CBJC 1 FM – Belleville, ON – 94.3 MHz

While vacationing near Rochester, NY, over Labor Day weekend, I picked up the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) French language outlet on 94.3 MHz. After sending a reception report to the studios in Toronto, CBC kindly responded with a QSL letter and the coverage map below. I appreciate Vincent Chenier’s assistance.

Examining the coverage map, I noticed the signal traveled a short distance over land before crossing Lake Ontario and reaching my location in Walworth, New York. Surprisingly, the signal was quite strong, which I attribute to tropospheric ducting propagation, as it’s typically not that robust.


Radio Nacional de España (RNE) – Madrid – 585 kHz

This QSL card and letter from Radio Nacional de España was left in my mailbox this afternoon. It was for their station on 585 kHz with the transmitter located at Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain. It was strong for about 30 or so minutes and I was able to pick out enough program details for the kind staff at the station to verify.It is RNE number 5 in my collection. A big thank you to José Antonio Garcia Merino for taking the time and effort to answer my reception report.

Radio Korea and KBS World Radio

(QSL’s below the text.)

KBS World Radio in Korea 12 January 2016 via SDR Twente. 0859 Sign on

Outside the gate at the KBS Kimje Transmitter Site.
Outside the gate at the KBS Kimje Transmitter Site. I am the second guy from the left with the funky necktie. 7 July 1977 (Courtesy of Aaron Wigant, as well as the other photos below.)

Radio Korea (and its successors Radio Korea International and  KBS World Radio and its predecessor Voice of Free Korea) has to be my sentimental favorite shortwave radio station. They have been one of my connections  to Korea, where I served as a missionary from 1975 to 1977.


Antenna Farm at KBS Kimje Transmitter Site
Antenna Farm at KBS Kimje Transmitter Site

On 7 July 1977, I had the opportunity to visit the KBS transmitter site at Kimje (김제). You can see the photos here.

Over the years, they issued some rather eye catching and classy QSL cards. I first heard Voice of Free Korea in 1969. Unfortunately, I did not send them a reception report for a QSL card. From what I understand they changed their name to Radio Korea in 1973. Then in 1975, I was called to be a missionary in Korea, so my interest in Radio Korea piqued. Since I was busy as a missionary, my time for listening to the radio was virtually non-existent, but I do remember hearing Radio Korea’s English language program for foreigners on medium wave on 600 and 750 kHz. I even picked up a shortwave broadcast and received a QSL for my reception report.

Mission Slides12.272
Transmitter at KBS Kimje

After I came home from my mission in 1977, I sent off a few more reports and received QSL cards in return. My interest in Radio Korea was in full gear. I listened to their Korean language transmissions to practice my Korean, in addition to listening to their English language programs.

Not sure, but I believe this is the KBS Chonju (전주) Transmitter Site for 567 kHz.
Not sure, but I believe this is the KBS Chonju Transmitter Site for 567 kHz.

In 1983, I became an official monitor and received a new QSL every month. I even listened to their English language program on FM during a three-month long visit to Korea in 1984. My term as an official monitor lasted until 1987 when we moved to Germany. I still sent reception reports to them on a fairly regular basis even after that.

Han, Hee Joo 한 희주
Han, Hee Joo 한 희주

After we moved to Korea in 1989, I began to spend less time listening to Radio Korea, mainly because they no longer broadcast on FM and medium wave and because it was difficult to pick up their shortwave broadcasts. That is because we were so close that their signals would skip over us, and so they were not strong. However, in addition to the American Forces Korean Network (AFKN), I listened to the Korean stations including KBS. I did send a few reception reports to Radio Korea nonetheless.

We returned to the USA in 1997, and discovered that it was still difficult to hear Radio Korea in Maryland. Propagation of their signal to Maryland was not good, and they started to beam their signal elsewhere. Additionally, my schedule did not mesh with their broadcast times. So, my reports were very sporadic.

I collected almost 100 different QSLs from Radio Korea and KBS World Radio, by far the most from any single station. Most of them are for their shortwave transmissions from Kimje. I also have a QSL verifying the reception of a transmission from their transmitter site in Suwon (수원) as well as several QSLs verifying their FM broadcasts in 1984 and a couple QSLs for overseas relay stations.

I hope to be able to listen to KBS World Radio more in the future as time and propagation permits.

You can see the QSL cards that I collected from Radio Korea and KBS World Radio over the years below. They bring back a lot of fond memories to me. Comments are welcome. (Click on the images for enlarged views.)


About KBS World Radio – http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/about/about_kbsworld.htm – accessed 25 September 2015

CKDO 1580 kHz – Oshawa

This nice QSL from Durham Radio in Oshawa for CKDO 1580 kHz showed up in my mailbox today. I heard them in the middle of the day near Rochester, NY over the Labor Day weekend. The signal was fairly good and steady. They are an easy catch at our home in Maryland.


