Alexandra Herald and Central Otago Gazette , Issue 2009, 4 September 1935, Page 3
THE HOBBY OF DX-ING.
(By J. Lloyd Ferris, Member of N.Z.D.X Club. Official Station call: DX-.131.0T.).
D.X. listening and compiling a complete list of stations heard is a hobby which is rapidly gaining ground among radio listeners.
The question is often asked: “What is DX-ing?”
“D.X.” is the ham abbreviation, meaning “long distance” and DXing as it is now commonly used stands for the logging of distant stations, and contrary to general opinion it is not necessary to have an elaborate outfit for DXing. By this I mean a “super deluxe” receiver of ten or more valves. Practically any radio at all, providing of course that a good aerial and ground system is used is suitable for DXing. A technical knowledge of radio is not necessary and I personally doubt whether many DX-ers have a technical knowledge of their receivers.
With regard to the best type of aerial for DXing purposes I would recommend a “Beverage” but as plenty of space is required, this is not suitable for the town area.
I have experimented with practically every type of aerial but have not discovered one yet to beat my 1800 feet “Beverage” for pulling in DX stations.
NZ. is recognised as being the best place in the world for radio reception, and in proof of this one need only study the logs of our prominent N.Z. DX-ers.
Stations in practically every country in the world have been verified by our DX-ers —logged of course on the broadcast band, 520-1500 k.c. To mention a few:—France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Lativia, Poland, Austria, Czecho-Slovakia, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Russia, India, China, French Indo-China, Rumania, Siam, Japan, Philippine Islands, Africa, Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, Cuba or West Indies, U.S.A., Peru, Mexico, Argentine, Venezuela, Hawaii, Columbia and Bolivia.
You will no doubt have noticed that one country, I have not mentioned is England, and although several reported having heard English stations,—(and there is no reason why they should not as they are as powerful as stations in neighbouring countries such as France and Germany) no one has been able to get a definite verification from an English station. From every other country named, N.Z. DXers have verifications.
It is remarkable the distance these stations have to travel before we receive their signals. Americans on the East Coast are 8,000 or 9,000 miles from New Zealand. The ones on the West Coast 5,000 or 6,000 miles, South Americans are approximately 6,000 miles awav; Japanese are 5,000 miles, Chinese either 5,000 or 6,000 miles. Indian 6,000 miles, African 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 and 9,000 miles and the Europeans from 8,000 to 11,000 miles. This will give you some idea of the distance these wireless waves have to travel before we receive them.
Now, to get these stations one must listen at all odd hours. American stations are heard in the Winter from early afternoon, 3 p.m. till it is midnight on the Pacific coast, when the stations go off the air (7.30 P.M. N.Z.T.) The South American stations actually come in before the N. American stations and it has been stated that the waves from these stations come via the South Pole, and it is not nearly so far that way and through darkness all the way. In the U.S.A. there are four different time belts. The East Coast stations work on E.S.T., the Central stations on C.S.T., those in mountain regions on M.S.T., and the Pacific Coast ones on P.S.T. 4.30 p.m. here is midnight E.S.T., 5.30 p.m. is midnight C.S.T., 6.30 p.m. is midnight M S.T., and 7.30 p.m. is midnight P.S.T. So that with the Americans during winter one can listen from early afternoon until 7.30 p.m., and even after this hour there are numbers of American stations on DX programmes till about 10 or 11 p.m. our time. These are usually organised by the different DX Clubs “in America, but quite a number of these stations put over special programmes for New Zealand listeners.
From 7.30 p.m. a DX-er can commence on the Australian stations and continue with these until after 10 p.m., when it is about time for him to get after the Japanese stations. These stations usually close around 12.30 am. our time—the difference between us being 2 ½ hours. Chinese stations and KZRM in the Philippine Islands are still going, also those in India and in neighbouring countries. Chinese stations are 3 ½ hours behind us but they continue broadcasting until fairly late their time and can be heard till 2 or 3 a.m. our time. To get the African stations, one must be up about 4 or 5 a.m. and in the spring and autumn the European stations are heard best from just before daylight until the sun rises, when they fade out. As soon as the sun rises they disappear. I have been listening to a European station, coming in at good volume, when, all of a sudden, it has disappeared down to a whisper, and on looking out, have seen the first rays of the sun showing over the horizon.
The Australian amateur stations have supplied us with many enjoyable hours of DX-ing. These stations are allowed on the broadcast band after the regular Australian stations have closed down. On Sunday morning, New Zealand time, they come on at 1.30 and on Monday mornings, as other mornings in the week, at 12.30 a.m. NZST. These stations are allowed to use about 25 watts of power, and quite a number use lower power than that. “V.K’s.,” as they are called, have been logged and verified by New Zealand DX-ers when using only 3 to 5 watts of power.
To be a real DX-er one has to give up practically every minute of his spare time to his hobby, until the verifications total 400, and even after that, spend every minute by the receiver during suitable reception conditions, because, no matter what the hour is, there is always something of interest. Then there is the report to write out after logging a station, and this all takes up time. The Saturday afternoons and evenings, and again on Sundays, must be given to DX-ing if one is to go properly into the hobby and make a success of it. To most listeners the DX-er is looked upon as a “crank,” but if those same people started writing to DX. stations they would soon get the “bug,” and want to see how many stations they could get and verifications in return. Of course, it is all very well reporting to stations but the real thrill is in receiving the letters back.
The most important factor in DX-ing is patience. Very often one has to put up with considerable static and because of this the identification of items and call signs of stations is very difficult. One should list the items heard and note the New Zealand times at which they are broadcast. This time, when reporting, should be converted to that of the country heard.
When writing to a station it is not good enough to say that you heard their signals. A definite programme of at least four or five items, which you can positively identify must be given, together with the times they went over.
To date, I have verified “broadcast” stations in Germany, France, Italy, Czecho-Slovakia, Luxemburg, Mexico, Russia, Austria, North and South America, Siam, Japan, China and Australia. I have reports out to stations in Norway, Poland, Sweden, Rumania, Spain, Switzerland, Philippine Islands, Belgium, Greece.
So one can see that Alexandra is well situated for all round DX reception.
The receiver in use is a 7-valve a.c. (superhet.).