Monday, March 31, 2014

Wavescan NWS266

* Theme - 00:00
            “Birthday Serenade” - Willi Glahe

* Opening Announcement - 00:15
            Welcome to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
            Researched and written in Indianapolis, produced in studios of the new shortwave WRMI
            Program outline
                        1. Focus on Asia: On the Air Shortwave from India’s First Capital City - 2
                                    The Calcutta Story
                        2. The Beginnings of Early Shortwave Broadcasting
                        3. Indian DX Report

* Focus on Asia: On the Air Shortwave from India’s First Capital City - 2 - 00:51
     The Calcutta Story
            You will remember that Jose Jacob VU2JOS at Hyderabad in India alerted us a while back to the fact that the shortwave transmitter VUC in Calcutta is likely to close some time soon, and that there is a distinct possibility that all of the other regional shortwave stations in India are likely to close in favor of DRM coverage.  Because of this information, we began the long and fascinating story of radio broadcasting in Calcutta here in Wavescan two weeks back.  Thus, in our program today, we pick up this story again, this time with the era of experimental broadcasting.
            It was back in the year 1923 that the Marconi company in England exported a radio transmitter into India and installed it temporarily in Calcutta for the purpose of making a public demonstration of radio broadcasting.  The initial test broadcasts consisted of music recordings which were received at Chowring Lea some three miles distant. 
            Soon afterwards another demonstration was staged with this same transmitter installed in a newspaper office in Calcutta and the receiver at the Kharagpur Golf Course, a distance of 72 miles.  On this occasion speech was transmitted, which was heard quite clearly at the receiver location.
            Then, in November this same transmitter was loaned to the newly formed Calcutta Radio Club and they went on the air with experimental programming under the callsign 2BZ.  This transmitter, rated with a power of ½ kW, radiated on 800 metres (375 kHz) in what we would now call the longwave band. 
            The callsign 2BZ followed the already accepted system in use in England, with a number followed by two letters.  It is not known if there was any real significance in this callsign, unless perhaps the B may have stood for Bengal, the Indian province in which Calcutta is located.
            Somewhat simultaneously, another Marconi transmitter was made available to the West Bengal government.  The ownership of this station is listed as the Indian States & Eastern Agency in Calcutta.
            This second transmitter was rated at 1½ kW, it radiated on 425 meters (705 kHz) in what we now call the standard mediumwave broadcast band, and it was on the air under the callsign 5AF.  This station is known to have been on the air in 1925, and probably somewhat earlier.  It is not known if there was any significance to the actual callsign 5AF.
            Back on November 27, 1923, the manager of the BBC in London, Mr. J. C. W. Reith, made an entry in his diary, stating “I should like to organise Indian broadcasting from here”.
            A little less than four years later (1927), a regular radio broadcasting station was established in the city of Calcutta.  In the initial stages, it was installed at the Calcutta High Court, with the studios in a tent and the transmitter in the Temple Chamber.
            This new radio broadcasting station was launched under the callsign 7CA and it was on the air with a transmitter rated at 1½ kW on the mediumwave channel 370.4 meters (810 kHz).  The two letters in the callsign 7CA  suggested rather obviously Calcutta, but why the 7?  I guess we will never know! 
            At the time when this new government-owned radio station was inaugurated, the two previous experimental stations, 2BZ & 5AF were closed and we would suggest that the original 5AF transmitter was then taken over for use by the Indian Broadcasting Company as 7CA.
            Soon after station 7CA was launched, the equipment was transferred from the High Court to a new location at 1 Garstin Place in Calcutta.  The first two floors were rented for a period of five years.
            A special inauguration ceremony was staged at this new location on August 26, 1927 and the British governor of Bengal, Sir Stanley Jackson, took part in the ceremony.  This ceremony was broadcast over 7CA and it was heard quite widely by the few radio listeners who owned a radio receiver at the time, even as far as Rangoon in distant Burma.
            Two years later, the 7CA mediumwave transmitter was installed at Cossipore, apparently a new unit, and the callsign was regularized to the now familiar VUC.  At the same time, a new radio magazine began publication under the title Betar Jagat.      
            Around the time when the European War began, 1939, All India Radio Calcutta VUC took over the whole building at Garstin Place for use as offices and studios, and new equipment was installed for a total of six studios.
            The first shortwave transmitter at VUC Calcutta was an experimental unit rated at just 700 watts and this was installed, we would suggest, at Cossipore, co-sited with the mediumwave unit, in mid 1932.    The operating channel was 6110 kHz. 
            Interestingly, as was the custom back then, amateur radio stations were known to relay the programming from a local mediumwave station.  Around the time when this first low powered shortwave transmitter was inaugurated, amateur stations VU2CS & VU2FR were heard in the United States carrying a  relay from VUC Calcutta.
            Then three years later, a 2 kW transmitter on the same channel was installed; and this was supplemented three years later again with a new 10 kW shortwave transmitter from Philips in Holland, model KFVH10.  Two new channels were chosen for this 10 kW unit with the callsign VUC2, 4850 kHz & 9530 kHz and the inauguration date was August 16, 1938.  
            We leave the Calcutta story on this occasion in the middle of last century, with the intent of completing the information in another edition of Wavescan some time soon.  In the meantime, you might be interested to know that the Calcutta time zone at this stage was an awkward GMT plus 5 hours and 54 minutes.