LAST QSL – Radio Berlin International (RBI)

This is putatively the last QSL card issued by Radio Berlin International. Instead of being the actual last QSL card, I think it is the last QSL card printed for RBI because I understand their final broadcast was on 2 October 1990.

I got this from someone on E-Bay. The DXer who received this QSL card was Manfred Lepp. Does anyone remember him? In any event, this is an interesting piece of radio history.

BBC World Service

Radio Kiribati

large_detailed_physical_map_of_kiribati_with_all_roads_cities_and_airports_for_free[1]Radio Kiribati was a fairly regular visitor to my radio room in Korea on shortwave on 14917.7 kHz. Although the station no longer uses shortwave it still broadcasts on medium wave and FM.

It was assigned the call letters T3K1. I understand that it was a relay for residents in outlying islands.

How we drove our car and recorded radio stations at the same time

Lauterbrunnental or Lauterbrunnen Valley - Courtesy of Wikipedia
Lauterbrunnental or Lauterbrunnen Valley – Courtesy of Wikipedia

It occurred to me that recording and writing down program details while driving might seem unsafe to some of you who may be reading my blog and Facebook posts. So, I would like to explain what we did. It was a team effort. One of us, usually my wife Becky would drive while I did the recording. The process consisted of finding a station, turning on the recorder, and writing the frequency, station, and the time the recording started on a note pad. That way one of us was always focused on driving and the other person could deal with the radio station. I would listen to the recordings later to pick out specific program details. It worked out well, as we were able to hear and record dozens of stations while driving.  We even recorded stuff inside the tunnels in the Swiss Alps.

In Europe and in Korea, I mostly used a white-colored Panasonic radio-cassette recorder. (I don’t know the model.) It had dual cassette capability for dubbing. It got a lot of use until one day the motor in it failed. That was a sad day because it has been a good friend.

These days I use CC Crane Witness to record stations. If the signals are strong enough, I will record them just using the unit’s radio. If the signals are weak, I use the car’s radio. I wired an “auxiliary” output from the car radio speakers, and feed the audio into the Witnesses line input.  I have to watch the audio level or it can get distorted.  It works, and that is all that is important.

Radio Wil

vOld Town Wil Altstadt von Wil
Altstadt von Wil or Old Town Wil

We heard Radio Wil, a local station in the town of Wil, St. Gallen, on 93.1 MHz on one of our trips to Switzerland. They were playing country music, and I could recognize some of the titles, so I decided to sent them a reception report. They replied with this nice letter in German. According to the letter, in addition to their local programming, they also broadcast programs in German from other sources like the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.

From what I have gathered, this station was founded in April 1985, but is no longer on the air and the frequency of 93.1 MHz in the town of Wil is now occupied by a station called Radio Top.

You can see the QSL letter below


Radio 24 – Zürich

Altstadt von ZürichRadio 24 in Zürich is one of the oldest local radio stations in Switzerland with their roots in pirate radio. Their web site is at http://www.radio24.ch/

We heard Radio 24 in the town of Zürich while driving around. I recall it had a good signal in the town itself, but it faded out quickly once we left the town. An audio clip of what we heard is below. The station sent me the verification letter below for my reception report.

Radio 24 – Zürich – 102.8 MHz – 27 June 1988


Radio Thurgau

Pastoral scene in Thurgau - Courtesy of Wikimedia
Pastoral scene in Thurgau – Courtesy of Wikimedia

Radio Thurgau was a radio station which served the Thurgau Canton of Switzerland until 1 January 1998 when it merged with Radio Wil and Radio Radio Eulach to form Radio Top. According to the QSL letter below, they also broadcast German language programs from broadcasters such as the DRS.

We picked this station up at a campground in Balzers, Liechtenstein in the morning just before we left for the day. It had a good signal.

You can see the QSL verification that they sent in response to my reception report. We listened to their 100.3 outlet transmitting from Kreuzlingen.


Radio Zürisee

Züri-Bär beim Studio in Rapperswil - Zurich Bear statue outside of studio in Rapperswil - Courtesy of Wikipedia
Züri-Bär beim Studio in Rapperswil
– Zurich Bear statue outside of studio in Rapperswil – Courtesy of Wikipedia

Radio Zürisee was founded on 1 November 1983 and is still on the air. It primarily serves the Zürich Oberland or the area to the east of the City of Zürich surrounding the lake . When we heard them in 1988, their studio was in Stäfa. In 1994, they moved their studios to Rapperswil. They also underwent a major frequency re-alignment since we visited the area.

We heard them along the southern shore of Lake Zürich for several minutes with a clear signal.  The frequency was 91.9 MHz, and the transmitter was located in Feusisberg. However, because it was low power, the signal quickly faded out. We heard enough for a good reception report (a tape recorder helps too.) So, they sent back the nice QSL letter you can see below. I am also including a short audio clip of what we heard. (Click on the arrow on the left side of the bar.)