12 maggio 2007

Skull, bones and QSLs

Finnhits Radio from somewhere in Finland has kindly waived its only fair right to return postage and kindly sent me, for free, a very nice letter and a glossy QSL card for a report I had sent via SMS/mail last April, referring to two emissions on 15061 and 6300 kHz. It was a Saturday, April 7th and while the 19 mb signal was extremely weak, the 48 mb broadcast provided for much more comfortable reception later on in the afternoon.

«This, writes FinnHIts, was our 2nd transmission with new 100 W transmitter and results were good, better than in the first in the beginning of January.
We staretd in October 2005 with 15 W mobile (batttery powered from a car) and had many reports from Europe, mostrly from Germany. Eight countries were resached with 15 W - and now with 100 W two more (France and Italy).
This 2nd broadcast was also received in Germany, Sweden, Czech, Holland UK and Italy on 48mb - and in France and Italy on 15061 kHz - on 19mb.
The results on 19mb (15061 kHz) have not been as good as expected, although FHR was received in New York on the 15th of April. Signal was poor but clear. In Europe signals have been mostly weak on 19mb. Perhaps we must try earlier time in the morning.
Our format is to play "Only Finnish pop and rock" music. That means difficulties for DXers to make written reports... So we play bands like HIM, Lordi, Rasmus, 69Eyes, Negative, Sunrise Avenue etc.»
Having done some googling on the above mentioned names, it turns out Sunrise Avenue's first Italian concert is imminent. The band also has a nice Italian language Web page!
FHR further tells they're also selling personalized T-shirts with the characteristic "skull and bones" station logo. Shirts are "good quality" but price ("not cheap") is unknown. I'm not aware of an official Web page or postal address for FHR, which answered quite promptly to my mails at finnhitsradio (at) gmail (dot) com. The letter I have is postmarked in Helsinki so I assume the station operates from somewhere in Central/Southern Finland.
According to the station Italy represents the furthest distance FHR has traveled on 48mb and I'm happy with this little record too. According to other reports in the Italian DX media FHR has been received on April 8th, the sunday following my QSL date, also in Liguria, by Luca Botto Flora. Pirate, illegal, unauthorized and even officially licensed hobby stations are becoming a constant source of entertainment and technically challenging fun. The DX community should be grateful for all this activity and be cooperative toward en effort implying a factor of legal risk at times. Financial penalties and police reports are sometime involved and that's a pity. Radio stations should of course abide to respective national regulations but pirates usually operate in a spectrum portion which, while being assigned to the maritime services, appears to be widely unexploited by those services. Authorities should be more tolerant, in my opinion. As an Ofcom official paper on pirate stationz in the UK recently stated, these stations are apparently creating and audience for themselves and we should ask ourselves why is it so. Several 48 mb hobby pirates are giving out interesting and never heard of music, like the Finnish pop and rock programming of FHR. Official stations, at least in our local commercial radio scene, are far less creative in their approach. Even setting aside the distance and low power factors appealing to European DXers, pirate radio can mean good, nice to follow programmes. Advertisement rich professional stations don't often manage to do that. Does it sound like a lesson to learn? You bet it does.

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