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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wavescan NWS265

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

* Opening Announcement - 00:17
            Welcome to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
            Researched and written in Indianapolis, produced in studios of shortwave WRMI
            Program outline
                        1. Message from Malaysia
                        2. BBC Indian Ocean Relay Station Seychelles: The End of an Era
                        3. International DX Report
                        4. Canadian DX Report
                        5. World’s Most Inaccurate Scientific Measurement

* Message from Malaysia - 00:51
          The Malaysian Amateur Radio Emergency Service Society (MARES/9M4CME) is calling all ham radios particularly in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Seychelles, Thailand to participate in the search and rescue of the missing aircraft, Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER bearing registration 9M-MRO flight MH370.
          The flight has gone missing from ATC radar at 1.21 am local time 8 March 2014.  Search & Rescue SAR was initially done within the vicinity of the South China Sea.  However, new confirmed evidence recently revealed has shifted the SAR activities to the vicinity of Malacca Strait, Andaman Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. This is a huge area to cover roughly 21,000 sq km.  To date, SAR efforts have the combined assets from at least 14 countries involving more than 50 aircraft and 30 vessels making it the single largest SAR mission ever.
          In light of the multinational effort that is undertaken, and also in view of the many rumours of the plane crashing or landing in islands within the SAR area, MARES is calling all ham stations, especially those from the countries within the search area, to participate in a daily reporting session.  The objective is for ham operators to provide any sightings, information or evidence that might help the authorities to find the missing MH370.  Details are as follows:
          Daily Check-in and reporting session will be done at UTC 1300 hrs - 1500 hrs on 14.250 MHz and 21.250 MHz (+- QRM)
          Any urgent message beyond the specified DX session time shall be communicated via email to
          All information and evidence obtained will be forwarded to the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation and Malaysian National Security Council by MARES.
          On behalf of Malaysia, MARES would like to thank in advance all participating stations for their time and effort in helping us find the missing 9M-MRO / MH370.  Let us all do our part in this moment of crisis.
          Please do spread this effort to stations and clubs you think might be helpful in our effort.
Thank you, and 73s,
9W2FG on behalf of MARES.
Yours sincerely,
Jose Jacob, VU2JOS
National Institute of Amateur Radio 
Hyderabad, India

* International DX Report - 04:42
            Bihar Wifi service
            EDXC Convention, France Sep 19 - 22, 2014
            New Wavescan Scheduling A14

* BBC Indian Ocean Relay Station Seychelles: The End of an Era - 06:05
            On Saturday March 29, the shortwave service from the BBC Indian Ocean Relay Station in the Seychelles Islands came to an end after 26 years of broadcasting into East Africa.  This shortwave service is ended, though the lone remaining FM station operated by the BBC in the Seychelles Islands will remain on the air.
            The Seychelles Islands are listed as an African country, located nearly a thousand miles east from the continent itself.  A total of 155 islands are listed officially as belonging to the Seychelles, though only 40 are permanently inhabited.  The total area of all of these islands is just 175 square miles, though they are scattered around an area of 400,000 square miles in the Indian Ocean.
            Some of the islands are described geologically as granitic, while others are semi-tropical coral islands and atolls.  The largest island is Mahe, with Victoria as the capital city.  Two other major islands are Praslin and La Digue.
            The total population in all of the Seychelles Islands is a little less than 100,000, all of whom can trace their ancestry back to France, England, Africa, China or India.  The national languages are English and French, though most people also speak the local Creole which is French derived.  Tourism is one of their main sources of income.
            There are many life forms in the Seychelles that are quite unique, such as the Black Parrot, which is their national bird.  Other unique life forms are the strange Jellyfish Tree which thus far has evaded every form of propagation, and the coconut tree coco de mer with its huge double coconut, which can weigh up to 50 lbs each.
            It is thought that the first visitors to the Seychelles Islands were Austronesians from Indonesia who passed through the area more than a thousand years ago.  The next visitors came in from the Maldive Islands around 800 years ago.
            The first European visitor was the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama who was en route to India in 1502.  The first known European landing in the islands was made by Captain Sharpeigh of the East India Company in January 1609; and a French expedition from Mauritius visited Mahe Island in 1742.
            Fourteen years later, the French laid claim to the Seychelles Islands by placing  an inscribed Stone of Possession at La Poudriere (Victoria) on November 1, 1756.  Then a few years later again, the first permanent inhabitants in these islands arrived from Mauritius.  Though the Seychelles were originally a French possession, they were granted to England by the Treaty of Paris in 1814; and they assumed independence on June 29, 1976.
            It was back in the year 1978 that the BBC gave recognition to the fact that it would be advisable to establish a relay station somewhere in the area, though because of a slow down in the economy in England, funding was not available.  However, three years later, the BBC dropped its programming in the Italian and Maltese languages in order to provide funding for this projected new station. 
            The BBC then began negotiations with the Seychelles government; and on August 8, 1983, they announced in their DX program, Waveguide, that the projected new shortwave station would be ready for service five years later.  The BBC and the Seychelles government signed an agreement in 1985, and work on the new station began during the following year.
            The new BBC Indian Ocean Relay Station was constructed at Anse Mahe on the west coast of the island of Mahe and a swampy mangrove area was filled in for this purpose.  The plans for the new station originally called for four shortwave transmitters, 2 @ 300 kW and 2 Marconis at 250 kW, together with a total of six four-band curtain antennas suspended from four self-standing towers.  The total cost for this project was estimated at £8 million.  However, when the project was completed, only two shortwave transmitters were installed, both Marconi Model B6131 at 250 kW.
            An official ceremony took place on June 9, 1986 to mark the beginning of construction; two years later initial test transmissions were radiated; and the station was taken into regular service on September 25, 1988.  An opening ceremony was staged a few days later on October 7.  Programming beamed into East Africa was progressively transferred from the BBC Cyprus to this new station in the Seychelles.
            In order to ascertain the effective coverage area for the new BBC Indian Ocean Relay Station, the BBC offered full data QSL cards, though only for listeners in the target areas in Africa.  However, generally speaking, the staff at the Seychelles station did issue QSL cards for all reception reports sent direct to the station itself. 
            Programming for the BBC Seychelles came direct from London and it was made up usually of the BBC World Service in English, the BBC African Service, and programming in the Somali language.  This scheduling was on the air via the two transmitters in parallel for around a dozen hours daily.
            The first BBC FM station in the Seychelles was inaugurated in Victoria on 106.2 MHz in 1995; and this was followed in mid 2004 with the installation of two additional FM stations, at Anse Soleil on 105.2 and Pointe aux Sel on 105.6.
            The BBC celebrated the 20th anniversary of their Indian Ocean Relay Station on October 2, 2008.  At the time, they stated that 9 million people were listening to the relay programming from this shortwave station.
            Then five years later, they announced that the station would be closed.  The chosen date was Saturday March 29.  The shortwave station is now silent; though we understand that one of their downlink FM stations, Victoria, will remain on the air with programming from the BBC African Service.

