all the obvious DXing stuff?

Tim Davisson

This group is really growing nicely!

The ultralight phenomenon has really stoked a lot of interest in AM-
band DXing....and re-ignited my interest in broadcast band DXing
even though I'd been doing it off and on since the early 1960's as a
young kid.

But, I was thinking...are there obvious things we can do to enhance
our ultralight fun? Maybe. Maybe everybody already knows the
following ideas, but with so many new listeners...maybe not:

*wear headphones. It's far easier to pull a signal out of a busy
frequency with headphones. On a noisy, busy frequency in particular,
headphones seem to make it far easier to pick out call letters or
other bits of information during signal fades or other stations
popping in and out while you're trying to pull a station "out of the

*earbuds. I've found earbuds to be handy size-wise, but they're said
to be bad for your ears' health and they just don't seem to work
nearly as well as regular headphones IMHO.

*DX away from computers, TVs that are on, and cable/DSL boxes. Why?
These devices put interference/whistles onto the AM band if you're
too close by while listening. Your DX location needs to be at least
20 feet from computers, TVs, cable boxes, microwave ovens that are
in use, and so forth. When possible, turn off those devices.

*DX sunrise weekdays. By far the time of the day that AM stations
are most active with their live and/or local programming. It's
radio's chance to hear a local commercial,
newscast, weather report...thus easier to identify who/what you're
listening to. The most interesting propagation comes roughly an
hour before your local sunrise til an hour after local sunrise.

*DX sunset. Good propagation roughly an hour before your local
sunset til an hour after local sunset.

*DX when it's dark out. Or, between your local sunset and the next
morning when the sun comes up. After local sunset running til just
before your local sunrise, conditions tend to settle down and be
pretty stable.

*When it's dark...somewhere it's light. Since I live on the eastern
edge of the midwest in Ohio...this works best for me at sunset.
Right after my local sunset in Akron...and for an hour or so
depending on band conditions/skip...I can often hear stations in
states to the west where's it's still light outside. They're
frequently still on daytime powers and antenna patterns. Makes it
easier to hear them.

*Remember to null. Nulling out a station you don't want to hear
(local, semi-local) in order to hear another station on the same
frequency or nearby frequency is one of the oldest AM DXing
techniques. That's why I personally look for the radio that has the
best nulling capability.

*Find a high-powered AM, and null. When conditions are really alive,
I'll head for the "clear-channel" stations (not the ones owned by
the company of the same name...the ones I mean are 50,000-watt
stations that have huge, regular coverage areas). Tune in one of
those stations, and null/turn the radio and look for a null in the
big station's signal. Often you'll be amazed what you can
hear...hundreds of miles away, occassionally thousands of miles
away. It's really a cool aspect of AM DXing many forget about.

*DXing FM. What's FM? LOL, hi, hi.

There's a few of the things I've learned and been taught over the
decades listening to AM for distant stations. I'm sure there's many
I've missed, and I hope others will add their tips.

Many of these items to a lot of us....but maybe not all of us, are
obvious. Hope it helps some of you.


Tim, KD8GZ
Norton, Ohio

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