The wonderful world of listening to the radio

Tag: Mediumwave (Page 3 of 12)

QSL Backyard AM 1116 kHz

Received on my little Grundig G6 Aviator while spending some time with family in Akersloot: Backyard AM, a low power AM station from Zaandijk. Somehow I did not yet receive them on my home QTH in Woerden. My guess is that this is because they are active weekends only. More importantly: Danko Radio from Hungary might get in their way. That said, according to their schedule they are a little bit longer in the air on Sunday’s than Danko Radio (between 20 and 21 h UTC) so that could provide a window of opportunity.

Their beautiful QSL shows one of the most iconic views of the Netherlands, the “Zaanse Schans“, close their QTH Zaandijk.

Older DX-ers might remember that 1116 kHz was once the frequency of Radio Bloemendaal. This religious broadcaster was the first religious broadcaster in the Netherlands, and for a long time the only legal station other than the state radio company that was heard on medium wave. But I will dedicate another post to them!

QSL Svalbard Radio 2187.5 kHz

In October 2023 I (and some other DX-ers on YADDNet as well) received a DSC message from Svalbard Radio with MMSI 002570900 on 2182.7 kHz. This station MMSI is not received very often. And what I heard was an acknowledgement of a test message sent by the ferry Silja Serenade on its way between Mariehamn in Finland and Sweden on the Baltic Sea. So I wondered if I truly received Svalbard Radio.

I sent a reception report to Kystradio Nord in Bodø (kystradio.nord@telenor.no), as they remotely operate Svalbard Radio. But quite unusual for them I did not get an immediate answer. So I tried again last week. And with apologies (which is not necessary at all as they are just doing us DX-ers a favor on all of our requests) I got an email that QSL-ed my reception of Svalbard Radio.

Email confirming that I received the Svalbard transmitter of Telenor, Kystradio Nord

The email also explains why there was such a strange connect between a ferry on the Baltic and Svalbard Radio/ The test acknowledgements are fully automated on many (but not all) coast stations. So my guess is that the radio officer – who has to execute a mandatory weekly test – decided to go for something special… and triggered a response from the Svalbard transmitter?

This means that I have received a QSL from a station from mainland Svalbard/Spitsbergen for the first time. Not a new radio country though, as Bjornoya (Bear Island) which I received with NDBs LJS in the past and BJO last year is considered part of Svalbard according to the EDXC country list.

But where exactly is this station located on Svalbard? The first maritime station on Svalbard/Spitsbergen, Svalbard Radio was established in 1911. The location was Finneset, close to Barentszburg, the Russian settlement on Spitsbergen. But in 1930 the station was moved to Longyearbyen. And in 1975 the transmitters/antennas moved to Longyear – Svalbard Airport. Since 2006 the station is remotely controlled by Kystradio Nord in Bodø.

But that is not the location of the MF transmitters though. In 1932 two Soviet ships went aground. These were probably coal ships to Barentszburg. The Russian coal mining company Arktikugol developed an intiative to improve the navigational aids. It included the construction of a new station on Isfjorden in 1933. Once it was called Isfjord Radio, but since 1976 the station is remotely operated by above mentioned Svalbard Radio after completion of the Longyear – Svalbard Airport facilities. The Isfjord name seems no longer in use. Isfjorden is also the location from which Svalbard NAVTEX messages are being transmitted.

Isfjord Radio Station

Today the housing facilities of the radiostation in Isfjorden are exploited by Basecampexplorer to accommodate arctic tourists. So it is possible to make a visit!

Update: QSL CJYE “Joy Radio” 1250 Oakville, ON

Update: For my reception report to CJYE in January I got two friendly email repies from Hollie at the admin desk. But they didn’t really qualify as a QSL. So I tried it with the PPC format that I started to use this year. Paige Dent, director of engineering was so kind to sign and return the QSL to me.

