View Full Version : Your 10 most memorable DXings!

Robert Grant
05-23-2009, 01:12 AM

As USA full power analog TV draws to a close, I got this idea in my head that we could look back on the memories of DXing in the past.

With the hope that many DXers will follow - my list of the ten most "memorable" DX events. These are not the same as records, they need not be "great" DX events at all, just DX events that for one reason or another (situational setting, first experiences, surprises, effort and yes, sheer DX performances), we remember:

(bonus, because it's "not DX", or because I typed 11 stories by mistake :-)

(To my chagrin, I see I also left out the story of getting WCCO-4 by aurora, June 29, 1981, using the "video carrier injection" trick).

WTOL-11 by extended groundwave (56.82 miles), sometime in 1968 or
1969. Five or maybe six years old, I woke up before my parents did, turned
on the B&W Zenith, and started flipping through the channels (something I was
never allowed to do :-). I then saw a snowy picture on channel 11. The
shows were the same as channel 2 (WJBK was CBS back then, there was no
Fox), but the ads were different, ads for stores I had never heard of. Okay,
this wasn't DX, but it shows that I was "born" with DXing in me.

#10 July 6, 2004 super opening. I was in the right time, but the wrong
place. I had a typical signal from KXAS-5 fade out, but minutes later, I
was surprised to see a strong stable signal from KYW-3 (at only 451 miles,
the shortest Es from Temperance). This continued for about 10 minutes,
after which ALL HELL broke loose. WPVI-6 from the same tower joined KYW, a digital TV signal wiped out WDIV on channel 4 (at the time, this had to be WHP in PA or WDKY in KY, both obscenely close for Es). Soon the lowband was riddled with interference. I went to FM, only to find that every FM East of The Mississippi River must have been trying to come in. The interference on FM was so great that only about 4 FM stations were audible
- Monroe's Class A WTWR (then) at 4 miles, and the few stations in Toledo that were full power class B (Yes, Toledo Class As were wiped out). I got on 2m SSB and Worked a ham in South Carolina (very close for 2m Es). I
"knew" that people who where not directly under the Es "cloud" like me must be getting highband Es (I was right). I spent most of the evening on 6m talking to hams in PA and NY on my handie talkie.

#9 February 25, 2008 sporadic-E opening. If ANY E-skip in February is something to remember, consider a strong opening, lasting about 3 hours, stretching from Little Rock to Matamoros, Mexico. In this opening I saw
KARK-4 by skip, thus finally getting the same station by skip as well as tropo.

#8 Newfoundland openings. At 2315 EDT, June 23, 1981, a weak CBC floated in on channel 3, and at first, I assumed this was CBHT again, but I thought the carrier beat against WKYC looked a little different - and it was -
CBAFT1 in Baie Verte, Newfoundland. The QSL card impressed my mother, both of whose parents were "Newfies". Getting an about 1300-mile station with 500 watts of transmitter power (3.4 kW ERP, since upgraded) is what impressed me. 29 hours later, Es opened up to Newfoundland again, and I got CJCN-4 in Grand Falls just before WDIV turned their transmitter back on.

#7 Super opening of July 17, 1980. I was up North (near Honor, MI, on vacation), and had been lamenting the lack of Es on this vacation so far (compared to the year before). On the 17th, I turned on the TV, and things
were booming, with tons of stations interfering with each other. I went to FM (which I could DX up there with little local interference back then), and got a station in West Virginia on 107.9 (quite close), logging about 60 FM stations by Es overall (more than any opening before or since). This was the first of only 2 times I observed Es on VHF highband TV. Sadly, WPBN-7 was too strong to null out, and I could not identify the minus offset station trying to come in.

#6 WTFDA Nashville '93 Convention tropo opening. We had been seeing some tropo on all of the radios, TV sets and antennas that had been set up on the penthouse of the Days Inn Central.
Soon after local PBS WDCN-8 signed off, KAIT in Jonesboro took over the channel. I had been watching KAIT for some time, and the other DXers were wondering why I was staying on it. I was actually looking at what was
interfering with it - a station that was zero beat, and thus zero offset, and hoping to see an ID or local ad on -it- (BTW, KAIT has since switched to minus offset, god knows why). I knew that this station had to either be off-frequency by precisely 10 of 20 KHz (rare), a translator, or something far away (Like Moline or Dallas).
Later that night, when more stations started signing off, we got a lot of stations from Eastern Texas, including WFAA as I had suspected.

