About a month ago, our station received a fascinating email. It came from a Norwegian man named Tore Johnny Braatveit. He wrote: “I am one of those people who still really enjoys hunting for long-distance radio signals on the AM band. I am glad to tell you that I was able to pick up the AM signals of KOAC in arctic Norway.”
Braatveit sent us a recording of what he heard, and there’s no mistaking our litany of OPB stations beamed more than four thousand miles away.
Braatveit, who said we can call him TJ, says the serendipity of the search is what makes collecting radio signals appealing. “It’s the same as for a hunter or a fisher,” said Braatveit, “They know what they want, but they don’t know what they will get.”
Braatveit has been DXing – a hobby to receive, record and identify faraway broadcasts – since the early 1980’s. 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 email he sent us.
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. “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.
Braatveit is blind, and lives with his guide dog, Onney, outside the Norwegian city of Trondheim.