Tag Archives: WWII

World War II Radio Letters: a real-life shortwave story – Part II

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jock Elliott, who shares the following guest post:


World War II Radio Letters: a real-life shortwave story – Part II

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

That so many people have been moved by Part I has been heartwarming. Since writing it, there have been further developments. Tecsun Radio Australia asked (and was granted) permission to reproduce the article for Anzac Day (April 25), when all fallen personnel in all wars are remembered in Australia.

In addition, I became aware of two books – World War II Radio Heroes Letters of Compassion and Waves of Hope (thanks, Bill Hemphill!) – that are all about World War II radio letters. We’ll get to those books in just a bit.

But first, I wanted to tell you something you might find surprising: I did not set out to write about how shortwave listeners had reassured my Mom that my Dad was alive during WWII. Not at all. In fact, in my 50 years as a writer, I found the process of how this came to be written, well, a little strange.

The night before, I had drifted off to sleep thinking about a radio and antenna comparison I had been fooling around with during the day (and which I plan to write up in the future). But in the morning – Holy Smokes! – completely out of the blue, my mind was seized by the following thought: Wasn’t it a shortwave listener in New Jersey that first informed my Mom that my Dad was a prisoner of War? (It turned out that wasn’t quite correct.) It’s in a scrapbook in the basement . . . go find it!

Now, I had not thought about those old scrapbooks in at least two decades, maybe more, but I could picture a particular scrapbook in my mind. Rooting around in the basement, I found it, but it didn’t contain anything about my Dad going missing in action or my Mom being informed he was still alive. Maybe I was wrong, I thought.

Back upstairs in my easy chair, the thought would not leave me alone, kept nudging me: Go find it. More digging in the basement produced the right scrapbook with the right information. Reading it, I found tears running down my face at the kindness of strangers.

As I completed writing World War II Radio Letters Part I and sent it off to Thomas, it struck me as curious that, in all my years writing about radio subjects, I had ever seen an article, or even a mention, of the shortwave monitors of WWII. I thought perhaps no one had ever written on the subject, but I was wrong.

I was poking around the internet and came across World War II Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion Second Edition by Lisa Spahr. It is a 212-page 10-inch by 7-inch book that details her discovery of her grandfather’s WWII trunk, which contained dozens of letters and postcards from shortwave listeners who wrote to Spahr’s great-grandmother to let her know that her son had been captured and was a prisoner of war.

The book, which contains photos of the original correspondence from the SWLs, chronicles her attempt to contact those shortwave listeners or their families, her discovery of the Short Wave Amateur Monitors Club – which turned the monitoring for POWs names into an organized effort – and a lot else besides. If you enjoyed my first post on this subject, I am pretty sure you will enjoy this book.

The other book – Waves of Hope by Ronald Edward Negra – is about how his mother, Agnes Joan Negra, was a shortwave monitor during WWII who sent out more than 300 letters and postcards to families to inform them that their loved ones were captured and still alive. This is a larger format book (8.5 inches by 11 inches) running to 124 pages that reproduces the letters that Agnes received back from grateful families after receiving the news from Agnes. At the time of this writing, Agnes is still alive, about to celebrate her 102nd birthday!

I found Waves of Hope to be a moving and compassionate book, and I think any SWL will appreciate having it on his or her bookshelf.

Finally, you will find a great deal of additional information here: https://www.ontheshortwaves.com/history-III.html#POW

At the end of it all – the strange process of writing the story, the response of the readers, the books telling the story of WWII radio letters – I come back to the place I started as a grade school boy. It was then that I discovered monitoring the radio can be an almost magical activity . . . and you never know when something you heard may touch another’s life in a profound way.

So keep listening!

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WWII Radio Letters: A real-life shortwave story

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jock Elliott, who shares the following guest post:


A real-life shortwave story

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

On July 25, 1943, a Royal Canadian Air Force Wellington bomber took off from England to fly a mission over Nazi-held territory in Europe. It never returned to base.

