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Index » Music » Radio » DXing- long distance radio reception
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dxnerd86

dxnerd86 Avatar

Location: The Great Sydney Desert
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 20, 2019 - 3:27pm

I thought Bill (and others) would be interested in these DX catches I received from Cairns, Australia this past June. These are all over 7000 miles. Plenty more on my YouTube channel if you're interested, including reception from the Pacific Islands/Hawaii and Sao Tome. 

KFBK Sacramento (no ID unfortunately):

KPNW Eugene OR: 



KNX Los Angeles:



Coaxial

Coaxial Avatar

Location: 543 miles west of Paradis,1491 miles eas
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 21, 2018 - 5:15am

 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:
Back in the early/ mid 70's thru the mid 90's when I was working production drywall finishing... heck, I'm still doing that. {#Lol}
I bought my truck for work and pleasure... heck, I still have that.  45 years this December. It had the 31" mast antenna stock! I was the FM connoisseur! 
Living in this Coachella Valley... heck, I'm still doing that too! The radio stations around here were totally useless... heck, they still are.
Back then we only had one FM station that played something resembling rock... well during daytime hours anyway.
It was okay with me because I would drive my truck around the house finding the best signal from either KROQ , KPPC from L.A. or 91X from San Diego without bleed over. Both about 150 Miles away. And surrounded by mountains here.
I would upgrade my FM Radio when I could find one with the best FM sensitivity.
Working on these job sites, some guys would back up to the house they were working on and open up their doors from their vans/ trucks and just crank up the decibels.
This didn't last very long because of complaints from the superintendents.
I devised a system of running a 100% fader, and would run the wires to a standard 120 volt household outlet in the bed of my truck. By splitting the plug to "half hot" I could have a right and left channel. I then would just plug in extension cords for speaker wire and run them into the house. Very durable and I didn't get into (as much) trouble entertaining the whole job.
As time marched on, more and more FM stations made a weak attempt to play "music" here. They horned into my deal of sneaking distant FM stations that really influenced  my input of better music.
I suffered for a quite a while with the horrible FM.
Now it's great again with all the options with internet access on my phone. I can even get those old stations I used to listen to. And even better... I can listen to R.Paradise!


 
{#High-five}
KurtfromLaQuinta

KurtfromLaQuinta Avatar

Location: Really deep in the heart of South California
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 20, 2018 - 9:32pm

Back in the early/ mid 70's thru the mid 90's when I was working production drywall finishing... heck, I'm still doing that. {#Lol}
I bought my truck for work and pleasure... heck, I still have that.  45 years this December. It had the 31" mast antenna stock! I was the FM connoisseur! 
Living in this Coachella Valley... heck, I'm still doing that too! The radio stations around here were totally useless... heck, they still are.
Back then we only had one FM station that played something resembling rock... well during daytime hours anyway.
It was okay with me because I would drive my truck around the house finding the best signal from either KROQ , KPPC from L.A. or 91X from San Diego without bleed over. Both about 150 Miles away. And surrounded by mountains here.
I would upgrade my FM Radio when I could find one with the best FM sensitivity.
Working on these job sites, some guys would back up to the house they were working on and open up their doors from their vans/ trucks and just crank up the decibels.
This didn't last very long because of complaints from the superintendents.
I devised a system of running a 100% fader, and would run the wires to a standard 120 volt household outlet in the bed of my truck. By splitting the plug to "half hot" I could have a right and left channel. I then would just plug in extension cords for speaker wire and run them into the house. Very durable and I didn't get into (as much) trouble entertaining the whole job.
As time marched on, more and more FM stations made a weak attempt to play "music" here. They horned into my deal of sneaking distant FM stations that really influenced  my input of better music.
I suffered for a quite a while with the horrible FM.
Now it's great again with all the options with internet access on my phone. I can even get those old stations I used to listen to. And even better... I can listen to R.Paradise!



dxnerd86

dxnerd86 Avatar

Location: The Great Sydney Desert
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 20, 2018 - 9:05pm

If you want to get a sense of what is possible on AM in an isolated location with zero noise and no local stations, have a read of this:

http://www.dxing.info/dxpeditions/easter_island_2007.dx

Spoiler alert: basically the whole world was receivable on AM from Easter Island! True, he did use a professional setup with advanced antennas. 


dxnerd86

dxnerd86 Avatar

Location: The Great Sydney Desert
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 20, 2018 - 8:43pm

 BillG wrote:


 dxnerd86 wrote:
 
 

Neat! When I lived in Hawaii I would often hear Australian & NZ stations (easy to pick out because of the 9khz spacing which created 1k beat tones with the US stations).

I've never heard any on the US mainland - though I stopped even trying for anything like that years ago due to the high noise floor on AM in most areas these days. Maybe if I'm in Big Sur or the Olympic Peninsula or somewhere else on a remote stretch of coast.