#5 KREM-2, 1702-mile Es, 0320 EDT July 11, 1981. Another memorable "late nighter", in the last years that locals WJBK and WDIV signed-off every night. unIDs had come in earlier in the evening, then this one came
in with a lot of ghosting showing a Charlie Chan movie marathon. I went to channel 4 and saw a Pacific time ABC station (I'll never know if this was KOMO or KXLY), went back to channel 2, and saw that they had started another movie.
Fortunately, Paul Gaines across town had been getting the same thing, had not checked channel 4, and got the ID. These were the days for late-nighters, as they occurred the previous morning and again three mornings

#4 RCTV Venezuela on 3, June 6, 2003 (This would have been far more memorable if I had known what I was getting at the time!) I had been listenintg mobile to channel 3, and heard a strange carrier that was varying in frequency (generally a sign that this is not a typical US station). I went to the audio and heard promos in Spanish identifying the station as what sounded like "Tu ere zeta vay" ("your RZV"). I made it home, and saw the same channel, with a Spanish dub of "Baywatch" and a distinctive logo (but too much ghosting to make out the letters). Minutes later, WEDU faded in and took over the channel. I could not find any network called "RZV" or "RZB".
Later I was talking to some hams in the area, and someone mentioned that they had heard Venezuela on 6 meters. Then it hit me - it wasn't "ere zeta vay", rather "ere seh teh vay" - RCTV. I went to the RCTV website and saw the same logo! I went to their schedule, and found they carried "Baywatch VII" at the time. My longest E-skip and longest FM TV audio - and I did it mobile!

#3 December 11, 1983 sporadic-E opening. This opening was discovered shortly after midnight and lasted several hours. The real surprise was when I saw ID slides and test patterns of nearby channel 5 stations WMAQ,
WEWS and WNEM - all on channel 3! A channel 3 station was "DXing" the channel 5 stations by Es and repeating them (By very complicated means, it has been determined this was CFSS in Warmley, SK, today it is satellite-fed
I was sure nobody would believe me when I said I saw this (to this day, I meet people who insist this was impossible), but Bill Draeb in Wisconsin saw it too!

#2 First time hearing BBC 1 TV audio by F2 skip, December 2, 1979. I had read about the sunspot maximum, and about the potential for strong signals by F2 skip in the VUD. Then I started reading that several people were
hearing BBC 1 on 41.50 MHz, and decided to try it myself.
So I got out my Astronaut-6 portable radio, pulled up the telescoping whip, and there it was!
Note that I once thought that Toledo at 56.82 miles was "DX", then, as the spring and summer of 1978 went along, I got progressively more distant stations by trops - Cleveland, Youngstown, Erie, Wilkes-Barre. I never dreamed at that time I would be bagging a TV signal from across the Atlantic only a year and a half later.

#1 WEDU-3 (and tentative WUFT-5) by Es, May 22 1979 (30 years ago today). This was actually only a typical "skip" opening, but this was the first time I was using Es and knew what was happening (In retrospect I know I had noticed "venetian blinds" on low-VHF a few times earlier). Only a year earlier, I had always assumed 1000-mile DX would need a very big and expensive antenna, and to see these strong, fading signals, in color on the old RCA CTC-38, with rabbit ears, was amazing at the time. WEDU, of course, would been seen hundreds of times again.

05-23-2009, 01:21 PM
When I was a little kid, back in the early 60's, I lived in the Trenton, N.J. area so I'd see TV from New York and Philadelphia. Once in a while I'd notice something different on channel 8, the only open channel. It was either Lancaster, PA. (WGAL?) or New Haven, CT. (WNHC?) A DXer was born. I still have that old GE B&W set and it still works!

In the mid 60's my Dad came home with a new TV. It had something on it called "UHF." WOW! MORE TV!!!! It was like Christmas had come early that year. A UHF TV DXer was born.

I think it was sometime during the 80's, I was watching WDCA 20, in the wee hours of the morning, and there was this strange fellow, staring at me. It was my first encounter with Doctor Gene Scott.

This isn't really DX but... I was watching WHYY 12 Philly on the local cable system late one night. When WHYY pulled the plug WCTI 12 New Bern, N.C. appeared on the cable system.

My only E-skip, logged from the Trenton area, was KGAN 2 Cedar Rapids, IA, WPBT 2 Miami, FL. and Cuba on channel 5.

In 1989 I moved to Kentucky....

Sometime in the early 90's (I didn't put a date on it) I saw WWOR 9, N.Y.C. One of my old home TV stations made it to KY.

September 11, 12, 13 and 14, 1992. BIG tropo opening to south, southeast and then, northeast. Logged 42 new ones including WTXF 29, Philly. Recorded this one on VHS tape.

June 9, 1993. E-skip. XET 6 Monterrey, N.L. Over local WPSD! I have this one on VHS tape. (I have LOTS of VHS DX tapes from the 90's)

January 15, 16, 17 and 18, 1995. BIG tropo opening to north and then, southeast. Logged 32 new ones including K74CZ Winona, MN. (My only logging above channel 69) Had UHF from as far southeast as Miami, FL.

