FM-DX and a good LPFM Community Radio Station
I’ve always had a fascination with all things radio including FM-DX. This is where you buy or build high performance FM radio antennas and attempt to receive stations far away. (DX means Long Distance in radio vernacular). In doing so, one expands the palette of stations to choose from. Unfortunately, most radio today is a limited selection of mainstream music and a bombardment of obnoxious commercials. Sure, designing and building a good antenna and getting a far away station is cool, but the content is often a buzz-kill.
Evaluating my antenna designs involves scanning the band with a High Definition radio or SDR and logging signals for comparison. To date my distance record is KUAT in Tucson at 100 miles. Late one recent evening I received a station I never heard before. It was KRWV at 99.3 MHz and although low in signal it was clear. It’s a LPFM 100 watt station in Gold Canyon, Arizona 25 miles away and blocked by several mountains. I checked the FCC coverage map and I’m well outside the predicted range.
This is especially interesting for me because there aren’t many LPFM (Low Power Frequency Modulation) stations around here and snagging one so far away means my latest design works better than expected. I suspect that just enough signal completes the path due to the knife-edge effect. This is when an otherwise line-of-site signal diffracts over or around an obstacle.
As a triple bonus, the format is very good. Arizona needs more radio like KRWV 99.3 The Wave. Their commercials are civilized and not more than 5 minutes per hour. They’re mostly listener supported and don’t do long nag-a-thons. Most importantly is the music they play, a wide variety of smooth jazz, modern jazz, new age, classical and talk. And those are just broad categories, so much of what they play is just good non-mainstream chill music.
You can find them online at:
If you can’t get them on the radio, there’s a live stream at:
Thanks for tuning in!
- Kenn Ranous