Working Conditions

Location

qth_mapCurrent QTH/location: Woodbridge, VA (2002-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 mi to the west, and ocean 116 mi 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, bounces over the mountains and I can get westward signals that way.

I live at the bottom of a steep hill at about 50 feet above sea level.  Nearby land is 150-250 feet above sea level.  Due to this, a rooftop antenna with a preamp is a must for any DX reception.  Without it, my strong local FM stations are staticy indoors, and anything non-local is impossible to receive.  However, utilizing a roof antenna (at about 80 feet above sea level, accounting for the height of my home + my antenna mast) is about equal to indoor FM reception in a dwelling 250 feet above sea level, resulting in strong local signals and the reception of distant signals, under deadband conditions, up to 100 miles away.

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 (1999-2002):
From 1999-2002, I lived about 2 miles west of my current QTH, also in Woodbridge, VA.  At the time, my home was 250 feet above sea level and since I was not in a position to utilize outdoor antennas, I used indoor antennas, ironically finding similar conditions as I currently do at a much lower altitude and with outdoor equipment.

The only major differences I found at my pre-2002 location that I do not see now is that I had many more tropo openings into NC.  However, this may be due to the fact that the local radio dial was much more open–devoid of the multitude of LPFMs and translators that now exist, and due to the absence of IBOC, which didn’t debut locally until 2006.

Shack and Equipment

shack_42715

Above is a picture of my shack as of 4/27/15.  The equipment is situated in an old IKEA IVAR shelving unit to the right of my desk.  In it houses my three primary radios: the Sony XDR-F1HD, Sony XDR-S10HDiP, and the Denon TU-1500RD (modified with 110 kHz filters), as well as the Radio Shack 15-1245 antenna rotor and the Panasonic DMR-HS2 DVD recorder, which I occasionally use for TV DX.  Not pictured is my Radio Shack 15-2507 30dB antenna preamp and my Radio Shack VU-90XR roof antenna.  I utilize the Insignia NS-HD01 portable unit 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.

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.