Mid July 1995. It was the big heat wave. Band stayed open (tropo) around the clock. I'd logged everything I was gonna get so I settled in to watch a movie. It was "A Christmas Story." (You'll shoot your eye out!) Watched the entire movie without a single fade. The station I was watching was a UHF from Michigan. Can't remember which one.

73, Ed NN2E
Owner / Operator - Murphy's Law Test Site & Thunderstorm Proving Grounds

05-30-2009, 12:34 AM
This is Attempt 2 to send this....

These can vary as to whether they are my favorites, but these ones stand out.

(1) Bermuda trip June 2005, daytime AM DXing*: catches from WBZ Boston to three Miami stations to Cuba to WKAQ San Juan
(2) July 1992 very very wild Tr as far as PR 98.5, and even WKAQ-TV 2, using only an FM antenna! Lost a bit o' sleep then...
(3) My tour in Anchorage AK 1978-80, AM DX prior to the Superadio....my Delco car radio was best....caught Japan, possibly Philippines....tho' not may farthest, my fave catch was WWL
(4) April 2006, very sharp Cuba video which I taped, from Mile Marker 35 on US 1....very windy, and could only have the antenna at 5'....had to hold it while taping....don't try at home, kids
(5) May 2006 from same spot....Tr to PR & DR, on a Sunday afternoon!
(6) Es on Sept. (!) 27, 1990 to Central/South America, a 4.5 hour opening
(7) 1991 Tr (March?) as far west as San Antonio's 89.1 (thought it was Gainesville FL!)
(8) Port Fourchon, LA, daytime AM DXing*: catches from XEFW 810 Tampico & KVNS 1700 as far east as WCNZ 1660 Marco Island, FL (Sep 2004)
(9) Just last month's Cuba FM opening, my first monster opening using my new Sony XDR-F1HD :)
(10) US Virgin Islands daytime AM DX, June 2004*: a few Venezuelans & Radio Trinidad on 730 under HIZ in DR

*using Superadios II & III + Select-a-Tenna...no fancy beverages....

Honorable mention....1981, may have caught 2 from Veracruz Mexico on 101.3 & 102.1, but, (a) my knowledge of SS was near nil, and (b) only used a rod antenna... ~ grrrrrr wasn't aware of the benefits of the outdoor antenna.


05-30-2009, 02:59 AM
22 years of DXing there's so many memorable events. Some that stick out for me:

*picked up Radio Dubai in the United Arab Emirates full scale on the 15MHz freq. on a tiny Icom R1 hand held receiver with rubber duck antenna sitting in my living room in Louisiana in the mid 1990's

*Feb 22, 1992 a 1 hour+ F2 opening on 6 meters exclusively to Malawi, Africa. I worked 5 different 7Q7 stations. I didn't even know there were 5 hams in the entire country, yet alone on 6 meters and all coming in at once, some strong. I have a recording of some of that.

*November 26, 1989 3 hour opening to Japan from Louisiana on six meters. I have an audio recording of some of that too. Listen to all the JA's as I tune across six meters.

*Jan 13, 1991 first New Zealand on six meters and I was his first Louisiana.
audio recording of that.

* many other intense F2 events on 6 meters from 1989-1992 cycle peak. 81 countries worked on 6 meters from the Louisiana QTH. Rare stuff like Clipperton, Pitcairn & San Andres Islands, Africans, south Pacific, etc.

*many super Es openings on 2 meters from the Louisiana QTH. 40 something states worked on 144 MHz.

* seeing Mexican TV 3 and 5 on a set with rabbit ears when I was a kid in Idaho in the late 70's early 80's. One of the events that sparked my interest in radio DX.

* July 29, 2007 the most intense, and shortest E skip I've ever experienced and luckily was a free weekend so was able to stick with it.
268 mile Es on 6 meters, 383 mile Es from an FM translator within the state of Florida and many others under 600 miles, 525-700 mile Es on 2 meters, weather band radio, a Mexican TV ch 7, all on Es.


06-03-2009, 02:15 PM
I don't have 10 big openings that I can remember (most of them mesh together after DXing for 10 years!) but the one opening I do remember was the big one of July 6, 2004.

This opening was about a month after I installed my roof antenna and a component tuner. Prior to this, I was using an indoor whip antenna with a cheap boombox and rarely got Es.

By the time I checked the radio, I had Es to the top of the FM dial into the midwest. TV was crazy, I got WAVE 3 @ 463 miles with a clear ID. Other close TVs I got was WRTV 6 @ 480 miles, and audio only from WATE 6 @ 410 miles. I noticed CCI over local channels 7 and 9, and saw a signal appear on TV 10. It was KAKE from Wichita @ 1098 miles.

