Saturday, January 26, 2013

Flevo back on the air in the ham bands for 48 hrs

Kim Andrew Elliott advises that a special short-term amateur radio station with the callsign PH00ZWAT is active today and tomorrow from the former Radio Nederland Wereldomroep antenna park near the town of Zeewolde. They are using extremely low power (nothing like the 500 kW that was used for broadcasting. I guess more like a single kW). But that gets an enormous boost when the antenna outside is 120 metres high. There have been several event like this. The first was in February 1985 when I organised the special event station PA6FLD. Just found the radio programme we made announcing the fact.

We "misused" the new Flevoland shortwave transmitter site by connecting ham radio gear to the giant short wave antennas outside the building in Zeewolde. This year, 2013, the same thing is happening on 26/27th January. But this time the short wave broadcast transmitters are no longer active. Check out this episode!

Flevo shortwave transmitter site in the summer sun of 2010

Filming at Flevo in 2002 when it was still a shortwave broadcasting station

Signing over from NOVEC to the Netherlands Ministry of Defence. That model in the background has been at the Flevo transmitter site since before it went on the air officially in 1985

At first there were rumours that  this shortwave site that carried programmes of Radio Netherlands was going to be dismantled. On October 16th 2012 everything was officially sold to the Netherlands Ministry of Defence for an undisclosed sum. 
Flevo is being turned into a back-up HF communications centre, as other HF facilities in the Netherlands in Scheveningen and Ouddorp are dismantled because the lease on the land has expired and they are too close to built up areas. The site will be converted for its new purpose in the course of this year, 2013. My guess is that low power tests have been going on there for years. The powers needed to communicate with the Dutch navy and troops abroad will be a fraction of the 500kW pumped out from the masts for over two decades. And no doubt they will use spread spectrum digital communication systems rather than analogue. Note that the system is a back-up to current satellite systems, so it won't be needed every day. Interesting that this news still hasn't been placed on the website of the previous owners, the NOVEC

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