Adventures in DXing

Sangean ATS909X Multiband Receiver

Shortwave, long wave, medium wave, and FM — bands of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be tuned in with my new Sangean ATS-909X multiband receiver. I’ve decided to give radio monitoring a go.

The receiver arrived yesterday from Durham Radio in Whitby, Ontario. I chose the Sangean for its reputation as a decent, mid-level receiver with the enough features to satisfy the demands of multiband listening, and especially DXing.

The abbreviation DX stands for “distance” in radio circles and DXing is the activity of trying to log distant radio signals. This can be done on the medium wave, or AM, band on any home radio. A receiver with good sensitivity and selectivity make it a little easier. DXing is also done on shortwave and FM frequencies.

So far I’ve discovered two things: that shortwave reception is rather poor in my house and that I picked the worst time of year to begin this hobby. I’d already guessed shortwave reception could be dodgy. The house is surrounded by trees and there are tall apartments to the south that block signals. What I overlooked is the time of year. DXing takes place mostly after sunset when radio signals skip great distances by bouncing off the ionosphere. As we approach summer solstice, I have to stay up quite late to do any monitoring. Winter is the ideal DXing season.

Those things aside, I fiddled around with medium wave (AM) DXing last night and with a little help from the Internet to help identify stations, I logged stations in Buffalo (no surprise), Almherst, New York City, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Nashville. Not bad for the first night ever.