created by William R. Hepburn, WTFDA
| My DXing background|
I first attempted to receive distant TV signals in 1970 as a kid playing around with rabbit ears in my hometown of Niagara Falls. My first DX (tropo) was seen in 1972 when I received Channel 11 Toledo, Ohio before our local Channel 11 came on the air. I started keeping a log of stations received on July 25, 1976. I had no knowledge of DX modes or that there were others who DXed. On that 1st morning, I broke the Toledo record by picking up Channel 6 Columbus, Ohio. Then on my 3rd day of organized DXing, I received Channel 3 Pensacola, Florida (to my dad's amazement), destroying the Columbus record. (I wrote to the address given in an news editorial and was pleasantly surprised to find a WEAR-TV QSL Card in the mail the next week!). After picking up Florida from Canada, I wondered just what the limit was (of course, that was E-skip). I later learned more about DXing from a copy of "Communications World" magazine. In that magazine, I learned of the "Worldwide TV-FM DX Association" (which I joined in early 1977) and learned about the various modes and what others were picking up. In 1981, I got my first taste of F2 skip with TV audio from the UK & France, and probable video from Ireland. Other modes such as Meteor Scatter and Aurora were stumbled upon as the years passed.
| The Tropospheric Ducting Forecasts (a.k.a. "The Hepburn Charts")|
Using my many years of experience as a professional meteorologist and an avid radio/TV DX enthusiast...I began experimental text DX forecasts for the Toronto-Buffalo area in 1997 using E-mail. Once the Internet caught on, and the WTFDA formed a newsgroup, the forecast coverage eventually grew to cover North America. With continual gains in experience and real-time feedback from DXers, I was able to refine my methods and to gradually improve the quality. Later I developed the Hepburn Tropo Index to attempt to quantify the strength of tropospheric ducting over different areas. Over time, the index has been adjusted and refined and now does a credible job of representing the zones of potential ducting.
In May 2000, I prepared my first forecast maps and the Tropospheric Ducting Forecast website was born. I created the maps by having a computer program emulate what I had been doing manually to prepare the text forecasts. As a result of this automation, I have been able to expand the forecasts' coverage to encompass much of the world. The forecasts are now popular with users around the world.