Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following guest post:
In these days of declining activity on the shortwave bands, we don’t often enjoy the experience of hearing what we might still call “rare” stations. The new year brought an exception.
On January 1st, 2019 I was tuning around the 48 meter band, which is largely populated by European pirate stations, utilities, and weather stations, when I heard a station on 6,210.20 khz. It was very distinct in that it sounded like an African station — music, with a male DJ/MC and religious songs.
What immediately came to mind was the religious station calling itself Radio Kahuzi, which is in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
The station has been heard by DX’ers in a number of countries since the mid-2000’s and because it’s management is based in the U.S. it is possible to obtain a QSL verification.
As a You Tube video shows the station has been on the air since the early 1990s:
On January 1st, RK was heard from about 1730 to 1747 UTC when it shut down, playing what Richard McDonald, one of the station’s founders, says were musical pieces that are specific to RK.
On January 2nd, 2019 the station was heard again via Europe-based SDRs, signing off at approximately 1811 UTC.
Here is McDonald’s response to my report (which included an mp3) from January 1st, in which he notes that he even went so far as to give the main station announcer, Gregoire, my name and asked him to mention me in the station’s broadcast:
“I just shared with Gregoire that you had sent a recording of the last minutes of his closing musical sign-off if Radio Kahuzi and he agreed to greet you by name this evening and several days in several languages including English.
You got him saying his name at 5:54 into your recording yesterday,and the ID sign off Mountain Blue-Grass Music was unique to Best Radio Kahuzi in Bukavu!
Barbara Smith will be happy to send the QSL Card and info about us and our National Director and his family situation in case you have any suggestions
Powering off here! Our power cuts off with SNEL often — I just lost a longer reply to you !
But Keep Looking UP ! And Keep On Keeping ON !
Richard & Kathy McDonald”
By the way, according to Wikipedia, SNEL stands for Société nationale d’électricité “the national electricity company of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its head office building is located in the district of La Gombe in the capital city, Kinshasa. SNEL operates the Inga Dam facility on the Congo River, and also operates thermal power plants.”
A very interesting page containing the history of Radio Kahuzi, with information about the McDonalds, is at: http://www.besi.org/
As of the time of this writing, it’s unclear to me whether the extended broadcast times of Radio Kahuzi will be continued or if this was a one shot deal linked to the new year — we may have some clarification on this in coming days.
Here’s a video of my January 1st, 2019 reception of Radio Kahuzi:
For now, I am quite pleased to join the group of about 63 DX’ers around the world (that number comes from a link on the RK website called “Shortwave Listeners” that lists SWLs who have heard and contacted the station).
Though it is highly unlikely that Radio Kahuzi will be heard anytime soon in the United States (the station’s schedules shows it being active from 8 AM to 8 PM Bukavu time) at least using U.S.-based radios, whether SDR or traditional receivers, it’s nice to know that there is still a station out there (with 800 watts!) that is a real DX target!
Wow! What a fantastic catch, Dan! Thank you for sharing your catch and, especially, shedding light on this rare DX.
Post Readers: Please comment if you’ve logged and/or confirmed Radio Kahuzi.