Tag Archives: DX Contest

Bill’s first DX contest using a Panasonic RF-2200 and a hombrew diode/loop radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD), who shares the following guest post:

My First DX Contest

by Bill Hemphill, WD9EQD

Being a recent new member of NJARC, this is my first time competing in this contest.  I have always been a big fan of BCB DXing and have recently got back into it – especially with the amateur radio bands being in such poor conditions.  The acquisition of a couple of Loop antennas plus two Panasonic RF-2200 radios have just enhanced my enjoyment.

For the contest, I used two completely different radios.  First was the RF-2200 and second was a spur of the moment creation.

The RF-2200 was its usual good performer. While the RF-2200 has a beautiful built-in rotating bar antenna, I enhanced it with the 27” Torus-Tuner Loop Antenna as made by K3FDY, Edmund Wawzinski.  I think I had picked this antenna up at one of NJARC’s swap meets.  So I wish to thank whoever it was that was nice enough to bring it and sell it at the meet.  I have really enjoyed using it.  With this setup, I was hoping that I might be able to pull in Denver, Salt Lake City and maybe even a Mexican station, but it was a complete bust on them.  But I did have a nice surprise in receiving the Cuban station Radio Enciclopedia on 530 in addition to the usual Radio Reloj time signal station.  Following is photo of it in operation:

Originally, I had thought that my second contest entry would be done with a 1962 Sony TR-910T three-band transistor radio.  This radio has a fairly wide dial along with a second fine-tuning knob which would be a big help.  I would have again used the 27” hula-hoop antenna.

But I made the nice mistake of running across Dave Schmarder’s Makearadio website:


Dave’s site is a wonderful resource for creating your own Crystal, Tube, and Solid State radios as well as Audio Amplifiers and Loop Antennas.  While going down the rabbit hole of his site, I ran across his Loop Crystal Set, #19 Crystal Radio:


What grabbed my attention was the wood frame loop antenna which is similar to one I had acquired a couple of years ago at a ham fest:

It was a really nicely constructed, nice swivel base.

I replaced the tuning capacitor with one that has a 6:1 ratio.

At this point I started thinking that I could create something similar with my loop.

I randomly grabbed a diode from my parts box.  Not sure what the exact model is.  (I later found out that it was an IN-34 which is what I was hoping it was.)  Then quickly soldered the diode, a resistor and capacitor to a RCA plug:

I then proceeded to use some jumper cables and just clip it to the tuning capacitor on the antenna base:

The RCA plug was then the audio out (I hope) from the radio.

I quickly realized that I did not have a crystal headset or any headset that would reproduce any audio.  So I used an old Marantz cassette recorder to act as an amplifier.  Fed it into the mic jack and then tried to listen to the monitor out.  Bingo – I could pick up or local station on 1340 really weak.

So I then fed the audio from the Marantz into a Edirol digital recorder.  Now I was getting enough audio for the headphones plus could make  a recording of the audio.

At last I was receiving some signals.  To boost the audio some more I removed the resistor from the circuit.

I found out the I could only tune from about 530 to 1350.  I probably needed to clip the lead on one of the loop turns, but I really wanted to see how it would do at night.  I spent several hours and was just totally amazed at how well it performed and how good the audio was.  The hardest part was when there were very strong signals on the adjacent frequency.  What I found really interesting was that it was not linear in its tuning.  At the low end of the band the stations were more spread out than at the higher end.  This made tuning fairy easy at the low end and very touchy at the high end.  I was able to hear a couple of Chicago stations along with Atlanta and St. Louis.

Here’s photo of it in action:

I have created an audio file of the station ID’s heard with the diode/loop radio.  The audio file is on the Internet Archive at:


I had a lot of fun in the contest and especially enjoyed trying something really different with the diode/loop radio.  Now I have a whole year to try to think up something really creative for next year’s contest.

Absolutely brilliant, Bill! I’m so happy to see that your ham fest homebrew loop has served you so very well in a contest. I love how you pulled audio from your homebrew, make-shift diode radio as well–using your audio gear in a chain for amplification obviously worked very well.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Bill!

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Update: Countdown to the North American Shortwave DX Contest

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Cooper, who shares the following announcement:


“The Final Countdown” 2017

Just a friendly reminder that the North American SW DX Contest, “The Final Countdown,” will be starting in a few weeks.  The Holidays are upon us and time is flying.

Remember the Contest starts at:

00:00 UTC, 1/7/17 thru 00:00 UTC, 1/29/17.

