DXing in dreams: An unintended continuation of the hobby

Credit: stock.xchng
Credit: stock.xchng

Imagine working the best E-skip opening of your life where every FM frequency and TV channel is full of unfamiliar signals, with MUFs unrealistically high (i.e. TV 50). Then, suddenly, you wake up and realize it was all a dream.

I occasionally dream about DXing.  It usually always involves a Sporadic E opening, but less often, a tropo opening would be experienced, instead.  Before writing this article, I weighed the possibility of admitting to dreaming about DXing, as it could be viewed by some as being embarrassing.  However I decided that it is an interesting concept of the hobby – it continuing as you sleep.  I have also read about DX-related dreams on other related forums and websites, so I know I’m not alone.

The dreams themselves are very rare.  Typically, I may have one every 4-5 months or so, however I may have one every two weeks in the summer when I DX the most.

I seem to have good regular dream recall to the point where I can often remember 1-3 dreams every night.  In fact, it is another interest of mine—keeping track of dreams.  A website called ld4all.com talks about lucid dreaming, a technique where you can realize you are dreaming as you are dreaming and can consciously control what is going on around you.  Although that is beyond the scope of the article, I suggest anyone interested to check the site and their forums out as it details how dreams are like and what to expect in them outside the obvious.

What I find interesting is how almost every aspect of DXing is enhanced to the point of it being ridiculously unrealistic in dreams.  The typical limitations of DXing, i.e. MUFs, distance limitations, pests such as RFI or local signals, etc. are thrown out the window in most of my dreams.

Credit: stock.xchng
Credit: stock.xchng

Also, strangely, my shack never appears in dreams.  Often, I’m using a radio in a dream while sitting on the ground or while laying in a bed – something I never do in reality.  The equipment I’m using during a DX dream is always different than in real life, too.  The radios used in dreams seem huge, clunky, hard to use, and are always old-fashioned analog dial FM tuners or CRT analog TVs .  RDS appears in dreams and is often received with the aforementioned radios which were built before RDS was commonplace.

In almost all dreams involving FM DX, the band is full of Es signals that do not fade.  Local signals are never there, and I almost never hear music.  Instead, I always hear talking or just gibberish.  In TV DX dreams, every channel is full of vibrant broadcasts full of color and the MUF extends way beyond the typical confines, often to TV 50.  For some reason, I always see aerial views from a helicopter on-screen when I see a television in a dream.  I never see a station ID but I somehow magically know what I’m picking up.  I typically am only DXing one band or another at a time in one dream…I don’t remember ever getting FM and TV DX simultaneously in the same dream.

Credit: stock.xchng
Credit: stock.xchng

In one dream, my radio only displayed frequencies as ‘101,’ ‘102,’ etc. without the decimal afterward.  In another, my radio screen showed full lyrics to the song being played by an Es signal, much like RDS.

In fact, I’ve ‘logged’ several stations within dreams to the point where I remember the call letters, city of license and/or station name upon waking up.  This is, perhaps, the more embarrassing aspect of DXing in dreams, as I would suspect most DXers would not retain such detailed info.  I try to make note of it, and the results are often funny, or somehow related to something I read online about a station.

Here’s an example of the imaginary stations I’ve logged while dreaming (I wrote these down upon waking up):

1. 101.1 “Y101” Rincon, GA, country format.  In reality, there is a 101.1 in Rincon, GA, WLVH, however it is licensed to Hardeeville, SC and has an urban format as “Love 101.1”.  I logged this station in real life while in Myrtle Beach in 2012.
2. 92.3 station with an RDS decode of “WAMS-FM” via Es.  In reality, WAMS was a former station on 101.1 in Snow Hill, MD, logged in real life at home via tropo.
3. 89.3 station identified as “89.3 Victory” with an RDS callsign decode of “NYYI-FM.”  The radio station’s logo also appeared on my radio’s screen in the dream.  The station doesn’t exist in reality.
4. 101.9 station with an RDS decode of “LITE1019.” In reality, that would be WLIF Baltimore, MD, a semi-local, however their RDS typically reads “Lite FM” in reality, not “LITE1019”.

Of course I’d never log these imaginary stations in my formal DX log since they were technically made up in my sleeping mind, however it is fun to think of what DXing in real life can do to you while you rest.