Now that you have purchased a radio and have started to listen to stations from across the
province,across the country and around the world you may wish to add a few things to your
listening post. I use the word post on purpose as many of us do not have a separate radio room to
use. There is no shame in using a corner of the den or bedroom as a place to listen to the world.
The items listed below will help you more enjoy your listening time.
CLOCK- This piece of equipment is often overlooked in setting up a listening post. As you
gain experience in the hobby you will find an accurate clock a major asset in your listening.
Many stations will sign on or off at very specific times of the day. If your clock is an accurate one
you will be sure to be in the right place at the right time. You may miss an all important
ID if you arrive as little as five seconds late for a station that ID's only on the hour. A clock that
has a second hand or displays the seconds is a preferable model to own so you will know when a
specific time is coming up. To insure you clock is on time you can listen to WWV/WWVH on the
2.500 MHZ, 5.000 MHZ, 10.000 MHZ, 15.000 MHZ and 20.000 MHZ.
This station is on 24 hours a day and gives the exact time every minute. If you use local time as
well as GMT/UTC time there are clocks that have digital display for two time zones. You can set
one to local time and the other to GMT/UTC time.
With the introduction of Atomic Clocks you can set it and forget it. The clocks adjust themselves daily
to the exact time from a signal received from WWV. They are great for insuring you never miss an on
the hour ID.
HEADPHONES- Headphones can be a listeners best friend especially if you are sharing a
room with others. While you have the headphones on you can listen to your radio while others go
about their business without bothering them or them bothering you. Picking out a set of
headphones is a personal preference experience. Choose the type of headphones you find the most
comfortable whether they be a large set or a set of minis that fit into your ears. The headphones
will also help you hear those weak stations that barely are audible. There are communications
grade headphones that have a narrow audio response as compared to regular headphones you
might use to listen to the stereo. These help cut down on noises that are above or below the
range of human voices and make listening a bit easier. You can however use any type you may
have in the house already.
TAPE OR DIGITAL RECORDER- A recording device is a most valuable accessory for the listener. Once again
as you listen more and more you will find that many stations that you hear are weak. You may not
be sure the first time that you heard something of importance such as an ID in a foreign language.
By keeping a recorder going at all times you can always play back what you just heard to
help you ID that weak station you were listening to. You may also want to start a tape library of
stations you have heard. One point to remember is try to find a recorder that has a variable record
level so that you can adjust the recording to the conditions you are listening under. Recorders
with preset levels can lead to bad recordings due to interference on or near the frequency.
Cassette recorders are easy to use but try to not use tapes rated at more than 90 minutes, as the
longer ones may rip if you are using a lot of rewind and fast forward to review UNID stations.
The newer digital recorders work well also. Just make sure you can play back a section easily over
and over to help ID that weak station.
One final consideration is seeing if the recording device has a timer for
recording while you are not at the receiver. This way you may be able to
record DX tests or stations while you sleep.
BOOKS- there are many different books that will help you while listening. A web page has been set
aside for them.
You can get information on what books most DX'ers and SWL's use by clicking on the link below. RECOMMENDED BOOKS