Adventist World Radio

Wavescan  program #519 -- 51/1



Main Script for Wavescan, Edition number 519 for airing on Sunday12/12/2004. 


Host 2

From the studios of Adventist World Radio, This is Wavescan.

Host 1

Our programme for shortwave listeners and radio hobbyists from around the world.   I’m ___________ (Host 1).

Host 2

And I’m ____________ (Host 2).


Bring music up and then down. 

Host 1

In today’s edition of Wavescan – we solve a 65 year old radio mystery


We travel to Jamaica to find out how a melting pot of nationalities and cultures contributes to the Christmas season.

IC DX report

Get the latest DX news and tips from Europe


And: Life and death at Christmas.  Joel Priest shares a very memorable Christmas.


PAUSE HERE  . . .  with music fade in.

Host 2

So let’s start in with our Wavescan topic for this week.  Here’s Steve Hamstra to solve an 65 year old radio mystery.


WAVESCAN TOPIC  (5 minutes)  Normally read by Student Volunteer


Play Wavescan topic: For more than 60 years, a mystery logging in the United States of a shortwave station "down under" has remained unidentified.  The listener was John Clark who was the Pacific Coast editor of "Shortwave Flashes", the regular monthly column in the American magazine, "Radio News".  In the October issue for the year 1939, this is what he says:-


          "An unidentified broadcaster, speaking English and believed to be located somewhere in Australia, has been heard irregularly near 5:00 am on approximately 7.17 megacycles."                    (Radio News, October 1939, page 53)


          This monitoring observation raises three questions, and we would ask: 

1. Why was an Australian shortwave station listed as unidentified? 

2. Why was an Australian shortwave station on the air in the 41 metre band when this band was specifically allocated for use only by amateur radio   operators?

3. Why was this station not reported by shortwave listeners in Australia?


          This puzzling entry in a 65 year old radio magazine spurred on a search for answers, and this is what we found.  The first reference in this American magazine to a new shortwave station in Australia is found in the July issue in 1939 where it is stated that a new 2 kW station was under installation at Wanneroo (WON-a-ROO; WON rhymes with DON) in Western Australia.  This new station would relay ABC programming to country areas of Western Australia under the callsign VLW for which three channels had been authorized; 6130 9560 & 11830 kHz.


          Twenty four pages later in the same issue, there is a report of an unidentified  shortwave station heard in California on 11850 kHz and speaking with a British Empire accent.  We know that work on the antenna system for VLW began several weeks earlier, so it would seem then that this unidentified "British Empire speaking station" had to be an initial test broadcast from the new VLW.  The monitored channel, 11850 kHz, was very close to one of the authorized channels for VLW, anyway.


          Two months later again, "Radio News" reported that many listeners in the United States were hearing test broadcasts in English from a shortwave station on 6130 kHz presumed to be in Australia.  This channel was indeed one of the authorized channels for this new station, so these monitoring observations also had to be from the new VLW.


          Now, the difficult channel, 7170 kHz.  Every indication would point to the fact that these test broadcasts were coming from the new 2 kW VLW at Wanneroo near Perth in Western Australia.  But why 7 MHz in the 41 metre band.  Was this not illegal at the time? 


          Well, the answer is no.  Reports in several radio magazines around that era state that the 41 metre band was opened for broadcast usage around the middle of that same year 1939.  In any case, most amateur radio stations around the world left the air at the beginning of September due to the commencement of the European Conflict.  Thus, when the supposedly unidentified broadcasts were heard in the 41 metre band, it was now legal to use this band, and the band was now wide open for distant coverage.  


          Now for the third question; How come American listeners were hearing all of these test broadcasts from the new VLW, but no one in Australia seemed to be hearing them?  Two answers.  One is that these test broadcasts were on the air mostly into the late night in Australia when most people are well asleep, but daylight was coming into North America when people are awakening to the new day.  The other answer is that the antenna beam for these transmissions was directed North East, thus giving good propagation into North America, but missing almost entirely the populated coastal areas of eastern Australia. 


          That was all 65 years ago.  Thus the enigmatic statement that has stood staring at the inquisitive reader for the past 65 years now seems to be solved.  All of the available evidence points to the fact that the supposedly unidentified shortwave station has to be none other than the ABC relay station, VLW, located at Wanneroo, near Perth in Western Australia. 


          But station VLW is now gone also, and all that is left are the memories of older shortwave listeners, entries in radio magazines, and exotic verification cards in distant QSL collections.


Host 1

Thank you Steve, and that’s the mystery solved.

Host 2

You’re listening to Wavescan and if you’d like to write or comment on any of the issues arising in today’s programme, Our address is,  AWR, 39 Brendon St . . .   Or e-mail  Those details again at the end of the programme.


Travelogue  (5 minutes)

Host 1

On any Jamaican passport you'll find the motto "Out of Many One People." In the second of our Christmas visits we travel to Jamaica with our international Correspondent Monica Johnson to find out how a melting pot of nationalities and cultures has contributed to the Christmas season.


Play Travelogue: 1866:Christmas --Jamaica Style ®:

IN:  MUSIC (IN) . .  "The hem of my skirt started to flutter and dance in the breeze. I smiled . . ."