On the FM side, this opening made every local FM signal (except for WPGC 95.5 and WRQX 107.3, if I remember correctly) battle with Es signals for control of the frequency. Usually, these same stations rarely get overpowered during Es. Unfortunately, I was new to DXing Es, so I didn't take advantage of this like I would now in an Es opening. I stayed on the same non-local frequencies for long stretches of time since they were easier to listen to, even after an ID. Either way, I logged 38 new FM signals that day. It probably would've been close to 100 stations logged if I was as experienced in DXing as I am today and had two radios going.

Signals were very unstable this day, making it difficult to log anything. I haven't experienced any opening with unstable signals like this since then. I have some raw recordings attached below from the huge 7/6/04 opening. You can hear how unstable the signals were, with many fading at a time. I recommend listening to the 92.9 "B" recording first if you want to hear the most unstable signals, but "A" has its fair share too. The first audio file is 3:13, and the second is 1:27 long.

I don't know if I'll ever see another opening like this one, but I hope I do!

08-03-2009, 09:03 PM
In 2 years of FM/TV/AM/SW DX, here goes.

#10: Logging the "Firedrake" jammer on SW in early mornings, mainly around 8AM-10AM Pacific time. Some loggings were over 5500 miles away!!! Then, I noted later, in the midday, Asians were gone, but Africans were coming in! :):) Some Africans were over 8800 miles away! Those are probably the farthest SW loggings I've gotten. I've also gotten tentative 9300-9500 mile stations.

#9: It was in December 2007. It was cold, nearly 11PM at night. Had my radio on, waiting for IDs. Tuned to 1500 and got a fair signal with commercials. Waiting for an ID, I didn't know what it was. Then I heard "KSTP St. Paul-Minneapolis"! It was 1399 miles away! Later, I heard ABC News. I recieve KSTP weakly not all days of the week, but about 5 or 6 days a week.

#8: It was July 23rd 2009. A nice E-skip opening, about 8pm, got me two new loggings, KBBN Broken Bow, NE at 1190 miles, and KLIQ Hastings, NE at 1276 miles!

#7: The weekend of 5/9-5/11/2009. Was on vacation to Yakima, and got many interesting stations. First, on AM I got KOMO, KCIS, KIRO and KKAD (Vancouver, WA) about 4 miles west of Wapato, WA. FM was more interesting. I got a low-powered translator from Chelan around Stampede Pass along I-90. Then at Ellensburg, I got Wenatchee, Yakima, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Quincy and Grand Coulee Dam stations on top of the Manastash Ridge along I-82. Also around Milepost 3 (just before you go into the mountains on I-82), I got KWIQ Moses Lake on 100.3!

#6: Logging far-off 10 watts TIS stations on 1610. First up was a friend from the Yakima trip, WQBV569 Union Gap, WA with information on rest areas. Then, a tentative NWR TIS on 1610, possibly from Pasco. About 130 miles!

#5: Logging my first E-skip logging since July 2007, on 6/26/09, got 93.7 KWYR Winner, SD (about 1120 miles), with ads for Ameriprise, and SD and NE weather forecast mentions.

#4: Logging my second farthest AM logging in November 2008. While nulling out KFBK Sacramento on 1530 AM (just a couple minutes before sunset) I heard an ad for podcasts. Was in English, so I thought it was a daytimer. I then heard the website 1530homer.com!!! Found out it WAS WCKY!!!! 1965 miles away! I posted it on Radio-Info.com, and people started going crazy!

#3: 7/1/09. A great E-skip opening popped up just around 4PM. I picked up my only USA TV e-skip logging, KRMA Denver, CO at 1018 miles, heard with nightlight service. Then I heard KNAB Burlington, CO on 104.1 at 1155 miles. After that, I got 101.9 KIGN Burns, WY at 988 miles, KNNG Sterling, CO, KAZY Cheyenne, WY, KCMI Scottsbluff, NE and KSME Greeley, CO.

#2: January of this year. Heard something mixing with XEPE late at night on 1700. Then, I heard oldies music. Found out it was KVNS in Brownsville, TX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2021 miles!!!!!!!!!!!! My farthest catch on any band except SW and Longwave!!!!

#1: I will never forget this. 7/29/07. 102.1 FM. KTRA Farmington, NM with country countdown show. First time I knew what was happening. Don't need to tell you more. I will never forget my first E-skip opening ever.


08-03-2009, 10:14 PM
Actually I forgot one

#11: 7/13/09. Great E-skip opening. I picked up a lot of new loggings, including my farthest FM ever, KATP Amarillo, TX at 1360 miles!!!!!!!!!