90.3 WBLV MI Twin Lake / Blue Lake Public R. / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (229 mi.)
90.5 WPHN MI Gaylord / The Promise FM / 100kw / 10dBµ, mono (119 mi.)
90.7 CBON-27 ON Wawa / Ici Première / 890w / 5dBµ, mono (87 mi.)
90.7 WBHL MI Harrison / Strong Tower R. / 10kw / 3dBµ, mono (196 mi.)
90.9 WUPJ MI Escanaba / Strong Tower R. / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (135 mi.)
91.3 WJOG MI Good Hart / Smile FM / 6kw / 2dBµ, mono (87 mi.)
*91.5 WJOH MI Raco / Smile FM / 5.5kw / RDS / 15dBµ, mono (35 mi.)
91.7 WCML MI Alpena / CMU Public R. / 92kw / 10dBµ, mono (119 mi.)
91.7 WXPR WI Rhinelander / Public R. / 100kw / briefly strong (216 mi.)
92.1 CJQQ ON Timmins / 92-1 Rock / 40kw / very good in car (207 mi.)
92.3 WJPD MI Ishpeming / Big Country / 100kw / 3dBµ, mono (121 mi.)
92.7 WRPP MI Manistique / Cl. Rock / 51kw / 8dBµ, mono (92 mi.)
92.9 WJZQ MI Cadillac / Z93 / 100kw / 3dBµ, mono (151 mi.)
93.1 WIMK MI Iron Mountain / 93 Rock / 100kw / 10dBµ, mono (161 mi.)
*93.9 WNBY MI Newberry / Oldies 93 / 50kw / RDS / 40dBµ, stereo (23 mi.)
94.3 CJSD ON Thunder Bay / Rock 94 / 90kw / 5dBµ, mono (228 mi.)
94.5 WYPV MI Mackinaw City / WJML News R. //1110 / 50kw / 5dBµ, mono (78 mi.)
94.9 WUPZ MI Chocolay Twp. / The Bay / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (121 mi.)
95.1 WUPN MI Paradise / Eagle 95.1 / 25kw / 15dBµ, mono (24 mi.)
95.5 WGFE MI Glen Arbor / Rock 105 & 95.5 //105.1 / 21kw / 5dBµ, mono (144 mi.)
95.7 WHWL MI Marquette / Gospel Opportunities / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (118 mi.)
96.1 CBCJ ON Timmins / CBC R. 1 Sudbury / 11kw / 5dBµ, mono, weak (207 mi.)
96.3 WLXT MI Petoskey / Lite 96.3 / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (100 mi.)
*96.7 WMJT MI McMillan / Eagle 96.7 / 50kw / 15dBµ, mono (34 mi.)
96.7 WRGZ MI Rogers City / Country / 42kw / 5dBµ, mono (113 mi.)
97.1 WGLQ MI Escanaba / Magic 97 GLQ / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (104 mi.)
97.5 CBCE ON Little Current / CBC R. 1 Sudbury / 21kw / 5dBµ, mono (153 mi.)
97.7 WOLV MI Houghton / The Wolf / 6.5kw / 3dBµ, mono (172 mi.)
*97.9 WIHC MI Newberry / Strong Tower R. / 50kw / 45dBµ, stereo (23 mi.)
*98.3 WCMZ MI Sault Ste. Marie / CMU Public R. / 25kw / RDS / 30dBµ, stereo (40 mi.)
98.7 WGLI MI Hancock / The Rockin’ Eagle / 52kw / 5dBµ, mono (172 mi.)
98.9 WKLZ MI Petoskey / KLT The Rock Sta. / 100kw / RDS / 10dBµ, mono (89 mi.)
99.5 WYSS MI Sault Ste. Marie / Yes FM / 1.3kw / RDS / 15dBµ, mono (40 mi.)
99.9 WHAK MI Rogers City / The Wave / 50kw / 5dBµ, mono (107 mi.)
100.3 WUPT MI Gwinn / The Point / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (121 mi.)
*100.5 CHAS ON Sault Ste. Marie / KiSS 100.5 / 13.9kw / RDS / 20dBµ, stereo (31 mi.)
100.7 WOBE MI Crystal Falls / Radio Now / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (161 mi.)
*101.3 WSUE MI Sault Ste. Marie / Rock 101 / 100kw / 15dBµ, mono (36 mi.)
101.7 CBQ ON Thunder Bay / CBC Music Thunder Bay / 25kw / 1dBµ, mono (233 mi.)
*102.3 WTHN MI Sault Ste. Marie / The Promise FM / 22.5kw / 25dBµ, stereo (40 mi.)
