FM radio relogs: A joy and pain of DXing (part 1 of 2)

975Editor’s Note: This is a two-part series I am writing about relogs.  Expect part two, which will focus on dealing with relogs in your DX Log, to be published very soon.

Imagine you are a DXer working a phenomenal opening.  You write down a list of new stations and after adding them to your DX log, you realize that the station was already in your logbook under a different callsign, station name or format.  Yep, you just picked up a relog.

Part of DXing is dealing with relogs, which can be any station heard that you have already added to your DX log.  Relog can be very helpful to a DXer’s career.  Hearing a distant FM or TV relog may tip a DXer off to a building tropo duct or sporadic E opening. especially if the station is not commonly received.  On a relatively empty frequency, a common relog can help a DXer better monitor the frequency for new DX.  For example, if an urban signal is heard all the time on 103.5 FM in your home and you suddenly pick up an adult contemporary signal on the same frequency, it is likely a new log.

But at the same time, relogs can be a very annoying, unwelcome part of the hobby.  As previously mentioned, a relog may have changed formats, moniker or call letters since it was last received.  Unless you are familiar beforehand with the changes, it’ll appear as a completely new signal if you don’t hear locally-identifying information, such as local ads.  It is unpleasant to get excited over picking up a seemingly new station only to find out later that it was a stale, tired relog.  It has happened many times to me, especially during sporadic E openings into unfamiliar portions of the country.

92.9 WDHC Berkeley Springs, WV has become a common relog suddenly in the past few months.

92.9 WDHC Berkeley Springs, WV has become a common relog suddenly in the past few months.

One thing I’ve noticed that is peculiar about relogs is that a station seems to appear more after its initial logging.  I know a relog is a station that is received more than once so by design, it is expected to get the station again in the future.  But take this into consideration.  I monitor my best clear frequency, 92.9 FM, 24/7/365.  I’ve become an expert on the frequency in my area.  Before 5/21/13, I have never logged 92.9 WDHC Berkeley Springs, WV @ 71 miles.  However, after its initial logging that day, WDHC is now heard at my home at least 2-3 times weekly.  I did not change anything in my antenna setup to increase gain toward WDHC nor have I heard the signal in the previous six years of monitoring 92.9 FM continuously.  Another 92.9 station, WMGS Wilkes-Barre, PA @ 188 miles, which was logged for the first time earlier this month on Oct. 9, has been heard two more times in the previous weeks following years of no trace of the signal locally.  It is as if the signals suddenly bombard the local RF after an initial logging.

I’ve also noticed that relogs often follow a pattern of when they are received, which can change over the years.  For example, from about 2009-2011 on 92.9 FM I’d pick up 92.9 WVHL Farmville, VA @ 117 miles at least once every day.  But now, I may only pick up WVHL once every few months, if at that.  98.1 WFGY Altoona, PA @ 145 miles was a common visitor between 2006-2008 and was not received at all until earlier this month, when it became a common relog again.

Regardless, relogs are an integral part of being a DXer.  Even if they are unwanted, it is good to pick up a less-common relog.  Either way, it ensures you that your antenna system is, in fact, fully operational.