| 08/16/08 ||
This month, I say goodbye to one of my most cherished hobbies: TV DXing. It
started with me as it did for many younger DXers: I was raised without cable. Add to
this a little curiosity about why channels 2-6 are a garbled mess some days in
the summer and why the ABC affiliate 400 miles away came came in crystal clear
last night and -PRESTO!- casual TV DXer. When the casual DXer starts a logbook,
readies his VCR and DX-only tape, and joins a club called the Worldwide TV-FM DX
Association... the 'casual' part is kinda gone.
Okay, so WHY throw in the towel? I didn't expect to so soon, but that's how I
decided it should happen. The (ahem) forced switch to digital
broadcasting next February was a big reason, but hardly the only reason. Yes,
8VSB can be DXed - as many loggings we were never sure we'd see have shown; and
yes, international targets - notably from Latin America - will still be there for
several years. At the beginning of this year, I planned on staying active
through at least the 2009 season, and I wasn't sure how I felt about chasing
only international targets.. truth is: I rarely saw them, even after moving to
Florida. Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean never became part of the hobby for
me; eventually, I guess my mind just became locked in domestic mode. I do
consider the United States to have the best targets: we're an easy
country to ID, since our culture in broadcasting was, for a long time, to use
privately-owned stations with big, unique logos and strong local identities...
e-skip doesn't always cooperate when all you can hope for is small text flashing
on once every twenty-four hours... if the station even offers that much.
Unfortunately recent CBS, FOX, and CW network mandates are trying to make
station-logos as similar to each other as possible. Not very sporting, in this
DXers opinion. Other reasons are personal and less defined. My life has changed
since I lived in Patchogue. Armed with a drivers license, I have the freedom to drive to
cities the signals are coming from (whereas I originally looked to DX as
something of a unique viewing opportunity). I haven't had a yagi since I left New York. Since I'm not living in
a house, one's not very practical, either. That means rabbit ears (rather, a
dipole on a 10' PVC pipe). While I've gotten by with them, I have to rotate by
hand and, in Florida's summer humidity, that makes it quite a chore. The final
(and surprising) discovery was boredom... To sum up
the personal reasons: I may still be able to capture stations, but they don't
seem to capture me as well anymore.
With the peak of e-skip gone and trops in the rear-view mirror, I plan to
finalize my logbook for Fort Myers sometime in September. Past that point,
anything I happen to DX won't count toward my statistics. I'm in the process of
organizing my catches (especially those on tape) from Patchogue, North
Massapequa, and Fort Myers. The old QTHes' logs have been reorganized on this
site. I have a little over ten hours of video recordings, which I will condense
to about 115 minutes and make into a DVD.
- My family moves to a house in Patchogue, NY. It came with a
VU-90XR yagi pointed toward the locals in New York City. We didn't get
cable until 1998.
- "Channel Surfing Rebellion": I discover local channels in the UHF
band (WNYE 25, then-WNYC 31, and then-WLIG 55) that my parents never
- I notice that then-WNJM 50, listed in our local TV Guide, only
comes in some of the time. Curious, I also discover out-of-area
channels going in and out. This is the first year I consider myself to
have been a DXer (at the tender age of 12).
- First written logs, but I forgot to date them! Reception from
Norfolk, Virginia (330 miles) was a big deal. My dad thinks it's low
power stations in NYC.
- First (pocket) TV
- Recordings onto audio cassette
- Only one log with a date from this year: WMPT 22 on 9/7 (no time).
- "Channel Music" tapes record the audio of DXed stations.
- Logs recorded onto small slips of paper... not very organized yet
but it was something.
- First e-skip IDs nearly give me a heart attack (and I thought
Virginia was far!)
- First, scattered recordings onto videotape using clunky VCR that
had to be adjusted for every UHF channel (anybody remember those?).
- I ask for a larger VU-110XR antenna for my birthday, adding a
rotor with my birthday money.
In 1997, I began setting videotapes aside just for recording
DX. Eleven seasons later, five T-120 tapes were filled.
