View Full Version : FM DXing in Southern California?

12-24-2008, 08:15 PM
I might have an opportunity to head out there at some point in the future, and I can't find much info. Obviously there's great coastal trop in the East, but I'm wondering if that exists in the LA area. It's obviously a challenge due to IBOC everywhere, but I'm wondering if there's any excitement to be had. Any info on ES targets/potential out there as well? I imagine it'd be a step down from NY, but I'm curious if there are new challenges. Thanks!

12-25-2008, 06:25 AM
I live in Eastern Los Angeles County, about 20 miles east of the city.

Terrain is a big variable here, as the region has lots of hills and mountains that can significantly weaken local signals. Most of the locals are not terribly high powered, but are located on Mt. Wilson (~5,000 ft high), which is line-of-sight to many of the populated areas in So. Cal. The dial is packed, and most of the locals with good signals run IBOC (although a few have shut it down recently).

Tropo is short-haul only due to large mountains in all directions but toward the ocean. However, the tropo can be very strong, and is quite persistent. Most of the summer months, coastal tropo is nearly 24/7, and will be very strong (dies down slightly in the late afternoon). For me, San Diego and Tijuana stations about 100-120 miles away will be nearly full quieting, even over IBOC, for most of the day during the summer. At its strongest, I've received a 4 watt translator 91 miles away in San Diego (K206AC) over weak IBOC. Tropo toward Santa Barbara and Ventura is also common, often at the same time as San Diego is strong. However, I've not received anything farther up the coast than Santa Barbara, except a brief scatter from Santa Maria.

The all day tropo becomes a pest, as it fills nearly all the dial that isn't occupied by locals or IBOC, making Es a bit challenging. I'm fairly new to FM DXing, so I don't have a ton of experience with Es (just this past season). Common locations seem to be western Mexico and Mexican stations along the Texas border. In the U.S., I heard quite a bit of the southern plains, particularly Texas and Kansas, and had a good opening to Washington and Oregon.

Ms is even more difficult, I found one frequency that was usable and got a few logs, but don't count on much here, the Ms range isn't heavily populated and its difficult to find a clear frequency to listen for them.

Again, I just started seriously pursuing DX this past June, these are just my observations for the past summer. I'm moving to the Nashville area in July, so it'll also be my last at this location!

12-26-2008, 01:52 AM
Wow...thank you for that!! That's a great foundation that I needed. I will eventually get setup somehow (though I will likely be living in an apartment so, no idea how that'll work). I look forward to a bevvy of new catches though, coming from the East ha. But this really is a great start for me. I'll probably be living in or near Pasadena, so. It offers quite a new opportunity. We'll see.

I appreciate the reply though, as this is basically exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

12-26-2008, 10:39 AM
I lived in Anaheim for over two years in the early 1970s. I had a ten element yagi on top of a two story apartment complex off of La Palma Ave near the hospital. I used a Kenwood tuner which was state of the art back then, but not so great compared to what is available now, like the Sony XDR-F1HD.
Tropo came from either San Diego/Tijuana or Santa Barbara. I did have early morning reception from Fresno (95.5) and Bakersfield (107.9) when locals were off on Monday mornings. I had Es from Idaha (92.7) and one opening into Iowa on 98.5. That was about it A fellow FM dxer in Santa Ana had El Centro 98.5 via tropo but I never heard anything down that way. I also had almost daily morning troposcatter from San Francisco on 88.5.

Dxing from the LA basin was tough back then and with IBOC all over the dial it has to be much worse now in spite of better equipment. Tropo to San Diego gets old after a while of the same stations time after time. The last time I was in Orange Cty was two years ago and I don't think I'd even bother trying to do any FM Dxing there anymore. And my location here in CT is almost as bad with all the IBOC shutting the doors on open adjacent channels. Just my 2 worth.