A Wellington aircrew getting ready.

On board was an American Lieutenant, tailgunner on the aircraft. He had flown at least 19 missions, and now his status was unknown.

The office.

On July 30, a letter was sent to his wife. It began:

Before receiving this letter you will have had a telegram informing you that your husband, Lieutenant John Chapman Elliott, is missing as a result of air operations. I regret to have to confirm this distressing news.

John and the air crew took off on an operational sortie over enemy territory on the evening of the 25th July and we have heard nothing of them since. However, it is decidedly possible that they are prisoners of war or are among friends who are helping them to make their way back to this country . . .

Status unknown . . . “we have heard nothing of them since.” An agonizing psychological limbo. Do you mourn or do you hope? How do you live in that middle space?

The exact timing of what happens next isn’t clear, but in September two things happened.

A telegram arrived:

Mrs. J C Elliott =

Report received through the International Red Cross states your husband First Lieutenant John C Elliott is a prisoner of war of the German Government . . .

Notation in the scrapbook above the telegram (in my Mother’s hand) reads:

The finest Telegram and the loudest words in the life of Phyllis Nancy Elliott

On or around the same time, postcards and letters arrived from around the country. From Northville, Michigan; Green County, New York; Grand Rapids Michigan; Auburn, Maine; Burlington, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; Boston, Massachusetts, shortwave radio listeners wrote to Mrs. Elliott to tell her that they had heard – on a broadcast from Berlin, Germany –  First Lieutenant John Elliott is a prisoner of war, and offering words of comfort or explanation:

Wishing you best of luck in his safe return to you,

I am a patient at the above sanatorium and as I have a quite powerful radio receiver I am taking this means of doing my bit for the boys in our armed services,

Hoping this may comfort you in knowing that he is alive and alright,

Hope this cheers you up.

Hope this will relieve your worries . . .

Words cherished and pasted into a scrapbook.

My Dad later told me what happened. Their Wellington bomber was badly shot up, and the pilot informed the crew that it was time to bail out.

My Dad cranked his tail turret around so that the door opened into the air. He flipped backward out of the aircraft. For a little while, one of his electrically-heated flying boots caught on the door frame. Hanging upside-down, he kicked the boot off, pulled the ripcord on his parachute, and landed with green stick fractures in both legs. He hobbled around Holland for three days while trying to avoid the Germans. He was captured and spent two and one-half years as prisoner of war.

Lower right: My Dad.

When the war ended, he was repatriated, and in 1946, your humble correspondent showed up. The photos are of actual postcards and letters in an 80-year-old scrapbook kept by my Mother and passed down to me.

And so, dear reader, never belittle your hobby of listening to the airwaves, because you never know when something you heard may be able to offer comfort in times of trouble. I know it certainly did for my Mother.

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Radio Waves: RNZ & TVNZ Merging, Tech Keeping Ukrainians in Touch, Solar Storms Documentary, and Aspidistra

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


RNZ and TVNZ to merge (RadioInfo)

New Zealand’s Minister for Broadcasting and Media Kris Faafoi has announced the government’s decision to create a new public media entity by merging RNZ and TVNZ.

According to Faafoi, ensuring New Zealanders continue to have access to reliable, trusted, independent information and local content sits at the heart of the decision.

“The public media sector is extremely important to New Zealanders in providing them with high quality, independent, timely and relevant media content,” Faafoi said.

“But we know the media landscape is changing and the sector is having to adapt to increased competition, changing audience demands and ways of accessing media, falling revenue, and new and emerging digital platforms. We need public media which is responsive to these changes and can flourish.

“RNZ and TVNZ are each trying to adjust to the challenges, but our current public media system, and the legislation it’s based on, is focused on radio and television.

“New Zealanders are among some of the most adaptive audiences when it comes to accessing content in different ways; like their phones rather than television and radio, and from internet-based platforms. We must be sure our public media can adapt to those audience changes, as well as other challenges that media will face in the future.”

