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To hear a Mexican is difficult - to QSL a Mexican is a feat
Los 40 Principales

by Mika Mäkeläinen

"¡Sientase más mexicano, escuchando Radio Mexicana!" Feel more Mexican by listening to Radio Mexicana - the slogan of XEJ echoed in my headphones on a freezing November morning in 1993. Arctic breeze blew outside the cabin, but I could easily imagine myself sipping cerveza Corona under the scorching sun of Ciudad Juárez. No wonder that call letters beginning with XE are among the most treasured catches on these Arctic DXpeditions.

Mexican AM stations are a huge challenge for any DXer - except for those living just next door. First of all, they are rare. And even when you manage to catch the familiar beat of some ranchera music and are lucky enough to identify the station, the most difficult part is yet to come – getting a QSL. Mexican stations are notoriously lazy verifiers, though when you get a QSL, the response is often extremely friendly and the envelope abundant with station memorabilia.

XEMO 860 sticker
Sticker from XEMO Tijuana

Mexican stations have always fascinated me in a special way. Whenever there is even a slim chance of picking up new stations from Mexico, I abandon all the U.S. stations or whatever there is on the AM band and concentrate in searching for new Mexicans. Also, I have sent quite a few follow-up reports to those stations, which didn't care to respond in the first place. This relentless effort of the past 21 years has netted me 57 AM verifications from Mexico.

This article gives a brief look at those stations, originally the first 40, the Top 40, Los 40 Principales. However, I have received several new verifications after the original article was published, so with the bonus stations, the count is now 57. Many of them are relatively easy catches, which are heard almost every year in Scandinavia, but my collection also contains 22 stations (most of them heard in 1995-1997), which were previously unheard in Finland, most of them also unheard in the rest of Europe.

XERF 1570 logo
XERF is one of the strongest stations on the frequency in the Western hemisphere

At my home in southern Finland I have been able to log only two Mexican AM stations (XERF 1570 and XEVOZ 1590) during all these years – not much of a collection. It comes as no surprise that the secret of success in DXing Mexican stations is to go as far north as possible. Annual DXpeditions to Lapland with 1-kilometer-long beverage antennae have resulted in more than 60 identified Mexicans.

As for the difficulty in getting a verification, my command of the Spanish language – though far from perfect – admittedly gives some edge in both understanding the program content and formulating a compelling reception report. However, in recent years another tool has become even more important: e-mail. Available to most DXers, e-mail is used surprisingly widely also in Mexico. And with the use of free translation software on the Internet, such as Altavista Translations, anybody should now be able to compose irresistable reception reports in Spanish.

Of my 57 verifications, over one third have arrived by e-mail. They are definitely not the beauties of my QSL-collection, but more important is the fact that e-mail is an easy and cheap way for the stations to deal with the growing number of QSL requests.

This presentation contains mostly personal notes and information which should be useful for other DXers trying to get their QSLs. For a more comprehensive list of valid contact information, network affiliation, slogans and leading personnel, there's one publication I can recommend: Tarifas y Datos. Medios Audio-visuales, a directory published 4 times a year by MPM, Medios Publicitarios Mexicanos, S.A. To subscribe, you can use e-mail. The publication is expensive, but it's much better up-to-date than the World Radio TV Handbook or any other printed or online resource that I have seen. For websites, the best place to check is Mexican AM Radio Stations on the Internet by Esa Hänninen.

But, finally, here they are, my verified Mexicans in frequency order.

to Hometo Articles   to Page Topto Part 2/6

 Los 40
 Principales

Station identifications from Mexico

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