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December 05, 2005


Mel Matsuoka

God, what a great post...I remember doing this as a kid in the late 80's & early 90's with my crappy RadioShack boombox. Living in Honolulu, Hawaii, I would accidentally stumble upon mainland stations like KNX 1070 and KFI in Los Angeles, a station called "LG 73" in Vancouver BC (i think) and a station in Alberquerque. On one rare occasion, I even managed to pick up some religious station with a "W" call letter prefix (cant remember the actual call letters though).

I didn't know there was an actual term for my accidental hobby! Thanks for the post!

Blind Uncle Gaspard

Speaking of Satellite Radio, I've said many times:

"I ain't getting satellite radio until one of them pays WFMU to broadcast...unedited and 24 hours a day."

Although I occasionally would like to hear from "Celebrity" DJS and Air America.



So cool, i thought i was the only one interested in this stuff.

I'm from Montreal, glad to see you got the local stations there!

940 should offer you spooky stuff late at night. Sort of a Art Bell spinoff now has a show, entertaining with the usual conspiracy stuff and more aliens.


Ah, another AM junkie. Nice to see there are still some of us left.

I grew up with parents who listened almost exclusively to AM, with cars that only had AM on the radio (until 1985 or 87, in fact), and on a lot of long drives in remote areas without a lot of interference. So the AM 'DXing' hobby (a name I only heard recently) is deep in my veins. I no longer keep lists of the stations I pull in like I did as a kid, but I often eschew the "seek" button on the radio to check every single frequency, particularly in summertime when I can listen from my car in various points in New England to Cardinals games on KMOX, Blue Jays games on CHOK (what an appropriate set of call letters, no?), Orioles games on WBAL, and from my kitchen a mile from downtown Boston, beautifully, Yankees games on WCBS.


Ah, the old Sony 7600A. I still have mine. Wish I could find someone to clean it up. Don't forget the GE Superadio.

George Stuart

Excellent post. Now I know what tonight's "Avoid studying for finals because I'm a bum" activity will be.

Scrooge McDuck

HEY that's the Sony 7600 - I had one of those! First the FM quit working then the whole radio went bust, but I did get 12 good years out of it.

The Alberquerque station Mel mentioned is KOB. It was a 50,000 clear channel with no other cities around to interfer with its signal.

Never, ever, ever go dial hopping in Vegas or Phoenix. All those air conditioners running evrywhere just plays havoc with the signal.


I've been a shortwave DXer for almost 30 years at this point, with occasional dips into mediumwave (AM) DXing, primarily to try and get stations from Europe. Yes, with a good location, decent equipment, and a bit of luck, you can hear AM radio from Europe on the east coast of North America.

As far as mediumwave DXing being an "accidental hobby", a lot of us started out thinking we were the only ones with such an odd interest. I regularly read such stories in DX News, the publication of the National Radio Club, one of two clubs that caters to mediumwave DXers in North America. The other club is the International Radio Club of America. Both clubs are great sources of information about how to DX and what others are hearing.

As for shortwave radio, I'm no doubt biased, but my favorite source of information about what to hear on shortwave is the WWW Shortwave Listening Guide, hosted by the North American Shortwave Association, for which I serve as the webmaster. (Sorry to blow my own horn here; I really do think this is a useful source, and a lot of other people think so too.)

Paul Kelly

Great post. Can't wait for the follow-ups. Keep going all the way to 30Mhz!

Jeff Jotz

Growing up as a sports fan in the 1980s, Orioles games on WBAL used to come in rather clear in my parents' living room in eastern Union County, NJ. Ditto with Montreal Canadiens hockey games from Montreal and Saint Louis Blues games from the midwest. As a college student in Indiana, I used to sit on the front steps of my dormitory with my crappy Panasonic radio under the chilly air to listen to New Jersey Devils games on WABC, some 800 miles away.

David Bachner

Oh man, this is a great post! A few comments on your Hudson Valley DXing experience from a DXer in Toronto...

> 530 - Radio Vision Cristiana, Turks & Caicos (W.Indies)

Wow, that's a new one on me! CIAO, a 250 or 500 watt ethnic station, occupies that frequency here. I've been told that it be heard as far away as Pennsylvania, Illinois north of Chicago and in much of eastern Wisconsin. Truely amazing for a station with such low wattage, but I'd much rather be hearing what a Turks & Caicos signal sounds like.

