In mid-October I received an invitation to attend the annual DXpedition in Cappahayden, Newfoundland with Jean Burnell, John Fisher, and Jim Renfrews. It didn’t take long for me to say yes. Newfoundland is one of the best places in the world to DX from and all kinds of amazing stuff has been heard there. I was excited at the prospect of great medium wave DX and being able to log low-powered European private and pirate shortwave broadcasters.
But something else was at the top of my try-for list. One of my many DX interests has always been logging coastal marine stations in the 1600 to 3000 kHz range. In preparation I started checking online sources to update my spreadsheet of schedules. In going through a recently added section on Marine Broadcasts in the DX Info Centre website I came across listings for twice-daily weather broadcasts from Hopen Island on 1750 kHz and Bjørnøya (Bear Island) on 1757 kHz.
I didn’t remember ever seeing anything about broadcasts from these remote islands in the Norwegian Arctic before. Were these stations actually on the air, I wondered. And if they were, could I hear them in Newfoundland? Continue reading →
Thousands of ordinary Norwegian citizens aren’t the only ones frustrated and dissatisfied after Norway’s forced transition to DAB radio. It meant shutting down FM radio, and now NATO may find itself in conflict with the civilian DAB frequencies it was granted for exercises in Norway.
Norwegian politicians and authorities were reportedly warned before they imposed DAB on the civilian population that it could cause problems in crisis situations.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported on Tuesday that civilian radio and the military use the same frequency of 225-245 MHz. NATO had long ago pointed to that frequency as its own when Norway decided to switch from FM to DAB and Norway’s national communications authority (Nkom) allocated space on the network.
[…]The biggest test will come this fall, when around 40,000 soldiers, 130 military aircraft and 60 vessels from 29 countries will take part in NATO’s huge military exercise called Trident Juncture. Asked whether there will be problems with radio communication, divisional director at Nkom John-Eiving Velure gave Aftenposten an “unconditional yes.” Per-Thomas Bøe, spokesman for the Norwegian defense department also confirmed that NATO can override civilian DAB radio if it needs to.
That means civilian radio broadcasts can be cut out, like they allegedly were during the NATO exercise Dynamic Guard outside Bergen in February. Military communication among aircraft, vessels, army divisions and the commando center can also be disturbed.[…]
UPDATE:SWLing Post contributor Mike Barraclough points to the following article in telecompaper and notes:
The Norwergian Communications Authority has diplomatically stated that this article “has caused unnecessary concerns.”
Nkom denies DAB frequency use is at odds with NATO usage
Norwegian communications regulator Nkom said an article by newspaper Aftenposten reporting conflict with NATO over the use of airwaves normally reserved for DAB radio has caused unnecessary concerns. The regulator says Norway can decide for itself how to use frequencies, providing there is no breach of international agreements that it has signed. Anyone using radio frequencies in Norway must obtain a permit from Nkom, even the national armed forces and Norway’s NATO allies.
Nkom said use of frequencies for the Norwegian DAB network has been coordinated internationally and agreed with more than 30 European countries. Nkom would not allow anyone to use airwaves if this would disrupt normal broadcasting services.
BBC World Service to broadcast for the first time from within the Arctic Circle
BBC World Service English has signed a new agreement with Guovdageainnu Lagasradio (GLR) – a local FM radio station in Northern Norway that serves the local Sámi community. The agreement will allow GLR to broadcast content from the BBC World Service, bringing international news and other programmes to their listeners.
GLR will broadcast 93 hours of BBC World Service English programming weekly, enabling them to extend their broadcast to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. GLR already provides the local community with local news, culture and Sámi music. Traditionally known in English as ‘Laplanders’, the Sámi are one of the northernmost indigenous people of Europe.
Stephen Titherington, Senior Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service English, says: “Such international connections are at the core of the BBC World Service – we want to reach different cultures and communities across the globe and reflect their stories in our programmes. We’ve aired major reports on the Sámi people and culture over the last year, and this agreement with GLR will in turn provide people in the region with access to our trusted international news and documentaries through their own community radio and help link them to what’s going on in the rest of the world.”
Nils Martin Kristensen, Editor of Guovdageainnu Lagasradio, says: “As Editor of GLR – Guovdageainnu Lagasradio – I am happy to be partnering with the BBC World Service, and I am confident that the people of Kautokeino and Karasjok will welcome this opportunity to get news from all over the world from the renowned broadcaster BBC World Service. This broadcasting agreement is a very important step for GLR to be able to share international news with our audience.”
Digital switchover means that only the country’s local radio stations continue to use FM frequencies
Norway has completed its transition to digital radio, becoming the first country in the world to shut down national broadcasts of its FM network.
The country’s most northern regions and the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic switched to digital audio broadcasting (DAB) as scheduled on Wednesday, said Digitalradio Norge (DRN), an umbrella group for Norway’s public and commercial radio.
The transition, which began on 11 January, allows for better sound quality and more channels and functions at an eighth of the cost of FM radio, according to authorities.
The move has, however, been met with some criticism linked to technical incidents and claims that there is not enough DAB coverage across the country.
Radio users have also complained about the cost of having to buy new receivers or adapters, usually priced at between €100 and €200 (£88 and £176).
Only 49% of motorists are able to listen to DAB in their cars, according to DRN figures.[…]
Last week it was reported that Norway would be switching off all FM radio broadcasts as early as 2017. According to the Norsk Lokalradio Forbund, the Norwegian Local Radio Association, however, only 23 local radio stations in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger, as well as major national broadcasters, are set to make the transition from analog to digital DAB broadcast anytime soon, while 200 local stations outside the cities will continue to broadcast in analog for the near future[…]
Within two years from now, the shutdown of national FM-networks begins in Norway. The switchover will begin in the North and will be implemented region by region.
Thursday, the Ministry of Culture announced a national FM-switch off, to complete the transition to digital radio. Norway is making an historical move into a new radio era, being the first country in the world to decide upon an analogue switch-off for all major radio channels. With DAB and digital radio, listeners will be provided with more radio channels and greater diversity in content.