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Author Topic: MW DX  (Read 19954 times)
KD8NYW
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Posts: 10




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« on: December 14, 2011, 05:13:08 AM »

Maybe laughed at here, not sure... Some of my favorite DXing is copying the hard-to-get MW stations; something cool and almost spooky about those wavering distant commercials for stores I've never heard of, local news from who knows where. Am I the only one? I've done this since the 70s. Are there resources for this weird DX outpost?
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K0OD
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Posts: 2578




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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2011, 07:28:29 AM »

Are you talking about U.S. AM broadcast band? 530 to 1700 KHz?

That was probably the first hook that drew many into ham radio. I understand that just about everyone did BCB DXing in the early 1920s when listeners discovered that their homemade oatmeal box crystal set could sometimes pick up far away stations at night.

So nice of Quaker Oats to put that godawful cereal in coil forms:
http://www.boxvox.net/2009/12/oatmeal-box-radios.html

Quote
“Sales of Quaker Oats went zooming, not because the populace had suddenly gone ape over hot cereal, but because the cylindrical box made a perfect base for coil winding.”
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 09:06:21 AM by K0OD » Logged
AE4RV
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 08:31:46 AM »

Yes, that's how I got started as a little kid. Of course, almost always it was not about the content or programming of the distant stations, just the act of tuning them in. I hated waiting for the station ID but it was sort of fun trying to figure out where a station was by certain clues in commercials or newscasts. I can only remember one instance of something that I tuned in to regularly. As a young teen, there was a program on WLS in Chicago that I liked to listen to after bed time and hated when QSB faded the signal during the interesting moments.

Then on to SWLing where the content often was a big draw, not just getting it in the log. Then computers (and the other usual pursuits) and back to SWLing and learning Morse for the heck of it via software. Then, "wait, why don't I have a license yet?"

15 years after that epiphany, I finally received my first DXCC this week. (I've only started chasing DXing this year. Before that it was mostly stateside CW and long periods of being QRT.)

Cheers and 73,

Geoff

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N8YX
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Posts: 118




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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2011, 09:08:39 AM »

Still do it frequently, along with NDB DXing. Wintertime is best for both - minimal thunderstorm QRN.
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KAPT4560
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Posts: 89




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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2011, 02:06:18 PM »

 It is a leisure activity like fishing, a little skill, a little luck and a lot to do with the atmosphere.
 I remember an old Zenith table radio with the lightning bolt 'Z' and the words 'Long Distance' on it. At night the AM band came alive. Starting at the bottom of the dial and going up, there seemed to be one station after another.
 When I went to trade school in Detroit, I could soften some of the homesickness by listening to WHAM-1180 in Rochester, NY on my CRV-46151. An easy feat with clear channel stations.
 I joined the NRC in the '80's and received their DX News magazine. They had publications availible on tricks and modifications concerning antennas and receivers. I experimented with inverted 'L's and diversity receivers (very little fading).
 When AM went C-QUAM stereo, I worked at a dealership and installed an AMSt/FMSt  radio. I now listen to WJR-760 in stereo at night. AM stereo fizzled and many AM stations now tout their HD broadcasts. Automobile radios are very sensitive and low s/n, especially when parked. A 102" mast used to be availible, special order.
 When I go camping in October, I bring a 100' spool of 16 ga wire (cheap at auto parts stores) to string up in the trees, the HQ-129X and the CCrane SW. The nearest mercury-arc streetlamp is about 3/4 mile away and it doesn't bother me. The best DX seems to be a couple of hours before sunrise.
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KD8NYW
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Posts: 10




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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2011, 02:58:32 PM »

Automobile radios are very sensitive

Back in the 70s when I did a lot of MW DX some of my best catches were in the car - I always wondered if the car's steel body acted as a super radial.
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AE4RV
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 03:20:10 PM »

Automobile radios are very sensitive

Back in the 70s when I did a lot of MW DX some of my best catches were in the car - I always wondered if the car's steel body acted as a super radial.

I've noticed that, too. My car stereo seems to be about as sensitive as my IC-7410 connected to a 70' wire (Not my only antenna but the best one I have for MW).
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K0OD
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Posts: 2578




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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 04:57:40 PM »

Just about any piece of wire will receive DX on the BCB.

Last night I was aligning a five tube Zenith from 1938. Used weak AM signals from hundreds of miles away. My antenna was about 6' of wire IN MY BASEMENT about eight feet below ground. 