PPC QSL from CJYE 1250 Oakville ON, Canada

CJYE 1250 “Joy Radio” brings Christian music and talk radio to the greater Toronto area. I sent my report to: 309 Church Street, Oakville, ON, L6J 1N9, Canada.

QSL Malin Head Radio 518 kHz

A fully detailed QSL letter from Malin Head Radio 518 kHz. Watch officer Mc Dermott was so kind to confirm my report within minutes. I sent my report to: mrsc.malin@transport.gov.ie . Its my second QSL from Malin Head Radio. The first one was from 31 years ago for a USB transmission on 2182/1677 kHz.

QSL Malin Head Coast Guard Radio
fully detailed e-QSL letter from Malin Head Radio on 518 kHz

Malin Head Coast Guard Radio has a nice facebook page posting their current activities. But I also found a “facebook legacy site” with some interesting information:

The station was opened in 1902 by the Marconi Marine Company on behalf of Lloyds. Located at the northernmost tip of Ireland, this station was ideally positioned to communicate with shipping coming across the Atlantic or from northern waters. But already in 1805 Lloyds had a signal station on this location.

Mailn Head Radio at the opening in 1902. The old signal tower on the right.

In 1988 the morse code services from Malin Head on 500 and 421 kHz were discontinued. That turned out to be a bit early. There was one instance where the station’s 500kHz automatic alarm receiver, which remained on watch, was activated by the signals of a sinking ship far out in the Atlantic. Malin Head Radio was the only station able to copy the weak signals from the ship’s lifeboat. With the station’s transmitters dismantled, return transmissions had to be made by her sister station Valentia Radio – not the most ideal means of conducting a distress situation.

Thanks to the team of Malin Head Radio for issuing QSL to us DX folks. And once again I learned something just by listening to the radio!

QSL Dutch Coastguard Den Helder 518 kHz

Not exactly DX from my location, but I am also a QSL collector and the Dutch Coastguard issues this nice QSL email. So here it is. I received my QSL Dutch Coastguard Den Helder 518 kHz for one of their NAVTEX transmissions.

e- QSL Dutch Coastguard Den Helder 518 kHz

The Dutch Coastguard has a nice website in English, but their history is best told on the site in Dutch (use Google to translate). Coastguard activities in the Netherlands started following a tragic incident with a Navy ship “Zr.Ms.Adder” in 1882. The ship sank near Scheveningen, but nobody noticed the ship was missing. Only when the first bodies washed ashore alarm bells went off. From 1882 onwards the crews on the lighthouses – which were already there as navigation aids – had to monitor traffic actively and had to report incidents.

Over the years 6 different departments in The Netherlands developed activities on the North Sea. Fishery, Traffic, Justice, Defense, Finance and Internal Affairs. In 1987 it was decided these departments had to work together from a central location in IJmuiden. I have a PPC QSL from 1993 indicating that in those days radio traffic was limited to emergency frequencies (2182 kHz and VHF) only. Telephony/telegraphy including weather and navigational warnings were broadcast via PCH Scheveningen Radio.

1993 QSL from Dutch Coastguard IJmuiden

In 1994 it was concluded that the cooperation between the 6 departments needed improvement. The Coastguard was established as an independent entity, with its operations coordinated under responsibility of the Royal Dutch Navy. As a consequence the Coastguard centre moved to Den Helder which is the main port of the Navy.

With more an more communication going via satellite Scheveningen Radio closed in 1998. My guess is that since then navigational warnings via NAVTEX were transferred to the Coastguard.

1980 QSL for Scheveningen Radio on 2182 kHz. Scheveningen Radio went off air in 1998.

QSL from WZAN “The Outlaw” 970, Portland

A station that I received quite often this year was WZAN “The Outlaw” from Portland, Maine, USA on 970 kHz. They are listed with only 5 kilowatts, but their – for us DX-ers excellent – location on the Atlantic coast most likely makes up for that. This can easily be seen on the night-time coverage maps published on the interesting Radio Locator website:

Night time coverage WZAN. Source: Radio-Locator.com

Mr. Phil Zachary from the Portland Radio Group replied to my reception report by email. He mentioned that they get quite a few reports from DX-ers.
In 2019 the stations changed from ESPN sports to its current “classic country” format, branded as “The Outlaw”.

