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…
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 email@example.com .
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.
Coast Guard Radio in Spain is remotely operated from three centers: Coruna, Valencia and Las Palmas. This e-QSL CCR Las Palmas confirms my reception of the latter, operating from the Canary Islands on 8414.5 kHz. It was my 2nd attempt to get a QSL from this station via firstname.lastname@example.org , so maybe they reply a little bit irregular.
Unfortunately the e QSL doesn’t show the station name, so I have to save the email that went with it in my files as well:
A real QSL card for Cyprus Radio 5BA on 8414.5 kHz. I heard this coastal station with a DSC message. It is nice that they still award QSL cards by mail. Forty years ago they were also reliable verifiers. I attached an old QSL letter from 1982 for a reception of a broadcast in A1 (Morse code).
Earlier this year I received this nice e QSL Olympia Radio with call sign SVO. My report was for a DSC message on 8414.5 kHz. I sent my QSL to email@example.com . Like in many countries maritime or coastal radio stations in Greece merged into one station: Olympia Radio. Occasionally I do see other MMSI station identifiers popping up like for example Aspropyrgis Radio, but as far as I know everything is centrally controlled since 1998.
As said, in the past there were multiple radio stations. Athens (SVA) was the station operating on both MF and HF. Iraklion (SVH), Limnos (SVL), Kerkyra (SVK), Rhodos (SVR) and Chios (SVX) were operating on MF only. Of those Kerkyra was most frequently received in the Netherlands. Below you can see the QSLs I received in the 80-ies from Athens and Kerkyra Radio.
I started this weblog a few months after I resumed DX-ing. As a result there are a few QSLs that I didn’t post yet. One of those is this comprehensive Word document I received as QSL Torshavn Radio. Torshavn Radio – call sign OXJ – is part of the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) on the Faroe Islands. I received them with a DSC test message on 2187.5 kHz. It is a pity that they forgot to tick the DSC box on the document, but I applaud them for sending this neat QSL. I sent my report to MRCC@vorn.fo.
The Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but with a very high degree of self-governance. They are not part of the European Union. The debate on whether they should become fully independent of Denmark lingers on… For us DX-ers and QSL-hunters that doesn’t make a difference: the European DX council has long declared it a separate radio country.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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!
Earlier this year I received this beautiful QSL Bremen Rescue 2187.5 kHz. I really appreciate DSC stations (and other stations) that offer this service. Somehow I do hope that it helps younger people to develop an interest in the hobby and therefore in radio and electronics. I sent my report to email@example.com .