Sunday, March 28, 2010

Medium Wave DX-ing

When I rediscovered the radio hobby 4-5 years ago my main interest soon become medium wave DX-ing. It means that I like to try to listen for local AM stations mostly from America. It could be sports, news, music or other kind of stations. In south and central america it become a little more challenging as the language is usually Spanish. One might wonder what´s the fun of that. I think it´s a great hobby in many different ways.

It could be technically challenging both with receivers and antennas. One of the most common medium wave dx antennas is the Beverage antenna . It´s basically a wire that goes horizontally  in the direction of the desired area (North America for example) and is usually put in the trees in the woods, for at least a couple of hundred meters.But you could of course get lucky with simpler antennas. During the Winter I´ve been able to receive some stations even with a portable radio with ferrite antenna.

The American radio stations are spaced 10 kHz apart compared to the Europeans that are 9 kHz apart. You can see the carriers of both European and American stations in the image above.

Another aspect is language and geography. Sometimes you never know where the conditions will take you. In one minute you are in Cuba and then you are in New York, as an example.

The third aspect is hunt and collect. It´s always fun to receive a new station that you have not heard before. You can also send a letter to the station and ask for a confirmation that you heard the station, but that´s something that I don´t do any longer as the stations are usually not interested at all to receive a letter from a geek in Sweden...

I haven´t been listening to the medium wave during the last months (when it´s been very good conditions!) mostly due to that fact that I can´t devote as much time to the hobbies as I want, and the little time that has been there was used to study for the ham radio license.

But you might wonder how  an American AM station sound like when it´s received in Sweden? Here´s some examples of a few stations that are not that uncommon:

680 WRKO Boston MA "This is Boston's talk station AM 6-80 WRKO"

1070 KNX Los Angeles CA "This is KNX 10-70 AM and HD"

1190 WLIB New York NY "Your praise and inspiration station"

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