Do you suspect that some of the noises that you’re picking up during your regular DX sessions are caused by interference? In some cases it may be fairly obvious – especially when it’s consistent. But in others there may be ‘pops’ and ‘crackles’ that seem to come and go and you may not be aware of what’s causing it.
Needless to say, you’re going to want to eliminate as much interference as possible so that you can get as clean and clear a signal – but how do you go about doing so? Here’s 5 simple steps that you should take to get yourself started:
1. Listen carefully
Odds are you’re probably already doing this – but it is a crucial first step. Not only do you want to be aware of the noises that are coming through, but you also want to listen carefully enough so that are able to identify their characteristics. Are they pops? Crackles? Buzzes? Are they continuous or intermittent?
By listening carefully and identifying their characteristics, the next step should be relatively painless.
2. Track and keep records of the interference
From here on out, whenever you suspect that there’s interference – record it. Try to include as many details as possible about the characteristics of the interference, and be sure to also note down the time that it took place as well as the duration. The information that you record is going to help lead you to the cause – so it is important that you record as much as possible.
3. Figure out the possible causes
Once you’ve identified the characteristics and tracked the interference you should be able to start figuring out the possible causes. By going over the common culprits such as fluorescent lights, electric motors, TV, dimmer switches, microwaves, and so on you should be able to list the possible causes in your specific case and based on the type of interference you’re hearing.
4. Eliminate suspects one by one
In most cases eliminating suspects may simply be a case of switching it off and seeing if the interference goes away – then turning it back on and seeing if it comes back. If you do this and eliminate all your suspects then it may be that you missed something or the interference is caused by something outside your control (i.e. power lines).
5. Figure out how to deal with it
Assuming you did track down the culprit behind the interference – it is up to you to decide how to best deal with it. Changing the location from where you DX is generally a last resort, and in most cases once you’re aware of the cause of the interference you can simply avoid it by keeping the culprit off while you DX.
Although this may seem like quite a bit of work, it can actually be a bit of fun to track down sources of interference. More importantly however, it will help make your DXing a lot more pleasant and uninterrupted – which is definitely worthwhile.