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Cutting FM DX Loose

WLNK 107.9 was one of my best FM catches (Fort Myers to Charlotte) during the crazy e-skip of June 20, 2015.

In 2013 I added FM DXing to my TV and AM diet. A good tropo season (2014) and e-skip season (2015) helped the FM band trouce decades-old TV records practically overnight. Those years were fun, certainly. In those years, though, I had a lot of time and attention to give to the hobby. After 2016's so-so performace, and my attention bleeding away from 2017 onward, the loggings have just gone down and down. Now my first e-skip season in Orlando has begun, and I'm not exactly sitting by the radios.

Of course, the number of FM locals has only gone up with the move. (Even Fort Myers had grown pretty bad from 2013 to 2019.) This form of DXing is still rewarding, but ever since I started it's felt like more and more work to get catches. If the band were still as open as the 70s or 80s my decision would probably be different.

This year I've decided to cut FM loose. It's not that I won't check the band when I have the opportunity. I just won't pressure myself to document everything. Maybe there's a recording. Maybe it gets to my YouTube channel . Maybe I'll let an opening pass me by. Orlando FM catches won't be in my Interactive Logbook . FM will be treated the same way I've treated the AM and WX bands, as a peripheral part of my TV DXing hobby .

My focus is back on TV, and just as ATSC3 is preparing to launch. Even with a packed UHF band in every city this is an easier lift. Notably, Orlando's VHF-lo band is empty right now, and several stations at E-Skip range have moved down to the band during the DTV repack. I've ordered a Channel Master CM-5016 to replace the FM yagi in my living room (cause, you know, apartment). Even if it's on the small side, this will be my first proper antenna for TV channels 2 thru 6. My best e-skip days may still be ahead. :D


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