Notes on DXpedition
by Mika Mäkeläinen
In the logs you will find plenty
of AM stations, but only few shortwave stations,
and no FM nor utility stations. The reason is simple;
the major DXpedition bases in Finland including
and Lemmenjoki with
antennae are designed specifically for AM DXing.
Most of the experienced DXers in Finland, including
me, concentrate on AM DXing. I normally resort to
shortwave listening only when the AM band offers
nothing interesting but, especially around
maximum, this happened often.
When listening in Lapland, North
American and Mexican stations tend to be the favorite
targets in the Western hemisphere. In the Eastern
hemisphere, stations in the Pacific and the Far
East get more attention than others. This is due
to the fact that in winter a northern location favors
these areas, and reception is much better than in
southern Finland, where most DXers live.
Consequently, a location on the western coast of
Finland, such as Långåminne, gives a
comparative advantage when hunting stations in the
British Isles, the Caribbean and South America.
Therefore, DXpeditions to Långåminne
tend to focus on these areas.
Daily cycle of DXing
For those who haven't experienced
the conditions of such a northerly location, a brief
look at the optimal DXing times can be helpful for
interpreting the log. If solar
activity is high, North American stations are
completely inaudible. When conditions are moderate,
stations can be heard especially in the morning
around local sunrise (0600-0800 UTC), sometimes
also around midnight UTC. When conditions are good,
sunrise is still the best time, but stations continue
to be heard throughout the daylight hours, often
until 1300-1400 UTC, and Alaskan stations even much
The first stations from Atlantic Canada can appear
around 2000-2200 UTC, and as darkness covers North
America, stations further west become audible. Early
morning at 0400-0600 UTC rarely gives good reception.
South American AM stations can
generally be heard around 2300-0400 UTC, but in
midwinter AM reception may continue until around
0800 UTC, and shortwave reception is still possible
when stations sign on at around 0800-1100 UTC. High
solar activity can either block trans-Atlantic reception
totally, or result in relatively good reception
of AM signals from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
Asian AM stations are normally
heard for one to two hours around local sunset (1200-1500
UTC), when they can overcome European stations operating
on the same frequencies. When solar activity is
low, stations from Siberia, Japan and the Korean
peninsula can be heard; moderate conditions can
bring in China, Taiwan and the Philippines; and
during more disturbed conditions, stations from
Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East tend
to dominate. The best time to identify Indian stations
is however after 0023 UTC when they sign on.
African AM stations from sub-Saharan
countries are very difficult to catch, but in times
of high solar activity the sign-off time around
1900-2200 UTC and sign-on time around 0200-0300
UTC can occasionally be a pleasant surprise.
Stations from the Balkans can
be best heard an hour or two before sunrise, around
0400-0530 UTC, while West European stations are
strongest at around 0600-0700 UTC, when the rising
sun stifles interfering stations from Central Europe.
It should be noted that in locations
south of the Arctic Circle, listening times are
much more limited, especially when it comes to North
Principles of logging a
Most DXpeditions in Finland have
two participants, but an attempt is made not to
listen to the same station at the same time, so
rare stations are finders keepers until the
following day. However, listeners keep each other
constantly posted on all identified stations to
ensure maximum utilization of the ever-changing
Identifying stations is hard
work, and to maintain reliability, it should be
taken seriously. Logging stations just based on
the language, an educated guess or probability,
or even based on evidence from simulcasting frequencies,
is not regarded as good enough. Unless labeled as
tentative (tent.), all stations logged are positively
identified either by obtaining a station identification
or other local announcement, which rules out all
other potential stations.
When a particular station has
local programming at one time or another, a local
station identification (or a local commercial spot
or other distinctively local announcement) is generally
required for logging or at least for reporting the
station. The main exceptions to this rule tend to
be some Colombian networks which are often logged
even without a local identification, because local
inserts are broadcast only at daytime. But for most
countries notably popular targets like the
United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Japan (NHK), South
Korea, China, India, Russia information on
local program times and identification patterns
is readily available and well-known by most DXers,
and therefore a national or network identification
is regarded as useless. Concentrating on local broadcasts
does mean more work and a lot of learning, but it
is worth it.
An outsider may be surprised
to see how few stations are logged from Europe.
This is partly due to the fact that in Finland,
according to the rules of the Finnish
DX Association (Suomen DX-Liitto), most European
stations don't merit "station points".
If a particular broadcasting company has several
transmitter sites within one (European) country,
only those with local or regional programming give
separate station points. Therefore the vast majority
of European AM and SW transmitters (which would
be relatively easy catches anyway) is simply ignored.
This rule can been seen as illogical, but it has
contributed to the fact that Finnish DXers tend
to concentrate on more distant catches, thus raising
the general level of DXing in the country.
Also, Lapland is generally not
the best place to hunt European stations, as one
of the basic ideas of going to Lapland is to get
as far away as possible from the interference which
European stations cause to the more distant stations.
The log gives a coherent picture
of the findings only to an experienced DXer, because
all stations considered relatively common are simply
left out. This applies especially to areas with
a huge number of radio stations. A case in point
is North America, where about 300-600 most common
stations common in Finland that is
are routinely left out of the logs. Starting in
2011 I have decided to include only stations that
are new to me or otherwise exceptionally interesting.
To give you an idea of what North American stations
can be heard, the best reference source is KOJE,
a list maintained by Tapio Kalmi, which contains
all North American AM stations heard in the Nordic
Technical details on the
The stations are listed in frequency
order within each continent. The logs follow a Finnish
DXing tradition of dividing Europe into three parts;
1) the British Isles, 2) the Iberian peninsula (Spain,
Portugal, Andorra & Azores) and 3) the rest
of Europe (including Russia west of the Ural mountains).
The rest of the Eastern hemisphere is divided into
1) Africa, 2) Asia (including Middle East), 3) Australia
and the Pacific (Oceania). The Western hemisphere
is divided into 1) North America, 2) Central America
& Caribbean (including Mexico) and 3) South
Within each continent, stations
are listed in frequency order, (in recent logs)
with date and time in UTC before the station name.
In some older logs you will find the date after
the station name. Unlike in the U.S., the date is
given in the form "day.month".
In the station remarks a
sign indicates that the station was heard in Finland
for the first time ever on that particular frequency.
"r" or "rel" comes from "relay"
and indicates the source of the program. // indicates
a simultaneous transmission with another station
or frequency. "v" indicates a variable
frequency. An asterisk (*) before the time denotes
sign-on time, and an asterisk after the time indicates
sign-off time. In newer logs this has been omitted.
When a station is heard several times during one
DXpedition, only the first date and time are usually
listed. In some of the most recent logs only the
dates are listed.