Articles

Browse all of my articles below.  Articles are listed in reverse chronological order, with the newest stories at the top.   Although I write articles year-round, I typically post them in the “DX off-season,” which is typically between August and May each year.

Translator update: FM dial is worse in Northern Virginia – 11/12/16

I update my 2013 article on translators/LPFMs and look at how the local radio dial has changed since then.

2016 Sporadic E-Skip Year in Review – 8/1/16

The 2016 Sporadic E season seemed to be 2015 all over again.

It’s June: Where’s the Skip? – 6/4/16

I look into the lack of Sporadic E reception in early June 2016.

2015 Sporadic E-Skip Year in Review – 8/1/15

2015 was surely a dud for Sporadic E-Skip reception in Northern Virginia.

Signal Interference? Not in This Town – 7/16/15

I share a CNN article about a town in West Virginia where even using a microwave could cause enough radio interference to get you in trouble.

2015 E-Skip Review to Date: Where’s the Skip? – 7/16/15

Skip is down during the early 2015 season.

Recording a DX Dial Scan Video – 5/1/15

In this article, I look into what you can do to record a video dial scan of your local broadcast bands.

Mini Review of the Sony XDR-S10HDiP Radio – 4/28/15

In this article, I review the Sony XDR-S10HDiP radio, a radio very similar to the Sony XDR-F1HD radio and a new addition to my DX shack.

Norway Will Soon Shut Down its Analog FM Stations.  Could the United States Do The Same? – 4/22/15

In less than two years, Norway will start to turn off all of its analog FM signals.  I analyze the news and also predict how the United States may be affected.

Spring Cleaning: Keeping Your DXing Experience in Tip-Top Shape – 3/25/15

Find out how cleaning your DXing shack and equipment could benefit you in the upcoming DX season.

UPDATED Review: Insignia NS-HD01 Portable HD Radio – 3/14/15 (originally posted 4/10/13)

In this article, I provide an update to my 2013 review on the Insignia NS-HD01, a handheld radio with HD Radio capabilities.

Airplane DXing: Where You Sit Determines What Your Radio Picks Up – 9/18/14

After a year of researching the characteristics of how FM signals are received and behave while at 30,000 feet in the air, I look at how a DXer’s seat location plays a role in exactly what radio signals may be received while in an airplane.

2014 Sporadic E-Skip Year in Review – 8/1/14

My annual review of the Sporadic E-Skip season looks at how 2014 fared in all aspects, from amount of Es openings, locations stations were received from, and quirks that made this season unique.

10 Years Later: A Look Back at the Historic July 6, 2004 Sporadic E-Skip Opening – 7/6/14

On July 6, 2004, a huge Sporadic E opening blanketed the east coast, bringing in stations under 450 miles away and allowing signals up to TV channel 10 (195 MHz) to be received at my Northern Virginia home.  In this article, I look back at the historic opening, complete with audio recordings from FM signals received and screenshots from TV stations received.

An Honest Review of the RTL-SDR USB Tuner – 5/25/14

I comprehensively review the RTL-SDR USB tuner USB dongle unit and my findings are in stark contrast to other DXers’ views of the product.

DXing FM Radio While on Vacation – 3/31/14

With vacation season quickly approaching, I look into the opportunities DXing provides while away from home and provide tips on how to maximize DXing while on vacation.

What if Analog FM Radio Ended in the United States? – 12/23/13

Imagine an all-digital FM radio band in the United States.  In this article, I predict and analyze the possible changes DXers, as well as radio broadcasters, may face if the country underwent an analog-to-digital conversion for radio, much like the U.S. did for television in 2009.

Rant: TV DXing vs. Cable Channel Availability – 12/6/13

In this article, I reminisce about how cable television providers of yesterday offered more local channels from distant markets.  I also argue about the disconnect comparing what broadcast channels are offered on current cable TV systems versus what an average person can receive with an outdoor antenna.

Dealing with Family, Friends and the Public as a DXer – 11/25/13

Being a DXer can be tough.  Explaining the nature of the hobby to non-DXers can be frustrating and ostracizing, depending on who you are talking to.  In this article, I talk about my personal experience sharing my interest in the DXing hobby with others.  I also give tips on how to handle the masses when it comes to the hobby.

Matching Matters: Case Study of 110 KHz Narrow Filters (guest article) – 11/14/13

This is a guest article written by fmdxing, a WTFDA member from Australia’s east coast who has a blog at http://fmdxing.wordpress.com/.  In this article, fmdxing explores the options of modifying ceramic filters in radios, which often increases the selectivity and sensitivity of radios to bring in maximum amount of FM signals to be logged.

FM Radio Relogs: Their Place in your DX Log (Part 2 of 2) – 11/4/13

In part two of my series of radio relogs, I look into the best ways to deal with relogs in your DX log.

FM Radio Relogs: Their Place in your DX Log (Part 1 of 2) – 10/28/13

DXers in pursuit of new logs can easily get frustrated by picking up signals previously received, otherwise known as relogs.  In this article, I introduce new DXers as to what relogs are and why you can’t just log any unfamiliar FM signal in your DX log.  I also talk about how relogs can actually fine tune your DXing abilities to predict future propagation and maximize stations received.

DXing in Dreams: An Unintended Continuation of the Hobby – 10/21/13

I’ve DXed some wild Sporadic E openings, many with distant signals received to the top of the TV band (past TV 50) and where every FM frequency has exotic signals from remote islands in the Pacific.  And then I wake up.  DXing in dreams can be an interesting side effect of the hobby.  In this article, I talk about several DX-related dreams I have experienced.

