If you are an Oregon resident, you are likely familiar with the Oregon Public Broadcast (OPB) radio station. What you may not know is the signal can sometimes reach out well beyond the Oregon and Washington service area. This was true for Norwegian radio enthusiast Tore Johnny Braatvei as he caught the signal when he was more than 4,000 miles away.
When interviewed by ThinkOutLoud on OPB, Braatvei talked about how he was in Arctic Norway at the time he received the signal. This means he was more than 4,000 miles away when he caught onto this signal. Apparently though, receiving far-away radio signals like this one is just another day at the office for Braatvei and his fellow DX-ers. To accomplish this, he sets up an antenna and teams up with others trying to hunt for radio stations. With their combined equipment and using his own software, hunters like Braatvei are able to find radio signals from all around the world. Once they find them, they send a reception report to the radio station, letting them know how far the signal reached.
Braatveit is legally blind, and though you might think that means he takes something more out of this exercise, he claims it doesn’t really affect his experience. He has been DX-ing for over three decades now and in that time he has captured a wide variety of signals from around the world. Among those signals, he points out that he found at least one signal from every one of the 50 United States. When searching, he explains that it can sometimes be difficult to identify what he is listening too because he does not speak the languages of many broadcasts he might find. Still, with discipline and a can-do attitude, he is able to discover quite a bit.
One of the keys to DX-ing, as Braatveit explains, is that it is much easier at night. Presumably due an overall smaller amount of signals and less people trying to listen in, he points out that it is more likely to find signals at midnight than at noon. Of course, his interest in the radio doesn’t end with his hunting, and he also spends time using more modern means to listen to a variety of stations from around the world using the internet.
In an age where you can log onto the internet and listen to radio stations from all around the world with perfect audio quality, some might wonder why anyone would still hunt for radio signals in this fashion. For Braatvei and his fellow DX-ers, it seems to be all about the thrill. While it might be easy to just hop on the internet, he gets to operate knowing he is doing something many people around the world will never get to do.
It is probably similar to the reason some people still like using film in their cameras or those who prefer to paint rather than use some thousand dollar software to animate an idea. Just because radio waves are not as prominent as they were before, does not mean they still don’t offer people a great pastime. In this case, he can be proud he has the discipline to listen to these radio stations and discover things not many people would take the time to do. In his case, Braatvei compares the thrill of DX-ing to the feeling people get from hunting or fishing.
If you find this interesting, perhaps you want to try DXing on your own. Apparently, there is an entire community of DX-ers and they take this pastime very seriously. Though you will have to invest in some equipment to get started, there are resources out there that can help, such as dxing.info, which provides helpful information for those looking to get started with this hobby.
Do you know anyone in the DXing community? What’s the farthest radio station you’ve ever picked up?