“The new public media entity will be built on the best of both RNZ and TVNZ, which will initially become subsidiaries of the new organisation. It will continue to provide what existing audiences value, such as RNZ Concert, as well as better reaching those groups who aren’t currently well served; such as our various ethnic communities and cultures,” Faafoi said[…]

Read more at: https://radioinfo.com.au/news/rnz-and-tvnz-to-merge/ © RadioInfo Australia

Technologies old and new keep Ukrainians in touch with the world (The Economist)

Battery radios and satellite internet both have jobs to do

In communist Eastern Europe a shortwave radio was a vital piece of equipment for anyone wanting to stay ahead of the censors. Stations such as the bbc World Service, Radio Free Europe and Voice of America broadcast news, entertainment and rock-and-roll across the Iron Curtain.

After the cold war ended, shortwave radios gave way to television and the internet, and the broadcasts were wound down. But on March 3rd, in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the bbc announced their return. The World Service has begun nightly news broadcasts into Ukraine and parts of Russia (see map). Continue reading

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Video: WWII Bunker Hidden Inside Gibraltar’s Rock

An aerial view of Gibraltar. Photo by Adam Cli.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John (KC8RZM), who writes:

Hi Thomas,

[The following] is a fascinating little documentary I found on YouTube.

A secret bunker hidden inside Gibralter’s rock with a self-contained transmitter and self-generating power source (a bicycle frame).

The radio details start at the 11 minute mark:

 

Just thought some SWL might find it interesting, I sure did.

Best,
John
KC8RZM

A fascinating documentary!  Thank you for sharing, John!

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Radio Waves: Broadcast v Ham Radio, Marjorie Stetson’s Secret Wartime Work, Czech Republic MW Switch-Off, and PV RFI

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Alike, but Not Alike: Broadcast vs. Ham Radio (Radio World)

Experience in amateur radio can be a boon to the radio engineer

Starting in the 1920s and through the ’60s, almost every broadcast engineer was a licensed amateur radio operator. That has changed a bit, but the importance of being a ham has not.

Both environments involve getting an RF signal from Point A to Point B. But it is interesting to note that radio broadcast and amateur radio are similar and yet so different.

For those who don’t know much about ham radio, I’ll tell you that communicating locally or internationally, via licensed amateur radio, can be a fascinating and challenging hobby. There are about 700,000 hams in the U.S. and an equal number worldwide.

Physics

Broadcast and amateur radio operate under the same laws of science. Transmitters, transmission lines, antennas and receivers make up an RF path to convey a message.

Broadcast engineers know that signal propagation on AM and FM bands is dramatically different. It is because our FM band is roughly 100 times the frequency and 1/100th the RF wavelength of that on the AM band. Engineers also know that 950 MHz STL signals are line-of-sight and roughly a 10-times jump in frequency from FM broadcast frequencies. Each band has its own challenges in getting a useable signal through. [Continue reading…]

A Canadian opens up about her secret wartime work — eavesdropping on Japan (CBC)

Retired sergeant remembers what it was like on the ‘front line of the radio war’

At age 97, Marjorie Stetson has never told anyone her secret code number — until now.

That’s the identity code — 225 — that she typed on every page of her highly classified work for the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War.

The retired sergeant’s wartime work was so covert, she said, she had to sign 15 separate copies of Canada’s Official Secrets Act.

“Nobody knew where I worked,” Stetson told CBC News from her home in Massachusetts ahead of Remembrance Day. “Nobody knew what we did. Even my parents never knew what I did in the service.”

Her husband, an American sailor she met at a celebration marking the end of the war, passed away a decade ago. She never told him what she really did during the war.

