SAQ Grimeton Transmission
Tune in Low on Sunday, 4th July 2021
Signals in the Basement-Band
The annual transmission event on Alexanderson Day with the Alexanderson Alternator from 1924, on VLF 17.2 kHz CW with the call sign SAQ, is scheduled for Sunday, July 4th, 2021.
This unique transmitter is the last one in the world that generates RF power without any electronic parts. No tubes, no semiconductors, transistors, no nothing – just an engine, driving an AC Generator. Automated machine transmitters like this were used at the beginning of the 20th Century to establish an early global world-wide-web of communications.
Between 1860 and 1930, many unemployed Swedes emigrated to the US, and Grimeton, built-in 1924, became a ‘lifeline’ for the diaspora to the home country. The transmitter was later put into service to communicate with submarines on VLF. It was decommissioned in 1995.
However, this old Alexanderson Alternator is often open to the public, in co-operation with the Varberg Tourist Office. The site has been a UNESCO World Heritage location since 2004.
The vintage Alexanderson alternator is running at high speeds, emitting up to 200kW, and the apparatus is capable of generating frequencies between 14.5 and 17.5kHz.
The machine was developed by the Swedish radio pioneer Ernst F. W. Alexanderson (1878 to 1975), who worked for General Electric New York and the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Six 400-foot (!) towers, with 150-foot cross-arms, support a multi-wire antenna for SAQ. The actual A-1 mode Morse code signal radiates from vertical wires. The station, when on-air, can easily be heard in Europe and the US.
The Alexander Grimeton Association are planning to carry out two broadcasts to the world from the old Alexanderson alternator SAQ. Only required staff will be in place, due to the ongoing pandemic.
Start-up and tuning at 10:30 CET (08:30 UTC) with a transmission of a message at 11:00 CET (09:00 UTC)
Start-up and tuning at 13:30 CET (11:30 UTC) with a transmission of a message at 14:00 CET (12:00 UTC)
Live Video from World Heritage Grimeton Radio Station
Both transmission events can be seen live on YouTube.