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Alexanderson Alternator SAQ Transmission Set for Christmas Eve


A transmission from SAQ at the World Heritage Grimeton site in Sweden, using the vintage 200 kW Alexanderson alternator on 17.2 kHz will take place on Christmas Eve, December 24. The message transmission will begin at 0800 UTC (transmitter tune-up will get under way at 0730 UTC).

In addition, Amateur Radio activity from SAQ Grimeton club station SK6SAQ is anticipated on 3,755 kHz SSB, 7,035 kHz CW, 140,035 kHz CW, and 14,215 kHz SSB. QSL SK6SAQ via the bureau or direct to Grimeton Radio. Listener reports for SAQ are invited via e-mail or the Bureau, or direct to Alexander Grimeton Veteranradios Vaenner, Radiostationen, Grimeton 72, S-432 98 Grimeton, Sweden.

In January, SAQ reported that nearly 300 listeners — most of them in Europe — reported hearing the 17.2 kHz CW transmission from SAQ on Christmas Eve 2013. The reports included three from the US.

Dating from the 1920s, the Alexanderson alternator — essentially an ac alternator run at extremely high speed — can put out 200 kW but typically is operated at less than one-half that power level. Once providing reliable transatlantic communication, it is now a museum piece and only put on the air on special occasions.

The transmitter was developed by Swedish engineer and radio pioneer Ernst Alexanderson, who was employed at General Electric in Schenectady, New York, and was chief engineer at the Radio Corporation of America.

Six 400+ foot towers with 150 foot crossarms support a multi-wire antenna for SAQ. The actual signal radiates from a vertical wire, one from each tower. Amateur Radio station SK6SAQ operates from the Alexanderson alternator site. — Thanks to Lars Kalland, SM6NM





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