> 600 - (Probably) CFCF Montreal, QB

The official abreviation for Quebec is QC (formerly PQ).

> Usually when you hear jazz, classical or something out of the pop music
> mainstream on AM radio at night, it’s probably coming from Canada.

True enough, although several months ago I did hear a faint signal on 1530 playing classical on a weekday afternoon while driving between Toronto and London, Ontario. I don't know of any Canadian station in Ontario or Quebec occupying 1530, so I had to assume it was coming from somewhere across Erie or possibly Michigan?

> 680 - (Probably) CFTR Toronto, ON

I'm surprised WRKO Boston didn't shout loudly over CFTR. WRKO is true clear channel whereas CFTR is directional - apparently very directional - to the north. A couple of summers ago, I took a long 80 mile bike ride to the Niagara region on the Lake Ontario trail and rode right past CFTR's transmitter - in GRIMSBY of all places, east of Hamilton across the lake from Toronto. When I got home I looked it up and confirmed that indeed CFTR's transmitter is located some 40 miles south of Toronto.

> 690 - CBF, Montreal

690 is no longer CBF. Sometime in the late 90's, the CBC moved both English and French Radio-1/Chaine Premiere services to the FM band. 690 and 940 (the former english frequency for CBC Montreal) both became commercial all-news stations Info-690 (francais) and 940-News (english). The english station has since drifted more towards a news-talk format. I'm not sure if the french station has done likewise.

> 740 - CHWO Toronto, ON

Man, if I ever win a lottery...



Great post! I have quite a few old radios that I use, although I mostly listen to what the hams are babbling about (mostly the weather, actually, but every so often a good bit comes up). I agree with the "old is better" claim. I mainly use two old US Navy radios - circa 1943 models RBB-2 and RAL-7, both made by RCA. The RBB is astoundingly good, but at 130 pounds, it better be. The 90 pound RAL is an old regenerative design, and is literally a handful, but if you do not mind having your hand fall off the regeneration knob after ten minutes, you can pull anything out of the air.

So when does WFMU start a shortwave station?



Great post. I bought a TERK tunable antenna and placed it near my radio ... a HUGE difference in making a faint signal actually listenable.


DXing can be alot of fun, i would can get US Armed Forces Network radio from Frankfurt (sp?) Germany up here in Sweden during the evenings. Its enough to get the American-Football games Live! Unfortunely with the introduction of Digital radio on the Mediumwave (an idea that makes no sense on many levels). DXing will become harder and harder.

For the shortwave fans i strongly recommend listening to Wilco's album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" which does a wonderful job of adding sounds from the shortwave to there music, Including a "Numbers station" broadcast from which the album gets its name from.

Great Post
- Haz


Oh god..what a WONCERFUL series! I am a radio FIEND, and wouldl isten to my shortwave radio scanner twice daily, in the AM and in the PM..then it died. I haven't had the cash to get another since, but your series has motivated me to get cracking! There is nothing like distant radio, especially late at night......sigh! I live in the L.A. area, how difficult is it to pick up international frequencies from So.Calif? I would think it would be because of the radio and cell phone towers, not to mention our lovely mountains and hillsides......

Tom in Florida

Great blog!
I've been an AMDXer for longer than I care to mention (OK, 40 years!) and I got started with a 6-transistor portable. I was astounded when I began to actually stop and listen to the kind of staticky and not-too-clear voices between the big local guys (I was in Albuquerque at the time and KOB was my normal "home page") and discovering I was hearing stations from Denver, Los Angeles, Dallas, Oklahoma City (KOMA, anyone?)! I was hooked. My favorite fall-asleep-with-the-earphone-in station was KFAB Omaha with their "Seranade In The Night" program. I also enjoyed listening to KSL Salt Lake City for their nightly airing of the CBS Mystery Theater...
I could go on and on.
My dad presented me with a no-name solid state multiband RX when I was about 9 - which would have been about 2 years after I got the little Lloyd's transistor RX - and suggested I try the SW band.
I almost turned my blue jeans into a diaper the first time I heard the BBC come out of that little radio! DXing is a disease I want no cure for.

I'd been out of the hobby for a long time, but recently, I went EBaying and ended up dropping 275USD which, quite honestly, could have found a better use :-/ on a Hammarlund HQ145X. With 200 feet of longwire antenna, the world has opened up for me again in a way that the Internet just can't do.


For the past two nights I have been getting RaDIO rebelde from cuba on 600 khtz. I live in the Bronx

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