Early Broadcasting in Denmark

This article was originally aired over Adventist World Radio’s “Wavescan” program, January 11th, 2004. Copyright to the author, Adrian Peterson

Just a little over a week ago, the shortwave service from Radio Denmark signed off for the last time. Their era of international broadcasting began with experimental transmitters at two different locations in Denmark, it spanned three quarters of a century, and then ended with the use of transmitters at two different locations in a neighbouring Scandinavian country.

Our opening feature in Wavescan this week, and next week also, will honor the memory of Radio Denmark, and on this occasion, we look at the very early story of local radio broadcasting in Denmark.

Actually, the first wireless stations in Denmark, fixed and mobile, were installed in several regional areas throughout their country in the era just before the commencement of World War 1. The fixed spark wireless stations were installed in Copenhagen and in half a dozen country locations and were on the air for maritime and national communication. The mobile stations were installed on ships and were established for maritime communication and to act as navigational beacons for nearby shipping.

The original callsigns for these early wireless station were single or double letters, usually an easy to understand abbreviation for the location of the station. When callsigns were regularized, these were allocated in a three letter sequence beginning with OXA.

The first experimental radio broadcast in Denmark took place on October 29, 1922, more than 80 years ago. On this special occasion, the program was broadcast from a communication transmitter on board a ship in the harbor at Copenhagen and the receiver was installed in a lecture hall in downtown Copenhagen.

From this single and simple event has grown the entire broadcasting industry in Denmark which is on the air now from more than 100 local transmitters. These government and commercial stations are on the air almost entirely in the FM band. However, there are still two units on the air in the standard mediumwave & longwave bands and these can be heard on 243 kHz with 300 kW and on 1062 kHz with 250 kW for nationwide coverage and spill-over coverage into neighbouring countries.

During the following year after the inaugural single event transmission, two radio transmitters took to the air with radio programming. One was a radio station operated by a local radio club and the other was a military transmitter that was diverted part time for broadcast usage. As was stated at the time, these two stations provided listeners with public information and music concerts.

Two years later again, the Danish government took over all radio broadcasting throughout their country and this was organised as the Danish state broadcasting service. The inaugural date was April 1, 1925. When callsigns were regularized, the identification for the main station in Copenhagen was OXQ, with a similar range of callsigns for the network relay stations in country areas.

In the early era, these stations were on the air in the lower end of the mediumwave band and also in what has become the European longwave band. During the war, radio programming was under the Ministry of Education and the technical facilities were under the control of the Department of Public Works.

As far as QSL cards are concerned in the early years, the radio station in Denmark was quite reliable in responding to reception reports from listeners. Even though the power output of their stations was quite low, they were heard at times at great distances throughout Europe and even in North America. These days, these old QSL cards are valued collector’s items.

Shortwave Broadcasts

The first radio broadcast in Denmark took place on October 29, 1922, when a ship transmitter broadcast a dedicated music program to a specific audience in a lecture hall in downtown Copenhagen. In the following year, two transmitters were used in the broadcast of regular radio programming, and in 1925, the government took over all radio broadcasting throughout Denmark.

It was in the year 1928 that the first experimental broadcasts in Denmark were launched on shortwave. Two different stations were involved; 7MK in Skamlebaek and 7RL in Copenhagen, though the experimental 7MK callsign was changed to the international callsign OZF (OWE ZED EFF)some five years later.

The Danish government took up the matter of international radio broadcasting in earnest in the era just before World War 2 and a 6 kW transmitter was installed at Skamlebaek in the early part of the fateful year 1939. Test broadcasts from this new facility were noted in Australia around September under the callsigns OZH & OZF, and quite quickly a regular international broadcasting schedule was established.

Station OZH/OZF continued in service until it was silenced at the time of the German occupation on April 9, 1940. However, a few days later, the shortwave station returned to the air. A few months later again, programming for Radio Denmark shortwave was under the control of the Ministry of Education and the technical facilities were under the control of the Department of Public Works.

An entry in an Australian radio magazine for June 1941 reports a very strong signal from Radio Denmark shortwave and the question could be asked: Was this a clandestine usage of the Danish shortwave station at Skamlebaek? A few months later, however, OZU shortwave left the air for the remainder of the occupation era.

