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Friday, August 24, 2007

Surfin': Is that Loud and Clear?

Hot summer nights listening to distant AM radio stations inspired this week's Surfin'. After you read Surfin’, you can leave your comments here.

By the way, Surfin’ is a weekly column published on ARRLWeb that finds and features Web sites that are related to Amateur Radio, specifically, and radio, in general. If you have any suggestions for Surfin’, please contact WA1LOU using the e-mail link to the right.


  1. You do realize that this is exactly the wrong time, or maybe a last chance time, for this post. Recent FCC rules will allow IBOC (HD) at night starting September 14th. IBOC basically wipes out the 'first adjacent' on either side. So if you are in State College trying to listen to WTIC (1080) the IBOC signal from WBAL (1090) will make WTIC unlistenable (think BPL here) at night. AM DX is about to become a thing of the past.

  2. I was able to routinely listen to New York City stations,WNEW,WOR,WNBC,WABC (am) when I was in Germany serving a 3 year enlistment in the 1960's. After midnight when 'on duty' as a morse intercept operator, I was often able to dedicate one of my receivers to tune the U.S. am broadcast band and I remember well listening to such programs as "THE MILKMAN'S MATINEE" on WNEW-am radio!
    The antenna...........well, it was a very large rhombic!!


  3. Since I was walking, I was dxing, I just didn't know it. Growing up in Pottstown, PA, I'd listen to WIBG Phila till dusk, when they'd cut and run, then be covered by WCFL Chicago. My brothers turned me onto adding extension cords to the antenna on the Philco Model 70 in my bedroom, and listen to WKBW Buffalo, WBZ Boston, WLS Chicago, CKLW Windsor/Detroit and WBT Charlotte. WABC was to close and had constant groundwave/skywave phase battles at night. Radio was my best friend.

    I fear our day is over though. Listening to WTIC here at the Jersey Shore will end with IBOC interference from 1060 KYW.

  4. Your article brings back memories of "clandistine" dxing under the covers. I recall evenings in the early 1960's in S. Calif when I was supposed to be asleep, I had a small transister radio pressed against my ear. I listened to KMOX is St. Louis, and once heard WOR in NY.

  5. From responses that I have read re broadcast AM DXing, it's so sad to hear from many of your readers that the FCC may be about to make it a thing of the past. I live on Long Island's western south shore, an area certainly saturated with NY City based AM broadcasters. Though I can't match the Germany - US reception claims, I have always been amazed at the many far-flung AM stations that come into my car radio on most nights of the summer, and even on clear winter nights, if one is parked in any open, medium size parking lot. Best reception, however, has been on the Grand Central Pkwy as it runs E_W. at the QUEENS-NASSAU counties border, on a 350 + ft. ridge of terminal moraine left there from the last Ice Age's southernmost advance on the eastern North American continent. Riding in your car, distant AM stations, for about 5 minutes, override local stations, some of them from hundreds of miles away, from Baltimore to Detroit to Quebec, only to fade back into the noise as I head south onto the flat glacial alluvial plain that is Long Island's south shore. AM Dxing: annoying static to most of us,fascinating radio propagation to hams.
    73, de Pierre, KC2PBX

  6. Stephen Penrose, KC0NIEAugust 31, 2007 at 7:15 PM

    St. Louis, MO. I remember it was back in the early '70s. One summer it became a nightly ritual to hang out with a couple of guys in the neighborhood and listen for Beaker Street(?) from Little Rock Arkansas on the radio. 15-year old boys sitting in Dad's car parked on the road, with the windows rolled down, talking, listening to a far away radio station. Good,cheap fun.

  7. Lou, Great article!

    My very first AM BCB DX receptions were 810 WGY and 1010 WINS both in located NY and received on an old car AM radio I resurrected from the trash can using a 10 foot piece of twin lead speaker wire for an antenna. That was back in 1986 when I was 15 living in Swansea, MA (My Dad was amazed on how I got the radio working in the first place). This was the sure beginning of my passion of AM/SWL DXing and Ham Radio.

    Fast forward 2007...

    Ironically, I now live in upstate NY 15 miles from WGY transmitter tower and I get excited when I tune into 1480 WSAR (Somerset, MA) and 630 WPRO (Providence, RI) knowing that these two stations were local to me when I was a kid living in MA. Red Sox games are not televised on local cable so the next best thing is to watch them on the radio except, that is, when they're playing the Yankees! Go Sox!

    Other Tidbits...

    I tune in frequently to 750 WSB Atlanta, GA with my restored 1937 Truetone wooden tabletop AM/SWL radio connected to a 10 ft piece of wire inside the shack. Comes in loud and clear!

    One other worth mentioning; Back in 2004 while temporarily residing in Phoenix, AZ 640 KFI Los Angeles was a picked up on my car radio when traveling outside the city limits.

    What a great hobby this is!

    Keep up the good work!

    73, Denis W1WV

  8. In the 60's We listened to WLS, KOMA, OK, KAAY, Littlerock, Ark, Wolfman Jack, from Mexico, can't remember the station, mostly at night. It was a great time. KCØWNY SE Kansas. Keep it up.