Kilokat7 Radio Blog

West Michigan DX Log

Archive for December, 2009

Faroe Islands heard in Michigan!

Posted by kilokat7 on December 30, 2009

I’ve been hearing a faint carrier on 531 during the evening for the last few months but nothing ever reaching audio.  CIAO on 530 usually obliterates anything in this neighborhood anyway for me but I have heard Cuba here before.  Checked again tonight, not really expecting to hear anything other than the mystery carrier, and was surprised to hear some audio coming across from RNE 5 Spain on 531.  I had to tune up to 533 to avoid much of CIAO’s splatter.  About 5 minutes after tuning in, RNE 5 faded into soft pop music which had started to dominate.  Turns out the soft pop music was coming from the Faroe Islands – a tiny group of islands between Norway & Iceland.  No talk heard, but audio was clear enough and music distinct enough to easily parallel to the web stream.  The audio stream may be found here.

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Google Earth & DX’ing

Posted by kilokat7 on December 13, 2009

The more I use Google Earth, the more uses I find for it relating to DXing.  Case in point- I’ve been looking at the vacant land behind our house with the anticipation of laying out a pair of BOGs (beverage on ground antennas) for DXing medium wave stations.  Google Earth’s satellite view allows me to visualize the antenna layout (to work around obstacles, etc.) and provides a tool to measure length and heading.  With this information, I can figure out exactly how long of an antenna I can layout and the beam direction.  Knowing the antenna’s heading, I can then extend a theoretical path from my QTH along this heading to see where the end results are, and tweak as needed for the intended target stations.

I’ve also been using Google Earth to create a DX map of AM broadcast stations received here as a better way for me to visualize what I’ve been logging (in addition to spreadsheet logging).  From Google Earth, this data can easily be exported as a KMZ file and brought into Google Maps to share with the public.  Here is how my DX map is looking (still populating fields, but you get the idea), QTH is West Michigan, blue placemarks are night catches, yellow are afternoon catches, and red are LW beacons logged:

Clicking on the colored placemarks will popup more information about the logging including station call letters, frequency, time of logging, etc.

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DXing the ’80s

Posted by kilokat7 on December 13, 2009

I just started DXing again this year after being out of the hobby since about 1990.  I was active during my teenage years in the 1980s and was affiliated with such radio clubs as IRCA and the ACE.  At that time, I was primarily interested in shortwave pirate radio DXing, mediumwave DXing, and shortwave utility monitoring.  My equipment was modest and included various old tube “boat anchors” that usually gave poor results but kept the room warm on winter nights.  Antennas used were nothing more than a long wire strung through some tree branches outside.  At some point I got a little more serious and saved enough money to buy a General Electric #7-2990A “World Monitor”.  Finally – a receiver with a digital frequency counter!  I could finally “see” what frequency I was on with some degree of accuracy, even though the frequency drift was anoying.

My next big purchase was a Microlog “SWL” cartridge for my Commodore 64 computer.  The “SWL” allowed digital mode reception to be captured and decoded using the C64 allowing clear text viewing and printing of non-encrypted RTTY, CW, etc.  In 1986, this was indeed high tech stuff, or at least it seemed like so to me!

Electronic messages with other DXers occurred through computer bulletin board systems and many long distance telephone charges to Kansas City’s ANARC BBS.  Cassette tapes of recorded DX receptions were happily traded with other DXers across the country and from overseas.  I have numerous air checks of shortwave pirates, numbers stations, and other curiosities that I’m slowly migrating to MP3.  I hope to offer these recordings through these pages as time goes on for those interested.  The same goes for my humble collection of ’80s pirate QSL cards which I’m beginning to digitize.

By about 1990 I left the hobby and moved on to other interests, but the DX bug has struck again twenty years later, and here I am writing about it.  I have a lot good memories “DXing the ’80s” and I’ll be revisiting them here from time to time while sharing my current station loggings.  If you share the same excitement about DXing then I invite you to stick around.

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