EDXC Conference 2003 in
Text by Anker
Petersen, photos by E. Ahl
About 55 DXers, broadcasters and
DRM-specialists from 15 countries in Europe, North
America and Asia attended the 37th annual Conference
of the European DX Council (EDXC) at the Dresdner
Bank Kommunikations- und Trainings-Center outside
the 750 year-old German city of Königstein
near Frankfurt am Main. This quiet beauty of scenery
was the ideal venue for a Conference which had DXing
in the digital future as its theme. It was
very well organized by the local Rhein-Main-Radio-Club
(RMRC) in co-operation with the other main DX clubs
Luigi Cobisi and Harald Gabler at EDXC 2003.
The Conference was officially
opened Friday August 15 at 1400 by Dr. Harald Gabler
(RMRC), Luigi Cobisi (EDXC Secretary General) and
a representative from the Government of Hessen.
Furthermore introduction by Dr. Anthon Kuchelmeister
(AGDX), Hans van der Remme (ADDX) and a representative
from one of the sponsoring firms, Rohde & Schwarz.
2003 is the year of the inaugural
broadcasts using the new Digital Radio Mondiale
(DRM) modulation technology and we heard high level
lectures about this by Professor, Dr. Ing. Wolfgang
Skupin (University of Applied Sciences), Mr. Michael
Knietzsch (Thales Broadcast & Multimedia GmbH)
and Mr. Stephan Meltzer (Coding Tec.) covering the
theory, DRM transmitters and DRM receivers.
The situation right now is that
worldwide standards have been accepted and the first
transmitters are broadcasting DRM now. The target
is to improve AM on SW and MW, but not to replace
FM and DAB. Later on we heard some of these tests
on short wave from Jülich, Rampisham, Bonaire
and Sackville on two DRM-receivers and the quality
was impressive: Like FM and close to CD quality!
But we also experienced that the signals dropped
completely off, if the signal strength was too weak
or there were bad propagation conditions or severe
disturbances from adjacent AM broadcasts! It is
either perfect reception or no reception at all.
It was admitted that the protests from DXers on
the wide spectrum noise QRM during the first DRM
field tests have forced the engineers to keep the
transmitter bandwidths within 10 kHz.
Luigi Cobisi (right),
Wolf Harranth and the Creator of the EDXC-Award
A. Becker, RMRC
DRM receivers are still being
developed. The first prototype, sized like a Sony
ICF 2001, did cost about 1000 Euro, and the second
generation, smaller than a Sangean ATS909, did cost
around 700 Euro. When mass production starts in
2004 and 2005, the prices are expected to become
Wolf Harranth (Ex ORF) then held
a provocative and disillusioned causerie about the
Rise and Fall of the Wireless Empire; Looking into
the crystal ball: Brave New Virtual World?; and
the role of the listeners: The Unimportance of Being
Earnest. DRM is excellent, but comes too late. SW
is not dead! Many international broadcasters have
disappeared, but that leaves more free channels
for DX of small stations.
Then followed the traditional
Broadcasters Forum with representatives from Deutsche
Welle (Waldemar Krämer), HCJB (DX-Editor Hans
Werner Lange, ADDX), IBB (Arto Mujunen), AWR (Dr.
Adrian M. Peterson), RVI (Frans Vossen) and ORF
(Wolf Harranth). Of particular interest was that
the IBB now has 60 automated monitoring systems
and about 50 human monitors to check reception of
the VOA, RFE/R Liberty, RFA etc.
DRM will not replace analogue
listening for many years in the developing countries.
There are four huge collections
of Broadcast QSLs in the world initiated by:
1. The late Arthur Cushen. It
can now be seen at a public library in Invercargill,
2. Wolf Harranth: Research and Documentation Center
for the History of Radio Communication and the Electronic
Media, in Vienna, Austria.
3. Jerry Berg, Connecticut, U.S.A.
4. Adrian Peterson, Indianapolis, U.S.A. He has
about 35,000 QSLs and showed us several being
more than 50 years old.
from Rohde u. Schwarz and Waldemar Krämer
from Deutsche Welle at the EDXC2003.
Before an informal dinner party,
Andreas Schmid had organized a Pennant Quiz where
Stig Hartvig Nielsen became the winner with 32 out
of 33 correct answers.
The first lecture Saturday morning
was by Siegbert Gerhard about the complicated History
of German DX Clubs. After that Toshi Ohtake gave
his lecture about 50 year history of DX in Japan
which some have heard in Vejers or Kulpsville.
