Murphy’s Laws of DXing

After recent discussion about Murphy’s Law on the TV/FM Skip Log and how it hits the DXing hobby, I decided to make a list of laws I’ve seen others, and myself exhibit over the past 14 years of DXing.

If you would like to add a law to the list below, please contact me with the law and your name/location so I can attribute it to you when I add it below.

General DXing Laws

  • The radio dial will be full of DX signals only when you are unable to DX.
  • The station you hope you received, you didn’t.
  • The radio you need, you can’t afford and/or is discontinued.
  • The DXer who sits at their radio waiting for DX will never receive it.
  • The one device you need to successfully DX (i.e. computer, lamps) emits RFI and ruins DX when turned on.
  • A translator or new station will always debut on your clearest FM DX frequency.
  • The strongest local signal is always the station with the most unnecessary translators sprinkled throughout your radio dial.
  • The chance of a local signal broadcasting IBOC is directly proportional to how open its adjacent frequencies would be if it didn’t run IBOC.
  • Reception is always much better in your car, even if its feet away from your home antenna.
  • Your audio recorder will fail only during a very important station ID.
  • The local IBOC-emitting FM transmitters are always in your best direction for DX.
  • Strong regional stations will always block further stations from being heard.
  • When regional DXers are enjoying Tr ducts over 500 miles away, you get nothing.
  • Your antenna will need to be replaced or fixed right when strong DX is coming in.
  • The perfect home always has the worst conditions for DXing.
  • The local FM transmitters are always closer to your home than others’.
  • The likelihood of a spouse’s disapproval of DXing is directly proportional to the level of the DXer’s interest in the hobby.
  • Most assumed new logs are really relogs that changed format, calls or station name.
  • The best DX opening you ever worked is always in the past and is never in the present or about to happen in the future.
  • When faced with two possible new logs, the station received is always the less-desirable of the two.
  • DX is always nonexistent on adjacent frequencies when a local station’s IBOC is off-air.
  • No DX signals come in when a local analog signal is off-air.
  • Your favorite FM station is guaranteed to change formats.
  • The chance of a DX signal using a ‘dry segue’ between songs is directly proportional to the DXer’s need of hearing an ID.
  • Strong tropo will bring in distant IBOC sidebands to block free frequencies instead of analog signals.
  • There will always be something (i.e. mountains, RFI, significant others) that prevents a desired signal from being heard.
  • The audio recording will fail only when the station in question is exotic DX, a new distance record, or both.
  • The best spot for reception is always the most painful, awkward and difficult spot to hold an indoor antenna.

Sporadic E-Skip Laws

  • Es is more common everywhere but where you are currently located.
  • A strong signal will always fade out moments before an ID, only to return just as strong afterward.
  • Your work hours are the only hours Es is received in your area.
  • If an Es opening was missed and unattended recordings were made, the recordings will only yield relogs and tropo pests.
  • The rarity and intensity of an Es opening is directly proportional to the chance of a passing storm and/or power outage.
  • The chance of FM Es happening is directly proportional to the chance of something else (phone call, unexpected visitors, restroom break, other obligations) you can’t ignore immediately requiring your attention.
  • A nearby signal always rebroadcasts the same program/station you thought you logged by Es.
  • When DXers within 200 miles get sustained, strong Es to 107.9, you get nothing.
  • The chance of strong tropo popping up and ruining non-local frequencies is directly proportional to the intensity of an FM Es opening.
  • The chance of getting FM Es is inversely proportional to how much a DXer wants it.
  • Traveling to an Es hotspot will guarantee no Es.
  • The chance of getting FM Es is inversely proportional to how much free time you have.
  • The RDS decode/HD callsign will disappear from the radio’s screen once you point a camera at it.
  • Top-of-the-band FM Es is always found moments before you must walk away from the radio for other obligations.
  • The strong, otherwise impossible-to-override local station will easily succumb to distant Es signals only during periods of no IDs.
  • Your notes, which made perfect sense during the Es opening, don’t afterward.
  • If you are only free to DX on the evenings and weekends, Es only comes in during weekday mornings.
  • Generic radio network IDs are only heard on frequencies which have multiple affiliates on the same frequency.
  • A DXer is guaranteed to miss a phenomenal FM Es opening if they decide to take a nap or sleep in.

Meteor Scatter Laws

  • The chance of forgetting to set radios to record Ms occurs the most during active meteor showers.
  • An Ms ping always occurs right before or after an ID.
  • IDs heard via Ms are always generic network IDs which do not yield a log.
  • The only stations heard via Ms are stations you already logged via Es or Tr.
  • Your antenna is always pointed in the wrong direction for good Ms.
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