In February 1946, Radio Denmark shortwave was re-activated with the same 6 kW transmitter, a unit that had been manufactured locally under the designation K7. At this stage, three callsigns were in use, one for each frequency, OZF, OZH & OZU.

Around the same era, a new shortwave facility was under construction at Herstedvester where a new 50 kW transmitter, manufactured jointly in Italy & Denmark was inaugurated on October 1, 1948 under multiple callsigns in the OZ series. Programming throughout the years has been mostly in Danish, though at times English & Spanish were heard.

Over the years, proposals were made for a big new shortwave station in Denmark with two transmitters at 500 kW. However, instead a new 100 kW BBC transmitter was installed at Herstedvester and this was inaugurated at half power in May 1982.

When the Herstedvester facility got old, it was closed and in its place a relay was taken out from Radio Norway beginning on February 12, 1990. Three different sites have been in use, Frederikstad, Sveio & Kvitsoy. But, the end has come, and Radio Denmark shortwave left the air forever on the last day of the old year.

The old QSL cards bearing the callsigns OXQ, OZF & OZH, together with the Radio Denmark QSL cards showing the map of Denmark, and the pictures of their station, and the painting representing their national anthem, are now treasured historic items for the dedicated collector. “Shortwave Radio Denmark – Goodbye!”.

Early Radio in Denmark – Communication Stations

References

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Location Call Information & Reference
————————————————————————————————————
Blaavands Huk BH YBWT&T 1913 193
OXB YBWT&T 1923 481

Copenhagen GRA YBWT&T 1913 193
OXA YBWT&T 1923 481

Gjedser N YBWT&T 1913 193
OXC YBWT&T 1923 481

Gjedser Haven N YBWT&T 1913 193
OXD YBWT&T 1923 481

Lappegrunden OUU YBWT&T 1921 544

Lyngby OXE YBWT&T 1923 481
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Early Radio in Denmark – MW & LW Broadcasting Stations

References

———————————————————————————————————–
Location Call Metres kHz kW Information Reference
————————————————————————————————————
Copenhagen 470 638 ) 6 pm Sun Wed Thu music HRD 1924
750 400 ) Tests on other days HRD 1925
337 890 ) WW 9-12-25
308 975 ) WW 9-12-25
348 862 Radio Broadcasting Station FIBS 1926
337 .75 RA 84.2 1926 8
337 890 .75 Government station Keller 1927
339.8 882 1 RN 10-29
327 917 .5 RDCB 1929
281 1 LI 10-10-31
1067 1 RN 3-33
7.5 Transfer ex Kalundborg plan Pierre 1933
1176 10 HRD 1936
OXQ 1176 10 RN 1-38

Hjorring 1250 240 .5 HRD 1924
1250 240 Relay station FRBS RR 1925
1250 .5 RA 84.2 1926 8

Kalundborg 1535 188 7.5 RN 10-29
260 7.5 RN 3-33
OXP 1153.8 260 7.5 Station P&T, programs Radioraadet 1933
1153.8 260 60 Planned Pierre 1933
1261 238 20 HRD 1934
OXP 240 60 RN 1-38

Lyngby 2400 125 1.5 HRD 1924
OXE 2400 125 6:20-8 pm News, stock, weather HRD 1925
OXE 2400 125 2.5 Danish State Telegraph System RR 1925
OXE 2400 125 1.5 WW 2-12-25
2400 125 1.5 RA 84.2 1926 8

Lyngby 775 387 .5 Danish Government FRBS RR 1925

Odense 950 315 Relay station FRBS RR 1925
950 .25 RA 84.2 1926 8

Ryvang 1150 260 6 HRD 1924
1025 293 Tue Wed Fri English, music HRD 1925
1150 260 1 Ministry of War FRBS RR 1925
1150 260 1 WW 2-12-25
1150 6 RA 84.2 1926 8

1159 250 1 RN 10-29

Soro 1150 269) 1 Ministry of War FIBS 1926
2400 125) 1 Ministry of War FIBS 1926
1153.8 258 1.5 Government station Keller 1928
1153.8 258 1.5 RN 10-29
============================================================

