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I've been a member of the Worldwide TV-FM DX Association since 1999 but haven't been able to go to one of their conventions until this year. The payoff of my big student loan and the resulting travel budget has allowed me to make the trek to Fort Wayne, Indiana this month to see my fellow club members and see what this convention business was all about. Prior to this I'd only met two other WTFDAers in person, now that number is... I'm gonna go with eight.
The convention wasn't that small, but this was a joint convention with the National Radio Club and International Radio Club of America, both of which focus on AM (Mediumwave) DXing. Many WTFDAers are also members of these clubs, and I certainly had enough interest in AM DXing to get by. There were clips of New Zealand AM stations received during DXpeditions in the Pacific Northwest (awesome!) and quizzes I didn't know the answers to (very few stations near the Gulf coast have three-letter calls). On the flip side a few AM DXers showed interest in FM and TV DXing, asking us what antennas and tuners they might try. So having multiple clubs together certainly has benefits.
Naturally my focus was on the TV/FM side of things. I joined a tour of a local radio station cluster, a cluster of e-skip targets for me, and duly made my bandscan recordings for YouTube (it'll be a while before I can edit them though). The highlight for me was some evening tropo on day two. Steve Rich from Indianapolis brought a UHF yagi with him and four of us, large balcony all to ourselves, had decodes from TV stations as far as Lexington, Kentucky (350km away). Since I wasn't familiar with stations in the region I hung back and snapped photos for the cover of the VHF-UHF Digest. I've been editor for the VUD for a year now. How time flies...
Along the way to and from Fort Wayne (this was of course an excuse for a road trip) I drove in four states for the first time, bringing the total to 17, and made stops in Chattanooga, Lima, Louisville, and Macon. Bandscan videos are coming for those as well, once I have the Fort Myers' tropo and e-skip videos done. I also made a quick stop outside of Nashville to record the signal of WTVF channel 5. There are few digital stations operating on VHF-lo and I'd never seen one, so this was my opportunity to change that. The WTVF video was posted on YouTube the night I returned. I also listened to a few stations I'd already caught by e-skip, like WEKF 88.5 in Kentucky, and AM clear channels like WHAS and WLW that I'm used to (somewhat) hearing at night in Fort Myers.
I don't expect to start going to these conventions every year, but I'll be paying attention to the announcements. It's nice to have the option now.
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