If you haven't already begun your DX
listening now is the time to start. In this section we will look at some
techniques that can help you to find your first DX station or maybe some
new ones. Usually the first ones are fairly easy to catch but as you
have logged more and more stations new ones become more challenging. But
that's the fun of MW DXing so let's get on with the show.
When to Start Listening
guidelines apply to AM mediumwave DXers in the Toronto area. But MW
being what it is, listeners almost anywhere in Southern Ontario can
follow these ideas with good success. Of course the principles apply no
matter where you are located.
The hours between sunset and sunrise are
the best times for MW DX listening. But you can begin up to 2 hours
before sunset and continue to 2 hours after sunrise, especially in the
fall and winter months. This 2 hour period represents the grey path
because during sunset geographical areas to the east of this path are in
darkness while areas to the west are still in sunlight. The opposite
pattern occurs at sunrise.
As the sun begins to set stations with
certain classes of licenses will be required to either go off the air,
reduce their power, or change their transmission pattern. Stations to
the west will still have daytime power and pattern thus increasing the
likelihood of hearing them. You will often hear stations along the grey
path to the north or south of you at the time of sunset. In Southern
Ontario you are more likely to hear stations to the south because of the
larger number of U.S. stations.
After sunset the noise level on the
medium wave band begins to decline and weaker stations can be heard more
easily. Other stations may go off the air reducing interference on the
band, although more and more stations are operating 24 hours a day. Now
let's look at where to listen for those DX stations.
Where to Listen
In the section How
to Get Started a table of clear
channel stations was provided. Here are some of these stations and a few
others that you should be able to receive in this area. Remember, that
you may not always be able to hear them all at any time but most nights
you should catch a few.
||New York, NY,
||New York, NY
So you're ready to start. The sun has set
and you've just turned on the AM rig. You've decided to try for 770 kHz.
WABC the 50,000 watt station in The Big Apple, New York. If your radio
has a digital readout you simply dial in 770. With an analog radio dial
it is a little bit more difficult to be sure you have the right
frequency. That's why it helps to know your local stations. In this area
you should hear CBL on 740 and as you tune up the dial you might hear
760 WJR Detroit. So 10 kHz. more and you have 770 and WABC.
Hints for Listening
How can you be sure that you have
actually received WABC or one of the stations you are trying to DX? The
best way is to wait for them to identify the station. Another method is
to listen for the program content. WABC is a News/Talk station while WJR
is Sports Talk and adult contemporary music. The section Medium
Wave Resources provides some
sources of information that can help guide your DXing.
Your location will also be a factor in
how easy certain stations are to hear. If you are located in Western
Ontario, near Windsor, then WJR is so strong that it may very well block
your reception of WABC. Even though WJR is on 760 its strong signal can
interfere with WABC on 770. In the Toronto area CFRB on 1010 makes it
difficult to hear WMVP on 1020 from Chicago. A better receiver and
antenna can help to overcome these problems.
Another problem with hearing even a
strong station is due to what may be perceived as a weak signal. So you
can hear WABC on 770 but it is hard to copy. Maybe conditions are just
poor at the time but it can also be something as simple as the
orientation of your radio. Most household AM radios have a loop antenna
built into the radio case. Loop antennas are directional in nature so by
rotating the radio you may be able to improve the reception. AM signals
are generally strongest when received broadside to the radio. So turn
the radio until you get the strongest signal. Sometimes this simple act
can make a huge difference in signal quality.
Now that you have found a few DX stations
you might want to take the next step and send in a reception report to
ask for their QSL card. In the section Sending
Reception Reports we will look at
what information stations need from you and how to maximize the
possibility of getting a successful response from them.
Text © 1999 Don
You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org