Early Radio in Denmark – Shortwave Broadcasting Stations

References

—————————————————————————————————————
Location Call Metres kHz kW Information Reference
—————————————————————————————————————-
Copenhagen D7MK 32.05 9360 .5 RN 7-28
D7MK 32.05 9360 .5 RN 10-29
7MK 32.05 9360 .5 WAWN 1-9-29
OZ7MK 32.05 9360 Radioposten NZRHA 1931 11
7MK 32.90 9120 RD 1934

Copenhagen D7RL 42.12 7122) .25 RN 7-28
D7RL 84.24 3561) .25 RN 7-28
ED7RL 42.12 7122 Sun Mon Wed radio, Tue Sat TV WW 1928
D7RL 42.12 7122) .25 RN 10-29
D7RL 84.24 3561) .25 RN 10-29
7RL 42.12 7122) .25 WAWN 1-9-29
7RL 84.24 3561) .25 WAWN 1-9-29
OZ7RL 82.24 3647 Popular Radio NZRHA 1931 11
7RL 42.12 7122 RD 1934

Copenhagen OXQ 31.51 9520) NZRHA 1931 11
OXQ 49.26 6090) NZRHA 1931 11
OXO & OXZ 6057 9488 15300 HRD 1932
OXO & OXZ 6057 9488 15300 NZ 77.4 1932
OXO & OXZ 9488 HRD 1933
OXE RMI156

Lyngby OXY 31.60 9490 Broadcast 2 – 4:30 pm RN 8-31
OXY 9520 HRD 1933
OXQ 31.5 9524 OSWL&CB 1933
OXY Four SW OSWL&CB 1933

Skamlebaek OXL 52.40 5725 OSWL&CB 1933

OXR 23.23 12910 OSWL&CB 1933
OXR 12910 Presumed communication HRD 1936

OXT 167.0 1795 OSWL&CB 1933
OXT 12295 Radio telephone to islands Geneva 1936

OXU 8595 Presumed communication HRD 1936

OXV 17.45 17190 OSWL&CB 1933
OXV 17190 Presumed communication HRD 1936

OXY 9520 Daily MN to 4:30 am HRD 1934
OXY Statsradiofonien 7 Heibergsgade LI 1935
OXY Signal-chimes from town clock LI 1935
OXY 6060 & 9520 SWL 3-35
OXY Three SW 6060 9495 15300 RN 8-35
OXY 6060 500 w broadcast Geneva 1936
OXY 6060 Broadcast HRD 1936
OXY 9495 Broadcast HRD 1936
OXY 15300 Broadcast HRD 1936
OXY 49.5 Broadcast, low level signal LI 13-2-37 50
OXY Three SW 6060 9495 15300 RN 7-36
OXY 6060 Broadcast RN 7-37
OXY 6060 Broadcast irregular LI 1938

OZF 9520 Closing 2 pm Sunday R&H 8-39 59
OZF 9520 6 Two services daily R&H 79.11 10-39 52

OZH 15165 Heard Australia March R&H 79.11 4-39 46 OZH 15165 10 – 11 pm R&H 79.11 4-39 51 OZH 15165 Irregular R&H 79.11 5-39 59 OZH 15165 Irregular R&H 79.11 5-39 59
OZH 15165 Good signal some nights MN R&H 6-39 62
OZH 15165 Heard occasionally R&H 79.11 8-39 59
Final entry

OZH2 15320 Good strength occasionally R&H 8-39 59
OZH2 6 Experimental Sun & holidays R&H10-39 52
Final entry

OZS 6685 Presumed communication HRD 1936

OZW 14706 Presumed communication HRD 1936
===============================================================