The Pitfalls of DXing at the Bottom of a Hill – 9/30/13

Terrain and elevation can be the single determinant of good DX or lousy DX at any given location, regardless of the prevailing weather conditions that often dictate how good DX is.  In this article, I look at how living at the bottom of a hill negatively affects DXing in my area compared to those living on higher ground.

FM Signal Amplifiers: A Benefit to Receiving Weak Radio Stations – 9/30/13

Getting weak signals?  A preamp could drastically improve the amount of signals received in your home.  It can also make-or-break it in regard to benefiting from strong DX openings.  In this article, I describe how a signal amplifier affects my reception, complete with audio examples of the same FM frequency with my preamp turned on and off.

Problem Solved: Bad ‘Stereo Mix’ Quality While Recording with HP ENVY Computer with IDT Codec Audio – 9/16/13

I take a break from DXing in this article and discuss an issue that I was having recording from my computer’s new sound card.

Meteor Scatter: A Fun Way to Receive FM Radio Signals – 9/12/13

Stargazers often flock to quiet, dark areas with their telescopes to view shooting stars.  But what many may not know is that these same bursts of light in the night sky act as a mirror and can reflect FM signals to DXers’ radios.

DXing Dilemma: FM Translators and Their Effect on the Hobby – 9/5/13

The proliferation of weak, low-powered FM translators have had a negative effect on the DXing hobby.  In this article, I describe the problem as noted at my Northern Virginia home, and I also analyze the need of many translators in my area.

Simply the Best RDS: RDS Software for Beginners (guest article) – 8/26/13

This is a guest article written by fmdxing, a WTFDA member from Australia’s east coast who has a blog at http://fmdxing.wordpress.com/.  In this article, fmdxing looks at hardware and software that allows DXers to maximize the benefits of RDS, or Radio Data System.

The South Carolina ‘FM Tropo Wall’ – 8/19/13

For 14 years of DXing, I’ve only received signals from South Carolina once, even though signals just north of the state in North Carolina boom in frequently during tropospheric events.  I found this to be a bizarre phenomenon and decided to analyze the reasons why a state line is dictating what my radio can pick up.

Billboards: An Unusual Radio Station Transmitter – 8/9/13

A reader in central Virginia had a strange dilemma: He was receiving an radio station on 1620 AM that included snippets of songs and continual mentions of the Virginia Lottery.  The only 1620 AM signal in Virginia, according to internet records, was a low power signal in Lorton, VA, 70 miles away from my reader and definitely not the signal received.  I researched the signal and found out it was coming from an unlikely transmitting source.

Perseids Meteor Shower FM Signals Starting to Appear – 8/7/13

With signals propagated by Meteor Scattor via the Perseids meteor shower starting to appear, I decided to take a look at previous years’ Perseids loggings via audio recordings.

2013 E-Skip Season in Review – 8/1/13

After a long period of year-to-year downturns in E-Skip performance, 2013 saw marked improvements in many DXing areas  In this article, I analyze the entire 2013 Sporadic E season and compare it to previous years.

Interesting Observation with Local 89.3 WPFW on Low Power – 7/22/13

With a local FM signal on low power, I look into what is being heard on its signal in its absence.

From Analog to DTV: A Look into Television DXing in Virginia – 7/13/13

With my return to DXing television for the first time since the 2009 DTV transition, I compare TV DXing conditions in Northern Virginia post-, and pre-DTV transition.

Power Outages, FM Es and DXing – 7/12/13

Power outages often hit DXers at the worst time during a strong Sporadic E or tropo opening.  In this article, I explain how to DX during a power outage and reveal how the lack of power can actually temporarily improve DXing conditions.

Watch my Digital TV (DTV) DX Dial Scan Video on YouTube (Video) – 7/9/13

Click above to view my digital TV dial scan from Northern Virginia.  In the video, signals from Washington, DC, Richmond, VA, Charlottesville, VA and Salisbury, MD decode complete with PSIP IDs.

Mid-June FM Es Lull in Effect – 7/15/13

I analyze the mid-season lull in the 2013 Sporadic E season and predict how it may effect the season’s overall performance.

Murphy’s Laws of DXing – 5/18/13

Murphy’s Law hits hard in DXing.  In this article, I provide many related laws that I’ve experienced while DXing.

Improved Tropo Reception Noted after Antenna Reinstallation – 5/5/13

After my rooftop antenna was taken down for a few months following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, I analyze the positive changes I’ve noted once my antenna was reinstalled in 2013.

DXing tool Yes.com Ceases Operations – 4/22/13

A website that listed ‘last songs played’ for many U.S. FM radio stations, Yes.com, shut down.  This was a valuable tool for DXers as we could cross-reference songs heard to see what FM signals may come in.

2012 E-Skip Season in Review – 8/2/12

The 2012 Sporadic E season wrapped up and with it, came disappointment.  In this article, I analyze the year’s performance and compare it to previous years.

FM E-Skip 2012: Only Open during Business Hours? – 6/2/12

Sporadic E openings have been following a “Monday-Friday, 9-5” schedule, which is frustrating to me because I work during those hours.  In this article, I look into the phenomenon and offer insight as to why it may be happening.

It’s Already Late May, but Where’s the E-Skip? – 5/27/12

The 2012 FM Es season has been off to a rough start.  In this article, I ponder where the skip may be.

FM Dial Scan: Woodbridge, VA (video) – 7/4/10

Watch my FM dial scan from Woodbridge, VA, which includes tropospheric-enhanced signals from Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia, PA.

Sony XDR-F1HD Radio Review – 5/18/08

Lauded by most DXers as one of the best FM radios ever produced in terms of sensitivity and selectivity, I review the Sony XDR-F1HD radio, a mammoth DXing radio complete with HD Radio and RDS reception capabilities.

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