In this instructable we'll teach you the basics of AM broadcast DX'ing and provide some basics on choosing a radio.

DX'ing is a radio term for looking for radio signals from far away. AM broadcast DX'ing is the hobby of trying to "catch" as many far away AM radio stations as you can. AM broadcast signals by nature can carry for hundreds, if not thousands of miles at night. Radio hobbyist have been DX'ing since radio was first invented over 100 years ago. Many DX'ers keep journals of all the stations they have heard.

This is probably the most rewarding low dollar radio related hobby there is. The stuff you need to get started is probably already in your home. Even if you have none of the items required, you can pick up everything you need to get started for under $10 at the local thrift store. How's that for low buck hobby?

You might be saying...
"I can listen to whatever I want on the internet."

Yes you can. Listening to far away stations via radio though requires skill, some understanding of radio waves, luck, and no dependency on a middle man (the internet). It's just you and the broadcaster with nothing but air between the two of you.

Step 1: What You'll Need to Get Started.

For the absolute basics, a name brand pocket radio with earbuds that covers the AM broadcast band will get you started. Keep in mind this would be a bare bones setup. You want earbuds or headphones if not you will miss out on the weaker stations.

Stick with a radio made by a well known manufacturer like Sony, Panasonic, or GE. There are hundreds of brands out there. If you're not familiar with what to look for, sticking with a well known brand gives a decent starting point. With the vast influx of cheap Chinese radios, there's plenty of brands to choose from but there's also lots of junk out there.

Look for an analog AM/FM only radio that doesn't have bluetooth, a memory card slot, or a clock. These modern conveniences come with a CPU (computer chip)  that generates noise and can degrade the sensitivity of the AM portion of the radio. When it comes to entry level, simpler is better. The only feature you need is a headphone jack.

Why no digital tuning?
More on that later.

This is really a good one...Fantastic information!!
<p>Outstanding Instructable! </p><p>I have been an AM DXer most of my life and it never gets old. Any time my wife leaves me alone in the car, she comes back to find me listening to the most distant, staticy signal I can find. </p>
<p>I have been DXing since the sixties in high school in a small mountain town in northern Calif. It was the only way to hear Rock n Roll at night. Got San Francisco, Utah, Montana, and some other states. The best was the mighty 1090 and Wolf Man Jack howling through the canyon at night. Later as a swing shift worker in southern Calif I DXed on the truck radio on the way home picking up Tennessee Ernie Ford giving bool weevil killer commercials from cotton country in the south, The voice of the Navajo nation, trucker stations, etc. I have done SW and got Cuba where Fidel Castro is a &quot;Thought Revolutionary&quot;, english China, France, rocking religious rock a billy, and foul mouthed good old boys. You have to have patience and the ears to do it. Just relax and enjoy what shows up.</p>
you asked about shortwave stations. shortwave broadcast have diminished but theres still stuff to listen to. the biggest problem is not the reduced number of broadcasts but modern tech. <br><br>lithium battery chargers are notorious noise makers. lithium batteries are in everything from power tools to ipods. some CFL lamps are also quite annoying. the noise these makes are a buzzing noise. with CFL's it's consistent, with chargers it's an annoying pulse usually. this is why taking the radio outside makes a world of difference.
<p> I live in South Florida and have been getting AM reception lately that seems like it's out of the twilight zone. It happens from 1am till about a bit before sunrise. The station I'm listening to fades out and other stations start drifting in to replace it. I get to hear songs I haven't heard on the radio for years. So earlier this morning I did some investigating with my ears and found I was receiving stations from Philadelphia, Detroit, and Boston, among others. I got to hear &quot;Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me&quot; (Mac Davis,1973) from a station in Pennsylvania. I learned that snow blowers were sold out in Boston and the current temperature in Detroit was 8 degrees. All on a regular radio! By the way, you can identify what station you are hearing by tuning in just before the top of the hour. FCC rules dictate that they must give out the call letters at that time. Also, many stations include local news, traffic, and weather at that time, along with the national news.</p>
What you are getting is called &quot;skip&quot;. Radio waves are bouncing off the atmosphere from far away places and just happen to be &quot;landing&quot; in our area. I am also in south Fl and have been taking advantage of this.<br><br>We recently had a cold front come through. Generally big weather changes cause strange things to happen with propagation (skip) and you'll get stuff coming in from all over the country on AM and even far away stations on FM.<br><br>Take your radio outside away from all the electrical noise in the house and you'll be rewarded with signals from far away.
<p> Yeah, I know it's called &quot;skip&quot;, but I thought it was mostly a thing of the past since rules years ago (I think) had many stations cutting off their signal at 6pm to lessen interference. In any case this thing has been happening here where I live in West Palm Beach for weeks now. I don't have to even bring a radio outside to experience this.enhanced version of DXing. In the meantime, I can hardly get anything on shortwave anymore. Do you or anyone else have any feedback on this?</p>
<p>Cool. As a kid I scrolled through the AM stations at night listening to far away stations. My favorite was KOMA out of Oklahoma City, 780 miles away! They played Golden Age programming a couple hours every night. </p>
These are other people's' copyrighted pictures. Please use only your own pictures.
some pics did indeed come from google however none had any copyright marks or watermarks.
This is very interesting. I have been a little dismayed, though, that nighttime programming is largely the same nationwide with things like Art Bell's Coast to Coast AM or Gary McNamara's and Eric Harley's Midnight Trucking. Although it is fun to hear that you got a signal from a station across the continent, some of the appeal is lost when the programming is the same as what is playing on a local station. Thanks for all of the technical detail.
Syndication can work to your advantage. Say you hear Coast to Coast radio followed up by an ad for a restaurant in Philly but you never catch the station's call letters. You look on the Coast to Coast website and see what stations carry their show. This can help you figure out what station you heard. <br><br>This type of detective work is sometimes required when you're using a vintage radio with an inaccurate dial.

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