What if ...

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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What if ...

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 29 Jul 2017 12:03

They call it "Progress"! Well, some people do, but from a DXer's point of view, digital this and digital that is not necessarily thought of as progress in the radio world. Our hobby is under threat.

Although I am talking more specifically about DXing on medium wave and FM, we've seen big changes in the world of broadcasting in recent years. The wake-up call for me was when Norway started to close down their NRK FM transmitters. Look at band 1, where the situation is even more grim. What's left to go for on there? Not a lot.

Trying to look at this positively, DXers across Europe and beyond are hoping that their bands will become clearer and open for more DX as their own broadcasters vacate the bands. Of course, that depends on who goes first. If medium wave is anything to go by, I don't think we have much hope in the UK. Many European countries have switched off their main medium wave transmitters and this has opened up a lot of channels here on the east coast. Even Spain have closed down many transmitters in favour of FM broadcasting. But the UK .... well, we continue to broadcast! The splattering Absolute Radio are a perfect example of frequency blocking. I think the UK will be one of the last to vacate the FM band too.

So my question is, what if the hobby becomes less interesting as we continue to change the way we broadcast? What we will we do to get our DX fix? I worry about this. DXing has been my life-long hobby and I would hate top be forced to give it up completely.

My immediate thoughts go to amateur radio. I used to enjoy some aspects of this, but I always found it frustrating when trying to break through pile-ups in order to work something exotic. That does not inspire me at all. But something like WSPR probably would. My landlords do not permit me to operate amateur radio equipment here, but they have stated that non-fixed antennas would be OK, providing no interference was caused of course, so there is a possibility to try something new with low powered stealth antennas.

Other than this, if amateur radio is not your thing and you would struggle to find enthusiasm for other kinds of DXing or radio-related activities, what would you turn to? Aside from radio, I would really struggle. I think bird watching would appeal. I love the countryside and wildlife. I wouldn't know what else to do. I think we all need hobbies.

Over to you.

Franco Martelli
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Re: What if ...

Post by Franco Martelli » 29 Jul 2017 14:53

Well, even if the transition from analogic FM to DAB or DAB+ seems to be unstoppable also down here, I think you can get more italian soup at least for eight/ten years more: RAI doesn't seems to care that much of DAB, and that's the same also for some private publishers.
And I am confident in a very late switch off in countries like Russia, Belarus, Ukraine who haven't ended the transition to digital TV so far.

In my opinion, FM dxing has a remaining life of at least another solar cycle.
After that, we will always have something more to listen to (I hope :)).

I think that the actually most relevant reason of a possibile "death" of dxing is the age of dxers: I don't know much of us younger than me (but I am 47 y.o. :shock: ).
Rx: Degen DE-1103, Sangean ATS-909

daveB
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Re: What if ...

Post by daveB » 29 Jul 2017 16:02

I would like to think that the FM Band will still be used by low powered local stations for a long time to come - hopefully they will use RDS. Judging by the number of stations I receive on SpE that are under 500 watts (listed) that could prove even more interesting. This year there are plenty of stations from Spain and Italy that I've received with full RDS which aren't listed on FMList - so the number are still growing.
SDRPlay, AirSpyMini, RTL dongles, SB920s, Yamaha TX930. 5 ele compact yagi on rotator at 18ft agl. FM5 facing east, FM5 facing south, FM3 facing NE, OIRT dipole, 3-ele Moxon vertical facing east.

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: What if ...

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 30 Jul 2017 01:13

So in our lifetimes at least there *should* still be plenty to go at. I certainly hope so. Thanks for your views Franco and Dave. But things will surely start to thin out soon, as in the case of Norway.

I am 56. The fact that I am four years from 60 frightens me a little, but at least I got this far :) The positive side of all this is of course the fact many of us have enjoyed so many happy years of DXing. I started on shortwave in my early teens, thanks to my father, then I was fascinated to discover that North America could be received on medium wave, so that became my next branch of the hobby. FM and band 1 just became a natural follow on when I discovered sporadic E.

For next year's E season, I plan to be active on WSPR on 6m at least. I hope that side of the hobby will still be thriving.

satnipper
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Re: What if ...

Post by satnipper » 30 Jul 2017 09:45

The "new" digital modes are becoming very popular. FT9 has really taken off for dxing as the cycle is short compared to JT65/JT9 etc. If you think there is no activity just try monitoring 50276 with wsjt-x software. It is amazing the marginal paths that are actually open.

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: What if ...

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 30 Jul 2017 16:26

Thanks Stuart. This has to be tried soon.

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