Mike Brooker

My interest in radio probably goes back to when I was 7 or 8 years old, coming home after school to listen to CHUM-1050 and saving the weekly CHUM Charts from that legendary top 40 giant. As an 8th grader, the Leafs games on CKFH-1430 and the Expos on CKLB-1350 weren’t enough to satisfy my sports bug, so I discovered the the out-of-town baseball and hockey games: Cardinals and Blues on KMOX, Tigers and Red Wings on WJR, Phillies and Flyers on WCAU. Unfortunately, kids today will not have the same opportunity, with so many MLB and NHL flagships leaving the 50 Kw clear channels, and top 40 radio – as well as the printed survey charts – virtually extinct.

It took a few years before I found out that there were other people who also enjoyed listening to distant stations or that there was an organized hobby
called “DXing”. But by 1977 I had joined several clubs and started attending ANARC conventions. My DX heyday was mainly back in the Carter administration. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was a prolific QSL chaser and could count on at least one new logging almost every sunset or
sunrise skip opportunity.

Around this time I also became an avid promo item collector. Bumper stickers, window stickers, survey charts, key chains, coverage maps, rate
cards — anything with a station logo or call letters printed on it was fair game for my collection, much of which is still stored in a filing cabinet
for more than two decades.

Long before e-mail made the job so much simpler and less time-consuming, I edited the medium wave column for the Ontario DX Association, a position I held until about 1987. I also edited a sports-related column for CIDX in those pre-internet days of the last century.

I am also a shortwave DXer, though my main DX interest has always been between 530 and 1710 kHz. Most of my shortwave listening, such as BBC World Service and Radio Australia, has been replaced by Real Audio streams and podcasts.

My DX gear is relatively simple: a Grundig YB-400PE and a 1978 vintage Panasonic RF-2200. I’ve also used a first-generation GE Superadio, a
grey-market Sony ICF-7600D, and a couple of small Panasonics (RFB-45, RFB-65). My unsophisticated equipment, lack of space to put up an external antenna, and having to do most of my DXing in the midst of Canada’s largest urban slop-mill, are the main reasons why I have only heard one trans-atlantic station in over 30 years of DXing (Westdeutscher Rundfunk, on their old 1586 frequency).

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