Today I received another email from BHANSA, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Air Navigation Services Agency. This one confirmed all three radio beacons I sent a report for to firstname.lastname@example.org . So this adds a QSL for NDB DNC-425 Mostar to my collection. A big thank you to Mr. Vlado Juric for this confirmation.
Apparently Mostar Airport is struggling a bit compared to Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Tuzla Airports. In 2012 it was still the 2nd airport after Sarajevo, mainly because of pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Over a million people per year visited this town where Our Lady of Medjugorje appeared to six teens in 1981. I really recommend reading this Wiki about the complexity of religion in an already complex political environment.
During COVID Mostar Ariport lost the two companies carrying out scheduled flights from Mostar Airport, so it is used by seasonal charters only these days. You can find the other QSLs and stories about Bosnia by clicking on these links: BLK-340 and TU-445 .
Yes it is in! An email to QSL NDB PT-295 Skopje. My 190th radio country: North Macedonia! I sent my report to M-NAV, the company responsible for management and control of civilian air navigation in North Macedonia: email@example.com .
The republic of North Macedonia declared independence from the Yugoslav Federation in 1991. But it took until 1993 before the country was recognized by the United Nations under the name “Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)”. Which turned it into a new “radio country”. I tried to get a QSL from Radio Skopje, a station operating a 1000 (!)kW transmitter on 810 kHz in those days. But where I was never successful prior to independence, I wasn’t succesful after. Once again “NDB DX-ing saved my day”!
The name “Macedonia” was disputed by Greece. They feared that the new republic would lay a claim on the Greek region of Macedonia. The fact that the Vergina Sun featured on the flag of the new republic did not help. Nationalists proposing to depict the “White Tower of Thessaloniki” on the new banknotes aggravated the issue. Fortunately, in 2019 the two countries settled their arguments by signing the Prespa Agreement. The formal name is now Republic of North Macedonia.
A bit awkward maybe is the fact that the EDXC still uses Macedonia to refer to the country with ITU code MKD.
It took 36 weeks, but worth waiting for: a real postcard QSL confirming my reception of NDB MIQ-426 “Mike for Ingolstadt”. I sent my report to DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung) in Langen, Germany. The beacon is located south of Ingolstadt, and you can actually see it driving on highway A9 between München and Ingolstadt (east of the highway).
Not sure where the “for Ingolstadt” comes from. The beacon is close to Ingolstadt airport. But it is not aligned with the runways and serves as a high and low level enroute navigation beacon according to ourairports.com .
And guess what, a day after my first QSL from Bosnia Herzegovina I received my second. A QSL for NDB BLK-340 Banja Luka. This time the email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org apparently made it to the right desk. Mr. Stanisic who is head of Air Traffic Control Banja Luka was so kind to send me a confirmation.
What is a bit confusing is that Banja Luka is situated in Republica Srpska. This translates as Serb Republic, but should not be confused with the Republic of Serbia, which is an independent country (and also still on my “QSL to-do list” by the way). Since December 1995 The Republica Srpska, together with the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina form the independent country Bosnia and Herzegovina…. But as the Republica Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina couldn’t agree on who was to own Brčko, that was turned into a third autonomous district in 1999… pretty complicated eh?
To make things even more complicated: the Republica Srpska consists of two parts and according to their current leadership the Republica Srpska should be an independent state. Which would possibly result in a new EDXC radio country as well, and possibly even two (like West and East Malaysia), as they are separated by Brčko …
But as much as this would be nice for us DX-ers, please don’t let them fight another Balkan War over it…
Yesss… a new radio country confirmed: Bosnia Herzegovina. I got an email from Mr. Adnan Becic to QSL NDB TU-455 from Tuzla. If I’ve counted correctly, this is my 189th EDXC radio country. In the 80-ies I was able to receive and QSL Radio Sarajevo. But that was before the Balkan war, and Bosnia Herzegovina was still part of Yugoslavia.
BHANSA is the organization responsible for aeronautical navigation services in Bosnia Herzegovina. I tried sending a report to BHANSA directly about my reception of the Banja Luka Beacon BLK-340. But I only had their corporate email address so it probably never reached the right department. I never got an answer.
