Posts tagged ‘Hamburg’

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) Christmas Program Changes on Shortwave

According to Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), Northern German Radio (NDR) schedules this year’s “Gruss an Bord” (Greeting all Ships) as follows:

Dec 24, from 18:00 to 21:00 UTC (3 hours only)
Europe   6080 kHz Tashkent
Atlantic (N) 15770 kHz Miami (WRMI)
Atlantic (S) 11650 kHz Nauen, Germany
Indian O. (SW) 9820 kHz Issoudun, France
Indian O. (E)   9610 kHz Moosbrunn, Austria

leer_reformed_church

Windrose, Leer Reformed Church, East Frisia

So, there will be only three hours instead of the traditional four, and they’ll start one hour earlier than in the past, (18 instead of 19 h UTC), but there’s a small compensation: you won’t need to re-tune your radio receiver for the second half – all frequencies are booked for the entire three hours from 18 to 21 hours UTC (or Greenwich time).

The RBB author seems to be glad to see the Armenian Gavar transmitter replaced by Tashkent as he didn’t like the transmitters’ sonic effect. I actually liked the discreet background hum there, and enjoyed the extra seconds at the end, as NDR’s audio arrived there with some delay, apparently by internet connection or very slow satellite.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) appears to cut “Gruss an Bord” down to Three Hours


U p d a t e !

Christmas is approaching, and so is a German shortwave classic – “Gruß an Bord” (“Greeting all Ships”), produced by Northern German Radio (Norddeutscher Rundfunk, NDR) and transmitted on shortwave (to Europe, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean) as well as on VHF/FM in Hamburg and in its neighboring northern German states.

keep_the_radiiowaves_coming

All ears

Unfortunately, there’s conflicting information about the duration of the program. According to info posted by NDR itself only yesterday (Friday), they cut the program from the usual four to only three hours (and only two hours on VHF/FM). As that is the more recent info, I’ll post it first.

1. NDR timetable

According to them (and they published their schedule only on Friday), the broadcast begins at 18 UTC and ends at 21 UTC – that would be a one-hour reduction, compared to previous years. (The VHF/FM broadcast has even been cut back to two hours only.)

This could be plausible, too, because there will be no recordings from the usual venues in Hamburg and Leer, and most greetings will be taken and read out by e-mail, to avoid gatherings during the fourth “corona wave”.
But to reduce the airtime would still be bad style, especially as they haven’t mentioned this explicitly, leaving it to their global audience to find out.

2. ADDX timetable

“ADDX-Kurier”, probably Germany’s biggest printed media magazine, published the following schedule (copy deadline around Nov 15 Dec 15).
The first half of the program is (or was, originally, who knows?)  scheduled to run from 19 to 21 hours UTC (aka Greenwich Mean Time), on the following frequencies:

target area frequency transmitter
Europe   6030 kHz Gavar
Atlantic (N)   6080 kHz Nauen
Indian Ocean (E)   9570 kHz Moosbrunn
Indian Ocean (W)   9740 kHz Nauen
South Africa   9800 kHz Issoudun
Atlantic (S) 11650 kHz Issoudun

Frequencies would change around 21:00 UTC as follows:

target area frequency transmitter
Europe   6155 kHz Gavar
Atlantic (N)   6145 kHz Nauen
Indian Ocean (E)   9675 kHz Moosbrunn
Indian Ocean (W)   9740 kHz Nauen
South Africa   9590 kHz Issoudun
Atlantic (S)   9830 kHz Issoudun

Gavar is a transmitter site in Armenia, Nauen is a transmitter site west of Berlin, Germany, Moosbrunn is an Austrian transmitter site (also known for daily broadcasts of Austria’s domestic “Ö1” ORF public radio), and Issoudun is a transmitter site in central France, known as a relay for Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Radio Japan (NHK).
Updates will follow here, if available.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) Christmas Program on Shortwave

As every year, Northern German Radio (NDR) has scheduled a four-hours Christmas program on shortwave – “Gruß an Bord” (greeting all ships) – for December 24, from 19:00 to 23:00 UTC. The program usually begins with a news broadcast of about five minutes at 19 UTC, and the actual Christmas program would start right after that.

[Please mind the updates underneath – Dec 18, 2019]

Leer Reformed Church weather vane, archive / edited photo

Leer Reformed Church weather vane, archive / edited

All messages will be pre-recorded, in Leer, a town in northwestern Germany, on December 8, in Hamburg on December 15, and at NDR broadcasting house (where letters and emails will be  accepted until December 15), and be read out on December 24, from 22:15 UTC, according to the NDR schedule. Sometime during the first three hours of the program, a one-hour religious service is usually transmitted.

