In-flight DXing

flightOn long flights I sometimes tune my mp3 player to FM stations along the way to see if I can pick up some interesting chatter and try to figure out which state I am flying over. This time on my way out to west coast I did the same and picked up stations in Minnesota, Wyoming, Utah, and few more in between. But in US most stations broadcast syndicated stuff and it is not very interesting in terms of the content because I can often hear the same stuff around Boston. It is also hard to get a lock on a clear signal for any reasonable amount of time. Usually it is not more that 5-10 minutes till the noises drown the signal.  I think on my next flight, hopefully an international one, I will take my ICOM R5 scanner to see if I can do some good AM DXing.

r5May be I will also be able to catch some chatter between the pilots and the nearby ATCs too while I am at it. Once upon a time United used to make those available in ther in-flight audio channels. Not sure if the aircraft fuselage would get in way of the AM reception. At home I have never had much luck using the R5 on AM band, except local MW stations. Even though it is supposed to be a wideband receiver, it hardly does the job for SW stations with its own antenna. It is mostly useful for scanning on police, ATC bands. Hopefully it can do better job as I move over countries or states. May be I can take my Radio Shack or Sony 7600GR portable instead. I have carried them with me before, but never used them in-flight. Sticking those long whip antennas out in the passenger cabin may not be a very welcome sight, even though I am not transmitting any signals. On the other hand I see people not even bothering to turn off their Blackberry’s wireless functionality as the flight takes off and lands and when it makes that beeping sound on receiving new emails they just sheepishly look around hoping nobody heard it. Wondering if others have tried tuning in to AM while in-flight.


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