Toshi is now editor of a new DX-programme in English
Stig Hartvig Nielsen then told
us about the history and future plans of the World
Music Radio the private station from 1963
that refuses to die and which he now is in charge
of. The Danish PTT has authorized the use of 15810
kHz and is expected also to permit the use of a
49 mb frequency soon. A 400 watts trans-mitter in
the central Jutland village of Ilskov will be used
initially, but two 10 kW transmitters are expected
ready from November 2003 (see news on DXing.info
2003). 24 hours of broadcasts, 7 days a week,
of contemporary and world music are planned for
a global, international audience. In the future
it is expected that WMR will also be live stream
on World Wide Web, on FM around Aarhus, on Satellite,
MW and Cable to 700,000 houses.
This was followed by a talk by
Christopher Laske from the Fraunhofer Institute
about their development of a low cost 10 watts DRM
transmitter and a low cost (65 Euro) pretuned DRM
receiver for the students at Erlangen University.
After lunch, Alois Krischke,
retired engineer from Rohde & Schwarz and editor
of SW Antennas, gave a very detailed
review of Transmitting and Receiving Antennas.
Udo Deutscher introduced us to
a new kind of DX-ing: Scanning of the TV Video frequency
spectrum and identify the TV carriers. He demonstrated
the carrier noise from local TV stations. Only a
dozen of DXers worldwide enjoy this special hobby
Anker Petersen then analyzed
the downgoing number of stations on the Tropical
Bands from 1973 till 2003 which now is reduced to
one third. The stations have disappeared mostly
because of replacement by FM, low technical standard
or poor economy. If the trend continues, the last
stations will disappear in 2014. This lecture can
be found on the DSWCI
Dr. Adrian M. Peterson followed
with a Wandering the World with a Radio, telling
about his early experiences of DXing while working
for AWR in Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Adrian
is still writing articles for Wavescan
from Indianapolis, but the DX-programme is edited
in the UK by young Christopher Lewis who also attended
the Conference, and broadcast worldwide.
Andrew Janitschek, Operations
Manager of Radio Free Asia in Washington then gave
an update of their broadcasts which have been increased
towards North Korea. He officially inaugurated their
first QSL cards. Reports to RFA, ATTN. Ms. Iwanciw,
2025 M. Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington; e-mail:
After the traditional EDXC Banquet,
a Tombola was held where everyone won prices
mostly presents about the 50 years of Deutsche Welle.
The first price a Space receiver was
won by Valerio Cavallo. Three EDXC Awards for excellent
DX-lifework handmade by Mr. Alfred Becker
were given to Wolf Harranth, Waldemar Krämer
and Anker Petersen a great honour!
Anker Petersen (center)
and others enjoying a banquet.
Sunday morning began with a Flea
Market at the lobby and a video film - in German
- from the inauguration of the new Radiohouse of
Deutsche Welle (DW)in Bonn.
Waldemar Krämer from DW
then talked about the role of listeners in frequency
planning. Scientific calculations on propagation
of shortwave transmissions are always theoretical
predictions, and the DXer or technical monitors
may find out that the real world is different. Therefore
reception reports cannot be rated highly enough
for analog, but also for future DRM transmissions!
Former DJ Roger Kirk
who was well known in the 1960s and 1970s
at such pirate and later private stations as Pyrgos
Broadcasting, Radio Northsea International, Radio
Galaxy, Radio Time and Radio Victoria, gave a controversial
talk about the End of Private Radio?.
His message was that the era of these stations is
more or less over, but they did succeed in changing
the format of even state-run broadcasters to fluent
announcing with jingles and playing the kind of
music that isteners want to hear.
Wolf Harranth then gave some
more information about the Research and Documentation
Center for the History of Radio Communication and
the Electronic Media, in Vienna, Austria.
It was formerly just called the QSL Collection,
but now it has much more than QSLs from broadcasting
stations and radio amateurs. Also club publications,
logbooks, WRTHs and even recordings from radio
broadcasts. More details can be read on the center
website. Nowadays, its four million objects
are stored in a large building where visitors can
study the history of broadcasting and DXing. Wolf
Harranth stressed that for historical reasons it
is very important that private QSL-collections and
Club publications are sent to this Center when they
are no longer needed. The Center is officially registered
as an international organization.
