* Theme - 00:00
“Birthday Serenade” - Willi Glahe
* Opening Announcement - 00:15
Welcome to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
Give Christmas greetings
Researched and written in Indianapolis, produced in studios of shortwave WRMI
1. Christmas Island Adventure - 2: The Radio Broadcasting Scene
2. Polynesian Christmas - Part 3
3. International DX News
4. Special QSL of the Week: Christmas Island Radio Beacon XMX
* Christmas Island Adventure - 2: The Radio Broadcasting Scene - 01:04
Here in Wavescan last week, we presented the story of the early wireless and radio years on Christmas Island, the Australian island in the Indian Ocean. That topic took us up to the war years in the middle of last century. In our program today, we continue this Christmas Island saga with information subsequent to the war years, and in particular, the radio broadcasting scene on this lonely and isolated island.
The Australian Christmas Island lies off the coast of Indonesia, some 300 miles south of the island of Java. The only radio station on Christmas Island at the time of the Pacific War was destroyed in the Japanese invasion in 1942. Perhaps the Japanese also installed a wireless communication station on the island during their more than three years of occupation, though there is no known information regarding this possibility.
In the developmental years after the end of World War 2, a new communication station was installed on Christmas Island, though dates and information are uncertain. Perhaps it was under the British after the war, or perhaps it was under the Australians after the island was transferred to Australian jurisdiction in 1957.
However, when the new station was installed, it was still in some way associated with the British Phosphate Commission, though the known callsign was not a British callsign, but rather an Australian callsign towards the end of the VL series, VLU. In 1960, the British Phosphate callsign for shipping was also an Australian callsign, towards the end of the VI series, VIY. This callsign VIY had been in use a hundred years earlier for a spark wireless station located at Mt. Gambier in South Australia.
According to a report in the October 1961 issue of the Australian monthly magazine, Radio & Hobbies, the Voice of America conducted a feasibility test transmission on Christmas Island in an endeavor to ascertain the suitability of the location for a large shortwave station to broadcast into Asia. This report came from the noted international radio monitor in New Zealand, Arthur Cushen. However, though this short report seems to indicate that transmission tests were made, it is not known as to whether the Voice of America imported their own transmitter for the tests, or whether the available low powered VLU was used for this purpose.
In 1965, the resident Communication Engineer diverted the usage of a radio-telephone communication transmitter and he broadcast music and information for the benefit of local residents. Initially this program service in the mediumwave band was on the air without callsign.
On September 1, 1967, the radio broadcasting service was officially inaugurated under the subsidiary callsign VLU2, with 500 watts on 1420 kHz. Apparently a new transmitter was installed for this purpose.
Programming was in three languages: English, Malay and Chinese. Usually the transmitter was left on the air with an open carrier outside programming hours so that local residents could be alerted to any important information, including shipping and aircraft movements.
A new solid state transmitter was installed in 1978, with three units at 125 kHz each. Any two of these units could be combined to provide an output power of 250 watts. In November of that same year (1978), the VLU2 transmitter was modified to conform to the new international 9 kHz spacing, and the operating frequency was changed from 1420 kHz to 1422 kHz.
Over the years, station VLU2 has also relayed programming from the BBC London, Radio Australia Melbourne, ABC Local Radio, and Radio Singapore International. All of these program relays were taken live off the air shortwave. Back at that time, the Radio Australia relay station near Carnarvon in Western Australia propagated an excellent signal into Christmas Island, and likewise the old regional shortwave station VLW at Wanneroo could also be heard at a good level on the island.
The VLU2 entries in the World Radio TV Handbook indicate that the studios of the local mediumwave station have always been located at Lower Drumsite, and the transmitter at Phosphate Hill, both sites quite near to the main settlements at the north coast of the island. The studios and offices for mediumwave VLU2 are located in the Radio Building on Murray Road.
Interestingly, there was one attempt at a shortwave relay from Christmas Island, and this took place under the concept of a Nordic DX Test in 1991. At the request of a northern European DX club, a relay from mediumwave VLU2 was carried live on shortwave VLU with 150 watts SSB single side band on 11765 kHz. There are no known reception reports of this special broadcast on shortwave. The request for this special broadcast was lodged by Gordon Darling and it was announced by Andy Sennitt in Media Network from Radio Netherlands.
In 1972, serious consideration was given for the second time to the possibility of installing a large international shortwave station on Christmas Island. On this occasion, the concept was mooted by the British government, though both the BBC London and Radio Australia participated in a preliminary feasibility study.
The BBC was interested in installing a total of 21 shortwave transmitters, each at a power of 250 kW, together with a massive array of antennas, and an associated system of electric power generators. The BBC suggested that Radio Australia could use up to 14 transmitters at any one time with the only cost, just paying for the electricity.
