Kilokat7 Radio Blog

West Michigan DX Log

About

I just started DXing again in 2009 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.

Aside from DXing, I also enjoy collecting early technology and have a strong interest in antique radios, early vacuum tubes and antique incandescent lamps.

9 Responses to “About”

  1. Bill Carney said

    Hi. My in-laws spend 3-4 weeks camping at Pioneer County Park just NW of Muskegon during the summer, and they’re going out there starting this weekend. They’ve invited us out, and I was wondering if you happened to know how “DX friendly” the place is? The last park I went to was up near Mackinaw City, and there was so much RF noise that AM DXing (or even local AM listing for that matter) was impossible. I’m just wondering it would be worth the while to pack the radio gear or not.

    Bill Carney

  2. kilokat7 said

    Hi Bill,

    I’ve never DXed from Pioneer Park. Since it’s an electrified campground, I wouldn’t expect it to be completely RF noise free. There are also some residential houses in the nearby vicinity along the lakeshore that may also contribute to the noise level. What kind of antennas are you thinking about? You may have better luck at the Muskegon State Park, just down the road to the South:

    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=43.23845,-86.333742&spn=0.022948,0.048237&t=h&z=15

    The state park is a bit more secluded with many dunes that might allow for some larger antennas. I have actually been thinking about taking the Perseus to the state park now that I have a DC power converter built.

  3. I suggest Kruse (Bronson) as an alternative as well. Not as secluded as the State Park, but the boardwalks that criss-cross the area and go to the top of the dunes and along the top ridge of them, are a nice easy way to get around. They’re a bit taller than the State Park, which allows to block and local pests. Downside of course, there are some people. They will look at you strangely while DXing (as they sometimes do to me haha).

  4. Bill Carney said

    I was thinking of a BOG – just a long wire strung on the ground. I’m also trying to figure out how to mount a car battery and the radio equipment inside one of those coolers with wheels, for ease of transport.

    Chris sent me a PM with a rundown of the local area as well, so now I have a number of locations to choose from.

    I get strange looks from my spouse when DXing, so I’m accustomed to it. 🙂

  5. kilokat7 said

    Bill – a BOG would be a great idea, simple, and fairly easy to deploy, but it’s probably not suited for the populated beaches in the area unless you can find a remote spot. And then, orientation will be limited to N-S for a decent length BOG. The dunes behind the lakeshore are a bit more open and secluded, but of course the terrain isn’t flat. Let me know how it goes and what you’re able to pull in from there. As Chris knows, the area is probably better suited for FM/VHF DX if you’re into that.

  6. Hmm, yeah. A BOG, although I’m only moderately familiar with it from the Milwaukee-Madison GTGs we have every August, would be good in Muskegon State Park, just down the road from Pioneer. You can practically walk there (although I’d recommend driving and parking in a little area on the beach side of the road just BEFORE the park gate). It’s more secluded there and it’s the quietest beach in the area that is fix for DXing. But the terrain, as he said, is absolutely not flat. There are some other areas around there, between Pioneer and the State Park, that would be good. There is a tall dune between there that separates the state park campground from the beach and lake. No matter what band you use, you’ll likely face a lot of interference from Chicagoland stations.

  7. Bill Carney said

    Hmm….Looks like I may have to start re-thinking how I’m going to get an antenna up/out (at least for AM DXing/Perseus recording). I have a small Quantum Loop that I could press into service – and it runs on a 9V battery which would be useful.

    • kilokat7 said

      Bill – FYI, the Muskegon area amateur radio club is having their Field Day at nearby Margaret Drake Elliot Park (on the other side of the channel from you) this weekend…

  8. kilokat7 said

    I really like my Quantum Loop but I can’t make the antenna work correctly with the Perseus. It works great with my old DX-440, and I’ve pulled in some good DX with this combination, but I’ve given up trying to use the Quantum with the Perseus. Besides this, you’ll want a broadband antenna for Perseus recordings. The quantum loop is only good for one channel: fine for live DXing but not so good for spectrum recordings! I use a 500 FT BOG with my Perseus during the winter months at home and like this combination.

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