British Columbia

Hello, Finland, this is Vancouver calling: radio fans listen to CBC from 6,700 km away

"DXers" in Finland use kilometre-wide antennae to hear radio broadcasts from around the world — including, it turns out, CBC Radio One from Vancouver.

'It’s always quite nice to get some signals from strange countries,' fan says of hearing Vancouver

When you're listening to CBC Radio One's Vancouver broadcast from over 6,700 km away, this is a sampling of the equipment you'll need. (thehamradio.com)

When people in other parts of the world tune in to CBC Radio in Vancouver, they usually do it through our app, or online or through Sirius XM.

But some people in Finland recently picked up Vancouver's CBC broadcast — the broadcast heard locally at 690 AM and 88.1 FM — using an elaborate antenna system roughly 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland.

"It's a few [radio hobbyists] from around Finland who have a very nice place up in the north where there's not much neighbours which means not much interference," Patrik Willfor, one of the listeners, told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn. "It's like a silent band there, so even the weakest signals come through."

The practice is called DXing, and Willfor says he's been at it for about 25 years since a friend told him that's what their fathers used to do when they were young.

The process involves stringing up several antennae, sometimes a kilometre apart, then hunting around for whatever signals can be picked up — after driving 12 hours north from his home in Vaasa, of course.

DXer Patrik Willfor listens for broadcasts in the north of Finland. (thehamradio.com)

Many people love CBC Vancouver programs like The Early EditionB.C. Almanac or On The Coast, but Willfor and other DXers are probably unique in the lengths they've gone to listen in.

It might seem like a lot of effort, but Willfor says there's a lot to love about the hobby of DXing.

"It's actually very fun going there," he said. "It's also very relaxing and the nature is very different there so it's nice on many scales.

"A few years back we started hearing New Zealand on the medium waves, the AM band. That's probably as far as you can go from Finland. It's always quite nice to get some signals from strange countries.

"Wireless power, transmitted through the air and reaching the other side of the globe is a pretty good experience."

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Hello, Finland, this is Vancouver calling: radio fans listen to CBC from 6,700 km away