|Berlin's panorama from railway stn Ostkreuz|
Being used to the crowded FM radio band of somewhat smaller Warsaw (my homeland capital city), discovering such sparsely populated band as in Berlin was surprising. What would you expect in world's famous metropolitan city? Of course otherwise. But with relatively lower number of radiostations, arranged with wider "empty" spaces inbetween eachother, even in this jungle of concrete it is possible to catch some respectable DXs, or distant radio signals if you like. This post is all about this - what interesting out of the distant and what interesting out of the local stations I have caught while staying in German capital city for a week in August 2012.
Let's start with favourite radio stations of Berliners themselves.
During my exploration of the city, I often stumbled into places where music from a radio was playing in the background (or was I subconsciously paying attention to that?). At shops, bars, at caffees and offices - in all cases I noticed they were exclusively commercial radiostations - BB Radio, JAM FM, Energy, B2, RTL and Kiss. Their music formats were either AC or CHR.
Unfortunately, in public places I spotted nobody listening to public broadcaster - ARD/RBB, despite the broad choice of its channels:- Antenne Brandenburg specialises in German and foreign oldies songs,
- Fritz is aiming at youth audience
- Radio Eins is playing... hmmm.. overall good modern music (and is one of my favs)
- classical music and cultural news is provided by DKultur and KulturRadio vom rbb
- general information and speech airs 24/7 on Deutschlanfunk and inforadio vom rbb
Of course I don't claim my "research" to be representative, that is just my impression of listenership here.
It's worth mentioning that there is also a number of commercial radio stations that tailor their programming to fit defined audiences of a distinctive taste, ie.: Flux FM is notable for good electronic and rock music, KlassikRadio plays agreeable instrumental/movie sountrack and classical music, and last but not the least: radio channel for kids - "Teddy" on 90,2 MHz.
Among all stations, rock-styled Star FM made its presence most visible on many billboards and concert-adverts around the city, with Jam FM following. I saw two ads of the new station - B2 (exclusively German pop) and one of Radio Paradiso.
The frequencies of main (high powered) radio stations are one of the relicts of Berlin's history - they never changed, although the programming on 'em has. Another remant of the past is the presence of international broadcasters in the FM band. They are: BBC World Service (on 94,8), french RFI (96,7), and Russkij-Berlin (97,2). Perhaps you've already noticed - all three are operated by the countries that used to control German territory right after the end of Second World War.
Today, there is another tribe of foreign descent that operates its station - Turks with Radyo Metropol 101,9 FM. Since Berlin is indeed a metro/cosmopolitan city, you can hear even more foreign minorities languages - Italian, Greek, Polish, Serbocroatian at certain times on 96,3 "Funkhaus Europa".
But these were Turks whom I heard first when I turned my tuner on in Berlin for the first time. I knew they run one own radiostation here, but thought it might be pirate radio activity: 87,5; 87,7, 88,1 and counting... quite a number! It eventually turned out to be a brief Sporadic-E opening (haha), distant propagation to Istanbul area - a phenomenon that permits receiving distant signals. It might have been Spain at that time as well, instead of Turkey. Foreign stations vanished within couple of minutes.
Actually, speaking of pirate radio stations - during couple of days I was staying in Berlin, I found none, although they have lot of free space to operate (as the local stations are spaced with huge gaps inbetween). But it also means plenty of airspace for potential DX signals.
My QTH in Berlin
I was making my bandscan(s) at a rented flat on the fist floor near Innsbrucker Sq. in Schoneberg district, 5km from Berlin-Mitte (centre). I had my Sony XDR-F1HD FM tuner hooked with wire dipole antenna (the one in white coating, provided with XDR tuner by Sony).
At first it might seem unlikely to do any good DX in such accomodation and quite poor antenna, at least it seemed so to me. But the results were truly amazing and encouraging! No matter how tired would I be after a day of intense sightseeing, I would always find an hour or so for FM DXing. So it was mostly at night.
(Actually, I'd been considering taking my new Sony XDR-F1HD for a long time before I left Poland. I was just afraid it might suffer some sort of damage - ie. in transport. But yeah, what the heck, let's give some Berliner air to it!
On a 3 or 4th day of my stay the tuner suffered from slight damage - a loose, unsoldered wire - luckily not deadly, but such one that didn't allow me DX furter. I fixed that after the return home, so that it would never happen again. I'm glad though I picked some good signals in the time I was able to do so.)
Polish in Berlin
You may skip this chapter, as it concers only Polish broadcasting centres.
Keeping in mind that Berlin's location is quite close to PL border, one of the first things I checked on the radio was which Polish stations it is possible to pick up in Berlin (wasn't really going to listen to them, as I'm fed up with the most of PL stns, but out of sheer curiosity). Every now and then, DX-folks from Poland report that Z.Góra/Jemiolow is the only location well received in German capital city.
True though, out of all broadcasting centres situated along Polish-German border, this one is the closest to Berlin. But I received it with only disappointingly low signal! Maybe it's just the matter of my location. To my bigger surprise, a different one - Lubań/Nowa Karczma was present at much higher signal levels most of the day. Szczecin was also daily regular but fainter, and Wrocław-Sleza was in and quite strong most nights. I also picked Jelenia Gora once on a single frequency.
