OPB recently received not one, but two emails from Norwegians who have managed to tune into our airwaves nearly 4,500 miles away. It’s always cool to hear from other radio enthusiasts, but usually we hear from local or regional listeners.
Both men who picked up the signals call themselves DX-ers: A hobby to receive, record and identify faraway broadcasts. DX-ers use receivers along with computer software to collect the signals before reaching out to the stations with “reception reports” to verify what they picked up, hence the emails.
“The excitement is in that I never know what I’ll be able to pick up,” said Tore Johnny Braatveit in an interview with Think Out Loud on Thursday. “You can say it’s some of the same fascination as those hunting or fishing are looking for. They know what they want, but they don’t know what they will get.”
Braatveit last tuned OPB’s KOAC AM signal in 2007. More recently, OJ Sagdahl of Trondheim, Norway tapped into our KOPB AM signal on Jan. 13, 2013 to hear our top of the hour news at 8 a.m. He recently discovered the two-year-old recording when working with a backlog of recordings.
“You can hear a male voice in the background with some announcement, mentioning support from the Funiak (?) group, then mentioning handcrafting and an address (Northwest 22nd) in Portland followed by NPR news,” he wrote in an email to OPB.
Braatveit said he’s collected signals through “DX-peditions” in arctic Norway with other signal enthusiasts. During these trips, the group attempts to capture top of the hour news at night and then review the recordings in morning.
“In the light hours, the signals cannot get that very far because then they will follow the surface of the earth,” he explained on TOL. “When it becomes dark, the signal will go up into the atmosphere and be reflected, in theory, all around the globe.”
Braatveit said he has signals from all over the world, including all 50 U.S. states. Recently, he was able to tune into a station in Delaware, which is apparently hard to track down.