Category: The DXer.ca Blog
What is DXer.ca?
This website is dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of long distance radio listening - also known as DXing.
DX is ham radio shorthand for "distance" - and although ham radio is an entirely different hobby, we share a lot of the common attributes (especially the positive ones!).
Photo right - one layout of my "shack" (the newer version is way more cluttered!)
A little history: There has been a DX hobby since Marconi received a radio signal from England on Signal Hill, St. Johns Newfoundland - considered quite the feat at the time.
In the 21st century, there are still opportunities for long distance radio reception - plenty of them in fact. Any AM radio, large or small is a good place to start. Most people have "DXed" radio stations and not even realized that they are engaged in our hobby. A quirk of AM radio is - at night-time, AM signals can carry for hundreds and thousands of miles - and not all of them use that much power. So. We at DXer.ca enjoy long distant AM radio reception as well as chasing exotic locales on the Shortwave dial - and I know what you are thinking: What is Shortwave? Well. I will be answering that question in a whole article coming up...
Who we are.
Gary DeBock - Gary (Photo Left) started serious BCB DXing as a 14-year old in Japan (military dependent in 1967), and enlisted in the Navy in 1971. Gary was fortunate to not only receive intensive electronics training as a sonar repair technician, but also to have free travel to almost all of the countries we dxer's currently chase for TP contacts.
A fascination with Asian foreign languages led to a conversational ability in Japanese, and (after meeting a cute Hong Kong girl in 1980...) Cantonese.
That girl, Ruth, later became his wife, and now heads the Chinese TP Translation Service, providing translations of any unidentified Chinese audio clips for DXers.
After leaving the Navy in 1982, Gary has been a Washington State real estate broker and property manager, while maintaining his intense interest in DXing, radio tinkering and experimentation, foreign languages, and searching for the ultimate antenna acreage next to the ocean.
Nick Hall-Patch - Nick (photo at right) and I met in 1975. He was 26 and I was 15. We collaborated on some fine DX seasons - particularly in 1976 when some of the best TA conditions existed in years.
Some years later, we have not aged one day! Electronics technologist and radio enthusiast since the late sixties, Nick uses a Drake R8 for trans-oceanic MW DXing, as well as a Dymek DR333 and an RFSpace SDR-14 for propagation studies.
He is technical editor for the IRCA, has edited several editions of A DXer's Technical Guide and been known to write the occasional article himself. He resides in Victoria, B.C. Canada near the colorful Oak Bay border (less than 2 KM from where I live.)
Ian McFarland - (photo at left-) Former CBC Broadcaster and host-writer of Radio Canada International's English Language Service, Ian currently resides in Duncan, British Columbia and is a regular participant in our coffee socials.
An international broadcast consultant, Ian has worked for the BBC in London as well as a 2 year stint with NHK in Tokyo.
Ian is still a regular at Radio Conventions around North America. He is also one of the busiest retired people I know - holding down slots at a local "Food bank" - supporting the disadvantaged - as well as being active on a day care center in the community.
Ian McFarland lives on Vancouver Island with his wife Mary and they are enjoying a fairly busy retirement indeed!
Ian's current projects include a trio of 2-CD sets of classic Interval Signals, a language recognition course featuring the late Dr. Richard E. Wood... and some "greatest hits" packages from his long and illustrious career with the CBC Foreign Service -
Over the last 10 years or so, Ian and I have created a small library of spoken word CD's (of programs past) and MP3 downloads (of these CD Libraries) are readily available in our paid download area in over in "The CD Store ".
Ian McFarland is always available to chat online or via the phone to the media on the subject of International Broadcasting - here in Canada and abroad!
Free Rare Audio! Ian McFarland of Radio Canada International links up with The Two Bob's of Radio Netherlands and others in this 1981 fully unedited Joint Hook-up - the topic being the 1981 ANARC Convention and the year of the Handicapped Aid Program for SWL's and DXers -
In 2012-2013, there will be upgrades to the DXer.ca site - and we will have all kinds of surprises up our sleeves! Stay tuned and thank you for your continued support!
Dr. Walter Salmaniw - (photo right) Walt has been a radio enthusiast since the sixties while growing up in southern Ontario. He became a doctor while in the Canadian Army and has lived overseas. Until recently, his greatest ambition was to own at least one boat-anchor receiver (old, big, tube-type) but has since fallen in love with modern technology (AOR7030+, Ten-Tec, etc) - Yup, they all come around eventually. Walt lives near Dallas Road (in Victoria) with his fabulous radio collection, a new Wellbrook ALA100 active-loop antenna as well as his understanding wife Wanda.
Walter enjoys all aspects of the radio hobby - especially travel... and his top secret seasonal get-away (at Haida Gawii). Lately he has gotten into software defined radios like the Perseus - which makes his actual tonnage of radio gear somewhat lighter. We like his enthusiasm and dedication to the time. He is also handy to know if you have a headache or dislocated shoulder from falling out of the Cyprus tree!
Colin Newell (photo left) - Creator of the DXer.CA web page and radio enthusiast since 1971, Colin became an electronics technician/technologist in the late seventies and early eighties. Growing up on the farm meant plenty of room for antennas. Modern living in the urban jungle has forced Colin to become more creative with antenna solutions.
His primary receiver is the Drake R8 and he uses a Wellbrook ALA100 active loop for wide band reception. He also depends on the Kenwood R2000, a variety of portables like the Sony 7600G, the Grundig Yacht-Boy 400PE, the Eton E1 and a small pile of ultra-light portables.
He is the creator and editor of Canada's beloved Cafe Culture website and blog - CoffeeCrew.Com. TV writing credits include a very brief one episode stint on CSI Las Vegas, an appearance on WTN's "The Shopping Bags", and one too many radio interviews. He is the primary media contact for DXer.ca... I mean, as if!
The DXer.ca Coffee Social - From time to time (usually once every few months) we invade a local cafe, drink coffee and talk story about all things radio. If you are a Vancouver Island resident or are visiting Vancouver Island and the immediate area, let us know and we will coordinate a social DX-centric event. You will not regret it.
Colin Newell has been writing since the early 1970's - into a notepad... pretty much unseen to the World. His credits include a stint with the CIDX Club in the late 70's and early 80's, an active membership in SPEEDX in its heyday in the 70's and 80's - His radio website, espresso.ts.uvic.ca first appeared in 1995 containing some very basic radio reviews and circuits. Times have changed. The goal of the DXer.ca is to educate and entertain and to bring reviews of the latest receivers and antennas to our readership.
Any questions about the Amateur radio hobby or SWLing / DXing or looking for an expert to talk on the subject of radio, technology and international media? Send us an e-mail! We have been featured on CBC Radio in Canada as well as other media outlets.