|The 2002 conference of the European DX Council took place at the seaside resort of Yyteri, a few km north of the city of Pori, about 250 km northwest of Helsinki, from August 15-18. Some 120 people attended the Conference. which was held at the exhilarating Yyteri Spa Resort Hotel, overlooking the beach and surrounded by pine forests. It was arranged and hosted by the Finnish DX Association, through Risto Vahakainu, who headed the organising committee.|
Pori is also well known to music buffs for its hosting of the international Jazz Festival!
|I had made arrangements to attend the conference some months ago, which was to be the final destination of a six-week around-the-world trip, which also took me to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden and Canada.
I had attended two previous EDXP Conferences, in Gothenberg (Sweden) in 1998 and in Barcelona (Spain) in 2000.
This year's Conference was titled "Odyssey 2002- Sailing the Radio Waves", and incorporated the annual meeting of the FDXA.
|The EDXC was set up 35 years ago in 1967 in Copenhagen. The most recent Finnish conference was at Tampere (half way between Helsinki and Pori) in 1992, organised by the Finnish DX Association. Now, in 2002, the EDXC represents the interests of some 5000 DX hobbyists across Europe, through 16 Clubs.
The EDXC also has links with DXing organisations in other areas of the world, and EDXP is pleased to be amongst those Special Associates. The EDXC Website has some 160 visits each month, and in 2002, there were visitors from about 24 countries. Current EDXC Secretary General is Luigi Cibisi, Italy.
|Many attendees were hobbyists from Finland, and international visitors came from Turkey (The Voice of Turkey), Russia, the UK, Italy, USA (including Radio Free Asia), Czech Republic, Sweden, Ireland, Germany (including Deutsche Welle), Portugal, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, and Belgium (VRT). I was the sole attendee from Australia! Other representatives included the IBB (Finland), Teracom (Sweden), Digita Oy
Photo: The entrance hall of the Preivinki transmitting station, and the DX Channel (Germany)
|The Conference officially began at 1600 on the Friday but those of us who had arrived earlier had met informally on the Thursday afternoon and evening, where we enjoyed a nice meal at a nearby restaurant. Some of us also went to a nice fish restaurant at Reposaari on the Friday for lunch where we were shown the old village, passing the extensive installation of wind-driven generators adjacent to the port. The Hotel is located next to a large camping park, which was very popular on the weekend with hundreds of visitors camped amongst the pine trees! Loud music and shrieking noises well into the night emerged from the cabins, tents, and cafes in the park! |
Some of us went on short bushwalking expeditions into the surrounding forest, or spent time at the beach. The weather was glorious, about 25 degrees, bright and sunny days (and most of the nights also!). I had difficulty adjusting to the very long daylight hours, with sunset some time around midnight!
Photo: Antenna towers at the Preiviiki transmitting station
|The Conference was structured so that guests could choose which stand-alone sessions they would like to attend. This meant that participants could meet informally when not listening to the lectures, in the large adjacent room allocated as the "DX Service" area, where many interesting items were on sale, or free. Another room had exhibitions organised by Sangean, Radio Finland, Sangean, DFM Media Plaza and Elstar Oy.|
The control centre at the Preiviiki transmitting station
|All of the presentations were in English, and were very informative, with participation encouraged from the audience. The main topics were:
THE OFFICIAL OPENING - f lag ceremony in front of the Hotel
|DX LISTENING SHACK AND RECEIVER AND ANTENNA TESTING - with Martii Karimnies, Tarmo Kontro and Vesa-Jussi Rinkinen (Attendees could visit the shack and use the top receivers there)
SCANDINAVIAN WEEKEND RADIO
DX CHANNEL - with Dr Harald Gabler
FM-DXING - with Jukka Kotovirta
RADIO FINLAND SPECIAL LIVE BROADCAST - this was at 1000 UTC on the Saturday, in English, which was broadcast worldwide live, including unrehearsed interviews with attendees and a panel discussion
VISIT TO THE PORI HF AND MF TRANSMITTING SITE AT PREIVIIKI - this is operated by Digita Oy, and is 15 km from Yyteri, and transmits Radio Finland worldwide. The 600 kW MF transmitter is also located there.
THE EDXC BANQUET
PRESENTATION OF EDXC AWARDS - with Juha Ignatius (FDXA President) and Risto Vahakainu (Conference Committee Chairperson). I was very surprised top receive a beautiful engraved trophy, acknowledging my work in the hobby
HISTORY OF ETHIOPIA SHORTWAVE RADIO 'RADIO VOICE OF THE GOSPEL" - with Mika Palo
THE WRTH SHORTWAVE GUIDE - with Mika Palo. Two of the Guide's editors were present Anker Petersen and myself, and we led a general discussion session in this new publication, giving some background information about the venture
BROADCASTERS' PANEL - session with Mika Makelainen, with the latest news of international broadcasting
CLOSING MESSAGES - with Luigi Cobisi
|Some 21 of us continued on to the three-day trip to Estonia. Again, the weather was perfect, which included a visit to the studios of the Estonian Radio and TV in downtown Tallin.I had attended two previous EDXP Conferences, in Gothenberg (Sweden) in 1998 and in Barcelona (Spain) in 2000. |
This year's Conference was titled "Odyssey 2002- Sailing the Radio Waves", and incorporated the annual meeting of the FDXA. Our luxury hotel was in the city centre.
