Every once in a while, we at 1420 WBEC are contacted by someone who has received our little radio station’s broadcast quite literally on the other side of the world. Well, we received a very cool message on the 1420 WBEC Facebook page today from a gentleman in Finland, who has for nearly 50 years been scanning the airwaves to pick up radio signals from other parts of the world. He says the reception took place on 1420 kHz at 4:00 AM EST on February 11th.

Hannu Tikkanen is a 61-year Sales development director from Espoo, Finland. He tells us that he is married with two children, and that the company he works for uses radio advertising a lot to promote its brands and products. Hannu has been taking part in his radio listening hobby for more than 47 years.

Hannu, enjoying his lifelong hobby in a cottage he rents with the sole purpose of picking up distant radio stations mainly from the USA.

Here is Hannu’s initial message to us:

It’s my pleasure to inform you that your 1420 AM station was picked up with a radio receiver and an outdoor aerial all the way here in Finland, Northern Europe! This was a genuine reception through air waves, with the transmitted signal bouncing back from the upper layers of atmosphere down to my outdoor antenna. Though the reception would be possible over the internet for nearly all the stations, I’m an old timer radio enthusiast, who likes to do it the hard way. It’s much more fun and exciting to pick up a rare signal from the other side of the world on the radio with some noise and fading!


Hannu says that for a short while he was indeed able to follow our programming with his Perseus SDR receiver and a three thousand-feet directional aerial pointing roughly in our direction.

Our new “listener” from Finland asked us to confirm that it was in fact 1420 WBEC that he was picking up and to confirm what he thought he was hearing. So, I did.

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Below is the audio clip that Hannu sent us. You may want to put on some headphones. It’s very difficult to make it out through the static, so you'll have to listen very closely. What you will hear first is the tail end of a promo for one of our syndicated programs On the House - with the Carey Brothers. You can just barely hear James or Morris Carey (I’m not sure which) saying “...1420 WBEC, brought to you by...” You will hear that a couple of times followed by our Legal ID which at the time said “You're listening to the Berkshires leader for news talk and sports, 1420 WBEC AM, Pittsfield.”

Here is the clip:

Hannu told us all about where and how he manages to pick up radio signal like ours:

I spend every winter a week in a very remote place, some 800 miles North from the capital area, 200 miles above the Arctic Circle; that's where I rent a cottage with the sole purpose to pick up distant radio stations mainly from the USA. As the nearest small town is some 30 miles away and there are only a couple of houses in the whole region, I have the possibility to have long aerials in the forest and to listen to the AM band without man made noise.


The aerial Hannu uses to receive radio signals. It points roughly towards the USA.

This was indeed a special surprise. I’m happy to know that someone is out there listening... even if they are 3,980 miles away as the crow flies!

Google Maps depiction of the distance between Pittsfield and Hannu's home in Espoo, Finland.


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