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NRK Ingøy (153 kHz)

Text by Bernt Erfjord, photos by Otto Jan Waage

NRK Ingøy has began broadcasting DRM tests. According to the Norkring AM broadcasting centre at Kvitsøy, test transmissions with DRM started on October 24 and are set to continue during the week beginning on October 28. The transmitter used is a longwave site in Ingøy close to North Cape, Northern Norway. Frequency is 153 kHz, power 100 kW.

The DRM tests were initially planned to take place a year ago, but were postponded for technical reasons and the DRM consortium decided to concentrate on other matters. This autumn's tests from Ingoy were also a bit delayed from original plans.

NRK Ingoy transmitter siteFor those of you able to monitor the frequency, expect intermittant programming, with AM and DRM alternating, and also simulcasts AM and DRM altogether.

Broadcasts are taking place from Monday to Saturday at 0700-0800, 0805-0900, 1105-1200, 1205-1250, 1305-1400, 1605-1700 and at 2015-2100 UTC.

October is an excellent time to test greypattern reception from this very northern radio transmitter. The station is actually very new, and was inaugurated two years ago in October 2000.

To celebrate the opening, NRK presented a special broadcast in Norwegian and English aired exclusively via this new transmitter on October 6th 2000 between 1900 and 2300 UTC. The transmitter was switched on for the first time on September 27th with reduced power, increased the following day to full power, 100 kW. As from Sunday October 1st 2000 the transmitter was in full operation, running 24 hours. The permanent programme feed of NRK Europakanalen with inserts of regional programmes from NRK Finnmark was established on Tuesday October 3rd 2000.

The special broadcast on the 6th was received as far as 1500 km away on the Gotland Island in the Baltic Sea and on Newfoundland, Canada, around 4500 km away!

NRK Ingoy transmitterIngøy Kringkaster (The Ingøy transmitter station) is equipped with a new 100 kW Telefunken transmitter remotely controlled from Norway's AM control center at Kvitsøy. The antenna mast is among the tallest manmade constructions in Europe, and definitely the tallest on Norwegian soil. It is a 362 meter high steel construction. Including stays it weighs more than 300 tons. Surrounding the mast, 44 km of copper cables have been spread to form the best possible earthing. The station has its own 600 kW generator to provide sufficient power to both the station and all the homes on Ingøy during power failures from the mainland. In rough winters this is not uncommon. The total cost of Ingøy Kringkaster is estimated around 25 million NOK (2.75 million USD).

Ingøy Kringkaster, like the rest of the Norwegian AM transmitters carries the NRK Europakanalen programme. This is a mixture of domestic channels P1, P2 and P3, a daily hour of Radio Norway International,
and some exclusive weather forecasts. Apart from Kvitsøy, the other AM'ers in addition to Europakanalen relay regional programmes from their area. Ingøy Kringkaster will include programmes from NRK Finnmark in Vadsø. The old mediumwave transmitter in Vadsø on 702 kHz (20 kW) was closed by the end of 2000.

Map of NorwayIngøy is located at 71°06'N, 23°50'E. It is almost as far north as North Cape, which is 65 km to the east of Ingøy. Ingøy was an important trading port in the 16th century and is home to the world's northernmost manned lighthouse, Fruholmen Fyr. This is also an important meteorological station. It holds the Norwegian record with 257 days in a year with gale force winds or stronger.
Ingøy is part of Måsøy Kommune (Community of Måsøy). The total population of Ingøy is only 40-50 persons. Up to WWII, Ingøy had its own coastal radio station, Ingøy Radio, located not far from the current LW-site. Ingøy Radio was destroyed during the war and not repaired.

The building of a new high powered AM-station in northern Norway is the result of decades of lobbying from pressure groups. The 1978 Geneva frequency plan brought changes to the usage of medium and longwave in Norway. Until then a few highpowered transmitters and a large number of low powered fillers were used to cover the country.

By the mid-70's the network of VHF-transmitters basically had replaced AM for domestic broadcasting, and the new frequency plan eliminated all the AM fillers and boosted power of a few remaining allocations, which were primarily intended for reaching remote parts of the country, neighbouring countries and the oceans surrounding the country.

The first superpower station was built, Kvitsøy with its 1.2 megawatt transmitter on 1314 kHz. Then NRK decided not to persue their usage of AM, and gradually closed 216 kHz in Oslo and 153 kHz in Tromsø without replacing them with the proposed new high power plants. Pressure for a better radio coverage of the Arctic oceans where Norwegian fishery is still an important industry have never ended, and eventually NRK, together with the Ministry of Fisheries, entered a long term agreement with Norwegian transmission facilities provider Norkring to rent transmission time on a new longwave transmitter in the county of Finnmark. Stage one of this plan was completed in spring 2000 with the old 675 kHz transmitter at Bodø being replaced by a new 20 kW unit on the island of Røst improving reception along the northwestern coast, and since autumn 2000 Ingøy has improved the coverage of the Barents Sea immensely. Ingøy Kringkaster provides a daytime signal almost reaching Spitsbergen. (Spitsbergen has its own mediumwave transmitter on 1485 kHz).

The usage of 153 kHz elsewhere in Europe and Asia will naturally affect reception possibilities of Ingøy in these areas, but a good antenna and a fair portion of luck could bring unexpected results! The lack of longwave broadcasting in North America should make it possible to receive the signal at least along the east coast of Canada and the USA.

published on October 27, 2002
based on an article at http://dxlc.com/longwave/ingoy.html

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