The Hour of Silence

Oct. 27, 18:04

The worst thing which can happen to a radio station is a technical defect that stops it from broadcasting. „Changing of the Guard“ by Knut Aufermann addresses this issue on a threefold level and introduces with due nonchalance a new „easy listening“ (emergency) program that can be enjoyed each day from 12-13 in Aufermanns „Hour of Silence“.

I switched into the „Hour of Silence“ maybe a week ago: There was silence. And then a hum and some feedback. And silence again.
As I found out later the silence I heard was n o t part of some randomized programming but due to the unstable internet connection at my home.


The home of Aufermann’s installation is another tower of Halle, it is the tower of the former institute of physics and homestead of Halle’s ham radio enthusiasts. We climb the steps with a couple of other visitors to the „Guard“ installation.

Knut explains: „Es gibt eine Verbindung zwischen Computer und Studio. Diese Verbindung kann wenn was schief geht oder im Studio was ausfällt gekappt werden und dann senden wir Stille. Und das mögen die Leute im Radio nicht, und dafür gibt es ein Gerät, das prüft wie lange diese Stille ist und das schaltet dann ein Notprogramm ein. Bei kommerziellen Radios sind das oft nur 2,5 Sekunden, bei Radio Corax sind es 25 Sekunden und bei uns sind es zwei Minuten.“

Further up  comes the cosy chamber of Halle’s ham radio society:


I didn’t dare to walk up the semi-detached metal staircase leading to the antennas of the roof…
Karen Werner took some pictures for me 🙂

As we went down I asked Knut what he was doing during his „Hour of Silence“.

„Work“, he says.

„Hm, I thought you were maybe just sitting there, enjoying the waves and doing nothing…“

„That would be great“, he agrees, „but there is no time for that“.