Remembering Dario Monferini, Play-DX editor
Dario Monferini has died after a long illness at Centro Girola close to his home in Milano. He was best known for being a DXer and editor of the PlayDX newsletter (and later the Play-DX blog) that he founded in 1975. He has been hospitalised and trying to recover at Centro Girola in Milano for several months before his sudden death on Monday, October 22, 2022.
Dario suffered a few strokes since June 2020 and became isolated at Centro Girola during COVID. Unfortunately, his medical situation never improved, as he spent COVID wholly isolated inside the rehabilitation centre and could not get back onto his feet for the last two years.
Since early September 2020, Dario has been recovering in a hospital in Bollate, just outside Milan. He could not walk and could only move around in a wheelchair. It was not an easy job to get in touch with him because he initially did not have a phone or PC. As Dario does not have a direct family, he was put under legal supervision, and a lawyer took care of his affairs.
During most of 2020 and 2021, visitors were not allowed in hospitals due to COVID-19. As a result, communication with Dario was not easy, and very intermittent, as sometimes Dario was not able to recharge his phone for days. Dialling and answering calls were also not easy for him, due to reduced mobility.
In late October 2020, Dario had a second stroke, but his mind remained strong and active. A few friends managed to visit him after the COVID isolation, including his long-time friend and EDXC Assistant Secretary General Christian Ghibaudo. We, at NEXUS-IBA, managed to keep in contact through the occasional phone call and WhatsApp, and were able to smuggle a massive package of sweets for Christmas into his rehabilitation centre.
Dario Monferini’s early days as a DXer and DX radio editor
Dario Monferini became a Dxer and started listening to foreign Medium Wave stations in 1970. Initially, he started listening to MW station from Spain. He sent letters and reception reports to several radio stations and started collecting a huge number of “souvenirs” that were usually sent to him with a station’s QSL card.
After that, he upgraded his receiver and got passionate about receiving DX signals on Shortwave from South America. He particularly enjoyed listening to the joyful music of fare-away countries.
It was in 1980 that he started his collaboration with the Italian Millecanali radio magazine, a well-known publication in Italy. Radio stations were growing in number along the Italian peninsula at that time.
His task was to create a database of all private radio stations on FM that were growing in number along the Italian peninsula. At that time, he had no computer, only pencil and paper and his faithful typewriter that he also used to edit his homemade weekly editions of the Play DX magazine.
After that, Dario started collecting QSL cards, pennants and stickers from stations broadcasting on Medium Wave and Shortwave worldwide, not only stations broadcasting in Spanish as he did at the beginning of his career as a DXer.
The late ’90s and 2000’s
In 1990 and after 2000, several shortwave stations closed down transmissions, especially smaller stations in South America, mainly due to a lack of spare parts for their transmitters. So Dario’s interest moved again to listening to distant signals from FM radio stations, often brought in from thousands of kilometres by troposphere-enhanced reception caused by E-skip or meteor scatter.
Tropospheric ducting happens when a temperature inversion in the troposphere (the lowest layer of the atmosphere) helps FM/TV signals travel farther than usual. A temperature inversion is a reversal of the average decrease in temperature with height caused by several factors, including cooling due to adiabatic contraction and warming due to sunlight. This phenomenon can generate radio waves to be refracted towards the Earth rather than up into space, known as tropospheric propagation.
Dario travelled a lot, especially during the summer, to better listen to this type of long-distance FM propagation, i.e. in the Balearic islands in Spain, Scandinavia and far away in Peru, New Zealand and Canada. Dario has been a member of the European DX Council for several years. We spent some time with him at the latest EDXC meeting in Andorra in September 2019. That was Darios’ last trip before COVID-19 and his hospitalisation.
Dario Monferini has also been writing for the Italian magazine Monitor and cooperated with the World Radio & TV Handbook (WRTH), which he secured in multiple copies and also made available to Italian listeners at discounted prices.
Dario has also been a radio producer. For some time he edited a radio edition of the Play DX magazine that was broadcasted over IRRS-Shortwave on 9815 kHz back in 1989 and 1990.
In lasting memory of Dario Monferini
The death of Dario Monferini has come as a shock to those involved in shortwave radio. Blogs announced the passing of Dario on the morning of October 17, 2022, after the news was spread rapidly via social media. Dario was a well-known DXer worldwide whose contribution to the hobby is well-documented.
In memory of Dario Monferini, we are scheduling replays of some of his broadcasts in Italian and English during the weekends of October 22-23 and October 28-29, 2022, on our Shortwave and Medium Wave frequencies and via streaming.
Dario’s funeral will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at the Church of San Nicola Vescovo, at 08:30 AM in via Livigno 21, Milano.
RIP, and thanks for all the excellent work promoting radio and DXing worldwide. Stay tuned, Dario, and, please, send us another reception report from Heaven!