NDR - Gruss an Bord: December 24, 2020

 
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A map of the world with the locations of the participants in the program. © NDR, photo: Joachim Hagen

A map of the world with the locations of the participants in the program. © NDR, photo: Joachim Hagen

Two live, off-air, two-hour recordings of the special annual Gruss an Bord broadcast from German broadcaster NDR, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, on 24 December 2020 beginning at 19:00 UTC. The broadcast features Christmas music and greetings to and from mariners around the world and a church service. Unlike in previous years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the programming did not feature the usual live events in Leer and Hamburg.

Relatives and friends had the opportunity to wish their loved ones at sea a happy holiday and a happy new year. At about 21:00, there was a church service from the Evangelical (Lutheran) Peace Church in Hamburg-Altona. The broadcast was primarily in German with some greetings in English and Filipino as well as German. Several songs in English, too. News bulletins preceded the first program segment and the second hour of the second program segment for a few minutes.

In addition to being carried on the NDR Info and NDR Info Spezial networks, the broadcast was transmitted around the world on shortwave using transmitters in Nauen (NAU), Germany; Moosbrunn (MOS), Austria; Issoudun (ISS), France; and Gavar (ERV), Armenia; and was organized by Media Broadcast.

The schedule for 1900-2100 UTC was:
6030 kHz ERV 100 kW / 305 deg to West/Central Europe
6080 kHz NAU 125 kW / 250 deg to Northern Atlantic
9570 kHz MOS 100 kW / 115 deg to Indian Ocean East
9740 kHz NAU 125 kW / 130 deg to Indian Ocean West
9800 kHz ISS 250 kW / 148 deg to Waters near South Africa
11650 kHz ISS 250 kW / 195 deg to Southern Atlantic
and for 2100-2300 UTC:
6145 kHz NAU 125 kW / 250 deg to Northern Atlantic
6155 kHz ERV 100 kW / 305 deg to West/Central Europe
9590 kHz ISS 250 kW / 148 deg to Waters near South Africa
9675 kHz MOS 100 kW / 115 deg to Indian Ocean East
9740 kHz NAU 125 kW / 130 deg to Indian Ocean West
9830 kHz ISS 250 kW / 195 deg to Southern Atlantic

The first recording is primarily of the transmission on the frequency of 6030 kHz between about 19:00 and 21:00 UTC although for the first minute or so the weaker frequency of 11650 kHz was used and for the couple of minutes or so, 6080 kHz was used. The frequency of 6080 kHz could not be used for most of the two hours due to strong co-channel interference from a special Vatican Radio broadcast. The second recording is of the transmission between about 21:00 and 23:00 UTC on the frequency of 6145 kHz.

The transmissions were received outdoors on a Tecsun PL-880 receiver with a Tecsun AN-03L 7-metre wire antenna in Hanwell (just outside Fredericton), New Brunswick, Canada, in AM mode with 2.3 kHz RF filtering. Reception was quite good for the most part for both two-hour segments although there was co-channel interference from a digital broadcast of Radio Romania International for the last few minutes of the first two-hour segment necessitating the switch to 6080 kHz.

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