 * Program Announcement - 12:16
            Allen Graham

* Canadian DX Report - 13:04
            Harold Sellers

* The World’s Most Inaccurate Scientific Measurement - 23:19
            As we are aware, the accepted measurement for a radio channel is expressed in metres or kilohertz.  Back a century or more ago, the usual measurement of the channel was given in the metric style, metres.  This term expressed the distance between two successive crests of the propagated radio signal, like the two successive waves in the sea.
            Initially, the actual wavelength of the earliest wireless transmitters was determined by the natural wavelength of the transmitting equipment together with the antenna system.  However, when the usage of tuned radio transmitters was introduced, a shift in terminology took place and the identification of radio channels began to change from wavelength in metres to frequency in kilocycles.     
            Back in those times, it was understood that the relationship between wavelength in metres and frequency in kilocycles was 1:300,000.  That is, if you divide wavelength or kilocycles into 300,000, then you will obtain the reciprocal.
            For example, the well known chonohertz station, WWV, transmits exactly on 10,000 kilohertz.  Divide that figure into 300,000 and you obtain the wavelength at exactly 30 metres.   However, we ask the question: How accurate is the accepted relationship between metres and kilocycles, or kilohertz as we say today?
            The exact length of a metre was accepted in the year 1791 as 1/10 millionth part of the distance from the equator to the North Pole at sea level.  In later years, this distance has been refined for greater accuracy, though the concept remains the same.
            This same distance, a metre, is also expressed as how far light will travel in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458th of a second.  As a comparison, light could travel seven times around the Earth in one second; and it takes light approximately 8 minutes to travel from the Sun to the Earth.  Now, electricity and light travel at the same speed.
            The number 299,792,458 is certainly almost 300,000,000, but not exactly.  In fact there is a
difference of 207,452, an error of approximately .07%.  Thus, if WWV is transmitting on exactly 10,000 kHz, then the exact wavelength would be approximately 29.98 metres, not exactly 30 metres, a difference of 2 centimetres, about ¾ inch.
            So, does this popular conversion rate between metres and kilohertz at 1:300,000 qualify as the world’s most inaccurate scientific measurement?  Yeah, probably!  Does it really matter?  No, probably not!

* Music of the World - 26:27
            Chechnya: Folk instrumental

* Closing Announcement - 26:44
            Thanks for listening to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
            Researched and written in Indianapolis
            Next week:-
                        1. On the Air Shortwave from India’s First Capital City: The Calcutta Story
                        2. The Origins of Early Shortwave Broadcasting
                        3. Indian DX Report
            Two QSL cards available - AWR & WRMI
            Wavescan address:-
                        Box 29235
                        Indiana 46229 USA
            Wavescan @
            Jeff White, shortwave WRMI

* Music Outrun - 27:59

* Program Ends - 28:55