Today, Stetson herself is only now learning about the true scope of her role and the significance of all those sheets of white paper she filled with encrypted messages from Japan. [Continue reading…]

Czech Republic: MW Switch-Off by 2021 (Radio Reporter)

Czech public radio ‘?eský Rozhlas‘ is stepping up its information campaign for listeners receiving mediumwave programmes, ahead of the planned switch-off of transmitters by the end of 2021. Since 1 November, more announcements have been broadcast to warn users and a call centre has been set up to explain the possible listening alternatives (from FM to DAB). In the run-up to Christmas, public radio will launch an intensive advertising campaign in the print media and online magazines on 22 November to promote the purchase of digital DAB receivers to replace analogue radio. [Continue reading…]

The impact of photovoltaics (Southgate ARC)

Seamus Ei8EP reports on the IARU Region 1 website that the 358 page Final Report on the Study on the evaluation of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive has now been published.

It is publicly available, free of charge, from the Publications Office of the European Union. The Political Relations Committee of the IARU Region 1 responded recently to a European Commission Roadmap on the environmental impact of photovoltaics.

The radio spectrum is an important finite natural resource which must be protected. While PV technology of itself is to be welcomed, the IARU submission pointed out the inherent problems of non-compliant installations, particularly the installation or retro-fitting of optimisers which can produce significant spectrum pollution for very limited efficiency increase.


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Free online lecture: “Aspidistra and the Broadcast Group of the Diplomatic Wireless Service”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who shares the following information about a free online lecture hosted by the The Institute of Engineering and Technology. This presentation will take place tomorrow (September 8, 2021 staring at 19:00 BST/18:00 UTC). You must register online to attend this lecture.

Here are the details from the IET website:


Aspidistra and the Broadcast Group of the Diplomatic Wireless Service including the wartime transmission of black propaganda.

The History of the Broadcast Group of the Diplomatic Wireless Service. The event starts at 19:00 BST on 8th September 2021

This is the story of Broadcast Group of the Diplomatic Wireless Service (DWS) which had its origins in the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) at the beginning of WW2. In 1972 it was amalgamated into the administrative structure of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and was renamed Communications Engineering Department (CED). The latter had two groups, Broadcast Group which was responsible for transmitters carrying many of the BBC’s World and Vernacular services, and Communications group which provided radio communications to embassies for diplomatic traffic. In 1986 CED’s Broadcast Group was taken over by the BBC.

In this illustrated talk we will learn first about the transmission of black propaganda and associated activities during WWII. Also such activities as trying to interfere with enemy rocket guidance systems. Then about the various Medium-Wave and Short-Wave transmitting stations of Broadcast Group with transmitter stations at Crowborough, Orfordness, Cyprus and the island of Masirah, a part of Oman. Transmitters ranged from 1?kW carrier power to 600 kW. Several of these were designed and manufactured in house. There will be many pictures and descriptions of the equipment and aerials used at these stations. Also covered will be an introduction to the progress of amplitude modulation techniques which enabled transmitters to become more compact.

So, what is Aspidistra? Please register to hear the story of Aspidistra and the Broadcast Group of the DWS with the engineering used to build and operate these stations.

About the Speaker

Roger Castle-Smith FIET

Mr Roger Castle-Smith FIET. Roger first became interested in radio when he joined the signals section of his school’s Combined Cadet force. This led to him gaining an amateur’s radio license at the age of 15, callsign G3IOT. Then on to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, where he started an amateur station for the academy. Graduated into Royal Signals. Achieved a BSc(Eng) degree as an external degree from the University of London whilst at the Royal Military College of Science. Many of his army postings were of a technical nature. On retirement at the age of 37 he was made a MBE. Joined the Diplomatic Wireless Service then worked his way up to becoming Head of Broadcast Group in 1979 leading to Chief Engineer and Head of Communications Engineering Department (CED) in 1981. During his service a CBE followed his MBE. Retired age 66.


Click here to read more and to register for this event.

Kris also suggested this article and this article as a little background and worth reading prior to the lecture.

Thank you for the tip, Kris!

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German radio museum sheds light on the WWII era Zeesen transmitting station

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jonathan Marks, who shares the following article and notes in response to our previous post regarding WWII German broadcasts into Australia. Jonathan writes:

[F]ound the attached on a German radio history site. Zeesen was well heard around the world, especially once the power was boosted to 50kW. Bearing in mind the broadcast bands were much quieter, I would expect signals to be heard in Australia/NZ.