- First DX-only videotape, no more audio-only recording.
- The videotape catalog serves as a type of logbook, I'm slightly
more organized now.
- WTAT 24 catch on 8/27 is my all-time tropo record at 654 miles.
- First time browsing the internet. I discover that all those
distant stations have websites!
- I start calling the phenomenon "Improved Reception."
- First DX-only videotape full; I start a second ;-)
- I use the internet to search for others with my crazy hobby, learn
that it's called "DXing" and find the WTFDA. After receiving a sample
issue of the VHF-UHF Digest, I sign up as a member.
- I finally start a proper logbook. The same red notebook is still
in use today.
- This was among my better years for tropo. Several of my most
common DX targets "premiere" (are recorded as IDed stations) late because I never thought to log them
- KLNE 03 catch on 6/17 is my all-time e-skip/distance record at
- First submission to Eastern TV-DX column in the VHF-UHF
- QSLs received from WPBT 02 and KEMV 06 (both PBS stations via
- I start a third DX-only videotape.
- DXing is an aspect of my new website.
- This was among my better years for e-skip.
- Recovering from ankle surgery gives me ample DXing time in July.
- Simultaneous catches of WMC and WTVF on channel 5, a normally
uneventful channel, inspire me to create the
speed up logo-based IDs.
- Rotor burns out after five years. Antenna is stuck pointing north.
- First college internship reduces free-time in the summer.
- Free-time drops lower as college activities and work hours
- Vermont becomes the last new state logged in Patchogue (I was
hoping I would log that one; unfortunately, still never saw NH or
- A relatively active year between two dead ones. A month-long delay
in the start of my third internship frees up some quality time and
then I'm told we're moving. I commit to squeezing in a few last
catches before my first QTH goes to the history books.
- This was my only full-year in North Massapequa, NY. This was also
my only year without a single logging.
- In an attempt to organize my many personal projects, my DXing
efforts fall under the name "Project Wildwood"... named for WMGM
city of license.
- A chimney-mounted VU-90XR with rotor goes up in November, too late
for much more than local bandscanning.
- As DXing season begins, I decide to move to Florida. All catches
in North Massapequa are made within my last 45 days there, all IDed
stations already having been seen in Patchogue.
- I move to Cape Coral, FL then Fort Myers: only seven miles away.
Cape Coral logs count as Fort Myers.
- In lieu of a yagi, I put a set of rabbit-ears on a 10' PVC pipe
and zip-tie it to my balcony.
- Fourth DX-tape
- This was my best year for tropo in Florida and the only time I saw
- WAPT 16 catch on 4/3 (642-mile Gulf Tropo!) is only 12 miles short
of breaking Patchogue's Tropo Record, a very-secure All-Time second.
WAPT was also the fifth QTH record-breaker within a two-hour period!
- Surprisingly dead year for both trops and Es, in spite of heavy
- I decide that I won't pursue digital DXing, but will remain active
through '09 to see what international targets present themselves. Logo
Gallery maintenance ends w/out a 2008 update.
- Most intense monitoring since '00, since this is the last year
before the analog shutoff. Still, only one decent tropo opening seen.
- Change in plans: I decide that this will be my last season monitoring.
- Fifth DX-tape started.
- Fortunately, my low expectations for e-skip fall through. This was
my best year for e-skip in Florida and the only time I saw Mexico.
- XHY 02 catch on 7/18 is my all-time short-hop record at 625 miles.
- Active monitoring ends in August. Plans to finalize logbook and
dissolve DXing as a personal project in September.
I'm not sure to what degree TV DXing will ever get out of my system, or to
what degree I ever want it to. In a way, I'll always be a DXer. No reason I
can't put up whatever antenna I have and do some bandscanning in the future.
But, like pruning a plant, sometimes I need to take away the old so that the new
can fall into bloom. Though DXing isn't generally considered a childhood hobby,
it certainly was a part of my childhood and I don't mind saying that I'll miss
it. Maybe I'll be back, you never know.
Fort Myers Logs
(linked file is no longer available)