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.
Last night I received Taupo Radio, New Zealand, with a DSC message on 8414.5 kHz. Within the hour I received a polite email confirming my reception report via email@example.com .
Now obviously I’m very grateful that operators of Taupo Radio took the time to send me answer. I do realize that replying to reception reports is not their core business. Many stations don’t even bother… But while a reply within the hour is an example of efficiency, it also makes me longing for the old days and it raises some concern…
In 1989 I received Awarua Radio, ZLB. It was one of 4 coastal radio stations in New Zealand, and it was the one that covered HF. So with proper propagation conditions you could pick up their CW signals. Yep, we were still on morse code. I think rationalization kicked in between 1991 and 1994, and 4 stations became one: Taupo Radio. And in itself that was not a bad thing. You can learn a bit more on this site about NZ coastal radio station history and here on Awarua Radio in particular.
At the time my reception report took about three weeks to land on their desk and another three weeks for an envelope to drop in the mailbox. The days we worked with printers if not typewriters. When there was no email and we had to rely on airmail. But I received a comprehensive letter with lots of information about the station, their transmitters, the receivers (JRC NRD515s – nice detail is that I made today’s Radio Taupo reception on my 30 years old JRC NRD 535!). And a beautiful QSL card that displayed pride in the coastal radio stations of New Zealand.
And that is what is lacking today. Call me an old dude, a radio geek whatever… but I do think it is an opportunity missed. Driven by efficiency and bureaucrats who don’t understand the difference between a Volt and an Ampere there is no more space and time for pride and passion in engineering and technology and what it brings society… How much effort would it take to just include one promotional picture in an email from an interested listener? Promotion has never been so easy… And that – as a PhD Physics and retired technology manager – worries me… How are we going to foster interest in engineering studies so much needed in western society? Your thoughts? Leave a comment!
During my stay on a campsite in the north of the Netherlands I enjoyed good conditions on 12 MHz in a relatively noise free environment. That resulted in the reception of a lot of new DSC stations. SHN (Servicio de Hidrografia Naval) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was one of those!
The email reply took hours only and was the shortest possible. But it carried the three key letters: “QSL”! (I added their logo to the email myself to improve the appearance of this post). I sent my report to firstname.lastname@example.org. Confirmation followed via email@example.com, which is probably the Coast Guard branch.