Spring Cleaning: Keeping your DXing Experience in Tip Top Shape

spring_cleaningIt’s that time of year again.  The 2015 DX season is right around the corner, and there’s only one thing that stands between you, marvelous warm weather and serious DX: your neglected DX shack and related equipment.

Cleaning and organizing one’s DXing area is likely not high on the list of interest for the average person, however, doing so can greatly benefit performance (and piece of mind) throughout the new season.  Here are some of the things you can do to ensure the new year will be prosperous for your DX log:

  • Antennas: While you are at tail end of the off-season, utilize the warming weather and lack of all-day-debilitating radio events to see if your antennas are in prime condition.  Take care to ensure your antenna is not broken, rusted over, or bent.  See that your rotor still turns your antenna and make sure your antenna is pointing in the correct direction vs. what is shown on your rotor control.  Look at the coax or twin-lead wire leading from your antenna to ensure it has no kinks or damage.
  • FM Dial: Although DXers *should* be aware of any minute change to all of their local and regional stations at any given area, I’m sure that many (myself included) often don’t check the FM band at all when deadband conditions are present outside of a quick dial scan here and there.  Listen to every local station to see if there are any format changes, new station names, or anything else that may make you (during a strong Es or Tr opening later this year) do a double-take and think your local signal is a new log (don’t you hate when that happens?)
  • FM Logs: Use this time to get reacquainted with your FM logs.  If you live in an area like me where there is usually no DX at all in the colder months, your memory of regional tropo pests and distant Sporadic E signals may have become a little rusty in the past few months.  Take some time to review your DX log so you will be in the best position come Sporadic E time.
  • Radios: Although dusting should be a regular thing to do in your DX shack, use this time to really deep clean your equipment.  If possible, open the radios’ cabinets and clear out any potential spiderwebs or gunk to ensure your radios last longer.  Ensure wires connected to your equipment aren’t frayed or damage–replace if they are.
  • Accessories: Make sure you have everything you need at the ready for an unannounced DX opening, such as a pen, notebook and the latest version of your DX log.
  • Website: If you have a DX website, use this time to check to see if all links still work (replace or remove the dead links), refresh content to reflect the new DX season, and make any design changes to give your website new life.

Do you have any specific procedures that you follow during your yearly DX spring cleaning?  Let me know.