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.