Sweden 2020 part III - Grimeton Radio Station


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June 26th 2020
Published: October 9th 2020
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The antennasThe antennasThe antennas

The antennas they used are more than 100 meters high

The only survivor




The Grimeton Radio Station is a piece of industrial heritage which is so unique that it has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Emma is not very interested in old radio stations so when Ake went to Grimeton Emma spent the time at an outdoor recreation centre a few kilometres away.



In the 1920-ies it was possible to build long wave radio transmitters so powerful it was possible to send radio signals across oceans. This technology made it possible to send messages from one end of the world to another alsmost instantly. The messages could only be sent in Morse code, but was still far superior to any other communication technology available at the time. In a few years a network of radio stations using this technology was established. One station in this network was built in Grimeton in Halland district in southern Sweden.



This technology became obsolete after only a few years and was then replaced by better, cheaper smaller and more efficient equipment. Once there was no longer any use for the long wave radio stations they were all closed down and the mighty antennas were dismantled
Just trying to capture a cool photoJust trying to capture a cool photoJust trying to capture a cool photo

I saw a photo opportunity and had to have a go at it
and the large bulky equipment was scrapped. It happened everywhere except for Grimeton Radio Station. The Swedish navy found use for the station and took over everything.



Thanks to that Grimeton Radio Station survived into the 21st century. It is the only surviving radio station of its kind from the very brief period when long wave radio was the state of the art in communication technology. What makes this place even more spectacular is that everything is still in working order. At special occasions they fire up the old radio and send a message or two across the ocean in direction to New York City. Well, there is nobody there to receive the message of course because the New York station was closed down almost 100 years ago.



Most people who visit Grimeton are fascinated by the antennas. There are five of them and each one is well over 100 meters high. But if you are interested in technology the old radio equipment is also very interesting. This technology is truly a dinosaur. It is large, inefficient and grotesque. It is no wonder that it became obsolete in just a few years. But it
Grimeton Radio StationGrimeton Radio StationGrimeton Radio Station

The station building
is really cool to see it. I mean, it was cutting edge technology in the 1920-ies.



It was also fun to see the supersized tools they used when they did maintenance work on the equipment.



On one of the walls inside the station building they had names displayed. Those names were of other radio stations that they communicated with back in the days.



I mentioned above that Grimeton is in Halland. It is 15 minutes drive from the town Varberg. Varberg is a rather small town that has been blessed with several tourist attractions. Not far from Grimeton Radio Station is a place called Bexell's Talking Stones. We will write about those in our next blog entry. Varberg also has a museum which holds two artefacts which are pretty well-known in Sweden. Those are the Bocksten Man, the remains of a man who lived in the 14th century and whose well presearved body was found in a peat bog in the 19th century. The other is an improvised bullet, made from a button, that according to legend was the bullet that killed king Charles XII of Sweden during a siege in Norway.


Additional photos below
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Industrial heritageIndustrial heritage
Industrial heritage

Grimeton Radio Station is a piece of industrial heritage which is so unique that it has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Long distance radioLong distance radio
Long distance radio

In the 1920-ies it was possible to build long wave radio transmitters so powerful that it was possible to send radio signals across the oceans.
They could send messages across the world They could send messages across the world
They could send messages across the world

This technology made it possible to send messages across the world instantly.
The only survivorThe only survivor
The only survivor

It is the only surviving radio station of this kind.
Everything is still in working orderEverything is still in working order
Everything is still in working order

What makes this place even more spectacular is that everything is still in working order.
They still occasionally send messages They still occasionally send messages
They still occasionally send messages

At special occasions they fire up the old radio and send a message or two across the ocean
Names of stations Names of stations
Names of stations

In a few years a network of radio stations using this technology was established. Here are the names of the other stations they communicated with
They could shift the frequency They could shift the frequency
They could shift the frequency

This machine enabled the operators to change frequency
Frequency shiftersFrequency shifters
Frequency shifters

By shifting these tubes the frequency of the output was altered
Giant wrenchesGiant wrenches
Giant wrenches

The tools they needed to work on the equipment are truly supersized
Morse codeMorse code
Morse code

They used Morse code when they sent their messages
MarconiMarconi
Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi was the inventor behind the technology used in Grimeton Radio Station
They can be seen from far awayThey can be seen from far away
They can be seen from far away

The antennas are a local landmark and can be seen from several kilometres away
Looks like a small antennaLooks like a small antenna
Looks like a small antenna

That's cute! They designed it to look like the antennas


9th October 2020

Wow!
That's a great place to visit! Me and my family were there this summer 2020. They've done a great job making the place worth visiting both for "technical nerds" like myself, and for adults who just want to learn more about a past that has almost been totally forgotten. Even kids just wanting to activate themselves can have a great time here!
10th October 2020

For the entire family
I am glad to hear that your wife and kids liked it as well. I thought it was something that only guys like you and me (techie nerds) could enjoy. /Åke
10th October 2020

Charles XII
The sight of 100 metre high radio towers must be amazing. Yet what caught my eye was when you mentioned Charles XII the brilliant military king of Sweden who won battle after battle in the Northern War until after defeating the Russians under Peter the Great at the Battle of Holowczynhe on his way to St Petersburg, changed plans and headed to Moscow which led to his loss in an ambush and ravages of the Russian winter that defeated Napoleon and Hitler's forces centuries after. You could write a blog on Charles XII. As you are Swedish I invite you to do so. I hear he was loved and reviled so your perspective would be interesting. Why my interest? I referred to the Northern War and Sweden's role in my St Petersburg blogs. Charles XII -v- Peter the Great...great stuff!
10th October 2020

Charles XII...?
Charles XII...? Did I mention him...? I actually had to look through the blog entry myself to find that reference. Yes, the bullit that allegedly killed him is in Varberg. Now I remember. I have a little story relating to that. Many years ago I went to Varberg and saw the bullit. The information attached to the bullit told the story of how he was killed in Halden/Fredrikshald in Norway and the date when he died. A few weeks later we were in Norway and for the fun of it we went to Halden to look for the place where he died. There was a historical marker there saying that Charles XII was killed at that spot and the date when he died. But it was a different date from that on the information in Varberg. I actually sent an email to Varberg museum and asked why the dates were different. The answer I got was that one date was according to the Julian calendar and that the other was according to the Gregorian calendar. But that doesn't really make sense. Who in their right mind would use the Julian calendar 140 years after the Gregorian calendar was introduced? Knowledge travelled slow in the 18th century, but hardly that slow. /Åke
10th October 2020

The up side of COVID
I love that people are traveling locally to off the beaten track locations and blogs are coming of places we would never have considered traveling to. Thanks for sharing.
11th October 2020

When you spend more time you find interesting things
Since we live in Sweden we already know know of many of the hidden gems that exists here. The restrictions and uncertanties in the world had stopped us from realising many of our previous plans. But at the same time it opened up for us to see all these things we've never had time to go to before. I am glad to hear that you also find these lesser travelled places in Sweden somewhat interesting. /Ake
22nd November 2020

Interesting
Wow, a very interesting and unique sight to visit. I would also have enjoyed the nostalgia of visiting such a place. Amazing that it still works, but a shame that there's no place out there that can receive a message anymore. Thank you for sharing 🙂
22nd November 2020

It is cool
It is cool if you are into that kind of stuff. Even if you are not, the antennas are impressive. I remember seeing those many years ago and wanting to know what it was. That was before it was opened as a museum so I couldn't visit. I am happy that I can now. /Ake

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