The following article is a machine translation into English. Click here to read the full, original piece at Radio-Museum.de.


Shortwave transmitter Zeesen

Zeesen was an independent municipality until 2003, today it is a district of Königs Wusterhausen. In 1927, the German “shortwave transmitter”, the “Weltrundfunksender Zeesen”, was inaugurated in Zeesen. It was in operation until 1945. Then the facilities were dismantled by the Russians and the broadcasting houses were blown up.

Source: FunkAmateur 4/94; pp. 268-270)

From the history of German shortwave broadcasting: The “World Radio Station” Zeesen

GERHARD DAMM – DL1RWD

From 1929 to 1945, one of the most powerful shortwave radio stations of the time worked in Zeesen, on the southeastern outskirts of Berlin. Our article informs you about the prehistory, technical equipment and development of this “wide-range radio station” as well as about its political significance.

The official opening of the shortwave broadcasting service in Germany in 1929 was preceded by numerous activities to explore the usefulness of shortwaves for international operations.
This exploration also included the work of individual internationally renowned scientists, but also that of radio amateurs, primarily from the USA. The industry, including national postal administrations, including the German one, only showed interest in the use of shortwaves after their usefulness began to emerge as a result of the above-00 investigations. Until then, frequencies in the long and medium wave range were used. Fortunately for the radio amateurs, who had been granted the “useless” short waves. Who knows whether there would otherwise be shortwave amateur radio today and thus worldwide radio traffic.

Marconi conducted his first experiments with directional shortwaves in 1916, followed by Franklin in England, who experimented with shortwave voice transmissions in 1919. On the part of the radio amateurs, it was the Americans whose broadcasts were first received in Europe on 8 December 1921. Leon Deloy, a French radio amateur, bridged the Atlantic from Europe to the USA in 1923. And this without a “radio weather forecast”.

And as is so often the case in the history of technical inventions and developments, chance helped those involved to get started. On the occasion of the opening of a commercial radio station in Argentina, the reception of the German long-wave transmitter in Nauen failed due to strong atmospheric interference. A Telefunken engineer involved referred to the fact of the success of American radio amateurs in the use of shortwave. It may sound strange, but these events prompted telefunken to develop a shortwave transmitter and put it into operation in Nauen. With 800 W RF power, telegraphy connections with South America ran from July 1924.
These and other successes prompted the then Deutsche Reichspost. to deal with targeted experiments on the application of shortwaves to the broadcasting service. You have to know about that. that other European countries. e.B. in Englandthe BBC, in the mid-20s had begun with the trial broadcasting of radio programs in the shortwave range. Shortwave broadcasting therefore became not only a technical but also a national prestige issue.

From the location Königs Wusterhausen, which was previously used for radio broadcasts – the official opening of the German radio took place on 15 October 1923, the Deutschlandsender began its operation on 11 August 1925 on from 1 September 1926 radio broadcasts on shortwave.

The transmitter, built by Telefunken. radiated its power of 250 W via a simple oblique wire antenna. which was integrated into the existing antenna support masts.
Originally planned. on the then already existing central tower (popularly: the thickness) additionally put on a vertical spotlight. However, this ultimately failed due to political conditions. In the wake of the First World War, Germany was prohibited, among other things, from erecting buildings that would have exceeded the height of the Eiffel Tower. And this would have been the case in Königs Wusterhausen.

Partial view of the first KW antenna star with 70 m towers.On the far left, the 70 m wooden tower with the KW omnidirectional radiator, in the middle a 210 m mast for LW (1934)

The radio transmitter in Königs Wusterhausen was no longer expandable at that time, already the Deutschlandsender 11 (LW) had gone into operation in 1927 on the site of the aviation company SchütteLanz (airship construction and airfield) in Zeesen acquired by the Reichspost. In 1928, for example, the Reichspost commissioned the construction of a high-power shortwave transmitter on this airfield in Zeesen. The contract was awarded to Telefunken.