At that time, the lease for the BBC Relay Station at Tebrau in Malaysia was soon to expire, and the BBC needed a new transmitter location. In addition, Singapore was interested in establishing a steel mill and a cement works on Christmas Island. However, due to the exorbitant costs associated with the entire super station project, this massive shortwave station never progressed beyond the planning stage. Instead an alternate location at Kanji in Singapore was chosen.
Both FM radio and downlink TV came to Christmas Island more than ten years ago, and these days there are six low powered FM stations on the air with a relay of ABC and commercial programming from Perth in Western Australia. Likewise, there are five different TV channels on the air from low powered downlink relay stations at three different locations near the settlement areas; Drumsite, Phosphate Hill and Rocky Point.
Back in December 2003, a Melbourne commercial company obtained a license for a mediumwave commercial broadcasting station on Christmas Island, identified as VZB804 with 400 watts on 1620 kHz. However, it would appear that this station was never installed. A longwave aircraft radio beacon is on the air on Christmas Island, XMX with 100 watts on 341 kHz. This low powered beacon is sometimes heard in Australia.
Then around five years ago, the usage of the nostalgic mediumwave callsign came to an end, and VLU2 was allotted an Australian callsign 6ABCRN, indicating ABC Radio National in Western Australia. Thus, the end of another radio era!
* International DX News - 09:30
KVOH procures Christian Voice in Zambia, Africa
150 acres, 12 buildings
2 Continental transmitters @ 100 kW
2 TCI high gain long range antennas
REE Spain, closed on October 15, is to be reactivated during December
* Program Announcement - 13:19
* Polynesian Christmas - Part 3 - 14:11
Next Thursday is Christmas Day, and once again, we wish you all Season’s Greetings and every happiness for the Christmas season. In our program today, we again present a broadcast from Radio New Zealand International, under the title “Polynesian Christmas” - Part 3. This program was originally broadcast in New Zealand during the Christmas season back in the year 2006, and we present it here in “Wavescan” today by courtesy of David Ricquish at Radio Heritage in Wellington, and Adrian Sainsbury at Radio New Zealand International. Part 1 and Part 2 of this recording from New Zealand have been presented here in Wavescan on previous occasions.
David Ricquish formerly served as the Consul in Los Angeles California, representing the government of New Zealand; and his wife, Jo del Monaco, is a member of the royal family in Monte Carlo over there in Europe. We might add, that you will notice that Jo del Monaco is fluent in several European languages.
Here now is “Polynesian Christmas” - Part 3, from Radio New Zealand International.
SPP12 - RNZI15c: Polynesian Christmas
00:00 Theme music
Silent Night music
. . . . good conditions over Christmas.”
03:40 03:40 Cut
24:25 Jo del Monaco, Christmas greetings, Portuguese
South American locations mentioned
Christmas song, same language, male singer, guitar, orchestra
Jo del Monaco, Christmas greetings Italian
European locations mentioned
Christmas song, English, USA locations mentioned in song
David Ricquish & Polynesian girl, Christmas greetings
Adrian Sainsbury, greetings
RNZI Mailbox theme
33:10 8:45 Maximum
Total 12:25 Maximum: If this item is too long, then cut or fade at any stage as needed.
* SQOTW20 Special QSL of the Week: Christmas Island Radio Beacon XMX - 24:46
On August 28, 1977, my wife and I were flying from Perth in Western Australia towards Indonesia on our way back for another term of service in Southern Asia. As the large passenger airliner was nearing the islands of Indonesia, the Captain invited me into the Flight Deck and he gave me the use of one of the plane’s radio receivers. I tuned to the longwave channel 341 kHz and heard the aircraft radio beacon with its beeps in Morse Code, identifying the letters XMX.
I sent a reception report together with a do-it-yourself QSL card to the airport on isolated and lonely Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Exactly eleven years later, I received the previously prepared QSL card, duly signed and rubber stamped, together with a note acknowledging the delay. The do-it-yourself prepared verification information was rubber stamped onto a large double folded card from Radio Australia, showing a Tiger Cat on the picture side of the card. The power of the air beacon transmitter on 341 kHz is shown as 100 watts.
* Music of the World - 26:03
Bing Crosby: Hawaiian Christmas Song
* Closing Announcement - 26:21
Thanks for listening to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
Researched and written in Indianapolis
1. The Philippine Radio Story - 8: Press Wireless Returns to the Air
2. WRMI Insert
3. Australian DX Report
Several QSL cards available. Send your AWR & KSDA reception reports for Wavescan to the AWR address in Indianapolis; and also to the station your radio is tuned to: WRMI or WWCR or KVOH, or to the AWR relay stations that carry Wavescan. Remember too, you can send a reception report to each of the DX reporters when their segment is on the air here in Wavescan: Japan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Australia & India. They will verify with a colorful QSL card. Return postage and an address label are always appreciated.
Indiana 46229 USA
Wavescan @ AWR.org
Jeff White, shortwave WRMI
* Music Outrun - 28:10
* Program Ends - 28:55