Radio Berlin-Brandenburg’s (RBB) media magazine has published the broadcasting schedule as follows1):

19:00 – 21:00 hours UTC

transmitter
site
kW direct kHz
Nauen,
Germany
125 west 6080
Nauen,
Germany
125 south-
east
9720
Moosbrunn,
Austria
100 east 9570
Issoudun,
France
250 south-
east
9800
Update, Dec 18 125 9740
Issoudun,
France
250 south 11650
Noratus,
Armenia
100 Europe 6030

21:00 – 23:00 hours UTC

transmitter
site
kW direct kHz
Nauen,
Germany
125 west 6145
Nauen,
Germany
125 south-
east
9720
Moosbrunn,
Austria
100 east 9675
Issoudun,
France
250 south-
east
9590
Update, Dec 18 125 9740
Issoudun,
France
250 9830
Noratus,
Armenia
100 Europe 6155

The Nauen site is said to be the oldest continuously operating radio transmitting installation in the world. There was an interruption of about a decade, however, from May 1945 to 1955. By the end of the 1950s, it was also one of Radio Berlin International‘s (RBI) two transmission sites, thus carrying East Germany’s official programs for an international audience.

____________

Notes

1) as at November 1 (which seems to suggest that changes aren’t ruled out)

____________

Updates (Dec 18, 2019)

See Deutsche Welle reference to the NDR program for latest frequencies

____________

Related

Program history, Dec 25, 2017

Monday, December 3, 2018

Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) Christmas Program on Shortwave

Following an established annual routine, Northern German Radio (NDR) broadcasts a four-hours Christmas program on shortwave – “Gruß an Bord” (greeting all ships) – on December 24, from 19:00 to 23:00 UTC.

ear

_______________________________________
Time
Freq. Transmit- Target
(UTC) (kHz) ter site area
___________________________________
19:00 – 6,080 Nauen, Atlantic N
21:00 Germany
___________________________________
19:00 – 11,650 Issoudun, Atlantic S
21:00
___________________________________
19:00 – 9,800 Issoudun, Atlantic,
21:00 France Indian O.,
Sth Africa
___________________________________
19:00 – 9,740 Nauen, Indian
21:00 Germany Ocean W
___________________________________
19:00 – 9,570 Moos- Indian
21:00 brunn, Ocean E
Austria
___________________________________
19:00 – 6,030 Armenia Europe
21:00
___________________________________
21:00 – 6,145 Nauen Atlantic N
21:00
___________________________________
21:00 – 9,830 Issoudun Atlantic S
21:00
___________________________________
21:00 – 9,590 Issoudun Atlantic,
23:00 Indian O.,
Sth Africa
___________________________________
21:00 – 9,720 Nauen Indian
23:00 Ocean W
___________________________________
21:00 – 9,650 Moos- Indian
23:00 brunn Ocean E
___________________________________
21:00 – 6,155 Armenia Europe
23:00
___________________________________

Sources

Gruss an Bord, NDR, Nov 28, 2018
Background, RBB, Nov 17, 2018
History, Dec 25, 2017

____________

Monday, December 25, 2017

Shortwave Logs, December 2017: Germany’s annual Public-Radio High-Frequency Broadcast

“Gruß an Bord” is one of the oldest programs1) carried on German public radio, and the only one among these that is still broadcast on shortwave. Once a year, that is. The program starts at 19:00 UTC and runs through 23:00 UTC, i. e. Midnight central European time (see table there).

Christmas Eve on Sunday was that one night a year when a public German-language radio broadcaster returns to shortwave: “Gruss an Bord” is a program where sailors’ relatives and friends send greetings to their loved ones on board, wherever on the seven seas they may be2).

From Norddeich Radio to Deutsche Welle

“Gruß an Bord” first went on air in 1953. Back then, according to Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR, northern German radio), coastal radio station Norddeich Radio beamed the wistful messages across the seas.

It hasn’t been aired every year since, according to an NDR press release of 2009, which provides no notes about at which times there had been interruptions.

Some time after its inception, Germany’s public foreign broadcaster Deutsche Welle must have taken the task of broadcasting “Gruss an Bord” internationally, while NDR has always been in charge of the content.

Haus der Schiffahrt (House of Shipping Companies), Leer (archive)

Norddeich Radio has been defunct since the 1990s, and Deutsche Welle terminated their German-language broadcasts on shortwave in 2011. “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (Germany does itself in), an angry seafarer reportedly wrote in a protest letter.

From Deutsche Welle to Media Broadcast

It appears that the program was limited to VHF/FM and medium wave in December 2011, but in 2012, NDR bought airtime from Media Broadcast, a company that operates the Nauen transmitter station ( a site formerly used by Deutsche Welle). They also coordinate with other broadcasting sites in Europe.

NDR is a public broadcaster operating in the federal states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, and Lower Saxony. (As Bremen was part of the American occupation zone in post-war Germany, the city state runs a broadcasting station of its own, Radio Bremen.)