Get your contest forms if you haven’t yet by contacting me at: [email protected] or mail at: John P. Cooper, 734 Sally Ann Drive, Lebanon, PA 17046.

Additionally, the entrance fee is not due until you submit your final entry forms. $5.00 is the cost of entry, check, money order or cash accepted. Checks and Money Orders should be made out to John P. Cooper.

Universal Radio Inc. is sponsoring the contest and has donated really Great Prizes for 1-3rd place that will be awarded along with Certificates of Completion for all who participate with contest standing annotated on them. The NASWA, and CIDX are also sponsors of this event.

Since most of us DXers will be ready for some action after the Holidays are over this is your chance to participate in a great Contest. Support your Hobby.

Remember, the contest is open to all North American DXers regardless of membership in any club or organization. Any questions, please contact me at: [email protected]

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Update: North American DX Contest

Zenith-Dial-2Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Cooper, who writes:


NASWA, Universal Radio, Inc. and CIDX, is sponsoring the North American Shortwave DX contest “The Final Countdown” which will start on 00:00 UTC hours on 7 January 2017. The contest is open to all North American SWLers and DXers.

Contest forms for those interested can be obtained by e-mailing me at: [email protected] or mailing me a request to:

John P. Cooper 734 Sally Ann Drive, Lebanon, PA 17046.

Prizes for 1st-3rd place will be provided by Universal Radio Inc., and Contest Certificates suitable for framing will be mailed to each contestant. Beat the January doldrums! This is a great chance to sharpen your DXing & SWLing skills or just a chance to dust off that old SW radio stashed away and see what’s on the SW bands now.

Many thanks, John for organizing and championing this contest. And a special thanks to Universal Radio, CIDX and NASWA for supporting it!

Richard Langley also suggests checking out the following link for more contest details:


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North American SW DX Contest


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Cooper, who shares the following announcement:

To all North American SW DX contest survey respondents and other interested North American SW DXers. The proposed SW DX Contest is a go, and will be conducted in early January 2017.

I am in the process of drafting the contest rules/ guidelines/prizes together so I can get final approval, and send the information out to you. I will be the primary point of contact for the contest. As it stands right now the NASWA will be a sponsor for the contest according to Richard D’Angelo.

Thanks to everyone who completed surveys and gave me some great ideas. More information will be forthcoming in November. I will get the Contest info posted online at several websites, and by mail to those who sent letters to me.

At any rate; mark your calendars now for a proposed start date of 7 January, 2017. Those of you who might be interested but did not submit a survey are invited to participate fully.

You can contact me at [email protected] or John Cooper, 734 Sally Ann drive, Lebanon, PA 17046.

Many thanks, John, for making this contest a reality! We look forward to posting your updates.

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Reminder: North American DX Contest Survey


IMG_20160903_085705777Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, John Cooper, who writes with the following update:

Attention All Shortwave DXers and SW Listeners!

The closing date for the Contest survey gauging the interest in having a North American Shortwave DX Contest is in 10 days from today. As of today’s date I have only received 18 confirmations from DXers who would like to have a Contest, which includes my own survey. I find this to be mind boggling as I truly thought there would be more interest in having a North American Shortwave DX Contest especially with all the DXers who are still active and those who listen to Shortwave for enjoyment and information might want to participate!!!

If you are interested and haven’t submitted your survey yet, please do so. The survey was posted on this website in August. You can reach me at [email protected], or by mail at John P. Cooper, 734 Sally Ann drive, Lebanon, PA 17046, USA.

Thanks to all of you who have submitted surveys. It is greatly appreciated.


John P. Cooper

Click here to download, complete, then email the survey (MS Word).

Thanks for producing and administering this survey, John! Readers: if you haven’t submitted participated in this survey yet, please consider doing so!

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North American DX Contest Survey


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, John Cooper, who writes with the following request:

Hello all SWLers and DXers:

I have been interested and actively participating in the Shortwave hobby for almost four years now. I have not seen a DX Contest originating in the USA in those years although we have a lot of SW hobbyists here and in North America as a whole. I have participated in the Canadian ODXC contests which were fun. A DX Contest has been proposed for all North American Shortwave DXers/SWLers to include those with Ham licenses. The survey below is to gauge response to the possibility of having this contest. If there are enough responses there is a possibly it will be sponsored by a Shortwave Club in North America. Personally I am excited about the chance to have one early next year when the DX conditions are optimum.


John P. Cooper

Click here to download, complete, then email the survey (MS Word).

Thanks for producing and administering this survey, John!

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