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Bandscans, My DXing Page

RadiosThese pages feature my hobby of "DXing" off-air TV and FM signals. I began catching distant stations on Long Island in 1994 (at age 12), and by the time I joined the Worldwide TV-FM DX Association in 1999 I had logged about a hundred TV stations from neighboring cities and even from halfway across the country. This is possible due to atmospheric phenomena that peak at certain times of the year. "E-Skip", for instance, can cause the signals of FM stations to bounce off the ionosphere like shortwave signals during certain summer days. DXers like me monitor for these conditions and log the stations we receive... always hoping for farther and farther catches.

I've been based in Florida since 2005, first in Fort Myers and then Orlando. Until 2013 I was primarily a TV DXer... then I started DXing the AM and FM broadcast bands. Living in an apartment limited my antenna options, but I determined an FM yagi could fit in my second-story bedroom and tried it. It did surprisingly well. Since moving to Orlando in 2019 I've been treating this as a more mobile hobby. Most of my DXing is done in Mount Dora, and when I'm up for a longer drive I keep a separate logbook for Crystal River. The TV/FM bands aren't so congested there.

My interactive Digital TV logbook is now online for Orlando and Crystal River. My old catches for Fort Myers and Patchogue are in the links below. The On The Road Page features bandscans and DX I recorded while away on vacation.

Stations Logged in Orlando , in Crystal River
       Fort Myers Catches (2012-2019) , Analog TV in FL , Analog TV in NY
1 Megameter DTV Map
Stations Logged in Orlando , in Crystal River
       FM Stations Logged in Fort Myers , Tropo , E-Skip , FM Map
2,500 Kilometer FM Map
AM Stations Logged , Bandscans From Other Cities
1,500 Mile Analog TV Map

Last Logbook Entries

Nov 18, 2023 tropo   (2 TV, 50 FM, 3 WX)
Nov 11, 2023 tropo   (25 TV, 2 FM stations)
Oct 31, 2023 tropo   (1 FM station)
 Oct 30, 2023 tropo   (5 TV, 4 FM, 2 WX)
Aug 1, 2023 tropo   (2 FM stations)
 Jul 7, 2023 e-skip   (1 FM station)
Jul 2, 2023 tropo   (4 FM stations)
Jun 30, 2023 tropo   (2 TV, 7 FM, 3 WX)

Equipment and Policies

Primary 28km radius Secondary 28km radius

Antennas: CM4220HD 2-Bay UHF, CM4228HD 8-Bay UHF, CM5016 VHF/UHF Yagi (all are Channel Master).
TV Tuners: Insignia NS-DXA1 set-top box, Philips PT902 Portable TV.
FM Tuners: Sony XDR-S10HDiP, Sangean ATS-909X, and the stock radio in my 2014 Accord.

Border Lake Zone (Orlando): My primary logbook is based on a 28 km radius around 28.67264, -81.45662 (the east end of Border Lake Road). This includes every place I've lived in Seminole County, my job, downtown Orlando, all of Lake Apopka, and Gilbert Park in Mount Dora (favorable terrain for Gulf Tropo and far from Orlando's broadcast towers). Any catch made within this area may be counted as if I saw it at home, though distances/records will reflect my actual location at the time. All (> Part 15) stations within this area count as semi-locals upon discovery, even if I can't receive it at home.

CKFI Zone (Crystal River): My secondary logbook is based on a 28 km radius around 28.9923, -82.8380. This includes Crystal River, Inglis, and Cedar Key. The area has few locals on TV and FM and is expected to perform well during Gulf Tropo. It's a two hour drive from home, so quality not quantity is the plan.

IDing a station: Decoding the PSIP of a digital station counts as an ID if call letters are included. If PSIP isn't helpful, the following may also be used to verify a station: visual ID, local newscasts or commercials, area codes in phone numbers, website promos, network name or station nickname that exists for only one station on given channel (such as PBS's "OETA," "AETN," or "CPTV"). If these clues make me confident that I have IDed the station, I'll log it as a positive ID. Less certain IDs may be counted as tentative, which don't count toward statistics.