The first hour – and some of the second – of this year’s broadcast were recordings made earlier in December, at Hamburg’s Duckdalben international seamen’s club (or Seemannsmission), a place operated by Germany’s evangelical church. Some time during the second hour of this year’s program, recordings from Leer, a town in Eastern Friesland, Germany’s far northwest, were broadcast. Leer is only a small town, with some 30 to 35 thousand population, but it is a place with a lot of history, and a navigation school. Probably not least thanks to the latter, Leer is considered the place with the second-largest number of shipping companies in Germany, after Hamburg.

In Leer’s “Kulturspeicher”, the NDR’s Lower Saxony broadcasting house also made some recordings, on December 10, to televise a few minutes of them within the state on December 23, in a 3’19” report. (The video should remain online for a few weeks.)

The show felt a bit as if it was from a different era, trade magazine website Radioszene noted four years ago. That’s hard to deny, when you look at the cozy arrangements captured by the NDR cameras.

But then, even in 1979, Werner Bader, head of Deutsche Welle’s German programs at the time, observed that

A minority keeps criticizing, sometimes wittingly, that the two programs [“Gruß an Bord” and “Grüße aus dem Heimathafen”, another sailors’ program] were unctuous. But a majority advocates to carry them forward.
(Eine Minderheit kritisiert immer wieder, in beiden Sendungen gebe es Rührseligkeiten, und sie tut es manchmal auch geistreich witzig. Aber die Mehrheit plädiert für das Wunschkonzert und die “Grüße aus dem Heimathafen”.)

The Audience: families, the wider public …

“Gruß an Bord” is aired by a public broadcaster, and at the same time, it is about family – two rather different target audiences. An NDR editor interviewed in the December 23 report from Leer, tries to match the two:

If this is about feelings, the broadcast is still needed. If someone says that most of the German ships have been equipped with internet for a year now, and that families can skype or text each other, or use Whatsapp – but then, people may sit alone in their bunk, on Christmas Eve, before and after their meals, that’s not the same as if you join everyone else in the mess deck, listening to this broadcast together.
Wenn es um Gefühle geht, dann braucht man die Sendung noch. Wenn jetzt jemand sagt, die deutschen Schiffe sind seit einem Jahr weitgehend mit Internet ausgerüstet, und dann können die Familien miteinander skypen und sich eine SMS schicken oder per Whatsapp kommunizieren, aber da sitzen vielleicht die Leute allein in ihrer Koje am Heiligen Abend, vorm Essen, nach dem Essen, bekommen ihre Whatsapps, das ist ja nicht so, als wenn  man gemeinsam in der Messe sitzt und dann vielleicht gemeinsam diese Sendung hört.

Or as put by an (apparent) senior sailor in a television report from the Hamburg event, the program is

special, because you get the impression that – even if you can be reached by email, smartphone etc. -, the public is aware of you.
Das Besondere an der Sendung ist, dass man eben tatsächlich den Eindruck hat, dass man – auch wenn man über Email, Handy erreichbar ist, trotzdem auch im Bewusstsein der Öffentlichkeit ist.

… and the friends of the high frequencies

I recorded all of the program, and listened to some of it. It remains a reverend institution, and worth listening to. But I think I liked the final twenty-five minutes best. There, letters and emails were read out from an ordinary broadcasting studio – well-structured and carefully thought out messages, rather than improvised talk into microphones.

I have no idea how many people listen to the programs, and where. But when listening to the mails and letters being read out, you realize that a substantial share (if not the majority) of those who listen to the shortwave transmissions must be shortwave aficionados, rather than seafarers:

Bernd Ottenau from Ottenau sends greetings to all members, honorary members and friends of the Radio Taiwan International listeners’ club Ottenau, as well as the international shortwave programs’ German-language editorial offices.
(Bernd Ottenau aus Ottenau grüßt herzlich alle Mitglieder, Ehrenmitglieder und Freunde des Radio Taiwan International Hörerclubs Ottenau, sowie die deutschsprachigen Redaktionen der internationalen Kurzwellenprogramme, und wünscht gesegnete Weihnachten sowie ein gutes neues Jahr 2018.)

A thing Germany has in common with countries like China, India, or Japan are its pasttime associations, and its shortwave listeners’ associations not least. They, too, may be an explanation as to why a radio institution like “Gruß an Bord”, allegedly from a different era, remains on air – at least once a year.

The 6155 kHz relay transmission from Armenia – offering the best signal among all the sites rebroadcasting “Gruß an Bord” – goes off air a few seconds after 23:00 UTC. CPBS Beijing emerges on the same frequency, informing me that it’s the eighth day of the lunar calendar’s  eleventh month today.

____________

Notes

1) The “Hafenkonzert” is even older – see Related underneath – “Soundscrapes of the Urban Past”
2) Then again, maybe not exactly on all the seven seas. The Pacific Ocean isn’t among the target areas stated by NDR.

____________

Related

Soundscrapes of the Urban Past, 2013

____________

%d bloggers like this: