Friday, July 26, 2013

1,200 FM Stations...and Setting Goals Before Every DX Season

Every milestone in a DXer's career is a significant one. Earlier this year, I reached the 1,400 AM station mark. Before the end of June, I reached another milestone: 1,200 FM radio stations.

I began my current logbook when I set up my present DX shack in July 1992. It took me 17 years to reach 1,000 FM stations. In the spring of 2012, I set a goal of reaching 1,200 FM stations in my logbook by the end of the FM DX season. I wound up falling 22 stations shy of the mark. It was well worth the wait for June 28, 2013 at 9:16 a.m., when I finally logged my 1,200th FM radio station. That station was also my 169th Missouri FM: KSYN 92.5 Joplin, MO. I pulled this through the digital sidebands from WIL 92.3 (whose transmitter is 25 miles south of my shack). I also recorded this station for posterity, and posted it to my Box account. 19 minutes later, I logged my 30th Kansas FM: KJML 107.1 in Columbus (a Joplin/Pittsburg suburb). The previous month, I logged my 30th AM from Kansas, KCCV 760 in Overland Park (a Kansas City suburb).

This season, I also set a goal of hearing 200 FM stations from Illinois. As I write this, I have four more to go (the count is 196). I began the season with 188 FM stations from the Land of Lincoln. Much of what I have received has been on adjacent channels to my locals (especially those broadcasting in a digital/analog hybrid known as "HD Radio") or, in the cases of metro Peoria stations WWCT 99.9 and WXCL 104.9, through the lower-powered locals. So far this year, I've already hit 60 FM stations from Iowa (the count is now 61), 40 FM stations from Tennessee (I'm now at 41) and 35 FM stations from Kentucky (the count is now 36).

Another goal that has been reached is 150 digital TV stations. That mark was reached on May 19 with my log of WNIN 9 Evansville, IN (I previously logged them on 12 in August 2008). Here's a comparison of the August 3, 2008 log with that of May 19, 2013.

The next goal within reach on DTV is 40 Indiana stations; I've logged 38 DTVs from the Hoosier State, making it my most productive state on digital TV.

In the upcoming AM broadcast band DX season, the next goal I have is to hear 100 AM stations from my home state of Missouri. As I write this, I have 98 Missouri AM stations in the logbook. I have heard more than 100 AM stations from only one state: Illinois. Since I live eight miles west of the state line, it seems that the Land of Lincoln has the advantage. Since I started my present log in July 1992, I have logged 113 AM stations from the Land of Lincoln. Two other states are close to the 100 mark: Tennessee (only need five for 100 Volunteer State AMs) and Texas (I only need eight to hit the 100 mark from the Lone Star State). One goal that could be reached in 2013 or 2014 is 1,500 AM stations (as I write this, 1,422 AM stations are in my logbook). This is the only band I count call letter changes on. I don't count call changes on FM and TV (analog and digital) in accordance with the standards set by the Worldwide TV-FM DX Association.

I don't usually keep a count of shortwave radio stations in my logbook...they're so hard to keep track of. The only thing I keep track of is QSL cards. One QSL card I received was from Radio Australia for a 2012 reception on 19 MHz. The card I got for this reception was the same one I got for a reception on 11660 kHz in 2011.

Do you set goals for your DX before every season? How many stations have you logged from your location? It's amazing how many stations I've heard from my location, given the modest equipment I have used over the years. Take some time, look at your logbooks, and ask yourself: "What goals are realistic for me this year?" You'll be surprised to see what milestones you can reach, no matter what band you DX.

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