Monday, August 16, 2010

The Long and Interesting Road of All India Radio Hyderbad

Part 1

Some time ago, Jose Jacob VU2JOS, at the National Institute of Amateur Radio in Hyderabad India, sent us a batch of detailed information about the radio station located in his city of employment, Hyderabad Deccan. We have compiled our Station Profile on All India Radio Hyderabad this week with the usage of his information, together with additional research information taken from various other historical sources.
The city of Hyderabad itself has a very long and interesting history. According to the local story, the fourteen year old Sultan of Golconda fell in love with a beautiful village girl, Bhagmati. He later married her, and he also established a new village-city nearby, which he named Bhagynagar in her honor. "Bhagynagar" would mean "Bhagy Village". When Bhagmati became queen, she took a new name Hyder Mahal, and so the village of Bhagynagar was renamed Hyderabad. "Hyderabad" would mean "Hyder City".
The now large and illustrious city of Hyderabad traces its earliest origins to the year 1589 under the reign of Shah Muhammad, the Sultan of Golconda. The best known landmark in Hyderabad would have to be the Char Minar, a roadway building consisting of four joined minarets. This ornate structure was built in 1591, and it is still standing proudly today, more than four hundred years later.
In pre-federation days, the princely state of Hyderabad was the largest princely state in all of India. Back in those times, Hyderabad flew its own flag, issued its own currency and postage stamps, and it operated an airline, a railway system, and its own radio station.
At the time when India obtained independence from England in 1947, Hyderabad opted to become an independent country within the British Empire. However, a year later, under Operation Polo, Hyderabad was incorporated into the new nation of India. The state boundaries for Hyderabad were re-drawn, with various language areas carved off and added to the adjoining states where the same language was spoken.
However, the new Indian state of Andhra Pradesh as it was named, with the state capital Hyderabad, is still a huge territory, and it is the 4th largest state in India. The state language, Telugu, is the 3rd largest language in India. The nation of India recognizes 22 languages as official languages.
We go back to the very beginning of wireless in Hyderabad, and we find ourselves looking at the admittedly sparse information about the early communication station in the area. This original station, established somewhere around the year 1919, was located, not in Hyderabad itself, but rather in the nearby twin city, Secunderabad.
Station VWX was a spark wireless station established and operated by the Indian government for communication with other early spark wireless stations in British India. A report in an Australian radio magazine published in 1924 states that station VWX, along with eight other wireless stations throughout British India, was to be placed "in care of maintenance parties, which will keep the stations in running order and ready for service on six hours notice."
However, in spite of the fact that this historic wireless station was to be downgraded, available information would suggest that just the opposite took place. During the following year, 1925, a new spark station was installed and the station was given a new callsign, VWT.
And what happened subsequently to wireless station VWT? We just don't know. There is no known additional information. We can only guess that when the era of valve or tube transmitters came into vogue, then the station must have been closed.
The first known radio broadcasting station in Hyderabad was a very small one watt unit constructed in 1933 by a postal official and installed in his own home on Chirag Ali Lane. As was the custom in those days, this transmitter was used at times with the broadcast of what we would call radio programming. The coverage area, with just one watt, would have been very small indeed.
During the following year, the Nizam of Hyderabad initiated the development of a radio broadcasting station which was inaugurated on February 3, 1935. This station became known as Deccan Radio.
On May 1, 1939, the foundation stone was laid for a substantial radio broadcasting station, and soon afterwards the new 5 kW facility was inaugurated on 730 kHz. This station was allocated the Indian callsign VUV, though some radio magazines at the time incorrectly listed the callsign as VUH. As time went by, this station was taken over by the Indian government and absorbed into the AIR nation wide radio network.
As often happened in the region in those days, a shortwave transmitter was installed with the mediumwave station. The best available information would suggest that this was an 800 watt unit and that it was inaugurated on December 1, 1948. This station is listed in two consecutive editions of the World Radio Handbook, 1949 & 1950, and it is shown as operating on 3335 & 6210 kHz. However, there are no known loggings of this small and somewhat temporary shortwave station.
OK, now that's as far as we can go in our story of radio broadcasting in Hyderabad, India, in this edition of Wavescan. We plan to present Part 2 in the story of Radio Broadcasting in Hyderabad here in Wavescan in two weeks time. So, you will want to keep listening for the concluding information in this fascinating story.
(AWR Wavescan # 77 via Adrian Peterson)