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Foto: Marko Schoeneberg

A few days before the start of the amateur radio world championship, we had the opportunity to interview the mayor of Wittenberg, Jochen Kirchner.

Wittenberg will become in the next few days, the centre of organization for the amateur radio world championship and the location for especially important events such as the opening and award ceremonies. Many guests will get to know the "Lutherstadt" whether they are from Germany or abroad. What can you say about how this very special World Championship is perceived by the Wittenberg locals?
 

After the Reformation anniversary, this has become a unique year for our "Lutherstadt" leaving many memories. As the "smallest city in the world" Wittenberg see no end to its role of welcoming the world and providing a colourful place for rhetoric. A time of dialogue that now experiences a seamless continuation into the world radio championship. With the Wittenberg University of Leucorea and its famous sons, the city has an impressive academic legacy. Wilhelm Weber, born in our city and the inventor of electric telegraphy, is the inspiration for today's radio sport. There can be no better connection! That's why I am very happy that this major international event is taking place in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Our Wittenberg locals are not only excellent hosts, but also very active and technically minded.
 
What did you personally think when the concerns of the radio amateurs were presented to you?
 
Professionalism. It demonstrates that volunteering knows no boundaries. To understand oneself, words are not always needed rather a connection. As radio operators you are not only pioneers of progress, but also pioneers of unlimited global communications. In a time of fake news, hostility and abusive vocabulary, the short-wave community makes a decisive contribution to international friendship. It's great that this unique sport fights against radio silence and brings people closer together.
 
Did you already have points of contact to amateur radio privately or in your official business roles e.g. in civil defence?
 
Major events do not only require the support of many people. Equally important is that all parties communicate in the same way. With the use of digital radio by all of the security teams present for the Reformation anniversary, this technology proved its worth. We are happy that the use of digital radio ensured smooth processes and contributed to the safety of all visitors.
 
For the first time this World Championship takes place in Germany. Wittenberg is the organizational centre of the event. How do you feel about that?
 
World Championships inspire the whole family. This is not only testified to by the current World Soccer Cup. Parents and their children have formed joint teams for the Radio World-Cup. A great community effort! In addition to the technical pioneering spirit, the excellent environment, both from topographical and high-frequency propagation viewpoint, Lutherstadt Wittenberg provides an ideal venue for the World Championship. No ground elevations are above 1 ° and with no interference from power lines or wind turbines optimum competition conditions are guaranteed. Surrounded by the Middle Elbe biosphere park lands and the Fläming area, the Lutherstadt also offers the best possibilities for a travel break.
 
How do you perceive the organizational preparations for the World Championship?

From the beginning it was important to respond to fears, reservations and questions with clear statements. A learning experience that applies to events and to the future design of Lutherstadt as a whole. A good concept comes to life only with cooperation and transparency. Already in 2015, the local organizers informed us about their large project. In close co-operation several meetings were held to examine the grounds needed for the competition sites. From the beginning, the preparations for the World Championship have been characterised by a reliable and trustful cooperation. Experienced organizers from all over Germany have ensured that a professional and at the same time unique, world championship will take place in our region. I wish the organizing team good luck with the final preparations!
 
Many farmers have provided space free for the radio stations and their antennas. How do you rate that?

It is an impressive situation and makes me very happy. At the same time, it is proven that great things can develop through the networking of mainstream and voluntary organizations. It is a benefit for our Lutherstadt and the whole region.

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