Luigi Cobisi (center),
Mr. Gerhard and Mr. Ahl, RMRC
The final point on the agenda
was the report from the Secretary General of the
EDXC. Luigi Cobisi found that the hobby of DXing
is still very much alive, but there are some problems:
1. Some Clubs may not be really
2. Some Clubs are going down in membership.
3. Some Clubs have left the EDXC.
The EDXC represents 15 DX-Clubs
in 17 European countries with a total of about 5,000
DXers. But the EDXC work is based on voluntary work
and the annual budget is less than 700 Euros.
The Secretary General then mentioned
the well visited EDXC Portal on the internet, his
monthly newsletters by mail, e-mail, on the website
and via HCJB, and now also via the Voice of the
Mediterranean in Malta. These broadcasts are verified
by QSL. His visits to various Clubs, like the DSWCI
AGM in Vajers in May were also mentioned. The DSWCI
is regarded as one of the non-British DX Clubs in
Europe which first realised that English is THE
international language for DXers.
According to the present Statutes
of the EDXC A DXer from any Member [Club]
of the Council shall be elected Secretary General
or Assistant Secretary General for a period of three
years only. Luigi Cobisi and his assistant
Paolo Morandotti have been leading the EDXC since
January 1, 2001, so the member clubs were invited
to present candidates this autumn, and then a voting
will take place.
During his period as Secretary
General, Luigi Cobisi has met about 650 DXers and
broadcasters which has been very rewarding. It is
very important for the hobby that conferences are
organized regularly, because personal contacts are
invaluable. The next conference will be on Malta
in October 24-26, 2003, where the Voice of the Mediterranean
is organizing a Conference about Multilingualism
and International Radio a listeners
and broadcasters Forum, and has asked the
EDXC to support it with the participation of some
In Pori, Finland, last year (see
the article on EDXC 2002)
there were four offers for future DX-Conferences:
Germany (just held), Malta (to be held in October),
Ireland and Turkey. Unfortunately the options for
Conferences in 2004 in Ireland or Turkey have just
been withdrawn for various reasons, so right now
there is no EDXC Conference planned for 2004! The
Secretary General urged the member clubs as soon
as possible to consider organizing a Conference
next year, because the new Secretary General cannot
(by Harald Gabler) of a presentation by Waldemar
Krämer: The role of the listener in frequency
The aim of every broadcasting
station is to offer all listeners a good reception
quality, so the most important prerequisite
for a flawless shortwave transmission is the
right choice of meter bands and frequencies.
Here, the main objective is to choose the bands
with the best propagation conditions, which
depends on the number of sunspots, the season,
the transmission time and the geographical situation
of the target area. The basis for predicting
the propagation conditions is ascertained on
account of scientific calculations and practical
experience. As optimal as the frequency schedule
may seem on paper, the everyday listening experience
is what really counts. And it is exactly here
where the listener sitting in front of his receiver
becomes very important. In concluding it can
be said with justification that the role the
listener, be it a DXer or a technical monitor,
plays in the task of planning and using the
optimal frequencies for bringing programmes
to the world, cannot be rated highly enough.
And this is and will be not only true for analog
shortwave, but for DRM transmissions as well.
The EDXC is the tiniest European
organization with a very small budget. Luigi Cobisi
argued that in the future, we need lively members,
not DX-Clubs, if the EDXC shall survive. His vision
is that the EDXC shall consist of interested individuals
instead of DX-Clubs as paying members. Today, it
is difficult for small Clubs to participate actively
in the EDXC activities, because all their energy
is used for publishing their DX-bulletins with the
same news in their own languages. Some of these
clubs would benefit by merging.
Unfortunately these controversial
points of view came just before the termination
of the EDXC Conference, so the 11 member Clubs present
had no chance to discuss it further.
On Monday, August 18, nine participants visited
the Deutsche Welle Receiving Station at Bockhacken
northeast of Cologne where Mr. Winking and Mr. Steffen
Hilbig gave an excellent briefing about their job
of monitoring Deutsche Welle shortwave and TV broadcasts,
and other broadcasts as agreed upon. For Shortwave
they use several Rohde & Schwarz EK 070 and
two NRD 545 DSP receivers connected to a variety
of antennas on top of the listening bunker, including
direction finding antennas having an accuracy of
½ degree, if the signal is strong enough.
Programme monitoring takes place elsewhere. There
is only 1-2 persons on duty here at any time.
The 2003 EDXC Conference
in Germany was very technical which cannot be a
surprise, but I found it very useful and another
possibility to meet old and new DX-friends and broadcasters.
edited and published
on DXing.info on February 15, 2004,
text originally published in Shortwave News