The 2015 Christmas Eve transmission from SAQ, the Alexanderson alternator station at the World Heritage Grimeton site in Sweden, elicited more than 350 reports, according to a preliminary accounting, many of them from hams. SAQ transmits on 17.2 kHz. The lion’s share of reports — nearly 160 — came from Germany. Listeners in the US filed eight reports, with just five indicating they actually heard SAQ.
“The transmission appears to be our best so far,” said Lars Kalland, SM6NM, who distributed the report. Kjell Dahl, OH0KXJ, reported hearing SAQ for the first time. “It is always a pleasure to listen this CW melody on 17.2 kHz,” commented Manu Aft, F5ROL.
The vintage station began its holiday transmissions in 2006. 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.