 
Yes, beat tones or heterodynes- 'hets' for short- are what I look for when tuning in your 10 kHz splits. A 'het' manifests itself as a high pitched whine when tuned slightly off frequency. For example, a whine on 1090 kHz would indicate that a station on 1089 kHz is trying to get through. The het needs to be pretty strong in order for audio to be resolved, especially when the desired station is very close in frequency to a domestic channel like the 1089/1090 example.

The Hawaiian on 1570 kHz- KUAU- is heard most nights here, often in a mix with XERF 'La Poderosa' from Ciudad Acuna (XERF runs 100 kW). On better nights 1420 KKEA and 1500 KHKA can also be heard quite well. I cannot hear USA stations from home as there's too much electrical noise, and I'm not right on the coast either. My DX is usually done at a coastal headland, but some apartments I've stayed in near the beach have produced good results too. I was fortunate enough to have a power outage during my stay at Eden! 
n4ku

n4ku Avatar



Posted: Aug 20, 2018 - 8:41pm

 dxnerd86 wrote:
Hi all,

I'm just curious as to whether anyone here partakes in the rather eccentric hobby of DXing (seeking out distant AM and FM stations). 

I'm in Sydney, Australia; on our coast I can receive a few powerful AM stations from the western US on a good night with the help of a 70 cm/27 in loop antenna. On FM we receive E-skip from New Zealand and the Pacific islands quite regularly in the summer months.

Feel free to post your (geeky) observations and stories here. 
 
I started out as a shortwave listener around the age of twelve. Moved on to AM/Medium Wave, then to LW. Only occasional FM, other than six meters and HF. Carried all that through the first couple of years of college. Lost interest until I became a ham in my thirties. 
BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 20, 2018 - 6:55pm



 dxnerd86 wrote:
I managed to pick up KTNQ (1020), KEIB (1150), and KBLA (1580)- all from Los Angeles- at very strong levels a fortnight ago. The reception was strong enough to follow the rantings of Alex Jones on KEIB and decipher traffic reports ('slow on the 405') and news. This was from a town called Eden near the SE tip of mainland Australia. I used my Sangean portable radio and 26 inch loop antenna. The loop really helps in nulling unwanted domestic (Australian) stations. 

We're approaching the autumnal (vernal for me) equinox when trans-Pacific signals are usually the strongest, so keep an ear on the dials if you're on the west coast. You might hear something from Australia, New Zealand, or the South Pacific islands. The best time to try is around sunrise Pacific time. 
 

Neat! When I lived in Hawaii I would often hear Australian & NZ stations (easy to pick out because of the 9khz spacing which created 1k beat tones with the US stations).

I've never heard any on the US mainland - though I stopped even trying for anything like that years ago due to the high noise floor on AM in most areas these days. Maybe if I'm in Big Sur or the Olympic Peninsula or somewhere else on a remote stretch of coast.
dxnerd86

dxnerd86 Avatar

Location: The Great Sydney Desert
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 20, 2018 - 6:20pm

I managed to pick up KTNQ (1020), KEIB (1150), and KBLA (1580)- all from Los Angeles- at very strong levels a fortnight ago. The reception was strong enough to follow the rantings of Alex Jones on KEIB and decipher traffic reports ('slow on the 405') and news. This was from a town called Eden near the SE tip of mainland Australia. I used my Sangean portable radio and 26 inch loop antenna. The loop really helps in nulling unwanted domestic (Australian) stations. 

We're approaching the autumnal (vernal for me) equinox when trans-Pacific signals are usually the strongest, so keep an ear on the dials if you're on the west coast. You might hear something from Australia, New Zealand, or the South Pacific islands. The best time to try is around sunrise Pacific time. 
dxnerd86

dxnerd86 Avatar

Location: The Great Sydney Desert
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 18, 2018 - 3:09pm

 kurtster wrote:
A small old style roof top TV antenna mounted in your attic would work well, especially if you had a rotor on it.  That would be best.  Even better if you put it outdoors on the roof.  But I would try the rabbit ears first.
 
+1.

There is really no substitute for a dedicated outdoor FM antenna (Yagi) for pulling in long-haul signals. Rotators are great but- at least here in Australia- are pretty expensive (they're mostly aimed at the high end amateur radio/ham market). 

A quality FM tuner is also a must. The Sony XDR-F1HD is what I use; you won't find these cheap now however it's cousin, the Sony XDR-S3HD, is better if you like rotary tuning, offers equivalent performance and they are usually much cheaper. 

(I'm sorry for mentioning products here, but this tuner is really that good). 


