SAQ - heard in New Jersey
AWA member Al Klase, N3FRQ, is the new editor of the Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club's Oscillator. More importantly, he is the only known person in the United States to receive SAQ in the last two years. The following story is a web exclusive for AWA's Page_2.
Ernst Alexanderson meets Bill Gates
Using a cold-war era receiver backed up by late-twentieth-century computer technology, your writer was able to copy the 17.2 KHz commemorative broadcast from the Alexanderson alternator at Grimeton Sweden on May 28th. 1998.
The station building at Grimeton and the antenna system
carried by six 127m. high masts.
The SAQ transmitter is operated occasionally for special events. This time the Grimeton station was receiving an Industrial Heritage Award from the Swedish government. As the Morse code message explained,
"THE RADIO STATION AT GRIMETON HAS BEEN DECLARED A HISTORIC PROPERTY AND IS PROTECTED UNDER THE SWEDISH CULTURAL HERITAGE ACT".
Without the elaborate antenna farm used by RCA at their Riverhead, Long Island receiver site, hearing SAQ is a considerable undertaking. A shielded 40-inch loop antenna and a Watkins Johnson 357 VLF receiver recently snagged at the Middletown hamfest helped a lot, but, even then, the signals were just barely perceptible. Modern technology came to the rescue. The receiver output was recorded on a lap-top computer via its sound card. The resulting ".WAV" file was processed by a spectral analysis program that made it possible to visually correlate the dots and dashes with the feeble sounds. Click here to hear SAQ as received. The software package, Spectrogram Version 4.2.0 by R..S. Horne, is available as shareware on the Internet. It runs under Windows 95.