to Get Started in Mediumwave DXing
started with MW DXing is easy. All you need is an AM radio that receives
the broadcast band. Most of these radios receive the range of 530 to 1600
kHz. and can be found in almost every home. You can start with a Walkman,
portable stereo system, or clock radio. Even the AM receiver in your home
stereo system will do for starters. Eventually as the hobby of MW DX
becomes more than a curiosity you might want to spring for a more
effective receiver such as the GE Superadio or even a communications
receiver. But don't spend your hard earned money just yet. You may be
surprised at what you can hear on an inexpensive home radio.
To begin you need to know about the local
stations that you receive on a regular basis. Start listening during the
daylight hours and identify the frequencies occupied by the locally strong
stations. Write these frequencies down and, if you can, identify the
stations by call sign and location. Now you have a list of stations that
are not DX and you can avoid these when looking for the real DX stations.
By the way, some of the daytime stations within the local radius may be
replaced by DX stations at night when station power is reduced and
propagation conditions change.
When to Listen for DX
The phenomenon of Medium Wave DX will begin
to occur around local sunset. Conditions are always better in the fall and
winter and gradually tail off in the spring and are at their worse in the
summer. But you can DX all year round although beginning from early fall
things start to improve.
DX conditions begin as the sun starts to
set. Without going into a long explanation, darkness hours are best for
DXing as band noise declines and the ionosphere begins to reflect radio
signals back to earth. It is primarily this change in the ionosphere that
causes MW DX to occur. As a signal is sent out from a station during
daylight hours it passes through the ionosphere and escapes the planet.
(So maybe the Alpha Centaurians like to listen to the FAN when we can't
hear it.) After dark the ionosphere reflects the signal back to earth so
it can be received at a further distance. A signal can bounce off the
earth and be reflected again from the ionosphere for even greater DX. So
under the right conditions you can even receive MW signals from outside of
Where to Listen for DX
If you are just a novice at MW DXing then
you'll want to start with the clear channel frequencies. Refer to the
Medium Wave Band Plan for an
explanation of how MW frequencies are allocated in North America.
Here in Southern Ontario are some of the
clear channel frequencies where you can catch DX:
||New York, NY,
||New York, NY,
||Fort Wayne, IN,
Toronto stations 1010 CFRB and 1050 CHUM
are also clear channel stations but logging them is not DXing, especially
if you are in the Toronto area. You may not receive all of these clear
channel stations as it depends on your location and possible interference
from local stations. And even though these are so called clear channels
you will not always hear these stations because receiving their signal
depends on the reception conditions at the time you are listening.
What to Listen For
Of course everyone has different interests
in program content. But what you are doing when listening for DX is a way
to identify the stations that you have just heard. This can be relatively
easy or next to impossible depending on how clear the signal is and how
often the station identifies itself. Some stations identify (ID)
themselves frequently with their call sign such as "Radio 720 WGN"
while another may ID as "AM 1440 Sports" leaving you wondering
who and where they are located. But most stations will give a clear
identification at the top of the hour and often on the half-hour also.
Some of the references located in the section Medium
Wave Resources can help you to
identify stations that you hear.
Text © 1999 Don
You can e-mail me at email@example.com