Telefunken built the first KW transmitter in House 4 (Houses 1 to 3 were located in Königs Wusterhausen) at the location of Deutschlandsenders 11. The power of this KW transmitter was quite respectable for those times, it was 5 kW, later 8 kW. The transmitter was built in seven stages and consisted of the crystal oscillator, followed by amplifier and multiplier stages. The power amplifier contained an RS 225 in the 5 kW version and two RS 225 in the 8 kW version, which were operated with an anode voltage of 10 kV. The modulation took place in the driver stage. The antenna part was designed for the frequency range from 3 to 20 MHz and was used to adapt the modest, 75 m long single-wire vertical antenna, which led to one of the two 210 m masts for the Deutschlandsender.

Ten machine sets (plus ten as a reserve) were required for the entire power supply of the KW transmitter. These consisted of high-voltage converters and DC generators. e.B. for heating. The end tubes were pressure-cooled with rainwater. After the official commissioning, the transmitter initially operated on two frequencies: 6.02 and 9.56 MHz. Higher frequencies were not released for broadcasting until 1932.

The wide range of the station at that time, which was in no way inferior to the stations Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Schenectady (USA), led to the naming “World Broadcasting Station” or World Broadcasting “Short Wave Transmitter” at the opening on August 26, 1929. In 1930, the antenna system underwent significant improvements. The construction of a 70 m high wooden tower(!) complemented the vertical wire spotlight. Quadruple dipoles in four directions were placed around the tower. This dipole combination achieved a favourable vertical opening angle and an elevation angle of 10′. The antenna gain is said to have been 9 dB.

The first directional antenna, commissioned for North America in January 1932, achieved a horizontal bundling of 30′. The performance gain was just under 17 dB! It consisted of a group of 24 dipoles plus reflectors. By 1934, ten such directional antennas had been attached to eleven steel lattice towers, each with a height of 70. They supplied the areas of North, Central and South America, East Asia and Africa in the frequency range from 6 to 17 MHz.

A second quartz-controlled transmitter with 5 kW was added in 1932. It was designed in eight stages, used two RS 255 tubes and was modulated like transmitter 1 with direct current.

While the stations had previously broadcast state programs of other stations, from 1933 a separate programming was carried out by the then Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft. It was specially intended for listeners abroad and was fully dedicated to the socio-political situation in Germany.

What a miracle that this also led to the further equipment of the transmitter in Zeesen. In 1935, another KW transmitter of the type “Nauen” (50 kW) with a telephony power of 12 kW began its operation. This transmitter worked in the power amplifier with two RS 257 switched in push-pull, a further development of the previously used RS 225.

As a special feature, it had a double equipment with oscillating circuits (variometers), which had to be retuned during frequency changes. Pre-tuning significantly reduced the frequency changeover period.

The switching between day and night frequencies as well as other frequency changes suitable for the most favorable propagation were already carried out on the basis of forecasts of the Reichspostzentralamt.

The broadcasting station in Zeesen experienced a special technical upswing in preparation for the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. In addition to the existing transmitter house 4, houses 5 and 6 were built. Among other things, they consisted of a 500 m 2 transmitter hall, which could accommodate four transmitters with 40 kW of power, which Telefunken and Lorenz built. These bore the well-known name “OlympiaSender”. A combination of parallel and push-pull switching of four RS 257 transmitter tubes made the high transmission power possible, which was later increased to 50 kW. In addition, anode BModulation was applied. The transmitters were built in seven stages and allowed quartz and VFO operation.

Olympiasender” (50kW) in Zeesen (1935/36)

In addition to the expansion of the number of transmitters, an expansion of the antenna systems was necessary. A further 13 steel lattice towers were added, which, in contrast to the existing eleven 70 m towers, had a height of 100 in. This made it possible to achieve an even stronger vertical bundling by eightfold dipole stocking.

