Working Conditions

Location

qth_mapCurrent QTH/location: Woodbridge, VA (2017-present):
I live in Woodbridge, VA, a suburb of Washington, DC.  Most of my local and semi-local FM signals come from Washington (17 mi), Fredericksburg, VA (27 mi), and Baltimore, MD (56 mi).  Most tropo-enhanced signals come from Richmond, VA (78 mi), Salisbury, MD (90 mi), Norfolk, VA (139 mi), and Philadelphia, PA (144 mi).

Mountains 60 miles to the west, and ocean 116 miles to the east, greatly limit my effective tropo range to the point where I only get tropo-enhanced signals from the northeast and south beyond these distances; the sheer majority coming from the south and southeast.  Sporadic E reception, thankfully, easily bounces over the mountains and I can get westward signals that way.

A lifelong resident of Woodbridge, I recently moved into a top floor condominium in the same neighborhood I lived in as a child in the late ’90s and early ’00s.  After 15 years of using a roof antenna at my old home, I’m now limited to indoor antennas, and have, thankfully, found great reception up to 150 miles away in winter conditions with a simple, unamplified dipole antenna.  Given the remarkable reception, I am confident I’m in a good spot for year-long DX.

The black circle surrounding my QTH in the map to the right represents my effective local range, 30 miles in all directions from where I originally established my DX log in 1999.  In other words, any FM station received on any radio physically located within the black circle is eligible to be added to my FM DX log.  Since my current home is well within the 30 mile radius above, I was able to continue utilizing my existing DX logs after moving in 2002.

Previous QTH/location: Woodbridge, VA (2002-2017):
From 2002-2017, I lived in a townhouse about 2 miles away from my previous and current home locations, also in Woodbridge.  This home was not ideal for DX, since it sat only 50 feet above sea level at the bottom of a steep hill, while surrounded by higher land in all directions.  I got lots of tropo to the south and east, at the expense of weakened reception to the north and northeast, save for my local FMs in that direction.  It seems these conditions meant that I was often “left out” of stellar tropo ducts that DXers in neighboring states participated in (they’d have 300+ mile reception while I’d only get the same regional signals

Previous QTH/location: Woodbridge, VA (1999-2002):
I first started DXing as a teen in the same condominium complex I currently live in, but in another building about 200 feet away from where I now live.  Like now, this home was at the top of the same steep hill, except about 30 feet higher at about 250 feet above sea level.  This was all before IBOC debuted locally and before a multitude of LPFMs and translators popped up, so the FM band was much more open than it currently is.  My radios consisted simply of a Philips/Magnavox boombox and its supplied whip antenna, with which I often got superb DX into southern VA, NC, and the DE/MD/VA Eastern Shore areas, as my windows faced south-southwest.

Shack and Equipment

shack_33017

Above is a picture of my shack as of 3/30/17.  Situated immediately to the right of a TV set and my computer (not pictured, to the left of the TV) are my three radios, the Sony XDR-S10HDiP (center), the Sony XDR-F1HD (center-right, top) and Denon TU-1500RD (center-right, bottom).  Not pictured is a simple dipole antenna taped to the window behind the radios, as well as the Insignia NS-HD01, a handheld unit used for traveling.

Prior shack equipment:
From 1999-2004, my primary radio was a Philips AZ1518 boombox.  I used the Mitsubishi DA-F76 tuner, unmodified, from 2004-2006 before I started to obtain my current radios.  From 2004-2017 I used a Radio Shack VU-90XR rooftop antenna and Radio Shack 15-1245 amplifier at my previous home.

Car radios:

car1 wltf
I use the radio in my 2012 Honda CR-V, with RDS capabilities, for logging stations while out and about within 30 miles of my home.  Although this is my primary mobile radio, I’ve also utilized radios of cars owned by family and friends, as well as rental cars, for DXing purposes.

DX Philosophy

I consider myself to be a serious and ethical DXer.  This is a personal hobby of mine that I partake in solely for my own satisfaction.  In other words, everything you see on this website, and in my personal practice of the hobby, is accurate and true to the best of my abilities.  I have no reason to do otherwise–I’m not trying to impress anyone here.

I utilize the Worldwide TV-FM DX Association’s list of criteria for positively IDing FM and TV stations when practicing DX.  I feel these rules are a good benchmark of what constitutes a positive log–the bedrock of DXing.

I strongly believe that the DX community should be inclusive and welcoming to all, regardless of if the individual DXer is brand new, or well-established with a lifetime of experience.  I feel that we all, equally, have something to offer to the hobby, as our experiences are all different.  The human mind is always learning, and if we give everyone a chance, then we will all benefit.