UK Man Picks Up N Korean Radio Signal, Gets Pack of Presents From Pyongyang

CC0 / / Radio receiver
Radio receiver - Sputnik International
It's a little known fact that people can, if they are lucky, receive signals directly from North Korea. This is a bit tricky, considering Pyongyang doesn't have nearly as much power as, say, Chinese transmitters, and some transmissions are at times openly jammed.

A radio enthusiast from Northern Ireland, UK has managed to listen to a state-run North Korean radio station called Voice of Korea (VOK), according to the Daily Mail. 

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 After that, Jordan Heyburn, 26, sent a report, which included information on where and how well the station has been received, to North Korea.

"With email access in North Korea sadly not being monitored as much I decided to go down the route of pen and paper," Heyburn told the Daily Mail, noting that he was anxious whether the post office would even accept a letter going to North Korea. "The post office woman didn't look at it twice, she just said ‘we don't often see letters addressed to Pyongyang' and that was it," Heyburn said.

Initially, Heyburn was unsure whether he would receive a reply from the hermit state, but he actually got the shock of his life when the station sent him a whole package full of things in return.

The parcel contained North Korean newspapers, magazines, a book by Kim Jong-Il, a personal note on the weather and even a program schedule for English radio broadcasts! And of course, as per shortwave tradition, the package included a so-called "QSL card," usually sent in acknowledgement of radio contact by the broadcasting station.

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The personal note is probably the most curious thing about the whole package since the radio station actually replied to Heyburn's question about the weather in Pyongyang. The note also said that, according to other reports, at this time of year the reach of the shortwave station decreases, but in the case of VOK, it's the other way around. The note also asks whether VOK's website is viewable in Heyburn's area, and ends with regards to his family.

"One morning I was sitting on the stairs tying my shoes when this large brown envelope dropped into our doorway with a postmark saying Pyongyang," Heyburn told reporters. "I literally had a huge grin on my face and was going, 'it's actually arrived, wow!'. I opened it as carefully as I could to preserve the large envelope but I was also really excited to get it open."

According to the Daily Mail, Heyburn received his reply from North Korea faster than many diplomats and world leaders, who have been left hanging by Pyongyang even on the most urgent of matters, sometimes receiving no reply at all.

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