Home » Radio » Shortwave Radio » Medium Wave DXing Fifty Five Years In

Medium Wave DXing Fifty Five Years In

medium wave dxing

No, that’s not me on the left, but close. I just realized that last year was my 55th anniversary in my first hobby of medium wave DXing.

It all started in junior high school. You may recall the days when power failures led to local broadcasters going “off the air”. These days, everyone has backup power generators, but not during the 1960’s.

One morning in the mid 60’s, when I was having breakfast and listening to a battery powered radio, a winter storm turned off the power. All the local AM stations went silent. But I discovered a world of other stations coming through in the silence. Soon, I learned that if I tuned between the locals, distant broadcasters came through.

Soon after, I discovered this was actually a hobby called medium wave DXing. I also stumbled across a club dedicated to this kind of thing and some members lived just down the street. So, I joined CIDX which, amazingly, is still around.

We used to send signal reports to stations heard and receive verifications from the station engineer, called QSL cards. I collected cards from 50 states and all 10 provinces. Unfortunately, I have lost these over the years. Hams still collect QSL cards, but mainly electronic ones now.

Back when I started, most of the radios used wide ceramic filters, so selectivity was poor. But Winnipeg was a great location for medium wave DXing being centrally located in North America. We used to hear the powerhouse Mexican broadcasters as well as both US coasts from New York to California. My favorite station over the 1970’s was WLS, the Rock of Chicago on 890 kHz.

Medium Wave DXing Today

Fast forward 55 years, and my SDR receivers and wideband loop array got me back into medium wave DXing. Sadly, the band is full of too many pathetic talk radio shows, but that’s life. Calgary is not as good as Winnipeg, though, for hearing the east coast. But, you can hear some Asian stations across the Pacific – no mean feat from the Canadian prairies.

My new ANAN-7000DLE MKII is an excellent receiver for long distance nighttime AM signals. So is the Flex 6300 and Afedri dual channel, not the mention the wonderful Perseus and its recording abilities. With the Perseus, you can actually capture an hour of the entire AM broadcast band and play it back at your leisure.

But the ANAN and Afedri provide beamforming with a pair of loop or small vertical antennas. With this feature, you can actually resolve multiple stations on the same frequency.


  1. Walter says:

    John, great to see you’re still active on the leading edge of radio. Your Ergo 3 and 4 software were real game changers for me when I owned the Collins HF-2050! Walt in Victoria

  2. Mike says:

    Hi John, nice article.My first start was ( circa 1956-7) a Westinghouse All American fiver that an aunt bought for my brother and I to share. There were many disagreements on what to listen to but we agreed on Blue Bomber football, Goldeye baseball or the many series of radio action shows.

    Later on especially in the winter with a crude antenna wire stuck through one of the vent holes on our storm window the action picked up. My first logbook was a cardboard flap from a cardboard box and I recorded the frequency, dial position and the call letters. It was fun and at times it was amazing what you were able to hear.

    Later on while on vacation I was telling an uncle about the radio and Dxing ( didn’t know then what it was called) showed me his hobby room and on the work bench was Hallicrafters 38. My eyes popped out of head and I still remember the dark blue case and the magic of the dial lights and a S meter. It worked great, soon I was listening all around the globe! After we arrived at home, my dad called me to the car trunk and in a box there was the radio and a DX magazine. My uncle sent it and told my dad the kid was so excited and he wanted me to have it. From the manual I discovered band spread, a BFO, and still remember the magic of all things that glow in the night.

    Next it was the era of solder ironing ha-ha, crystal sets, getting old chassis from the TV/Radio shop at the end of our street and finding like minded friends. My first transistor radio came when I was grade 7, a pocket transistor radio, Americana FC-60, I have two of them restored in my mementos cabinet. The first serous all transistor radio much later on was from a friend, a Heathkit GC-!A, looks smart but short on performance. I have restored two of these since and the results didn’t change in 40-50 years.

    That’s how it started.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.