Grimeton + Leica M Wie funktioniert ein langwellensender Schloss Tjolöholm Kungsbacka

Longest wave transmitter in Sweden

The Grimeton radio station as Unesco World Heritage

Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph

Long wave transmitter in Sweden

We visit the Grimeton radio station

Whether Grimeton long-wave transmitter or Grimeton long-wave transmitter, we visited and portrayed the Grimeton radio station, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sweden. We got to the bottom of the history of the Grimeton long-wave broadcaster and describe here a unique sight that is not necessarily suspected in Sweden.

Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph

Longest wave transmitter Grimeton

The UNESCO World Heritage Grimeton radio station

We were surprised that there is such a high density of Unesco World Heritage Sites in Sweden. And we are just as surprised how many of the Unesco World Heritage Sites Sweden we have visited without being aware of their importance. Now, however, we are visiting the Grimeton radio station with its long-wave Grimeton and experience how exciting the story of the invention of wireless communication across the Atlantic is.

It is unbelievable that there is only one such system in the world that even works, like the long-wave transmitter Grimeton. We have dealt with it all the more intensely and describe its historical path from invention to the present day. All of a sudden, my musical chest with long wave, medium wave and ultra short wave comes back to me from my childhood.

But how does the Grimeton long wave transmitter work and why can we only recommend visiting and experiencing it? We describe this here in our article about the Grimeton radio station.

In the beginning was the water

logical that the radio station Grimeton followed

To understand the need for a Grimeton long wave or long wave transmitter, let’s go back to the 19th century. Bitter poverty prevailed in Småland and Värmland. There was a lack of jobs, good income and prospects.

Reason enough for about a quarter of all Swedes to emigrate to America to the land of unlimited opportunities. Those who set sail for America in the middle of the 19th century generally did not return.

Families and friends separated and kept maximum contact with letters that had been on the road for ages. The water between Sweden and America became an insurmountable barrier when it came to maintaining contacts.

But there were ideas of communication. Because already in 1774 Georges-Louis Le Sage presented the first electric telegraph in Berlin. Signals could be sent over lines between two rooms.

The basis was thus created to send messages between Europe and America via a cable, and so the first wired connection was established between August 5, 1858.

A regular cable connection between New York and Ireland was established on July 26, 1866, but the First World War showed how vulnerable such a connection was and how long it took to spread the news of Ireland to mainland Europe.

Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.
Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

Wireless between New York and Grimeton

The longest wave transmitter Grimeton

Sweden suffered massively from emigration at the beginning of the 20th century. The steam engine had started the industrial revolution all over Europe, but in Sweden there was a lack of people with know-how and ideas.

In fact, Sweden tried to return, in fact one in five emigrants remembered their homeland and came home. Many had achieved a certain wealth of what they could now invest in their home. In addition, there was a lure with better living and educational opportunities and universal suffrage was introduced.

Now the unspeakable First World War came and it showed once again how fragile the cable connections across the transatlantic functioned and how dependent Sweden was on these very expensive transmission options without being able to influence them directly. It took a long time to receive a telegram, but also to send it.

The plans

The political will for a new future

The proposal by the Swedish-American foundation to create an independent and independent wireless connection between the United States and Sweden met with the King’s ears. After all, because of the many Swedes on both sides of the Atlantic, there was great shared interest.

The Swedish parliament decided in 1921 to set up its own large radio station. With their help, Morse telegrams were to be sent by radio over the transatlantic.

Such requests were made at Telefunken in Berlin, The Marconi Company in London, Radio Corperation of America (RCA) in New York and the Société Francaise Radio-Electrique in Paris.

The Swedish Reichstag decided to invest two million Swedish kronor for the time being. The RCA, which owned the radio stations on the east coast of the USA, was awarded the contract. The Swedish pioneer and designer in the field of long-wave technology, Ernst FW Alexanderson, worked for Generell Elektric and was involved in the negotiations from the start. On August 14, 1922, Sweden signed a contract for the total of SEK 4.85 million.

Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph
Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

Location search

Hvorfor Grimeton-radiostationen blev bygget i Grimeton

Sweden was to get a new radio station, only from where could you send radio signals over the Atlantic to America undisturbed.

So a virtual arc was spanned between Sweden and the east coast of the USA and the ideal region was the area between Falkenberg and Varberg, south of Gothenburg. The landscape here is flat and leads undisturbed past Scotland on a straight line to New York. No mountain would be in the way. At that time, the land was not built on, only agriculture ensured the environment.

In the end, two arguments spoke in favor of the Grimeton area: here people urgently needed work and. In the American language, Grimeton could be pronounced perfectly and unadulterated.

But the way there was challenging. Because the land had to be bought from the farmers. The engineer Noren, later work manager, described the situation as follows:

At first I negotiated alone with the farmers, but the result was poor: a firm offer was impossible to get, everything went extremely smoothly.

A farmer should not say his price out of fear that the others would consider it too low, and he would therefore feel uncomfortable with them. To claim that he would lose his existence, he was also afraid to leave the country to us.

They knew that this would be disadvantageous for them. When my capabilities were exhausted, the Telegraph Board sent its first secretary, O. Gustáv, to lead the negotiations. Together we were able to get an agreement with the farmers.

The start of the Grimeton radio station

Completion and commissioning

In the winter of 1922/1923, the sales contracts were signed, construction work in Kungsbacka and Grimeton could begin quickly. However, a crisis with the steel workers delayed the construction of the antenna towers by almost a year. In late autumn 1924, the Grimeton radio station was able to go into operation. However, there was one positive surprise: the Grimeton radio station construction project cost half a million less than budgeted.

The big moment came on December 1st, 1924. The switches were flipped, the oil pumps started, the huge generator started. It has to run at exactly 2,115 revolutions in order to convert a corresponding magnetic field into waves. With the ring signal SAQ and a frequency of 16.1 KHz, the radio station Grimeton started with its two long waves.

The Swedish King Gustav V arrived for the official opening on July 2, 1925, but in his shadow and almost unnoticed, the inventor of the long wave generator, Alexanderson, was also present. The celebrities were received and celebrated by a cheering crowd.

Shortly afterwards the frequency was changed to 17.2 KHz. From the start, 95 percent of the Swedish telegrams went directly to America, but the reverse was more difficult. Because in the United States there were several telegraph companies that made their money by using the submarine cable.

On the way from the USA to Sweden, the market share was just under 50 percent. But the radio telegrams were much faster. While they landed on the radio at the receiver within an average of 5.6 minutes, they took 18.2 minutes over the cable.

The stock exchanges in Sweden and America in particular benefited from the fast connection, but due to the time difference there were only a few common opening hours during which messages could be exchanged.

Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph
Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

The long-wave transmitter is getting competition

Progress does not stop at the Grimeton radio station either

Development progressed massively and did not stop at the Grimeton radio station. Long-wave technology was already in competition at the end of the 1930s, so the first short-wave antennas found their way into the Grimeton radio station. The long-wave antennas were increasingly switched off and the generator provided for this purpose shut down. However, this also enabled massive savings in electricity, which was noticeable in the Yngeredsfors power distributor.

The 17 identical long-wave devices operating worldwide were switched off and shut down in sequence or destroyed in the course of the Second World War. But already at that time the UltraShort Wave was increasingly used worldwide.

After the Second World War, the Swedish military primarily used the long-wave transmitter Grimeton for communication with its submarine fleet, because the long waves reached a depth of several meters into the salt water. However, military use ended in 1995.

The Grimeton radio station today

The active museum

The Grimeton radio station has remained and is still functional as the only long-wave system of the long-wave transmitters built between 1918 and 1924. On special occasions and at UN events, as well as regularly for Christmas and Alexanderson Day, the Grimeton long-wave transmitter is started up to send greetings from the Grimeton radio station all over the world.

Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph
Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

Grimeton radio station becomes Unesco World Heritage

Unique in the whole world

From 1925, the Grimeton radio station was part of a global radio network for the communication and transmission of radio broadcasts.

The long wave transmitter was part of an international broadcasting network and one of 20 stations around the world. Today, the Grimeton radio station is the only fully functional system that has been preserved and which allows us to participate in the development of radio transmission. It has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage since 2004.

The regional managers are committed to maintaining and making them accessible. However, since Sweden recognizes the special importance of the UN and traditionally particularly supports the UN, you can see the opportunity and opportunity to use the Grimeton radio station as an ambassador for the UN. To do this, it is activated, for example, at special UN events

The Grimeton Radio Station, Varberg is another uniquely outstanding monument, which shows the development process within communication technology in the aftermath First World War represents.

World Heritage Committee Suzhou China, Juli 2004

The Grimeton radio station as a museum

Preserve a basic technique for posterity and maintain identity

The Swedes had loved their Grimeton radio station right from the start. It was quickly forgotten that people were afraid during the construction phase that the cows could only point their tails upright in the sky or that thunderstorms would be magically attracted by the high transmission masts.

But now the operator, the Swedish Telia as a telecommunications company, had a Grimeton radio station, which from 1995 onwards was simply no longer needed. The long wave transmitter Grimeton was long out of time and no machine transmitter was needed to operate the short wave antennas. A demolition was on the table as an idea.

There were many people, including Telia, for whom such a step was inconceivable. As a result, the Swedish Parliament legally recognized the Grimeton radio station as the national industrial monument of Sweden the following year in 1996, thereby securing funding for the maintenance of the long-wave Grimeton radio station for an indefinite period.

The Grimeton long wave transmitter is now one of the most important locations in Sweden. The importance of the Grimeton radio station was underlined by King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden when he sent a New Year message from Grimeton around the world at the turn of the millennium. It was based on the first New Year’s message sent from Grimeton.

After being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a simple, modern reception building with an integrated café and a small, light exhibition was built in 2004. Pictures show the construction and operation of the system, graphics explain the range and function. In display cases you can discover old Morse devices, telegraphs and a selection of different mobile phones.

From the large windows, you can see the two-kilometer-long transmission system. The regular tours in Swedish and English also start from here.

An air raid shelter also belongs to the museum, which can be visited on a guided tour.

Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph
Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph. | © mare.phot

The Grimeton radio village

Clear structures

The radio village, a district of Grimeton, also belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage radio station Grimeton. If you look from the machine house in the direction of the antennas, you will see a small red and white building on the right edge of the forest. That was the laundry.

A settlement planned strictly according to the profession is not visible behind the tree strip. The houses of the workers were built in the front line, in the line behind it the executives and engineers.

With a little distance behind it is the station manager’s small villa.

Families lived in the houses, bachelors lived on the top floor.

The strictly geometric arrangement can only be seen from a bird’s eye view, but you should be careful not to use drones here over the entire system.

All houses and properties are privately owned today, so it is strange for the residents when the small ways are visited by strangers and the properties are photographed. You would also feel disturbed yourself.

Activities at the Grimeton radio station

For us and with us

As you know from most of Scandinavia’s museum facilities, the sights are quite lively. An adventure playground is currently being created for the little ones, while the older ones can climb some of the 127-meter-high masts.

Also culturally there are exhibitions and concerts, traditional Christmas greetings, active support for the UN, a meeting point for radio amateurs and repeated test runs of the transmitter.

How active the Grimeton radio station is, however, ultimately depends on each individual. Be it at least visit the café as a parking space user or take a tour as a visitor. Because unfortunately nothing is free. So let’s give the places back a little of what they give us.

Grimeton Sverige, Langwellen, Kodak Tri X, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph

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