Wednesday, June 24, 2020

From Winter MW DX To Summer FM DX

I have lived, and DX-ed, under the assumption that FM DX-ing is a useless effort at my northerly location. However, two years ago following advice from fellow DX-ers I did a "test season" with my relatively new SDRPlay RSP1A, and a very old, 3-element FM antenna placed in the attic. While I only caught one proper Es opening, the result was staggering, with well over 200 stations logged in one afternoon/evening.

Last year I really didn't try much, and I think conditions in general were poor as well. For this season though, I had bought 3 RSPdx from SDRPlay, and an 8-element FM antenna from InnovAntennas. I had sold off my RFSpace CloudIQs and Airspy HF+ so I had some cash ready.

The FM antenna proved an immediate success. It was mounted outdoor on a 6-metre, Ø40 mm aluminium tube/mast and pointed in a southerly direction.

InnovAntennas 8-element FM antenna

I have set up the three RSPdx with three PCs, external 2.5", 4-GB hard drives and let them sample 8 MHz each, to cover the entire FM band. The connection from the antenna to the SDRs is via a 1:5 splitter/preamp from Cross Country Wireless. I monitor and record with HDSDR v. 2.80 since it's quite gentle on CPU and RAM consumption. Playback is done with SDR Console with its excellent RDS decoder.

First Es opening of the season happened on May 30. I will update the FM logs on a monthly basis, and the complete log for May is a good point to start. The most surprising bit for me was Faroe Islands. Not that it was heard, but 8 stations! Some with very low power.

If anyone want more frequent updates, the hangout place for FM DX-ers, especially in Europe, is FMList.org.

It is true though, that in the south, Es and Tropo conditions are much more common. And what's Tropo DX, or even local QRM for some, is Es DX for me. However, I think that northerly locations may have benefits of their own. Such as being able to hear regions that are difficult or maybe impossible to hear for DX-ers in the south. I have ordered another FM antenna from InnovAntennas, and I have some thoughts about where to aim it.

June loggings are due in a week. It will be a long list!

3 comments:

Mir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mir said...

The Japanese lower FM band might be worth monitoring at your location!

73, Mauno

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