Wavescan 469 Script for December 28, 2003

* Narrator: Year End Review

The olde year in the new century, 2003, is almost ended and the new year 2004 is just on the horizon.  The past year has been quite tumultuous for the international radio world and many significant changes and developments have taken place. 

Many knowledgeable radio authorities would state that the most significant development in international radio during the past year was the official commencement of digital shortwave broadcasting.  The DRM consortium in Europe launched a regular shortwave service in the digital mode at mid year and this implementation was highlighted at the European DX Convention at Konigstein near Frankfurt in Germany.

In the United States, the NASB organization took another step in the same direction with the inauguration of a series of digital shortwave  broadcasts from two different locations.  In the digital mode, these broadcasts are on the air from a VT Merlin transmitter at Rampisham in England and in the analog made the same programming is on the air from station WRMI in Miami Florida.

However, at the same time as digital shortwave broadcasting is making a successful introduction, analog broadcasting is still a major communication medium throughout the world.  New analog shortwave transmitters have been installed in Mongolia, in several countries of Africa, and at the AWR station on the island of Guam.  All India Radio has also installed two new high powered replacement transmitters, and China has installed a score of new shortwave transmitters at 500 kW each.

The new HCJB station in Australia is in the process of stabilizing its new equipment, a new Gospel station is planned for installation on the island of Madagascar, and All India Radio is poised ready to begin a new 24 hour news channel on shortwave with the use of many of its home service shortwave stations. 

Many of the major shortwave stations continue to relay their programming from relay transmitters located closer to their target areas.  The BBC, Voice of America, Radio France International, NHK Tokyo and Radio Australia can be heard from their own home based stations as well as from regional relay transmitters. 

This is also true with the gospel shortwave stations as well, and the programming from TWR, HCJB, FEBA & FEBC, as well as Adventist World Radio, can be heard from distant relay transmitters. In addition, while the home based shortwave transmitter was off the air for repairs, RNZI in New Zealand took out a temporary relay from Radio Australia Shepparton.

In addition to the leasing of time on shortwave relay transmitters, another matter of radio progress has been the establishment in key areas of additional relay transmitters in the FM band by the large international radio organizations.  However, even though this procedure can be quite successful, yet some countries in Africa have closed some of these dedicated relay transmitters due to unresolved political differences.

However, at the same time as there have been several major developments of a positive nature in the international radio world, there have also been several significant negative developments.  Most of the announced closures of shortwave services are brought about by a decrease in funding.

For example, All India Radio states that they will not repair or renovate ailing shortwave transmitters in their home service network.  Radio Denmark and Radio Mediterranian announce that they are closing their shortwave services at the end of the year, and several organizations are reducing their language output as an economy measure.  FEBA Radio closed their  shortwave station in the Seychelles Islands at mid year, though the BBC in the Seychelles remains on air.    

On the QSL scene, new cards have been issued by NASB in North America and by AWR in England.  Station HCJB is making available any of tfeir older QSL cards still in stock, and both Radio Prague International and Radio Slovakia International have issued a series of QSL cards for the year.  Radio Free Asia in Washington DC sent their representative over to the EDXC convention in Germany to announce that they are now issuing a new series of QSL cards at regular intervals.

* Voice of Prophecy Short

* The Wandering North Magnetic Pole

It was somewhere around one thousand years ago that the Chinese developed the earliest ancestor of the magnetic compass.  They discovered that a small piece of magnetic iron would always point in a northerly direction when floated carefully on a piece of wood or straw.

It is thought that this valuable aid to navigation was introduced to seafarers in the Mediterranian areas soon after its introduction in China.  As time went by, the crude piece of floating iron was replaced by a double pointed arrow pivoted carefully on a central point.

However, European sailors soon discovered that the direction that is shown by the magnetic compass can vary according to where in the world the ship happens to be located.  It was conjectured that the North Magnetic Pole was located somewhere at the top of the North American continent.

In 1829, an English explorer, James Clark Ross, set sail on his uncle’s ship in search for the specific location of the elusive Magnetic Pole in Canada’s North West Passage.  Their ship was trapped in the ice for four years, though they believed that they had found the exact location on an island called Boothia Felix.

In 1904, the Scandinavian explorer, Roald Amundsen, discovered that the North Magnetic Pole was moving northwards.  It is calculated that the North Magnetic Pole has moved in an irregular eliptical pattern during the past 400 years and that it can move as much as 40 kilometers in a year,.  Since the year 1931, this mobile magnetic wonder has moved a distance of 1,000 kilometers.