International Radio Broadcasting from Denmark

Chronology

——————————————————————————————————————
Year Date Information Reference
——————————————————————————————————————
1922 Oct 29 1st broadcast in Denmark ship to lecture hall Copenhagen RN 12-50 54
1923 Broadcast transmitter constructed, operated by club RN 12-50 54
1923 Military transmitter used also for broadcasting RN 12-50 54
1923 Broadcasting of concerts started in Denmark YBWT&T 82.7 7 1923
1925 Danish radio founded Postage stamp
1925 Apr 1 Government took over radio broadcasting RN 12-50 54
1928 Nov 13 Inauguration D7MK SW at Skamlebaek relay MW RN84.161 6&7 35 105
1928 ED7RL SW 42.12 half hour Sun Mon Wed WW 77.1 28-12-28 22
1928 ED7RL SW 42.12 2 hour picture Tue & Sat WW 77.1 28-12-28 22
1929 Mar Lyngby (Skamlebaek) began relay on SW RMI194 1
1933 SW callsign changed from D7MK to OZF RMI156 1
1939 6 kW SW before WW2 RD Bulletin 1988
1939 Sep Experimental tests OZH2 15320 (5 kW) SkamlebaekR&H 79.1110-39 52
1939 Sep Regular schedule OZF 9520 6 kW R&H 79.11 10-39 52
1940 Apr 9 Denmark invaded and surrendered to German occupation 5WBE 119
1940 Apr Off air after invasion, re-activated a few days later R&H 79.11 5-40 55
1940 Aug 8 Programming now under Ministry of Education RN 12-50 44
1940 Aug 8 Technical remains under Ministry of Public Works RN 12-50 44
1941 May R Danemark 9710 0530 UTC opens strong signal Australia R&H 6-41 52
1941 May Strong signal in Australia, clandestine usage of Skamlebaek? R&H 6-41
1942 Feb Usage of OZU SW terminated R&H 79.10 3-42 57
1845 May 5 German occupation surrendered to Allied forces 5WBE 119
1946 Feb SW re-activated; OZU 7260, OZF 9529, OZH 15320 RN 3-46 44
1946 OZF 6 kW 9520 & OZU 5 kW 7260 Skamlebaek RN 7-46 112
1946 Herstedvester under construction RN 7-46 112
1947 Construction proceeding, planned opening 1947 RN 2-47 153
1947 Reportedly OZU 7260 & OZF 9520 on air R&H 79.13 11-47 86
1948 New transmitter due on air soon RN 5-48 172
1948 Oct 1 50 kW transmitter Standard Electric, curtain RD Bulletin 1988
1948 Oct 1 New transmitter at 50 kW RD Bulletin 1988
1948 Oct 1 Radio Denmark began at Herstedvester Erik Koie
1948 Oct 1 Radio Denmark began, 25 kM W Copenhagen SWN 5-00 25
1949 New 50 kW in use RTVN 83.1 4-49 55
1949 Herstedvester OZF OZG OZH OZH2 OZU YB 84.200 FIBS 1949 209
1949 Skamlebaek OXY OXY2 OXY3 YB 84.200 FIBS 1949 209
1949 Skamlebaek OZF OZG OZG2 OZG3 YB 84.200 FIBS 1949 209
1949 Skamlebaek OZH OZH 2 OZH3 OZI OZI2 OZI3 YB84.200FIBS 1949 209
1949 Skamlebaek OZU OZX OZX2 YB 84.200 FIBS 1949 209
1950 3 callsigns different channels 1 transmitter OZF OZH OZU RN 12-50 54
1950 Photo of new Radiohouse RN 12-50 54
1950 Photo of new Radiohouse RN 8-52 65
1968 Oct 1 20th anniversary celebrations, new QSL card EA 79.16 2-69 149
1969 Apr 1 Announced date to drop English programming EA 79.17 1-70 145
1969 Dec 31 English programming dropped EA 79.17 4-71 147
1970 Apr Announced date to drop English & Spanish EA 12-69 79.16 173
1970 Proposal for 2 @ 500 kW, unable to find site RD Bulletin 1988
1975 Feb 15 Antennas deteriorating, now on 15165 E & W EA 5-75 77.14 102
1976 Rotatable log periodic installed RMI156 2
1982 May New 100 kW BBC @ 50 kW began RD Bulletin 1988
1982 Jun 7 Old 50 kW re-actived till Jun 17, 15165 kHz only SCDXers 29-6-82 1
1983 Consideration for 2 @ 500 kW new location USA DX Magazine
1989 Jul 1 Intended beginning from RNI, not implemented DXO 8-89-53
1990 Jan mid Denmark transmitter retired DXO 2-90 55
1990 Feb Old Herstedvester 50 kW closed RD letter
1990 Feb 12 RNI relay commenced 1330 UTC DXO 3-90 56
1990 Feb 12 RNI relay commenced RD letter
1990 Begins relay from Radio Norway DXO 2-90 55
1991 Call to re-activate old transmitter at Herstedvester ADXN 2-91
2003 Dec 31 Closure of Radio Denmark shortwave
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Radio Broadcasting in Denmark – QSL Cards