102.5 WCMM MI Gulliver / The Moose / 60kw / 3dBµ, mono (92 mi.)
102.9 WMKC MI Indian River / Big Country Hits / 100kw / RDS / 7dBµ, mono (88 mi.)
103.3 W277AG MI Sault Ste. Marie / Gospel Opportunities / 26w / 5dBµ, mono (36 mi.)
103.5 WTCM MI Traverse City / Country / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (164 mi.)
103.9 WCMW MI Harbor Springs / CMU Public R. / 12kw / RDS / 4dBµ, mono (88 mi.)
104.3 CJQM ON Sault Ste. Marie / Country 104.3 / 100kw / RDS / 25dBµ, stereo (31 mi.)
105.1 WGFM MI Cheboygan / Rock 105 & 95.5 //95.5 / 43kw / 3dBµ, mono (111 mi.)
105.3 CJMX ON Sudbury / KiSS 105.3 / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (188 mi.)
105.3 CKTG ON Thunder Bay / Country 105 / 100kw / 3dBµ, mono (228 mi.)
105.5 WMKD MI Pickford / Country 105 / 700w / 3dBµ, mono (40 mi.)
105.7 WCUP MI L’Anse / Eagle Country / 100kw / 2dBµ, mono (172 mi.)
105.9 WKHQ MI Charlevoix / 106 KHQ / 100kw / 5dBµ, mono (110 mi.)
106.3 WWMK MI Onaway / Mac FM / 31kw / 5dBµ, mono (83 mi.)
106.5 CJTK-8 ON Sault Ste. Marie / KFM / 2kw / RDS / 10dBµ, mono (34 mi.)
106.7 WSRT MI Gaylord / ESPN N. Michigan / 100kw / 3dBµ, mono (119 mi.)
107.1 WCKC MI Cadillac / The Drive / 2.75kw / 3dBµ, mono (181 mi.)
107.3 WUPF MI Powers / Eagle 107.3 / 50kw / 2dBµ, mono (136 mi.)
107.5 WCCW MI Traverse City / The 70’s Station / 50kw / 3dBµ, mono (143 mi.)
107.7 WMQT MI Ishpeming / Q107 / 98kw / 5dBµ, mono (129 mi.)
Inconclusive signals: 97.3
95.3 WVVE MN Grand Marais is off the air with future sign-on in August //106.7
96.7 WUPG MI Republic is at 800w instead of the licensed 50kw
99.5 WYSS MI Sault Ste. Marie is at 1.3kw from a backup tower instead of 100kw
105.5 WMKD MI Pickford is at 700w from a backup tower instead of 100kw
106.7 KZJZ MN Babbitt is off the air with future sign-on in August //95.3
Recommendations for this radio site: I arrived at this site late on a blustery evening in which the wind and moisture from the lake were so intense that my hands were too cold to hold my camera or radio, my fingers too stiff to hold my pen, and my log paper so full of the lake’s moisture that it lost all its stiffness and was near unable to be written on. This is my memory of this site and that’s hard to shake. But there are some sights in the area, aside from the beautiful beach itself.
Whitefish Point isn’t necessarily close to any cities in the area, though it is just 15 minutes north of Paradise, a small hamlet that is a popular meeting point for area tourists and bikers. Paradise is just 10 minutes east of the also-popular Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which has an upper and lower falls a short distance apart. The falls here are a major draw to the Whitefish Point area. The park has the standard Michigan state park parking fees.
At the point, you can visit the Whitefish Point Lighthouse, a unique light with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, open from May to October at a cost of $13. It’s open from 10 to 6 p.m., so I obviously missed it and lacked the time anyway, but as the history of shipwrecks in the area is well worth learning about, I’d certainly recommend it. And if it’s closed, there is always a monument to the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck, the most famous on the Great Lakes, almost easy to miss beside the boardwalk on the right as you approach the beach from the lighthouse. The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory is also at this site taking advantage of the migration patterns.
Services in the area are sparse. There are very basic services in Paradise for the tourists staying in the area – you can get a bite to eat at a local bar, restaurant, or the small grocery store, as well as fill up with gas – but the nearest services are otherwise in Sault Ste. Marie 1 hour 15 minutes to the east. There are limited services in Newberry to the southwest, but the drive is nearly the same at about an hour with a fraction of availability.
Accommodations in the area are quite scattered and include numerous cabins, small motels in and around Paradise, and campgrounds. Andrus Lake State Forest Campground is just a few minutes south of the point and is first-come first-served with 25 sites. There is additional camping at Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
For a special experience, one can also spend the night for just $150 at the lighthouse itself as part of the Crew Quarters Overnight Program.
Location rating: Whitefish Point has some beauty about it, but as a radio site, it can be a rough place. Though it is hard to judge its overall reputation based on the harsh weather the site threw at me as a strong low pressure system passed through, it has numerous disadvantages that can’t be ignored.
The site’s elevation disqualifies it from most Lake Superior reception. Because lake ducts are present typically 100+ feet above water level and this beach is flat and right at water level, it’s left with many weaker sporadic signals. These tend to be extremely laborious to log and come and go, in and out, much like tropo scatter (TrS). This issue is in addition to the fact it is closer to Northern Michigan and local Sault Ste. Marie signals just 30 miles across the bay, though the band is otherwise quite open. For the best reception, utilize the nearby dunes to add some elevation, though there’s little to be had in the area. While I was at the site after the lake breeze circulation had started winding down for the day, daytime listening (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.) may yield better results here from across the water, even if only shore-parallel reception to Marquette and Houghton.
The site has bathrooms, is home to a beautifully unique lighthouse and close to the popular waterfalls attraction. The beach is stunning, patterned rocks and sand littered with driftwood, and is unlike any other beaches along the shores of this lake. It much resembles a coastal disaster zone; a look at satellite photos of the point show much the same, a result of the pounding of the lake’s harsh weather here.
But when it comes to radio, this site has far fewer advantages. While a listen is still recommended, be prepared to be let down and come to the point when the lighthouse and museum are open to make it more worthwhile. In addition, don’t forget that this point is famous for high winds, high waves, and quickly changing weather that may not resemble conditions in other areas nearby. Just because it’s a beautiful sunny day nearby at the falls does not mean the same for Whitefish Point. There’s a reason that more shipwrecks have occurred here than anywhere else on the Great Lakes.