ScottFromWyoming

ScottFromWyoming Avatar

Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 18, 2018 - 2:30pm

I worked in Yellowstone one summer and the dorms had an antique radio with 5 bands of I have no idea what. No external antenna, but it could pull in KOMA in the daytime, and it sounded great. At night stuff came in from around the world. Pretty high elevation, and zero local radio within 30 miles. And very very thin walls on that building I'm sure it all contributed.
Kaw

Kaw Avatar

Location: Just above sea level
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 18, 2018 - 1:36pm

As a kid I loved doing this. In the Netherlands the FM band is completely used to the last megahertz so no fun there. AM was more fun. I managed to get radio stations from Germany and France with ease. I remember getting some eastern European stations as well if the weather was just right. I could not understand the languages so the exact country is unknown to me.

But my favorite was shortwave. I loved to find stations from the USA. I once found a LA based station and that was my record.
kurtster

kurtster Avatar

Location: drifting
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 18, 2018 - 12:50pm

 cc_rider wrote:
I love threads like this, bringing people with weird hobbies together. The 'Musical Frog Taxidermy' thread is still pretty quiet though...

Question about antennas for plain old FM reception. My radio reception is pretty marginal. We're not in the sticks, but the stations I like are pretty low-power, digital tuners don't like to bring them in. Our attic is huge with a high pitch, so I have plenty of room to string something up. I bought a couple of those cheapo 75-ohm 'T' FM antennas, and found a spool of 300-ohm TV antenna wire at Habitat Restore (really cheap, and who would ever use it anymore?).

Would either one of those, or both, do much for FM reception? Any particular configuration? Total noob here.
Thanks!
c.

 
I have indoor rabbit ears with a rotary adjustment dial designed for TV that I use(d).  The coax connector goes straight into the receiver, very handily.  Iffen you do not have a coax input, converters for two wire inputs can be easily found.  When I lived in the middle of nowhere in terms of FM around here it worked very well.  A small old style roof top TV antenna mounted in your attic would work well, especially if you had a rotor on it.  That would be best.  Even better if you put it outdoors on the roof.  But I would try the rabbit ears first.

This is what I have, surprised you can still find it.  Mine must be 20 years old.  TV, not, but good for FM.
.
RCA Advanced Indoor Antenna Model ANT130 - for TV and FM radio

.



cc_rider

cc_rider Avatar

Location: Bastrop
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 18, 2018 - 7:41am

I love threads like this, bringing people with weird hobbies together. The 'Musical Frog Taxidermy' thread is still pretty quiet though...

Question about antennas for plain old FM reception. My radio reception is pretty marginal. We're not in the sticks, but the stations I like are pretty low-power, digital tuners don't like to bring them in. Our attic is huge with a high pitch, so I have plenty of room to string something up. I bought a couple of those cheapo 75-ohm 'T' FM antennas, and found a spool of 300-ohm TV antenna wire at Habitat Restore (really cheap, and who would ever use it anymore?).

Would either one of those, or both, do much for FM reception? Any particular configuration? Total noob here.
Thanks!
c.
dxnerd86

dxnerd86 Avatar

Location: The Great Sydney Desert
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 18, 2018 - 12:54am

 BillG wrote:

I got started on DX listening as a kid in Western Colorado, when the only stations that played rock & roll music were late night skywave signals from Chicago (WLS), Oklahoma City (KOMA), & Salt Lake City (KCPX). I'd listen under the covers when I was supposed to be sleeping, with my big old tube radio. 

I spent lots of time DXing both AM & FM bands all through my radio career. Not so much these days, as AM is trashed by the noise generated by all of today's electronic gizmos & the FM is crammed full of cookie-cutter sludge.

I worked at an AM station in Hawaii years ago & we got some great reception reports and tapes from DXers all around the Pacific — even one guy in Norway (a near-impossibility with 10kw @ 1 MHz, but he sent a tape). 

VHF E-skip is fun, but so unpredictable. Years ago when I lived in the South San Fransisco Bay area I set up a special FM antenna array that would let me (usually) pick up several Los Angeles FM stations from Mt. Wilson — 425km away — even though I was down near sea level. That impressed the hell out of my engineer buddies.

 
I had an inkling the maestro himself was a closet DXer- nice to know you're 'one of us' :). I got into the hobby because of my love for radio programming, not the other way round.

AM noise is terrible in the suburbs of Sydney as well, but fortunately the noise isn't too bad on the coast and in rural areas. 1580 KBLA Santa Monica and 940 KFIG Fresno are the most regular signals from over your way. 1570 KUAU Hawaii is also very good at times. You really won't get much without a loop antenna, and a couple of hundred metres of wire will yield even better results. I've also got KNX 1070 from near Sydney, though it was a freak catch since there are several strong stations on 1071 kHz here at night (Australia uses 9 kHz spacing). 

