Monday, November 16, 2020

Goodbye Hennie Veldwijk

There was more sad news from the Dutch pirate radio scene today as we heard that Jan, the operator of long-time MW station Hennie Veldwijk had died.

Jan, 80, from Mariënheem in the province of Overijssel, was admitted to hospital on November 10 suffering from a brain hemorrhage but slipped into a coma and never recovered.

Pirates from across the Netherlands have paid tribute to Jan, who had been playing polka music and qsoing with other stations across the country since the 1970s and was heard on air as recently as November 7 with a report for fellow veteran broadcaster Karel Doorman.

Henk of Radio Rebecca said: "I have good memories of Hennie Veldwijk - I was able to speak to him a few times in person and of course on the radio. Besides the pirate hobby we shared the profession of a driver. Jan / Hennie Veldwijk, rest in peace. Family, relatives and friends - my condolences and strength for the loss of our polka friend."

Jan operated with only 80 watts of power using a transmitter consisting of two 807 valves. He was clearly an old-school pirate and enjoyed chatting with other amateurs and playing his polka music. I can imagine him being surprised that his signal would carry across the North Sea to England, where I heard him many times, and to other European countries.

Jan Willem of Radio Armada remembered his radio friend's sense of humour and passion for the hobby. He said "I had contact with Jan by telephone a few days before he was admitted to the hospital. He thanked me for all the DX reports that were in the apps, which I then sent to him by email - he thought it was very nice that they could also hear him remotely. He was always a very serious radio amateur but was also good for a joke."

Radio Pepper has fond memories of various visits to Jan over the years, especially when both stations were active around 1395 kHz in the mid-1980s and later on 1472 kHz. He said: "He always wanted me on air more often, like on New Year's Day, for example! It was common practice that we were reporting after +/- 1:30 am and so on January 1 we could wish each other a happy new year. Jan thought that was great!"

Henk of Radio Spakenburg added: "Jan was a household name on the medium wave," while Wim of Radio Utopia said: "He was a well-known pirate with his distinctive voice. My condolences to family and friends. And strength."

All those sentiments go for me as well. I never had the pleasure of meeting Jan, but I knew his voice immediately when that signal popped up around 1646 kHz. I send condolences from England and wish his family all the very best at such a sad time. 

Radio Vrolijke Mijnwerker was on air this evening with a music programme on 1646 kHz in memory of the long-time pirate. And for those of you who would like a reminder of Hennie Veldwijk on the air, here are some recordings as we remember another lost Dutch MW pirate.

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