* Program Announcement - 08:55
            Allen Graham

* The Origins of Early Shortwave Broadcasting - 08:55
            So when did broadcasting on shortwave really begin?  What really was the earliest history of shortwave broadcasting?  The answer to these intriguing questions depends on how you look at the matter.   However, let us provide an answer, as was given by W. J. Baker in his lengthy article, the Early History of the Marconi Company.
            It was back in the year 1916, a time when Italy was at war in Europe, but on the English side, not the German, and the Italian navy asked Marconi to provide a procedure for short distance wireless communication.  The navy wanted short range maritime communication between ships at sea and with coastal stations on the Italian peninsula; and at the same time, with no over the horizon eavesdropping at enemy wireless installations.
            Marconi brought his fellow experimenter Charles Franklin with him to Italy, and together they developed apparatus for communication on the very short wavelength of 2 metres.  They discovered that these transmissions gave good coverage over a short distance, the beam signal could be focused in the desired direction, and over the horizon coverage was almost non-existent due to the nature of that wavelength.  At the time, no valve was available, so the two men developed a spark circuit operating in compressed air.
            During the following year, Franklin conducted similar very shortwave experiments in the British Isles, first at Caernarvon in Wales, and then at Inchkeith in Scotland and Portsmouth in England.          Franklin continued his experiments after the end of World War 1 in 1918 with radio experimentation between London and Birmingham using a longer wavelength of 15 metres, 20 MHz.  Successful coverage was obtained over the 97 mile distance between Hendon in London and Birmingham in the Midlands with just 700 watts input.
            Quite simultaneously, another Marconi employee, Captain H. J. Round conducted similar shortwave experiments between Southwold on the North Sea coast of England and a coastal location in Holland on 100 metres, 3 MHz.  Similarly, these shortwave experiments also achieved good success.
            In addition, amateur radio operators in England and elsewhere, who were relegated to 200 metres (1500 kHz) and beyond, were achieving sometimes spectacular success in long distance communication.
            As a result of these unexpected successes in long distance communication on shortwave with relatively low power, Marconi asked Franklin to install a 12 kW shortwave transmitter capable of 97 metres (3 MHz) and beyond at their Poldhu station on the Cornwall coast. 
            In the meantime, Marconi had bought a wartime ship, the “Rovenska” which he renamed the “Elettra” and he converted it into an experimental radio station.
            Test transmissions on shortwave from Poldhu began on April 11, 1923, and the “Elletra” picked these up as it voyaged south from Falmouth near Poldhu in Cornwall on the journey out into the Atlantic and down the coast of Africa.  Good signals were heard down as far as the Cape Verde Islands in the Central Atlantic, some 2566 miles from Poldhu, even though the Poldhu output was only 1 kW at the time.
            The Poldhu shortwave transmitter was rebuilt to 17 kW and successful tests were conducted with the ship “Cedric” all the way across the Atlantic to New York.  These signals, now on 92 m (3260 kHz) were also heard quite clearly in Canada, and at the AWA radio station in Pennant Hills near Sydney in Australia.  Similar tests were carried out successfully direct with Australia, on May 30, 1924.
              In the new 2014 WRTVHB you can read the informative article by Boston’s noted shortwave historian Jerome Berg, on the History of Shortwave Broadcasting in a Nutshell.  In it, he discussed what was happening at mediumwave station KDKA in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
            The Westinghouse radio pioneer Frank Conrad was also experimenting with shortwave coverage from his amateur radio station in his suburban home as early as 1920.  Westinghouse inaugurated their mediumwave station on the roof of their factory at East Pittsburgh on November 2, 1920, and less than 3 years later, they began simulcasting their mediumwave signal on a shortwave channel.
            Thus was born, the new era of shortwave broadcasting.