During the first years of the war, rhombus antennas were already being built in Zeesen, which had already been tried and tested in other radio services. Compared to the frequency-dependent dipoles, these are characterized by a relatively large frequency bandwidth and good radiation bundling.

In addition, the construction with wooden poles is possible because of the low installation height, which is probably also a question of materials in times of war. The construction also did not require the technical and material effort as with the already operated 70 and 100 in high steel lattice towers.

In 1939, the realization of a technical development in antenna construction, which was certainly spectacular for the time, was added. On one of the 70 m towers of antenna star 1, an extendable vertical radiator with self-tuning was installed, which enabled radiation over a wide frequency range (5 to 30 MHz) by changing its length. This antenna was called “Pope’s Finger” in insider circles, as such a construction had previously been erected at Vatican Radio.

In its last stage of expansion, the “World Broadcasting Transmitter Zeesen” consisted of the following systems: nine 50 kW shortwave transmitters, a 12 kW shortwave transmitter, a LW Transmitter with two 210 m masts, 24 dipole walls at eleven 70 m and thirteen 100 m towers, the vertical spotlight “Papstfinger”, the 70 m wooden tower with omnidirectional radiator and four rhombus antennas. Three transmitter houses, a diesel house and a network substation completed the technical equipment on this former airfield.

On April 26, 1945, the “Weltrundfunksender Zeesen” ceased its broadcasts. The operator removed important individual parts on command. The plants remained undamaged in order to be able to put them back into operation in the event of a “reconquest”, which, as is well known, did not come of anything. The Soviet troops dismantled the transmitters and antenna systems in the summer of 1945 and blew up the buildings.

After the founding of the GDR, a military KW broadcasting station began operation on part of the former broadcasting site, the part of the former location of sender house 4 for the long-wave Germany transmitter and the first KW antenna star, which is currently also being dismantled. The rest of the site was and is used economically.

In addition to this purely technical consideration of the world radio station of the Zeesen, by the way, a short political consideration should not be missing. While the shortwave broadcasting service and the establishment of the transmitter in Zeesen (there were also KWS broadcasting centers in Elmshorn near Hamburg, Ismaning near Munich and Oebisfelde west of Berlin) were first a technical and national prestige question – as I said, other countries within and outside Europe had already begun with the introduction of shortwave broadcasting for foreign broadcasts – it became more and more a worldwide propaganda instrument with the seizure of power by the National Socialists in 1933. Especially during the Second World War, this importance grew. All the belligerent states had recognized the role of foreign broadcasting. The international etheric war arose.

Before the Second World War, the main task was to bind Germans to their homeland abroad? thus the “German shortwave transmitter” developed into the so-called ranged gun in the ether”. One spoke of the “wave artillery of radio and its transmitter batteries”. The “Deutsche Kurzwellensender/ Weltrundfunksender Zeesen since 1936 world top performance in technical terms, was ideally suited for this political task. Some insiders I know even spoke of the “V 3″.
Reactions abroad ranged widely. They were enough, for example.B from Germans abroad: _’Do you know how a German feels. when in the evening greetings from home. from our dear fatherland, flooding through a German house in the African bush…” or: During the day we are in Brazil. but when the call sign of the German shortwave transmitter sounds, then we feel like in our heirnat” or: .. Through these broadcasts I have gained an indestructible faith in the new Germany and its leader … – up to: “This shortwave system represents the greatest potential propaganda weapon. that the world has ever seen…”

Despite all the jubilation for technical progress, it is important to consider. how it can be abused. In the case of the former “dreamy fishing village of Zeesen” south of Berlin in connection with Schütte-Lanz and airship and aircraft construction in the First World War, followed by the “world radio transmitter Zeesen- as a ranged gun” in the Second World War

Literature
(1) Archive of the author (information provided by former employees)(2) 50 Jahre Kurzwellen-Rundfunk, Sonderdruck 1979 [3] Wortschlacht im Äther, Morgen die ganze Welt, Deutsche Welle

Click here to read this and more articles on Radio-Museum.de.

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