A few weeks back, the TV entertainment program, “Candid Camera”, made reference to the wandering North Magnetic Pole.  They quoted a CNN news report which stated that the North Magnetic Pole was moving across Canada towards Alaska and that it would be located in Siberia some time next year.

Back in the early years of wireless experimentation, several attempts were made to use the earth’s magnetic field as an aid to the international propagation of a wireless signal.  Some authorities state that the natural resonant frequency of the earth is just 7 Hertz, or 7 cycles per second. 

Different locations on the earth’s surface were tried and different procedures were implemented in an attempt to capitalize on the earth’s magnetic field and its natural radio frequency but there was no indication of any enhancement of the transmitted signal due to these factors.

* Worth While Web

*Global DX Report - Bob Padula, Melbourne, Australia

* ENGLAND: FEBA Radio is now on the air with a daily 15 minute service in English in the digital mode.  This broadcast is on the air from Radio Netherlands Flevo on 9850 kHz at 0945 UTC.

FEBA radio is also on the air from several relay sites in Russia & Armenia with programming beamed to India.  This is their schedule:-

Place kHz    UTC
Yerevan  7365 0030 - 0130
Tashkent              9485            1300 - 1345
Armavir                 9485             1400 - 1500
Novosibirsk           7110                      0500 - 0700 
Novosibirsk           9445            1400 - 1515

* AUSTRALIA: Voice International, with its studios in Queensland, has extended its transmission hours from their Darwin facility.  Morning broadcasts are now heard at these hours:-

UTC             kHz           Language
1800 - 2100 11685  English
2100 - 2300  9795           English
2200 - 0200 15165           Mandarin
2330 - 2400  9630            Indonesian

In addition, the programming of Radio Australia is also heard from the Darwin station at 2130 UTC to 2330 on 9630 kHz.

* IRAN: The VOIRI has restored its shortwave service to Australia and it is now on the air with this schedule:-

1030 - 1130 UTC  21470 kHz   21930 kHz
2130 - 2230 UTC  9780  kHz  11740 kHz 

Reception reports on these revived broadcasts are requested to their address in Tehran.

* HUNGARY: The IBB in Washington DC has taken out a new relay service from a 250 kW shortwave transmitter located near Budapest in Hungary.  This is the schedule:-

0300 - 0500 UTC 9520 kHz Radio Fee Europe in Russian
1700 - 1900 UTC 11835 kHz Radio Free Iraq in Arabic

At other times, this transmitter is on the air with the programming of Radio Budapest Hungary.   

* African DX Report - Livinus Torty, Chad, Africa

The African nation of Ghana has a land mass of a little more than a quarter million square kilometers.  It shares a common border in the west with the Ivory Coast, in the north with Burkina Faso, and in the east with Togo.  The southern edge of Ghana lies against the Atlantic Ocean. 

The population of Ghana is about 20 million inhabitants.  The capital city and the largest is Accra with 1.7 million.  The second largest city is Kumasi with half a million.  The major language is English, though many African languages are spoken including Gha, Twi, Ewe and Fante.

Radio broadcasting started in Ghana on July 31, 1925 from a relay station located in Accra.  At the time, Ghana was known as the Gold Coast.

In 1953 GCBS,  the Gold Coast Broadcasting Service was founded, and the name was changed to Ghana Broadcasting Serrvice in 1957 when the nation gained independence from Britain.

The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation as it is known today is active on mediumwave, shortwave and FM.  GBC is on the air with two program services and these are heard on the following channels, each at 50 kW:-

1548  kHz   mediumwave
3366  kHz   tropical shortwave
4915  kHz   tropical shortwave
6130  kHz   international shortwave

In addition, there are also a number of FM stations and networks throughout the country and these are operated by the government GBC service and also by commercial enterprises.   All of these radio services can be heard throughout Ghana as well as in nearby countries.

Three international broadcasting stations are also on the air in Accra, Ghana with FM relay transmitters.  These stations are the BBC London, Voice of America in Washington DC, and Radio France International from Paris.

* Program Outro

  • This has been WS469 with David Barasoain

  • Next week WS470: Unusual QSL Cards.  DX reports from Japan & North America.  Visiting IndIa and Investing in People.

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



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