Wavescan 459 Script for October 19, 2003

*Narrator: Thirty Years with Family Radio Shortwave

* DWCD 87: Family Radio, To God be the Glory, 40 secs

At the present time, Family Radio WYFR on shortwave in Florida is broadcasting a lengthy series of special programs in honor of their 30th anniversary.  It was on October 20, 1973 that Family Radio took over the large and historic shortwave station situated at Scituate (SIT-you-ate) in Massachusetts and began to feed it with their Gospel programming.

The story of their station goes back a long way, almost to the very beginning of shortwave broadcasting.  The early origins of this station can be traced back to New York City in 1927 when Walter Lemmon obtained a shortwave licence for a station with the callsign W2XAL.  At the time, this shortwave station took a tandem relay from the mediumwave station WRNY.

In the following year, the shortwave outlet was sold to a commercial company, Aviation Radio.  However, three years later, Walter Lemmon was again granted the license for this station and he transferred it to Boston where the callsign was changed from W2XAL to W1XAL.

Five years later, in the year 1936, Walter Lemmon purchased a large property at Hatherly Beach, near Scituate, for the purpose of installing a large international shortwave station.  His first transmitter at this new location was a 20 kW unit under the same callsign, W1XAL. A second unit, W1XAR was added shortly afterwards.

In 1939 the callsigns at Hatherly Beach were regularized, first to WSLA & WSLR, and then to WRUL & WRUW.  Soon after a spate of government service with VOA programming for Europe, Africa & Latin America, the station was sold a couple of times, with one callsign change, and finally Family Radio took over on October 20, 1973 with the callsign WYFR.

Over the years several additional transmitters were installed at WRUL, including WDJM from Miami and WBOS from Hull.  After a disastrous fire in 1967, the station was rebuilt with five new transmitters.

Four years after Family Radio procured the station, they began to transfer the transmitters from Hatherly Beach to their new property near Lake Okeechobee in Florida.  The first transmitter at the new location was activated on November 23, 1977; and subsequently a total of 14 transmitters were installed at this very large facility.  The final broadcast from WYFR at the Scituate location ended at 2052 UTC on November 16, 1979.

These days, Family Radio is on the air worldwide with 24 hours of programming in eleven languages from their fourteen transmitters in Florida as well as from a series of relay transmitters in Europe, the Middle East and Taiwan.  They also operate a home service network of FM and AM stations across the United States totalling somewhere around one hundred stations.

On this occasion here in Wavescan, we honor Family Radio on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of their shortwave broadcasting which began in 1973 from a now historic radio site on the eastern shore of the North American continent.

* DWCD 87: Family Radio, To God be the Glory, 40 secs

* Voice of Prophecy Short

* Radio Anniversary in Western Australia

It was on October 19, 1939 that the first test transmissions went on the air from the new ABC shortwave station at Waneroo (won-e-ROO, the first syllable rhymes with Don) in Western Australia, just 64 years ago today.  The station is long since gone, but the story is still very interesting

The Waneroo station was established out in a country area some fifteen miles north west of the state capital, Perth, and it was originally designed for use as a large mediumwave facility.  The first transmitter at this new site was a 5 kW unit for mediumwave 6WF in Perth and this was installed in 1932.

Then in 1939, another ABC station, 6WN, was transferred from its city location atop the GPO building and installed as a 2 kW unit at Waneroo.  Simultaneously, another 2 kW transmitter was also installed at Waneroo for coverage of outback areas in Western Australia and this was the shortwave unit VLW.

The first test broadcasts from the new shortwave transmitter went on the air with a relay from the two mediumwave stations on October 19, 1939, and the first test broadcasts to Africa with programming from the new “Australia Calling” went on the air a few weeks later, on January 24.  However, the new service to Africa was terminated just one year later, due to the fact that it was difficult to obtain an experienced announcer in the Afrikaans language, and also because of unreliable coverage in Africa from the low powered 2 kW transmitter.

In October, test transmissions were run for coverage into Indonesia, but these also suffered from interference and unreliable coverage. 

In 1959, the entire station was rebuilt and three shortwave transmitters were installed, two at 10 kW and one at 50 kW.  These three units were on the air under the two callsigns, VLW & VLX, and at times, the programming from Radio Australia in Melbourne was relayed by all three of these transmitters for coverage into Africa and Asia.  Ten years later, the VLX callsign was amalgamated into VLW, due to the fact that all three shortwave transmitters were at times on the air simultaneously with the same ABC  programming.

Towards the end of 1993, the ABC announced that they planned on closing the VLW shortwave service.  The equipment was now very old, housing estates were encroaching on the Waneroo site, and the number of listeners in the outback areas had dwindled due to alternative methods of radio and TV delivery.

The first closure date was announced for December 14, 1993.  However, several hundred listeners in the north west objected to the closure of their only ABC radio coverage, and the date was extended for a few more weeks, so that alternative radio coverage could be explored.  The final closure date was January 21, 1994 at 2200 UTC.  And that was the end of VLW, the ABC shortwave service for the outback areas of Western Australia.

* Worth While Web

* Vienna DX Report

Just recently, our DX editor, Dr Adrian Peterson, visited Vienna in Austria, and while there, he tuned across the radio bands.  Here are some of his monitoring observations.

* VIENNA: A hotel location in downtown Vienna proved to be an excellent location for tuning across the radio bands, longwave, mediumwave, and shortwave.   Strangely, very little electrical noise was noted, even with trams running in the street nearby, and radio signals were readily received inside the solid stone building.

* LONGWAVE: Some of the high powered longwave stations in nearby countries were noted, including the following:-  

177 kHz  Germany 500 kW Live concert program at 1805 UTC
225  kHz  Poland     1,000  kW Folk music program at 1815
 270 kHz  Czechia   750  kW Program of contemporary English vocals

On mediumwave, several different countries were noted during the evening, including the following:- 

540 kHz    2,000 kW Hungary    Commentary in Hungarian
639 kHz  1,500 kW Czechia      Folk music and interviews
792 kHz  500  kW Greece           Interviews and folk music
1197 kHz  300 kW Germany     VOA relay in English, news & comment
1467  kHz  1,000 kW Monte Carlo Gospel program, Trans World Radio
1476 kHz  60 kW Austria           Bisamberg, with Austrian folk music

On shortwave, all five of the current Home Service stations in Germany in the 49 & 41 metre bands were noted.  Also logged was the Hungarian station on 3975 kHz, and Mauretania on 4845 kHz.  The 100 kW VOA station in Sao Thome on 4950 kHz was heard at a very good level, as was also Turkmenistan on 4930 & 5015 kHz.

The Swedish relay of Radio Canada International on 5850 kHz was also a strong signal, though Armenia on 4810 kHz was at a low level.  And finally, India was noted with cinema tunes at 1735 UTC on 4790 kHz.  This is the 100 kW transmitter of All India Radio located at Chennai.    

* South Pacific DX Report - Paul Ormandy

* Program Outro

          + This has been WS459 with David Barasoain

          + Next week WS460: A special broadcast to honor the introduction of digital shortwave broadcasting.

          + Address: Wavescan, 39 Brendon St, London W1H 5HD, England.


* Theme

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