425 km/ 264 miles is a great result for daily FM reception and mirrors my results with an 8 element Yagi and amplifier. I do sometimes get aircraft scatter from a station 700 km/434 miles away, but the signal is very very weak and this station runs 250 kW! 

And since I have you here, Bill- let me congratulate you and Rebecca on (18?) years running RP. Commercial radio is as bad over here as it is in the US, though we're fortunate to have several good community radio stations. 





kurtster

kurtster Avatar

Location: drifting
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 17, 2018 - 9:30pm

 dxnerd86 wrote:
Hi all,

I'm just curious as to whether anyone here partakes in the rather eccentric hobby of DXing (seeking out distant AM and FM stations). 

I'm in Sydney, Australia; on our coast I can receive a few powerful AM stations from the western US on a good night with the help of a 70 cm/27 in loop antenna. On FM we receive E-skip from New Zealand and the Pacific islands quite regularly in the summer months.

Feel free to post your (geeky) observations and stories here. 
 
Yeah, did that a lot as a kid.  And with TV stations.

The most unlikely thing I ever pulled in was KNX 1070 out of LA all the way east back in Kent, Ohio in the early 70's.  No special antenna.  Was able to get it for a few days in a row.  That is 2,400 miles away over the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Rocky Mountains.

Another station that I would tune in somewhat regularly while driving around in the Deep South of the US was WOWO out of Fort Wayne, Indiana and CKLW out of Detroit.  While living in Philly, Pa. I would tune into WABC out of NYC and listen to Cousin Brucie at night.  I still try and find WABC here in Cleveland every once in awhile while driving.  They no longer play music, I just do it for S & G's.  Every once in awhile I try and get WSM out of Nashville.

TV, I have to say that I did pretty darn well with that.  As a kid living up in the Berkeley Hills in the SF Bay area, I was able to pull in Channel 3 From Sacramento on a somewhat regular basis.  Down south in Orange County, I was able to get Channel 3 out of Santa Barbara, most of the San Diego stations and even Channel 12 XEWT from Tijuana, Mexico in the mid 60's.

Those days are over now with digital TV.

The strangest thing that I ever saw on Channel 12 was an ad for Tide Laundry detergent.  It was around 1966.  There was a woman washing her clothes in a bath tub with a scrub board using Tide.  Was a real mindblower seeing that.  Seeing the accepted standard of living in Mexico compared to what we had was unsettling.  Granted we still had wringer washing machines then, my Grandmother still used one, but to actually see that, which was only one step up from beating clothes on rocks by the side of a river left a lasting impression on me to this day.  It made me stop and think how fortunate we were / are with all the simplest things we take for granted.  As a result, I still try and take nothing for granted to this very day.
BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 17, 2018 - 5:59pm

 dxnerd86 wrote:
Hi all,

I'm just curious as to whether anyone here partakes in the rather eccentric hobby of DXing (seeking out distant AM and FM stations). 

I'm in Sydney, Australia; on our coast I can receive a few powerful AM stations from the western US on a good night with the help of a 70 cm/27 in loop antenna. On FM we receive E-skip from New Zealand and the Pacific islands quite regularly in the summer months.

Feel free to post your (geeky) observations and stories here. 
 
I got started on DX listening as a kid in Western Colorado, when the only stations that played rock & roll music were late night skywave signals from Chicago (WLS), Oklahoma City (KOMA), & Salt Lake City (KCPX). I'd listen under the covers when I was supposed to be sleeping, with my big old tube radio. 

I spent lots of time DXing both AM & FM bands all through my radio career. Not so much these days, as AM is trashed by the noise generated by all of today's electronic gizmos & the FM is crammed full of cookie-cutter sludge.

I worked at an AM station in Hawaii years ago & we got some great reception reports and tapes from DXers all around the Pacific — even one guy in Norway (a near-impossibility with 10kw @ 1 MHz, but he sent a tape). 

VHF E-skip is fun, but so unpredictable. Years ago when I lived in the South San Fransisco Bay area I set up a special FM antenna array that would let me (usually) pick up several Los Angeles FM stations from Mt. Wilson — 425km away — even though I was down near sea level. That impressed the hell out of my engineer buddies.


dxnerd86

dxnerd86 Avatar

Location: The Great Sydney Desert
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 16, 2018 - 3:34pm

Hi all,

I'm just curious as to whether anyone here partakes in the rather eccentric hobby of DXing (seeking out distant AM and FM stations). 

I'm in Sydney, Australia; on our coast I can receive a few powerful AM stations from the western US on a good night with the help of a 70 cm/27 in loop antenna. On FM we receive E-skip from New Zealand and the Pacific islands quite regularly in the summer months.

Feel free to post your (geeky) observations and stories here.