CQ CQ CQ IE
Holy Broadcasting from Ireland
and Northern Ireland
European DX listeners have recently
discovered a wonderful new target. On 27 MHz it
is possible to receive Catholic mass celebrations
from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Hundreds of local
churches around the island are broadcasting holy
masses live. If you tune in between 27000 and 28000
kHz, you might be able to hear many interesting
churches. The transmitter power is usually only
3 watts, so a strong F2 opening is needed. Luckily
with the current solar maximum this happens quite
all this start? This is a fascinating story, told
by a Father, who has been helping the idea to become
The broadcasting of Masses was introduced in
a rural Irish diocese over 30 years ago when the
resident priest was considering a way of reaching
out to those who were housebound in his parish.
They had access to religious broadcasts on National
Radio and TV, but he knew that it was no comparison
to a local broadcast. There were many incidents
of families coming home from Mass on Sunday and
their housebound parent or grandparent had 'all
the news' (they were aware of all the happenings
in the parish) when they arrived home.
Nowadays it is not unusual
for parishes to have webcams in their churches.
Some are permanent installations, but on occasions
temporary arrangements have been made so family
members who are abroad and unable to attend funerals
or weddings can be involved. 30 years ago family
members who were housebound in his rural parish
were afforded a 'virtual presence' at parish occasions
that they would like to have attended but were unable
to be present.
On New Year's eve, 1984 he
drove from house to house recording greetings from
men and women who lived alone. They recalled stories
of New Year's eve traditions from past years, but
more importantly they passed on greetings to others
in their neighbourhood who would be likewise housebound
for New Years.
We went back home, connected the tape recorder to
the CB transmitter, and broadcast his hour long
programme of stories and greetings. You can imagine
how special that was to those who would otherwise
have spent New Year's night alone and isolated.
This priest also broadcast events from his local
Parish Hall. Grandparents could listen live to their
children and grandchildren performing in concerts
and theatrical productions.
Through time colleagues heard about his success
with CB Mass broadcasts and they investigated how
they might install similar CB radios in their churches.
The news spread wider and eventually the project
How can I hear them?
Here in Finland F2 propagation
on 27 MHz is possible between October and March.
Best moments are from midday to early afternoon
local time (10-13 UTC). By following the propagation
map it is quite easy to forecast if the reception
might be possible.
Of course you need a receiver, which has the 27
MHz band. Perseus is one of the best choices. Equally
important is a good antenna. With 1000-meter longwire
antennas (designed for medium wave) we are not able
to hear anything on this band. A 27 MHz yagi antenna
is the optimal choice, but a good dipole or even
a shorter longwire will work.
If you find the idea of receiving mass broadcasts
interesting, you will enjoy Harri Kujala's fascinating
Published on January