Swedens last big MV-transmitter in Sölvesborg


To make a serious attempt to save the mediumwave station in Sölvesborg, southeast Sweden, I began to collect names to make an appeal to save the very last station of this kind of type in Sweden.

Sweden made a massive expansion of the AM-network from 1938-1961 when the last station to be inaugurated was the longwave station in Motala. It replaced an old transmitter in central Motala from 1935.

When these mediumwave stations mostly built in 1950’s, began to be torn and was in need of maintenance and there were few listeners, the Telecom Board began to close down one by one during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
The last one to be closed was Göteborg on 981KHz in March 1984. The year after Sölvesborg was ready to be put into service. It replaced Hörby on the same frequency 1179KHz. The old transmitter in Hörby was completely torn out and the technicians prayed every morning for the transmitter would start….
From the beginning it was planned to be 2x600kW in Sölvesborg but Radio Sweden had to reduce the cost and it only became one transmitter.
During the years RSI had to reduce its cost and that affected also Sölvesborg.
From the beginning the power was 600kW both day and night. But after some years an old 10kW transmitter from Marconi was moved down from Sundsvall to carrie SR P1 daytime.
Before a planned tube exchange, one phase in the power net was lost. The cooling ceased and that made the tube socket to melt down over the power supply. There wasn’t much to do than scrap the the little 10kW-transmitter.
The unique with Sölvesborg was its antenna system with maximum radiation towards west and north and reduced towards east to not collide with Romania on the same frequency. And as it stands at the seaside of the Baltic Sea, it takes advantage of the phenomena “Sea gain”. PEP was 600kW and ERP 2MW. Some years ago RSI ceased to reply and receive QSL-cards. And that was the beginning of the end. In March 2010 the manager of SR P2 and RSI decided to close all transmissions on medium- and shortwave. The arguments were ex. “there are no listeners”, “the mediumwave station has been malfunction for over three months” etc. How can you know that when you don’t receive listener reports? The protests against this decision were massive but which manager has changed its decision? The decision was taken and couldn’t be revoked. Of course non one of these arguments were true. The last day was 30th October 2011 when RSI signed off medium- and shortwave undramatic.
The owner Teracom tried to get a new parted who could transmit as many hours as RSI but no one was found. Instead the shortwave transmitters were sold to Radio Netherlands International and placed on Madagascar. The antennas were demolished.

In an attempt to save at least Sölvesborg, I and more than 150 persons made wrote together to the National Heritage Board to make an attempt. The National Heritage Board said no. It was too new and since the transmissions were aimed abroad, it was not of interest to save the station. A new attempt was made to the County Administation Board in Blekinge County. They said yes but the landowner and Teracom said no to preserve the station. So we made a last attempt with Sölvesborg Community but as the station stands on private ground, the community can’t do anything. The Community has also no money. The Community was our last public hope.

The intention from our side was to make it a museum to show how a radio station works, how it looks and to show an old broadcast format with new technique. Our very last hope is that someone wants to rent transmission hours from Teracom over the medium wave stations. It’s in good condition, just drained on cooling water. But the risk is it will have the same fate as many other stations across Europe, being scrapped and demolished. The antennas are almost free of maintenance. They are made out of parts from high-tension poles. It’s only the top section that is special made. The antennas are made for the frequency 1178KHz so there’s a SWR-ratio on 1:1,0 5 (!) Maybe a common Nordic radio channel with news, talks etc from Scandinavia can be the salvation?

Christian Stödberg