So this time I decided to write to Tuzla Airport instead and sent an email to Mr. Brcaninovic, technical manager at Tuzla Airport. He forwarded my message to the BHANSA team (translated from Bosnian language):
You see if you want to answer this lover of radio signals. I have no idea how (probably the contacts on our website for the technique) but it’s not my responsibility, so I’m forwarding it to you for your attention and possible action. As nice as it is to know that you can hear from Holland 😃
And as you could see, it worked! Thank you Mr. Brcaninovic and Mr. Becic for allowing me to add another country to my list!
Note: the email address was not available in public domain and therefore not published here. You can contact me for further details by submitting a comment.
I was really surprised to pick up a NDB signal from the Azores with considerable signal strength. Below you can see the Pskov recording (I added the morse code for clarity):
The email to QSL NDB FIL-380 near Horta on Faial Island indicates a power of 700W which, in combination with propagation over water, might explain why the signal came through so well. I sent my report to email@example.com which is the general email address for NAV Portugal, responsible for flight safety in Portugal and the Portugese Islands.
After an extended period of building maintenance, World Heritage Grimeton Radio Station has scheduled SAQ to be on air on UN-Day, Tuesday October 24th 2023 at 17:00 CET (15:00 UTC), to send out a peace message to the whole world, using the 200kW Alexanderson alternator from 1924, on 17.2 kHz CW.
Transmission & YouTube Live stream 16:25 CET (14:25 UTC): Live stream on YouTube begins. 16:30 CET (14:30 UTC): Startup and tuning of the Alexanderson Alternator SAQ. 17:00 CET (15:00 UTC): Transmission of a message from SAQ.
Via Enaire, the air navigation and aeronautical information service provider in Spain, I got a QSL for NDB IZA-394 Ibiza. This radio beacon is located in Santa Eulalia del Rio on the island of Ibiza. It serves as approach beacon for the airport of Ibiza, and take off beacon for the airports of Menorca and Palma de Mallorca. The transmitter is a Marconi SS 2000A with 200W output power. The Antenna is a “T” as you can see on the picture they so kindly provided:
Forty years ago I received a QSL for the non-directional beacon LJS on Bjørnøya or Bear Island. Administratively Bjørnøya is part of Svalbard or Spitsbergen, a territory of Norway. Given its remote location Spitsbergen (including Bear Island) is a separate radio country according to the EDXC list. I somehow assumed that there was no NDB active anymore on the island. But last week I received a beacon BJO on 316 kHz and learned that its location is Bjørnøya.
The maritime radio station Bjørnøya Radio closed in 1996 when – like so many other stations – the station was converted to remote operation from the Kystradio Nord center. But the Bjørnøya Meteorological Station is still staffed, one of the reasons being that a couple of times per day weather balloons have to be launched.
I decided to give it a try, and emailed the Meteo station to find out if they knew about the beacon and could confirm my reception report. Within hours I got a reply from Lisanne… in Dutch! Lisanne is one of two Dutch people in a team of 9 persons that run the Meteo station. They are on duty from June to December when they will be relieved by the next team. Lisanne is trained as meteorologist and it is her 2nd stint on the island.
Lisanne wrote that although Bjørnøya Radio is closed, they still transmit a weather bulletin twice a day (10:05 h UTC and 22:05 h UTC) on 1757 kHz. It is preceded by an announcement on 2182 kHz. Lisanne shared this nice Facebook movie about it. But she told me also that they did not send a signal with call sign BJO. There is an amateur radio at the station for visiting amateurs, but that one hadn’t been used either in the past year.
I thanked Lisanne for the nice picture and the reply. And explained to her that the transmitter/antenna I was looking for was probably close to the station and the nearby heliport. A day later another email came in. Over coffee she had raised my question again and with the help of the airports.com site learned that a few kilometers to the east, on the so-called Nordpunktet (North Point) there was an antenna and a little cabin which housed the NDB transmitter. I got a couple of nice photo’s as well.
There is a story connected with the little cabin. In 1971 an operator of the Meteo Station named Bjørn Tessem was attacked by a polar bear. He was found near the door of the cabin, with the bear over him. Most likely he attempted to enter the cabin to save himself but the door was locked. There is a small memorial plaque about this event on the wall of the cabin.
So you can see how the reception of just three letters BJO in morse code, received over 2500 kms, lead to a surprising conversation, a few nice pictures and a tragic story.
My sincere thanks to Lisanne and the team members at Bjørnøya Meteorological Station, who also gave me permission to publish their photo’s. They have their own website at https://bjornoya.org/ .