As far as I know JRCC Piraeus, Greece, is not heard too often with DSC messages, but this week the station was heard a few times on 12 and 8 MHz with DSC messages. I sent my report to firstname.lastname@example.org . Within a day I received an email from the Duty Officer to QSL JRCC Piraeus on 12577 kHz.
As Gandalf said in the Lord of the Rings: “And so it begins…”
“Space Weather” warning on Cullercoats Radio 518 kHz, NAVTEX, this morning.
A quick update on my previous post on DSC and NAVTEX in Sweden. Following my QSL from JRCC Sweden I wrote an email to Stockholm Radio with a little query (and a reception report of Stockholm Radio on 2187.5 kHz).
Bjorne from Stockholm Radio was so kind to explain the current situation:
All transmission of weather and MSI (maritime safety information or navigational warnings) on MF are done by “Sweden Traffic” which is part of the Swedish Maritime Administration: Sjöfartsverket
All Emergency monitoring (GMDSS/DSC) is done by JRCC Sweden, located in Gothenburg. JRCC Sweden is also part of Swedish Maritime Administration: Sjöfartsverket. For this purpose JRCC Sweden has access to all Stockholm Radio facilities. I received my QSL for JRCC Sweden via email@example.com
In addition to providing VHF telephone services Stockholm Radio (www.stockholmradio.se ) is only responsible for coastal weather transmissions on VHF during summertime (June 15th – September 15th according to their website).
Göteborg and Stockholm Radio can be received regularly on 2187.5 kHz with DSC messages. As I already had QSLs from the 80-ies for I didn’t bother to send a reception report and QSL request for these two stations. But then I saw a QSL from Artur at MaresmeDX for JRCC Sweden. And I wondered how they are actually organized these days.
Within an hour of sending my reception report for a reception of MMSI 002653000, Göteborg Radio on 2187.5 kHz to firstname.lastname@example.org I got an answer:
So it seems that everything on MF is now under the jurisdiction of JRCC Sweden. The HF band isn’t covered anymore. And I guess that the name Stockholm Radio is used for VHF DSC watch and weather broadcasts: https://stockholmradio.se/ .
In the 80-ies you could listen to a couple of stations on MF. In addition to Göteborg (SAG) and Stockholm Radio (SDJ) I remember Karlskrona (SAA), Härnosand (SAH) and Tingstaede (Visby, SAE). The nice thing was that they had matching set of QSL cards. But although I heard all stations, I managed to get the QSLs for Göteborg and Stockholm Radio only…
Things are a bit slow as I didn’t spend too much time behind the radio the last couple of weeks. But there are still some QSLs from a year ago that I didn’t post yet, as I received them before I started this weblog. This QSL for Radio Eli, Estonia on 1035 kHz is one of those.
Radio Eli aims to bring the gospel to the countries of the post-Soviet space as they write on their website. They started in 2001 with a two hour Russian program of Tartu Family Radio via a 50 kW transmitter on 1035. In 2008 power increased to 100 kW. Since 2010 they are working together with Trans World Radio (TWR) and power increased to 200 kW, but this seems to be used for TWR and Radio Liberty transmission only. Using the loop antenna to block Radio Lyca from the UK on the same frequency they can be received quite well here in The Netherlands.
I received a polite email from the English desk of RRI to QSL my reception of Radio Timișoara on 630 kHz. They thanked me for my report and they will mention it in the upcoming Listener’s Corner on RRI. Funny detail: the English desk is very clear in communicating that email@example.com should be the only address to be used, but their replies still seem to come from different addresses. Anyway: firstname.lastname@example.org it is for you!
Like other stations in Romania (see my post on Marosvásárhelyi Rádió) Radio Timișoara has a rich history. Timișoara is most important city in the region called Banat, which is currently split between Hungary, Romania and Serbia. The name itself comes from the original Hungarian name Temesvár, which means “castle on the river Temes”.
As early as 1930 there were plans to create a “Radio Timișoara”. These plans were approved in 1939, but WWII thwarted execution. After the war the first programs began to be broadcast from Timișoara in 1952. In 1956 regular broadcast in Serbian and German language began, each with a 20 minute program. Censorship from Bucharest increased over the years, but Radio Timișoara managed to stay “out of sight” until Ceaușescu ordered the closure of all regional radio stations to facilitate censorship from Bucharest in 1985 .
Personally I vividly remembered Timișoara as the city where the Romanian Revolution started in December 1989 (I was 17 years old at the time). This led to the demise of the Ceaușescu regime. Soon after the revolution Radio Timișoara resumed broadcasts, and the Hungarian language was added to the program in addition to German and Serbian. Today they feature broadcasts in Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Romani and Bulgarian as well.
On Christmas Eve morning, Sunday December 24th 2023, SAQ Grimeton is scheduled to be on the air, to send out the traditional Christmas message to the whole world, using the 200kW Alexanderson alternator from 1924, on 17.2 kHz CW.
Program and transmission schedule:
08:00 CET (07:00 UTC: The transmitter hall at World Heritage Grimeton is opened for visitors.
Transmission & YouTube Live stream:
08:25 CET (07:25 UTC): Live stream on YouTube begins.
08:30 CET (07:30 UTC): Startup and tuning of the Alexanderson Alternator SAQ.
09:00 CET (08:00 UTC): Transmission of a message from SAQ.
We are planning to carry our some test transmissions on Friday, December 22nd, approximately between 13:00 CET (12:00 UTC) and 16:00 CET (15:00 UTC). SAQ will be on the air shorter periods of time during this interval, when we will be carrying out some tests and measurements. Your comments are welcome to email@example.com.
More info on https://alexander.n.se/en/
Two weeks after sending my report I received an email with a QSL letter for Varna Radio, call sign LZW, broadcasting a DSC message on 16804.5 kHz. I sent my report to firstname.lastname@example.org .
It is always interesting to see how coastal radio and GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) monitoring is organized. From what I’ve seen it is usually an integrated part of the Coast Guard, which is either integrated in a Department of Transport or in the National Navy. In the case of Varna Radio however the station is embedded in the National Port Authority: Bulgarian Ports Infrastructure Co.
The signature of the QSL was attached in a separate picture:
For my reception of a DSC message I received this beautiful QSL for Iqaluit Coast Guard Radio on 12577 kHz. I sent my report to: IQANORDREG@innav.gc.ca .
The duty officer apologized for taking so long to reply (about 5 months) but they had a very busy season. Of course that’s no problem at all and I’m grateful for the service they provide to us listeners. They also wrote that they enjoy receiving letters from all around the world!
As far as I know all DSC communications on shortwave (4 MHz and higher) are coordinated via Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut in Canada. The station in Prince Rupert seems to be the only exception to the rule. I’m not sure what the status of the Canadian mediumwave Coast Guard stations is these days. In the 80-ies and 90-ies I could regularly hear them in SSB on 2182 kHz. But I don’t see any of them listed with DSC. So my guess is that, like their counterparts in the USA, distress calls are no longer monitored on medium wave.
In the Netherlands we just celebrated the arrival of Sinterklaas this weekend, a children’s party that culminates in a festive gifts evening on December 5. Only after December 5th we start preparing for Christmas.
However in Canada VOCM is already in the Christmas spirit. After the Aurora of the past few days, reception conditions seem to be recovering. So for those who want to get into the Christmas mood right now: tune in to VOCM 590, “your Merry Christmas station is back!”. Click on the link for a short YouTube clip.