Car radios ARE excellent plus they hear great on the road far from cities and noise sources. 
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KD6KWZ
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Posts: 276




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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2011, 01:05:51 PM »

I remember an old electronics magazine mentioned that car radio are expected to be able to pick up weak signals. Like, when you're driving far out of any town.

I did AM BCB DXing in the 1974.
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N5RWJ
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Posts: 461




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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 03:43:12 PM »

Please include your Radio and Antenna type?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 09:37:55 AM by N5RWJ » Logged
ONAIR
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Posts: 1747




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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2011, 10:24:29 AM »

Please include your Radio and Antenna type?
  I use an old Philco tube radio from a 1950s Ford Thunderbird, with a long wire.  Picks up everything! Smiley
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AC5UP
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Posts: 3927




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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2012, 03:32:17 PM »

..........except women.





Sorry about feeding a zombie topic, but I couldn't resist.............
If you ever need to rebuild / refurb an older car radio check the stack here: http://makearadio.com/beitmans/index.php

Best source I've found on the web for car radio schizmatics from Philco / Motorola / Delco / Zenith. The designs are very different from what you'll find in the typical boatanker in that many of them used 'space charge' tubes in the low level stages with a single ended germanium transistor audio amplifier. Yeah, the RF/ IF tubes ran with ~10.5 volts on the plate. The IF is typically 262.5 kHz and they are permeability tuned. Typically you'll find three slugs (antenna, RF amp, local oscillator) but some Motorola's added a fourth slug for image rejection. In addition to good sensitivity on weak signals the designers also paid attention to strong signal behavior, like any decent SWL or Ham receiver does.

Not a bad choice at all for AM BCB DX'ing.

BTW: If you've ever wondered how an AM radio can work that well on a whip antenna that short, the answer is right behind the antenna socket: A small loading coil. Old trick to match a short antenna and perfect for the application........  If you ever need to fake one, find a high resistance 2 Watt carbon comp resistor in your junquebox. Wind it with 20-30 turns of the smallest enameled wire you have on hand like a parasitic choke from the finals of an old tube rig. Could improve the AM BCB reception on even a craptastic radio like the Knight Star Roamer....  Grin
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KE4VVF
Member

Posts: 61




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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2012, 10:42:00 PM »

You guys inspired me. I live in Charlotte, NC and haven't done any AM BCB DX'ing for a long while.  Turned on the radio at Midnight, IC-746 w/ G5RV, and heard:
WHKW 1220 AM Cleveland OH
WPHT 1210 AM Philadelphia PA
KMOX 1120 AM St. Louis MO
WBZ 1030 AM Boston MA
WLS 890 AM Chicago IL
WHAS 840 AM Louisville, KY
WBAP 820 AM Dallas /Ft. Worth

All were pretty solid copy while I listened for their ID.  A little QRM but that's always expected if they aren't clear channels stations.
I forgot how much fun it was. Gonna keep doing it.

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K0OD
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Posts: 2578




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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2012, 09:42:06 AM »

Quote
WHKW 1220 AM Cleveland OH
WPHT 1210 AM Philadelphia PA  
KMOX 1120 AM St. Louis MO
WBZ 1030 AM Boston MA
WLS 890 AM Chicago IL
WHAS 840 AM Louisville, KY
WBAP 820 AM Dallas /Ft. Worth

Amazing what 50,000 watts, a clear channel and a full size vertical (or phased verticals) will do!

---
Youtube has several examples of 50,000 watt clear channel KMOX in St Louis being heard in Europe. And quite well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osfkuV8ec44
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 11:24:29 AM by K0OD » Logged
K0SBV
Member

Posts: 19




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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 08:13:32 PM »

As someone who have been an active BCB DXer for more than 50 years, and verified 2,200+ stations in all 50 states and 50+ foreign countries, I continue to listen to the band for long distance stations, however, it is much more difficult today.  Very few stations have live broadcasts in the evening, leaving only top-of-the hour ID's to know to whom you are listening.  Moreover, unlike years ago, most stations do not have their own Chief Engineer conducting equipment tests and frequency checks in the early morning hours creating some great opportunities to add new stations to your log. Finally, there is no such thing as a clear channel anymore, as there are so many more stations on at night closing the long distance signal paths on most frequencies. Still, although it is infinitely more challenging than 20-30 ago, DXing the BCB can be fun.  Anyone interested should explore the National Radio Club's website. With nearly 80 years' existence, it is the premier BCB Club in the world.  Members can participate in the DX NEWS publication and/or the monthly DX AUDIO Service cassette tapes.
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