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  • New guy hailing from NWFL

    Whats up everyone... names Will. I live in Panama City... which I hear due to the proximity to the gulf provides great e-skip.

    I'm what you would call a novice DXer. A little backstory: when i was younger... circa late 90's... my parents were on a Friday night bowling league. I always had to go with them... sometimes I'd play the arcade... but most nights I'd sit in the car and listen to tunes. One night I was flipping around and incidentally stumbled on a station from Montgomery, AL ( 150 miles north). That fascinated the 11YO me. After I found myself flipping my home radio to see what I could come up with. There was one station in particular... 102.9 out of Columbus, GA... I could catch regularly. Later in my early adult years I wound find myself parking on the beach and seeing what I could come up with. Wife and kids happened so I strayed from all that.

    Flash forward to 2021. I was diving down a YouTube video rabbit hole and stumbled across serious DXers picking up stations from 1000s of miles away. This intrigued me. I started doing research and that led me here. I'm literally a guy with an interest and a radio trying to learn the ends and outs of capturing far away signals. Any recommendations or suggestions are welcome and wanted. I signed up to become a member of the WTFDA as well. Look forward to being part of the community.

  • #2
    Welcome! When I go to Panama City Beach, I have listened to Q105 in Tampa almost every night on a portable radio. Pensacola and Mobile are normal, too, on a portable. The saturation of low powered translators as well as IBOC splatter have provided challenges to the great reception possible years ago. Nonetheless, I think you'll find tropo to be a regular event down there.

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    • #3
      Been to Panama City, and the drive eastward along US 98 is fantastic. I have done daytime AM DXing from Cape San Blas, not all that far a drive from PC. My audio should still be available, if you do a search on this site for San Blas.

      FM DX should be great, especially with that Gulf path.

      Nice to have you. A few months ago, my wife and I went to Salinas Park in Franklin County. Nice place.

      cd

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      • #4
        Originally posted by antennanut View Post
        Welcome! When I go to Panama City Beach, I have listened to Q105 in Tampa almost every night on a portable radio. Pensacola and Mobile are normal, too, on a portable. The saturation of low powered translators as well as IBOC splatter have provided challenges to the great reception possible years ago. Nonetheless, I think you'll find tropo to be a regular event down there.
        When I was doing the car thing in early adulthood I'd drive down to Mexico Beach because I knew it was a good distance from metro PC transmitters. ( except for 92.5, which is in st joe) Id regularly pick up Tampa... but it was 94.9 mostly. I also picked up a few Spanish stations i couldn't identify... and once a station out of Miami.

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        • #5
          Welcome Will!
          Panama City Beach, and the whole FL panhandle, is a tropo DXer's paradise. Just ask Randy (KW4RZ) who now lives in Nevada, he spent a good number of years in nearby Fort Walton Beach and realized the potential of tropo. Sometimes you can get very strong signals from Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, and even Mexico. Other times it's Louisiana, or back east to Miami, Daytona Beach, and even Cuba. The Gulf is a mighty DX amplifier when the conditions are right.
          Check the William Hepburn maps often, which will predict when you might have a tropo adventure on your FM dial. In fact, strong tropo is expected on the panhandle on early Saturday morning.
          https://dxinfocentre.com/tropo.html
          FM/AM/SW DXer of Yakima, WA! God Bless America!

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          • #6
            As I recall, Randy was using a TV antenna for FM DXing in his attic due to living in a community with an HOA. The antenna was fixed in one position without being able to be rotated.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by crainbebo View Post
              Welcome Will!
              Panama City Beach, and the whole FL panhandle, is a tropo DXer's paradise. Just ask Randy (KW4RZ) who now lives in Nevada, he spent a good number of years in nearby Fort Walton Beach and realized the potential of tropo. Sometimes you can get very strong signals from Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, and even Mexico. Other times it's Louisiana, or back east to Miami, Daytona Beach, and even Cuba. The Gulf is a mighty DX amplifier when the conditions are right.
              Check the William Hepburn maps often, which will predict when you might have a tropo adventure on your FM dial. In fact, strong tropo is expected on the panhandle on early Saturday morning.
              https://dxinfocentre.com/tropo.html
              That looks like an awesome resource... thank you. That was one of my biggest questions in all of this... When do you know when there's a good tropo going on. I'm not quite setup to play with the big boys yet but I might go out there with the radio I have and see what I can scoop up Saturday morning.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by antennanut View Post
                As I recall, Randy was using a TV antenna for FM DXing in his attic due to living in a community with an HOA. The antenna was fixed in one position without being able to be rotated.
                My attic antenna was an 8 element LPA crafted from an old VHF TV antenna. I did have a rotor. It all worked great.
                Randy KW4RZ Goldfield, Nevada DM17

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                • #9
                  Hi Will. You'll find the Gulf coast of Florida is a fascinating location for FM band DXing. Both tropospheric ducting and sporadic E. I used to live in Ft Walton Beach. Well, I still do but I'm currently travelling out west and situated in the middle of no-where Nevada. Before the better frequencies in Florida clogged up with translators and HD from Pensacola, DXing was fantastic . Panama City should be a better location. You are far enough from Tallahassee and Pensacola both. You'll find tropo across the Gulf to Mexico fairly often. Usually in the spring. Texas coastal will happen fairly often too. Inland Texas is even possible. South Florida and even Cuba occurred fairly frequently. The rare paths are to the north. Kentucky, Carolinas, Missouri, etc. The best resource is William Hepburn's tropo forecast maps. Signals crossing the orange, red and pink areas are an almost guarantee. Very accurate. Sporadic E season is winding down. Expect a few more minor openings through the month. Maybe 1 or two more big ones. This has been a great year for Es. 93.9 was my best DXing frequency there. It should be good also in Panama City with WMTM in south Georgia the primary pest.. 93.9 KMXR Corpus Christi is the tropo beacon.
                  Randy KW4RZ Goldfield, Nevada DM17

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all those wonderful nuggets. Whenever your back this way... I'd love to buy you an adult beverage and pick your brain.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KW4RZ View Post

                      My attic antenna was an 8 element LPA crafted from an old VHF TV antenna. I did have a rotor. It all worked great.
                      Whoops, my recall wasn't exactly accurate since you had a rotor. Thanks for setting the record straight!

                      Tommy

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                      • #12
                        Tommy, I used the 6 element yagi on a second tuner outside only 7 ft high it was Armstrong turned and it worked great except going in/out of the house all the time in the Florida summer! High Five Will, I may be back there soon. Will see. Price of fuel these days makes cross country travel with an RV rough on the pockets.
                        Randy KW4RZ Goldfield, Nevada DM17

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                        • #13
                          Armstrong makes mighty fine rotors.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by antennanut View Post
                            Armstrong makes mighty fine rotors.
                            Send him my way... might have a customer.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FMDX_Will View Post

                              Send him my way... might have a customer.
                              That’s a joke in DX circles. Armstrong = turning the mast with your strong arms.

                              I use the Armstrong method myself. Wear and tear (i.e., my age) is taking its toll on them thar things!

                              cd

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