Our transport to and from Tallin from Helsinki was by a fast, large, and modern ferry which took about one hour each way.
At the Estonian Radio studios: L-R Gerry Kercher (USA), Dave Kenny (UK), Alan Pennington (UK), Jonathan Murphy (UK)
|We were also taken to and up the tall Observation Tower just outside of Tallin where we enjoyed a nice lunch in the restaurant at the top. The 360 degrees view was superb! The transmitters for the Estonian Radio TV services are located on the ground floor, with their accompanying network control facilities, and we shown around these facilities.
Photo: Lunch at the Tower Restaurant, Tallin
Our group outside our hotel in Tallin
|My colleague George Brown, from Scotland, and myself, went on our own walking tour of the old quarter of Tallin, visiting the main tourist sites, castles, and forts, and stopping on the way back at Macdonalds for a thickshake...!
George and I also spent time searching for an Internet place - we thought we'd found one in a shopping centre bit this turned out to be a company selling Internet facilities! We finally found a place., in the Post office building. Drat - we subsequenrly discovered that our hotel had a free Internet facility for guests!
|Our group enjoyed an unusual dinner on the Sunday night at a Medieval restaurant in the old-quarter of Tallin - this place was set up in a 16th century style, with candles, wooden tables, chairs, plates and bowls. The food was multi-course, including barley, gruel, elk, wild boar, chicken, and a kind of melted cheese desert. Drinks included beer or Coca Cola - not sure if they had refrigerators back in the 16th century though! The staff were also dressed in the medieval style. I liked Estonia, even though we weren't able to venture past Tallin due to the relatively short time we were there. The country still bears the marks of its former positioning in the USSR, with many buildings and streets still showing Russian words.|
Dinner at the Medieval restaurant, Tallin
At the Estonian Radio studios
The EDXC is concerned at the worldwide decline in interest for the hobby, and at the dramatic reduction in membership numbers of many DXing organisations, and is looking closely at its own objectives, particularly as some member Clubs have withdrawn in recent years.
Proposals for the next EDXC Conference put forward at Pori included Malta, Germany (Frankfurt) and Ireland.
|Interest in the conference by international broadcasters was disappointing, and the Council is looking at ways and means of attracting greater support from the stations.The view I gained from the conference, and from speaking with many guests there, is that many hobbyists have left the Clubs due to the impact of the Internet and E-mail, where an enormous amount of radio monitoring information passed through cyberspace every second of every day, most of it free.
There are myriads unregulated E0-mail lists and message boards now available. some of which have very few "members", others have hundreds of recipients. However, such ventures tend not to generate any actual content, and assume prior knowledge and experience by recipients. It is questionable whether many of these things actually provide any direction, guidance, or structure, and what is being seen is an enormous array of such things, where the information is mainly mass-mailed, duplicated information.
|Views were expressed to me at Pori that E-mail lists are now losing popularity in favour of Web-based projects (like the EDXP DX Log and DXING.INFO), due to the huge amount of unsolicited and uncontrollable commercial material pouring into E-mail inboxes, and the vast number of "threaded" postings which proliferate.|
There was also discussion susuiion at Pori on the substantial decline in activity the Tropical HF bands, especially for the Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where broadcasters are moving to abandonment of HF regional operations to moire cost-effective sand efficient FM and VHF delivery.
The conference also discussed the effects of increasing radio-frequency interference, which is now seen as a real impediment to all forms of distance reception. In Scandinavia, there is a trend for greater participation on traditional dx-peditions to rural areas, including Lapland, for specialised monitoring of MF and VHF transmissions.
The lack of younger people entering the hobby, was also discussed, both officially and informally at Pori, with the hobby no longer being seen as a worthwhile pursuit for teenagers, for various reasons. Similarly, the number of women participants at the conference was very small, and it obvious that the hobby is becoming more and more a male-dominated activity, with objectives tending to be distorted and driven by the male culture, and male values and beliefs.
I enjoyed the conference, and welcomed the opportunity of meeting with many people from the hobby and broadcasting community, including several EDXP members. I gained a good appreciation of trends in the hobby, as well as a useful overview of international broadcasting issues and developments.
On a sad note, our colleague Frans Vossen, host of "Radio World" of VRT in Brussels, injured his leg at a Tallin restaurant, and was flown back to Belgium where he underwent surgery. We wish him well, for a quick recuperation.
At a personal level, I arrived in Pori extremely tired and exhausted, after several weeks of hectic travelling in hot and humid weather in Asia and throughout western Europe, and the Yyteri Spa Hotel gave me the chance to partially recover before the long return trip to Australia via Canada! Overall, in the six weeks I was away, I did 16 railway sectors, 28 flights, 30 hotels, and countless trips by boat, ferry, mini-bus and coach. The total flight distance was 55,000 km, mainly with the Star Alliance "Around the World" ticket.
Interesting summaries and illustrated accounts of the Conference have also been published by several of the member Clubs who attended, both on the Internet and in hard-copy.
You may wish to visit these URLs for further information about the Finnish DX Association and the European DX Council:
(NOTE: Several accounts of the Conference have also been published in various DX magazines, and over the Internet, by participating Clubs and linked organisations, including the DSWCI (http://www.dswci.org), DXing.info (http://dxing.info), and the British DX Club.