MW Reception Reports
One of the more satisfying aspects of
DXing is collecting QSL cards and letters from stations you have heard.
QSLing these stations involves writing an accurate reception report of a
station you have heard, mailing it to the station, and waiting for a
reply. It sounds easy enough, and it is, but some techniques can help to
improve your success rate.
Creating an Accurate
station engineers and other personnel are interested in, is whether you
have heard their station. And to prove this successfully you need to
send an accurate report. After all, receiving a report for a different
station does the one who receives it little good.
To begin, you need to record the
frequency, date and time when the station was heard. For medium wave
stations, time should be given for the zone where the station is
located. Thus if you are receiving stations in the eastern zone, such as
Ontario and New York, use EST or EDT depending on the time of year.
Stations, in the central zone, such as Chicago, IL use CST or CDT which
is one hour earlier than eastern time. If you're not sure then clearly
indicate your local time.
Now, as you are listening, jot down some
details of the program. Look for some of the following items when
listening to the program:
- The way the station identifies itself.
- The name of the program.
- Names of station personalities, such
as a talk show host.
- Commercials. These are always good
indicators because the station needs to keep track of commercials
- Names of special items such as CNN
news or TSN sports.
The point of this information is to
demonstrate to the station that you actually heard their program.
Usually the more detail the better. Of course, how much detail you can
record often depends on reception conditions. But you will need some
accurate detail if you expect to receive a QSL confirmation.
Also include some indication of how well
the signal was received. Shortwave reports use the SINPO code but for
medium wave something simpler will usually suffice. Try using the
following in your reports:
Use when the signal is strong and there is virtually no interference.
This indicates that you could hear the station okay but maybe there
was some interference, noise or fading.
There was interference, and/or, fading or noise making copy
difficult but you could still understand parts of the program.
Enough for a positive identification.
It was almost impossible to copy the signal but you could hear some
content. Enough to make a tentative identification.
find the address of the station you will need one of the references
given in the Medium
Wave Resources section. Finding
the address can be done at your leisure and need not take up valuable
DXing time. The following form shows a sample reception report prepared
for 870 WWL in New Orleans. Notice that although the listener lives in
the Eastern time zone the report used Central time which is the time in
use at the station.
1450 Poydras Ave. Suite 440
New Orleans, LA 70112
AM CDT (7:05 AM EDT) the News was in progress.
Station ID was given as "WWL news time 6:09."
A Forms Control Company commercial.
The news continued.
Station ID given as "WWL 870 AM" followed by a Campo
commercial for Sony Trinitron.
This report resulted in the author
receiving the following QSL card from WWL.
What Else to Send
Now that you have all of the information
needed for the report, you will want to create an attractive report to
send. You might type up a form, such as the one shown here and then make
copies of it so you can fill in the details. If you have a computer use
your word processor. Some SWLers use a postcard which can also be
effective. Of course you'll need to include your name and address if you
expect a reply. Also a personal note about how you enjoyed the program
Finally, when you send reports to smaller
stations or public broadcasting stations a reply may be more likely if
you provide the postage. Reports to Ontario stations could include
standard letter postage in the form of a stamp. U.S. stations appreciate
a U.S. stamp for mailing to Canada, currently 52 cents or a green stamp
(a U.S. dollar). Don't send Canadian stamps to the U.S. and don't send a
What to Expect in Return
If you send an accurate and complete
report then within a few weeks, sometimes months, you can expect to
receive either a QSL card or a confirmation on the station letterhead.
Some stations will even send a bumper sticker or other memorabilia. You
never know. Some stations never respond, other do only after a follow-up
report. But be patient. Station people, like the rest of us, are busy so
give them a reasonable amount of time. After a season of MW DXing you
will have a nice collection of QSL's as your reward for persistent
Text © 1999 Don
You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org