Call Letters/ Shared Licenses: Suffixes "-TV", "-DT", and "-D" are redundant and therefore omitted when call letters are entered into the logbook. "-LD" and "-CD" are not omitted. When two or more full-power stations share a license, the call letters associated with the lowest virtual channel will be used with an asterisk(*), and other call letters will appear in the notes. If the station has no published call letters the Network or Branding may be used instead. A Single Frequency Network (SFN) can be logged once per channel, with City and Distance being based on the repeater I most likely caught.

Locals, Semi-locals, and Relogs: Stations within 100 km of a zone's center that provide reliable, listenable signals throughout the zone are locals. ("Listenable" means noise is low enough not to be distracting. For the AM broadcast band this is determined at night.) Stations farther or weaker, but strong enough to ID, or those with too little power to cover the 28 km radius, are semi-locals. Stations not consistently received within my home zone, by definition, are DX. Stations within 250 km of a zone's center, being more common, will only be logged once per year unless there's a change to its license. If a station has moved more than 100 km it may be counted as a new catch.

How I Started DXing

Here is my story as it appeared in the January 2001 VHF-UHF Digest:

Worldwide TV-FM DX AssociationWhen my family moved back to Long Island from Florida in 1991, I was only 9 and didn't notice the major switch in TV market areas. Upon Subsequent visits to my family down south, I wanted to bring home the local Florida TV Guide. I don't know where my sudden interests in TV Guides came from, I just liked comparing their NBC affiliate to my own (WNBC). It wasn't long before I had memorized the channels in the New York Metro edition (now discontinued). Back then, we didn't have cable, just the antenna that came with the house. Late one afternoon (winter of 1993?) I was watching TV when I realized that there were local stations I had never watched; I decided to check out the IDs of WNYE-25 and WNYC-31 (now WPXN) at the next commercial break -- my life of channel-surfing rebellion had begun.

Now checking out all the channels, I discovered that WNJN-50 would sometimes come in, and other times not. I found this to happen on many channels listed in my TV Guide, but that didn't come in regularly. I had discovered tropo, my first out-of-market discoveries were Philadelphia and Scranton.

One day I was getting a PBS station on channel 15 that I couldn't ID, this is the first time I recall going crazy about an unID; another opening developed and I IDed it as WHRO - Hampton Roads; I didn't know I could get signals as far as Virginia, so I thought it was from the Long Island Hamptons. Once I discovered it was Virginia, other openings developed and I DXed many other stations from Maryland and Virginia; it was at this time my dad suggested that the stations were actually low-power stations from NYC, I didn't believe him. My first loggings were from the summer of 1995, when I was still discovering Virginia.

If I was shocked when I discovered 300+ mile tropo, imagine my surprise when I discovered E-skip! I was watching something on channel 2 one night, another station was ghosting in the background; I hoped it would show its logo or something; well, I didn't end up frantically running to get my station listings just for the exercise! I had IDed WESH, and after looking up all the usual suspects (the northeastern states) I finally looked up Orlando, FL. After the doctors revived me, I had my first all-time distance record. KMTV and WLBT soon became common E-skip catches. I called DXing, "improved reception" (or "IR") and was becoming more interested in it each summer.

For my 14th birthday, I asked for a new antenna that would be larger than the current one. I received the RS VU-110XR, and with my birthday money I bought a rotator. After my 15th birthday I was liberated from my parents TVs (which I weren't allowed to 'damage' by watching weak signals) and got my own; this was followed by my own VCR the following Christmas. After I recognized DXing as a hobby, I knew there had to be others out there who did this. It wasn't until early 1999 that I went online in search of other DXers (it was then that I learned it was called "DXing"), and quickly found the WTFDA. I joined as soon as I got my sample issue. Shortly after I began keeping continuous logs and totals. Now I stand (or sit) here a better DXer who has also gotten hooked on other radio hobbies all due to that TV Guide I so longed for. 73s

2016 Compilation Videos


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EGRABOW.COM and its original content Copyright 1999-2023 Ryan Grabow. May be reproduced in good faith unless otherwise stated.
EGRABOW.COM and its original content Copyright 1999-2023 Ryan Grabow. May be reproduced in good faith unless otherwise stated.