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BANGALORE, Aug. 30."Aralu Mallige", a remote village 10 km off Dodballapur, near Bangalore, is busy giving shape to All India Radio's long cherished dream of making its voice heard by people around the world.
Come January, the super-power shortwave radio transmitter being installed here will be in full bloom.
The idea of establishing this multiband transmitter for external services germinated as far back as 1979 when the Union Government realised that with the existing facilities it was impossible for it to disseminate to people in alien lands India's news and views. It was only in 1981, however, that the Public Investment Board gave the green signal to set up this super-power transmitter.
Designed and built by Asea Brown Boveri of Switzerland, the installation at present consists of two 500 KW shortwave transmitters along with associated antenna equipment. Under Phase-II of the project, four more 500 KW transmitters will be added on in the next two years.
Mr. R. K. Taneja, Deputy Director of Engineering, AIR, who is in charge of the project, says the progress of the project has been impressive.
LITIGATIONS: The project would have become operational by now but for the land acquisition litigations which delayed the execution by a year. In fact, AIR came into possession of the plot only in January 1986, Mr. Taneja said.
Installation work, which started roughly a year ago, is fast nearing completion. The AIR civil works wing put up the building providing for Phase-II installations. While the outlay for Phase-I is Rs. 15 crore, Phase-lI will cost Rs. 35 crore.
AIR external services are currently being broadcast by shortwave transmitters at Aligarh, Khampur-Delhi and Kingsway-Delhi, with support service by Bombay and Madras stations. The Aligarh station with a 250 KW transmitter is the strongest station (external services) in the country now. With most foreign countries (including Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) installing 500 KW transmitters, the reception of AIR broadcasts in 'target areas" had deteriorated considerably. The Indian embassies abroad had also constantly complained about this. The "Aralu Mallige" complex will make India's voice more audible in the target areas hereafter.
BIGGEST IN ASIA: When commissioned fully with all the six transmitters in action, the Dodballapur complex will be the biggest of its kind in Asia. Said Mr. Adiran Bergamin, Commissioning Engineer of Asea Brown Boveri: "The latest technology has been incorporated in the manufacture of the main tube of the transmitters, the faraday cage and the modulator."
The computer-aided frequency control system helps control 100 frequencies at a time. Devoid of manual work, the system also has the facility to know the operational conditions of various sub-systems. The Phase-II transmitters are likely to involve the still more modern "pulse step modulation" technology resulting in very high efficiency.
The aerial system consisting of nine multiband aerial curtains are being installed by Marconi and Co of UK. Under Phase-II, 27 more aerial curtains will be installed. The 36 high gain curtains in eight beam directions will help AIR to simultaneously broadcast in various foreign languages to the benefit of listeners around the globe. The aerial system will have remote operation facility for changeover and slewing of certain aerials. The direction of the antennas and the aerials are changed depending on weather conditions, sunspots, target areas and the day and time of broadcast.
PROGRAMMES FROM DELHI:
The complex will be manned round the-clock by a band of 50 AIR technicians. The programmes to be broadcast will be readied in New Delhi and passed on to the complex either through microwave or the INSAT satellite (with one of them acting as a constant standby).
The Electronic Corporation of India of Hyderabad has been entrusted with the erection of the nine gigantic pylons (the tallest tower measuring 97 metres) and the aerials. The company has also supplied certain components, like connectors.
While the "European beam" (centred on Moscow) will cover Europe and parts of America, the "North African beam" will serve most part of Africa. In its reverse direction, the beam will land in Australia
CITY IN SHADOW AREA: With the Dodballapur complex's "skip area" being 100 kin, Bangaloreans will not be able to catch the waves on their sets.
Mr. MJ. Viswanathan, AIR South Zone Chief Engineer, who recently visited the project site, said work on the upgradation of the present 50 KW MW transmitter in Bangalore to two 100 KW MW transmitters (supplied by BEL) and the erection of the new 132-metre high ECIL mast was likely to be completed by November 1988.
Mr. Viswanathan also said that the work on the FM Radio stations at Hassan, Hospet and Chitradurga would be completed by March 1989.