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.