Radio listening as a hobby has been in existence in New Zealand for a very long time. It was way back in 1911 when 3 Wellington enthusiasts first listened to distant morse stations and thus became New Zealands first DXers. DX is an abbreviation for `Long Distance Listening’. Since those early days the New Zealand DX Club and now the New Zealand Radio DX League have continued to promote radio listening as a hobby and pastime. The League today is the leading DX organisation in the southern hemisphere and is involved in promoting the hobby not only in New Zealand, but also in the South Pacific.
Ever since radio broadcasting began there have been listeners fascinated by the excitement of listening to station in other countries for up-to-the-minute news, sports, music, languages and a taste of life in far away lands.
The technical advances made in broadcasting since the early days have been astounding and today practically every country has an external broadcasting organisation. Advanced receiver design has widened the potential and enjoyment for the radio listener, with modern portable receivers with read-out facilities showing the exact frequency to which the receiver is tuned. High powered transmitters send signals to all corners of the globe and today the South Pacific is the target area of transmissions from more than 45 countries with daily English broadcasts.
The early fascination of chasing elusive stations still persists today and the hobby of long distance radio listening or DXing flourishes in many countries. Radio listeners today make a hobby of monitoring and reporting reception of overseas radio stations. This is a valuable service to most international broadcasters and in return for correct and useful reports, card and letters are sent by the stations to verify reception. It is the collection of these QSL’s that is the basis of the DX hobby.
These days there is a growing interest in listening to stations for information and many members do not report reception, but use the radio as a means of entertainment and enjoy the wide variety of programmes offered. To this end international broadcasters release advance programme information so that magazines can publish upcoming events from shortwave stations.
The DXer reports on signal strength, signal quality and clarity; on interference from other stations, and offers constructive comment on programme content. The DXer often uses only a simple domestic receiver, although many use a more expensive communications receiver specifically designed for the task. No matter what radio is used, both types of listener derive the same thrill and enjoyment from the hobby through exploring the radio frequency spectrum.
The absence of many high powered transmitters in the neighbourhood (as our nearest neighbour is more than 1600km distant) as well as a relatively low level of man-made interference, has contributed to making New Zealand one of the leading DX countries of the world.
The New Zealand Radio DX League caters for over 500 DX enthusiasts and listeners spread throughout the country and has a growing overseas membership. As DXing is not confined just to the usual shortwave bands, the League also caters for those interested in DXing on the mediumwave (`AM Broadcast’) band and the FM and TV bands.
The League publishes a monthly magazine, `The New Zealand DX Times’ which carries current information on mediumwave, shortwave, utility, FM and TV stations, programme schedules, unique `catches’, aerial and equipment reviews, DX tips from members and information on activities held by branches throughout the country. Branches hold regular meetings to share DX information and improve the listeners knowledge. Occasionally branches make visits to country areas (`DXpeditions’) to avoid the interference that runs rampant in city locations, not only to hear rare stations but also to share in the comradeship with other members. National conventions are also held. Listeners unable to do certain tasks such as the erection of aerials may call on local members for assistance.
If you would like to add the fascination of radio DXing to your leisuretime activities, joining the New Zealand Radio DX League will make that time more enjoyable and fulfilling. A new members’ kit containing a handbook on DXing, reporting advice, competition details, various brochures on aerials and other DX aspects is sent immediately on your joining. You will also receive your first copy of the NZ DX Times and your membership certificate. The League also has stationery available to members to purchase including report forms, log books, badges, mint stamps and other aids.
When you join the League, you’ll receive a monthly magazine (NZ DX Times) containing details of new stations, frequencies and programmes, as well as joining a large support network of people throughout New Zealand and overseas who enjoy the SWL and DX hobby, with whom you can share news and advice.