——————————-————————————————————————————-
Location Call kW kHz Year Date Description Holder
——————————————————————————————————————–
Skamlebaek OXQ MW 1938 Feb 24 Printed card, overtyped AWR
Skamlebaek OZH SW 1938 Sep 9 Printed card, overtyped AWR
OZF7 1 15165 1969 Nov 3 Aerial tower, typed AMP
OZF5 2 9520 1975 May 13 Aerial tower, printed AMP
RD 25850 1983 Apr 17 Anthem, upper right, corrected AMP
RD 11890 1988 Feb 3 Anthem, upper left AMP
RD 15165 1988 Feb 24 Anthem, upper right, printed AMP
Frederickstad RD 350 5905 1995 Mar 10 Anthem, upper right AMP
Kvitsoy RD 500 15605 1995 Mar 6 Stylistic globe AMP
Kvitsoy RD 500 15605 1995 Mar 7 Anthem, upper left AMP
Kvitsoy RD 350 17500 1999 Apr 15 Anthem, upper left AMP
Sveio RD 500 11850 1995 Mar 6 Stylistic globe AMP
Sveio RD 500 13805 1999 Jun 7 Anthem, lower left AMP
Kalundborg RD 250 1062 1995 Jun 11 Anthem, upper right AMP
Kalundborg RD 300 243 1995 Jun 8 Anthem, lower right AMP
Kalundborg RD 200 245 1980 Apr 13 Letter AMP
Kalundborg RD 531 1995 Jun 8 Prepared card AMP
Rebild EDXC 1995 Pink card AWR
Rebild EDXC .02 7165 1995 Jun 2 EDXC equipment AMP
Rebild EDXC .01 15240 1995 Jun 4 EDXC equipment AMP
Rebild EDXC .11 7170 1995 Jun 5 EDXC equipment AMP
Lyngby OXZ82 16897 1987 May 1 Black antenna AMP
Lyngby OXZ62 12753 1987 May 1 Black antenna AMP
Lyngby OXZ6 12916 1987 May 18 Black antenna AMP
Lyngby OXZ 17206 1987 Feb 6 Black antenna AMP
RD 25850 1988 Dec 30 Anthem, lower right AMP
OZF 9520 1949 Jun 4 Radiohouse with tram AWR
OZF5 9520 1968 Mar 24 Colored map AWR
ABC Reclining girl AWR
Sines AWR 9670 1987 Mar 11 Art card, DX program ADXN
Skamlebaek OXQ 1938 Printed text card RDWS
RD 1939 Red “Denmark” text card RDWS
OZF 1939 Plain B&W card Simpson R&H Oct
OZF 1947 Printed text card RDWS
OZF 1948-1953 Radiohouse with tram RDWS
Denmark RD 1982 May 4 new anthem cards SCDX 11-5-82
RD 1989 Jun 1 QSL cards no longer issued Letter
RD 1968 Oct 1 20th anniversary new QSL EA
Herstedvester 1949 Antenna towers RDWS
1950 Radiohouse from south RDWS
OZF 1954 Symphony orchestra RDWS
OZF Mid 1950s-1968 Color map RDWS
RD 1967 Art radio listener RDWS
RD 1969 Blue DX Window RDWS
RD 1960s-1980s Aerial tower RDWS
RD Anthem, upper right RDWS
RD Anthem, upper left RDWS
RD Anthem, lower right RDWS
RD Anthem, lower left RDWS
RD 1981 1st 1/2 Anthem, full picture RDWS
RD 1995 Stylistic globe RDWS
EDXC 1995 EDXC equipment RDWS
RD 2002 B02 Ski jump, color RDWS
RD 2003 A03 Man & tower, color RDWS
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