QSL CHML 900 Hamilton

Mr. Zamperin, Morning show Host and Assistant director was so kind to send an email QSL for CHML 900 Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Email QSl for CHML 900 Hamilton, ON, Canada

The shut down of many European AM broadcasters makes life easier for us medium wave DX-ers. But on this frequency Saudi Arabia hits the back of my loop antenna with 400 kW strong Holy Quran chants. So in the end I switched to the MW circle KiWiSDR in Clashmore, Scotland to collect enough details for my report.

Surprise from the East… Bangkok Radio on 2187.5 kHz

This blog is about listening to the radio and not only about the reception of QSLs. So I’d like to share this nice surprise.

Aasiaat Radio in Greenland was my most remote log on 2187.5 kHz. Until last night when all of a sudden Bangkok Radio from Thailand showed up on DX-Atlas. I have received Bangkok Radio a couple of times on 12 Mhz but never on 2 MHz.

With a DSC message they responded to a test call from bulk carrier “BASS” near Banda Aceh on its way from Sikka, India to Singapore.

Unfortunately I don’t have an email address of Bangkok Radio, and I couldn’t find recent QSLs on the internet. But if you have info, feel free to drop it in the comments.

QSL WWKB “The Bet” 1520 Buffalo

I received a fully detailed email QSL from WWKB “The Bet” on 1520 kHz from Buffalo, NY, USA. WWKB follows a trend in which more and more stations use a catchy name. Since 2021 they brand themselves as “The Bet 1520” as they focus on sports gambling. I heard quite a few “BetMGM” commercials.

Receiving a Transatlantic station might be a challenge, getting their QSL is another one. The websites of the stations are often blocked for IP addresses outside Europe, so you have to use a VPN connection. But even then often the only contact opportunity granted is via a web form. This makes it difficult to personalize your reception report and impossible to include a MP3 recording. And so far I had poor experience in getting a reply. But as you can see, Kevin Carr from WWKB did reply with a nicely detailed email within a day.

QSL WJR 760 Detroit

In the last few days I enjoyed pretty good Transatlantic medium wave conditions. This resulted in a couple of QSLs that I will post in the coming days. The QSL for WJR 760 Detroit, Michigan, USA, is the first of those. Mr. Keith Bosworth, regional director of engineering for the Cumulus Group was so kind to confirm my reception with full details:

Whenever you receive a station with a three letter call-sign you can bet it is an older station with a great legacy. The roots of WJR go back to May 4th, 1922, albeit under the call-sign WCX. That is only 5 months after December 1st, 1921. On this date the US government adopted regulations formally defining “broadcasting stations”. The wavelength of 360 meters (833 kHz) was designated for entertainment broadcasts, while 485 meters (619 kHz) was reserved for broadcasting official weather and other government reports (source: Wikipedia).

WCX obtained a license for both frequencies. With a fast growing number of stations competition was fierce. Stations in the same region had to “time-share”. It took until 2023 when a band running from 550 to 1350 kHz was opened for broadcast activities. But even then WCX had to time-share on 580 kHz with WWJ from Detroit. This situation lasted until 1925, when WWJ was assigned to 850 kHz. That was also the year in which the Jewett Radio & Phonograph Company received a license for a new station. The letters of the call-sign letter WJR apparently refer to this company. This company took over WCX and the call-sign WJR survived until today.

Fisher Building, Detroit home of the WJR studios

The studios are still located in the Fisher Building, a “sky scraper” in Art Deco style, built in 1928. The antennas on top of the building relay the signals to the transmitter site.

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