Hearing Alaska on mediumwave has been something I have tried for years in the winter afternoons and evenings. The station I have hunted for has primarily been KBRW on 680 kHz, which is supposed to be the easiest Alaskan station to hear on mediumwave in Scandinavia. KBRW is located in Barrow, 515 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Barrow is the northern most community in the USA and on the North American mainland and has a population of around 4,000 only.

KBRW is a very easy catch in Northern Scandinavia. At my location at around 59° N in Southern Norway, however, KBRW is far from being an easy catch. Conditions just have to be very good for their signal to propagate this far south. On December 2 last year I discovered a carrier on 680 kHz and at 15.00 UTC I noticed a clear albeit muffled ID for KBRW! Later on I discovered that their signal even made it to both Germany, Scotland and England on this date so conditions must really have been exceptional on this particular day. On December 2, the signal of KBRW was audible from 15.00 to 22.00 UTC at my place, weak signals only and deep fading but no doubt that it was KBRW all the time. Reception of KBRW was again possible in late January, when conditions on mediumwave was also exceptionally good. My receiving antenna on both occasions was a 70 metre longwire antenna only.

Last week I was pleasantly surprised to find a letter in my mailbox confirming my reception of KBRW. Vice President and General Manager Robert C. Sommer mentions that 66% of the programming of KBRW is locally produced and that 70% of their audience is Native American, mainly Inupiat Eskimo. KBRW is owned and operated by Silakkuagvik Communications Inc. and is a non-profit community owned station. Their AM transmitter operates at 10 kilowatts 24 hours a day.

Needless to say, I am very pleased to finally both hear and verify Alaska on mediumwave!


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