* Indian DX Report - 13:46
     Prithwiraj Purkayastha: Date of Broadcast: 30th March 2014, Sunday
            Hello friends.  Namaskar and greetings from India!  I am your host Prithwiraj for this edition of Indian DX Report. 
            All India Radio Kohima station is again heard on 4850 kHz during Indian evening hours that is around 1200 to 1500 or 1530 UTC.  This is a rare Indian station which is presently transmitting irregularly from the hilly province of Nagaland in North East India. 
            Good news for all BBC Hindi listeners in the subcontinent first of all.  From 24th March they are broadcasting live program in all the four transmission slots, that is, 0030-0100 UTC, 0230-0300 UTC, 1400-1430 UTC and 1600-1630 UTC.  For past few broadcast season they were broadcasting recorded program in the second and fourth slots. 
            Voice of Russia is closing down all its shortwave broadcasts by 1st April, 2014.  After several online stories & predictions about this closure of shortwave services by Voice of Russia, last week I received this official response from Elena Osipova of VOR Letters Department confirming this closure leaving only online broadcast of this historic station which will be available on
            Stations are now announcing their A-14 broadcast schedule which will be valid through 30th March till 25th October 2014.  Here are some important updates of listeners in South Asia. 
            Deutsche Welle's only South Asian language broadcast in Urdu can be heard between 1430 to 1500 UTC on 15275, 15640 and 17860 kHz.
            NHK World Radio Japan's Bengali transmission will be heard between 1300 to 1345 UTC on 11685 kHz and Hindi transmission can be heard between 1430 to 1515 UTC on 15745 kHz and between 0100 to 0130 UTC on 11590 kHz. 
            Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in Sinhala with English and Tamil announcements can be heard on 11750 kHz between 1630-1832  on Saturday to Tuesday only.  SLBC English transmission is now irregular from 0230 UTC on 11905 kHz. 
            PCJ Radio International from Taiwan which is transmitting via Trincomalee relay station of Sri Lanka will be using 13655 kHz between 1230 to 1330 UTC for their Sunday only transmission which has become very popular among listeners.
            FEBA Radio will now use Trincomalee relay station for transmitting to India using 9720 kHz between 1330 to 1400 UTC.  That gives the DXers to QSL FEBA Radio again, which for past few years stopped issuing QSL.
            And here is the Vatican Radio A-14 schedule for English and South Asian language transmissions targeting this area.  0040-0200 UTC on 11730 and 15470 kHz and the same will be repeated between 0200 to 0350 UTC on 15460.  Again in evening between 1430 to 1550 Vatican Radio can be heard in South Asia on 11850 and 15110 kHz. Vatican Radio's DRM transmission in English can be heard between 1530 to 1550 on 17500 kHz.
            Radio Romania International has resumed it's DRM transmission in English for India during A14 season. RRI English language broadcast beaming India can be heard between 0300 to 0400 UTC on 11825 kHz in analogue mode and 15220 kHz in DRM mode. 
            Adventist World Radio in English can be heard in South Asia in the following timings and frequency. 1530 to 1600 UTC on 15670 kHz from Saturday to Wednesday, 1600 to 1630 UTC on 11995 and 11865 kHz on weekdays, 1630 to 1700 UTC on 15360 kHz on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. 
            And friends, with this I would like to conclude this edition of DX report from India and I hope liked it.  For correct reception reports for this edition of IDXR we'll be issuing our special 2nd Anniversary smallest QSLs which will be world's smallest QSLs in Size till today.  Please send your reception reports and feedback to:-  
            Indian DX Report
            Prithwiraj Purkayastha
            Pub Bongalpukhuri
            By Lane 4
            Jorhat 785001 Assam India
* International DX News - 15:38
            Radio Moscow Mailbag
                        Common surnames in Russia
            Voice of Russia leaving shortwave
            Wavescan scheduling on new WRMI

* Music of the World - 23:24
            Peru: Folk instrumental & singer, Peruvian African style

* Closing Announcement - 24:02
            Thanks for listening to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
            Researched and written in Indianapolis
            Next week:-
                        1. Titanic Anniversary: Wireless to the Rescue, Shipping Disasters Before the Titanic
                        2. Tribute to Shortwave WYFR-9: On the Air with WNYW, Radio New York Worldwide
                        3. Japan DX Report
            Two QSL cards available - AWR & WRMI
            Wavescan address:-
                        Box 29235
                        Indiana 46229 USA
            Wavescan @
            Jeff White, shortwave WRMI

* Music Outrun - 25:26

* Program Ends - 28:55