Back when I was a kid in the early 1980’s a friend and I would sit at night listening to night time DX stations on AM radio. We would document the times and dates, research the station and then mail them a letter requesting a QSL card. These were the days before I became a ham radio operator. I have not done this for years until recently. I’ve regained contact with my old friend and continued this practice. We even created a Facebook Group for our activities.
Things have changed in recent years due to the Internet and the fact that most stations stream their audio online. Today, it is easy to hear stations all over the world on the Internet so a letter telling them what was playing at a specific day and time is no longer sufficient proof that you received their signal. You could easily listen to their streaming audio online and then just tell them you received their signal. My friend came up with a way to prove it was indeed over the radio, and also keep a record of the event.
He started making videos with his tablet and then uploading them to Youtube, creating a visual proof of the event. Then he emails the station and attaches a link to the video. He’s had such great success that I am doing the same. In the picture above, you can see how I have put a camcorder in front of the radio to make the video that is later uploaded onto Youtube. You can see my videos here. I just have a couple for now but I plan to add more.
In this video, you can see where last night I was listening to KFAB, 1110 KHz from Omaha, Nebraska. This is right off the AM radio with no special antennas installed.
It may seem strange to be a licensed amateur radio operator and be focusing on AM station instead of other amateur stations. Well this is not in exclusion of other amateur stations, but rather another hobby. There are only so many AM stations and many of them are low power. I received a 28 watt station that was more than 300 miles away on AM radio. I thought that was pretty cool. We have a 50,000 watt AM station here in Oklahoma City (KOKC 1520 KHz) that is very powerful. Fortunately for me, the station has a directional night time pattern toward the North and West and South. It nulls out the East and I just happen to live about 15 miles toward the East of the station. At night I can barely hear them at my house and so I have been hearing some weak signals coming in on that frequency. My next goal is to get a contact with a station on that frequency while inside the Oklahoma City limits. Since KOKC is weak at night at my house, I believe I can null out their signal enough to be able to get the other station.
This really is fun because you can find many stations on the same frequency by nulling out the other station. You can build external loop antennas to strenthen one station while nulling out another. My friend and I started doing this in 1982 and believe it or not, he still has his original log and QSL cards from back then. I’ve moved many times since then and so I lost my logs. Now that I am back home in Oklahoma City, I have begun receiving these stations again. If you are into distant stations, ham or CB operator, you should give it a try. It is really fun.