Reception of two (or three) Czech stations amazed me too. Especially 90,9 would show up numerous times during DX session.
But Friday evening Aug 17th and Saturday morning Aug 18th were the best, pulling in many distatnt stations - Hamburg and Flensburg were highlights from North and Ochsenkopf from South. Teutoburger Wald from west was the most distant station received overall - weak at 90,6 with swingy jazz music late at night.
I also received a nice, distant aeroscatter from Frankfurt on 89,3 FM.
When I returned from Berlin and started sorting out the bandscan and identifying stations, I found copule of them tricky. Especially when I was sure I heard a jingle or an ID on acertain frequency - for example 100,3 Sputnik, when the official station listings lacked that station! It was frustrating at first, but looking for 97,9 Kiss FM in Google provided me with solution to te UNIDs...
See, Kiss FM is Berlin local radio, broadcasting only on one terrestrial frequency -98,8, but! The other Kiss FM frequencies in the listings I found indicated cable networks, with 97,9 provided by KabelDeutschland. The riddle solved! I managed to receive a couple of cable streams, although the closest building with cable was as far as 150 meters away!
They could have probably been more, but FM radio in German cable networks typically occupies frequencies with 0,05MHz channel offset, whereas stock XDR allows only 0,10MHz jumps, so I simply couldn't tune them.
TV, Press & outdoor adverts
Among tv channels, rbb-fernsehen was the most visible on outdoor adverts (actually, I noticed it was the only tv station advertised). I got myself a copy of ARTE-magazin, a monthly magazine dedicated to promote cultural-oriented arte channel. 3sat, another cultural tv channels has a similar one. I also bought 250-page "TV-Digital" forthnight tvguide, "7+7" - weekly tv guide for Russians in Berlin and "Tele7" - imported tv guide for French channels. Visting Ludwig_ magazine&bookstore was heaven for me - Germans have thousands and thousands of magazines! But the press is a topic for another post.
Meanwhile, Ladies and Gentlemen, meine Damen und Herren...
hergestellt with Sony XDR-F1HD + wire dipole
ground floor flat near Innsbrucker Platz / Schoeneberg
16-19. Aug 2012
|87,6||Antenne Brandenburg||Frankfurt (Oder)/Booßen||10,00||78||4|
|88,1||MDR1 Sachsen Anhalt||Wittenberg/Gallunberg||30,00||81||4|
|89,3||hr3 (scatter)||Taunus/Grosser Felsberg|
|89,9||NDR Kultur||Torfhaus (Harz-West)||100,00||206||3|
|89,9||schlager||unid, tent Cro2 Liberec|
|90,8||Antenne Brandenburg||Zehlendorf (Oranienburg)||1,30||35||4|
|90,9||CRo1 RadioZurnal||Usti nad Labem/Bukova Hora||100,00||211||2|
|90,9||BB Radio (tent.)||Rhinow|
|91,4||Berliner Rundfunk 91,4||Berlin/Alexanderplatz||100,00||6||6|
|92,6||Offener Kanal||Kabelnetz outleak||0,1||1|
|92,7||D Kultur||Frankfurt (Oder)/Booßen||5,00||78||3|
|93,8||RMF FM||Lubań/Nowa Karczma||60,00||200||3|
|94,0||PR3||Jelenia Góra/Śnieżne Kotły||10,00||240||1|
|94,6||MDR1 Sachsen Anhalt||Brocken||60,00||200||5|
|94,9||MDR1 Sachsen Anhalt||Dequede||10,00||118||3|
|95,4||BB Radio||Zehlendorf (Oranienburg)||1,30||35||3|
|97,0||unid musik - Power?||Erkner||3,20||28||1|
|97,5||D Kultur||Kabelnetz outleak||0,1||2|
|97,9||Kiss FM||Kabelnetz outleak||0,1||2|
|99,0||hr1 tent.||Hoher Meißner||100,00||279||1|
|101,2||unid US pop/rock||Jump Auerbach? Bremen4?||1|
|102,0||Impuls||Usti nad Labem/Bukova Hora||100,00||211||1|
|103,7||N JOY||Bad Doberan||5,00||204||2|
|103,9||MDR Figaro||Ronneburg (Gera)||30,00||201||2|
|104,2||Berliner Rundfunk 91,4||Frankfurt (Oder)/Booßen||20,00||78||4|
|104,5||Czech? CRo3||Usti nad Labem/Bukova Hora|
|105,1||Hitradio SKW||Königs Wusterhausen||0,80||29||4|
|105,6||unid - strong, fadend||RTL Lobau?|
|105,7||unid pop ballad||Antenne Steinkimmen?||1|
|106,3||unid de/ tent BB||Spremberg||4,00||124||1|
|106,4||RMF FM||Zielona Góra/Jemiołów||60,00||120||3|
|107,1||B5 Aktuell (tent.)||Ochsenkopf|
|107,8||BB Radio||Frankfurt (Oder)/Booßen||30,00||78||4|
|107,9||BB Radio||Zehlendorf (Oranienburg)||5,00||35||5|
It's also cool to might still receive many stations live from Berlin, 600km back at home via troposcatter.
For more about broadcasting in Berlin browse Radiacja blog with query: "_berlin"