OUT: " . .peace and love to you this Christmas season." MUSIC (OUT)

Host 1

Thanks for that Monica. Makes me wish I was spending the Christmas season on the golden sands of the Caribbean. But whether here or there surely it doesn't matter when we consider the fact that Jesus came to this earth to die so that we can have the choice to live with Him forever in the truest paradise of all.


P A U S E    H E R E    P L E A S E


DX Report (IC and/or programme hosts)  (4 minutes IC and 2 minute host tips.  Total 6 minutes.)

Host 2

You’re listening to Wavescan, Adventist World Radio’s programme especially for shortwave listeners and radio hobbyists.  Next week we’ll be taking a look at Christmas in Pakistan --  but now, in the run-up to Christmas, here’s our European DX reporter, Christopher Lewis with some tips for the free time you may get, around your radio, this holiday time. . . .


DX Report

Host 2

Thank you Christopher.  Now, as you may be aware, Wavescan is moving home.  From January it will no longer be produced here in England but will come under the care of AWR’s Asia Pacific Region and a man with many years of broadcast and media experience, AWR’s Akinori Kaibe.  As you may be able to tell from the name, Akinori is Japanese – and that may be appropriate as there are probably more DXers in Japan than any other country in the world.  Indeed, looking at our reception reports over the years we can say fairly accurately that the majority of our reports come from listeners in the Asia Pacific region although we do recognise that we have faithful Wavescan listeners all over the world.


As we mentioned in an earlier programme, the whole English Language Service for AWR is changing and will work on a regional model with programmes for Africa being produced at three studios within Africa and programmes for Asia also being locally produced.  Within that decision is a desire to make programming more intentional for specific listeners in each area.  Our African transmitters will stop carrying Wavescan as we recognise that there are very few DXers in Africa.  While we get a large African mailbag only a very few of those letters are reception reports. Thus our Sunday programme in Africa will be more directly targeted towards the needs of those listeners who have been writing in.


In Asia there is still a great interest in DXing, so in the New Year you can still tune in every Sunday to all the English Language transmissions from KSDA on Guam and hear your favourite programme.  You will have a new host and you will hear a different sound to the programme but with the same expertise of Dr Adrian Petersen advising the new producers. 


You will also have a new mailing address in Singapore which we will give you in two weeks time – so stay tuned then for more details.


Akinori Interview


Feature  (5 minutes) 

Host 2

Your listening to Wavescan On Adventist World Radio – where we now turn to a story of hope, at Christmas time.

Host 1

Joel priest is a nurse, working in the outpatients department of her local hospital – a job she thoroughly enjoys.  But Christmas is not a good time for illness –and particularly for meningitis.  Joel takes up the story. . .


Play Feature 75: Xmas '98:

A doctor came that day, A consultant I was working with. . .


Feature end:  . . . in Jesus he gave his life, and in Jesus we’ll receive life, and I thought “what a beautiful Christmas gift he gave us, to all of us.”

Host 2  ---

Joel Priest sharing her bitter sweet Christmas story – and the greatest Christmas gift of all – Jesus Christ.


1  Host 2

And that brings us to an end of this week’s edition of Wavescan – a production of Adventist World Radio.  Next week we will be:

1.  visiting towers of mystery

2.  getting the background to the Chronohertz Station WWV

3.  learning about Christmas in Pakistan

4.  and visiting Bethlehem.

2  Host

Your reception reports, tips and comments are always welcomed.  Here’s our address:

3  Host

AWR, 39 Brendon St, London, W1, England, or e-mail us at  

4  Host

That’s also the address for your Bible questions or free Bible Guides:  AWR, 39 Brendon St, London, W1, England, or e-mail us at  

5 Host

Wavescan is written and produced by Adrian Peterson and Steve Hamstra.  You can find it on the web at:  I’m . . . (Me)

6 Host

. . . and I’m . . .  (You) Thanks for joining us.


Solved - 65 Year old Radio Mystery


VLW Test Broadcasts as Listed in Radio News




Year     Date    Time    UTC     kHz     Information                                                                        Reference


1939    Jun                                  SW  2 kW VLW under construction, 6130 9560 11830          RN 7-39 42

            Jun      4:15     1115    11850  English with British Empire accent                                  RN 7-39 66

            Aug                                  SW  New 2 kW under construction            , 6130 9560 11830           RN 9-39 45

            Aug      MN      0500      6130  English, reported by many listeners in USA                    RN 9-39 52

            Sep      0530    1230      7170  Australian station heard in USA with irregular tests     RN 10-39 53

            Oct                                  SW  New VLW Perth expected on air soon 3 channels       RN 11-39 40

            Nov                                  SW  New VLW Perth expected on air soon 3 channels       RN 12-39 41


Solved - 65 Year old Radio Mystery


"Impossible" Shortwave Stations




Territory  Location       Call                  Information                                                                        Reference


ACT     Canberra         VHP                 Still under construction, not yet on air                                       R&H

NSW   Pennant Hills   VK2ME            On air on 9590 kHz at 5:00 am                                       RN 9-39 46

                                    VLK                 No frequency in use below 9 MHz                                        WS 402 

                                    VLM                 No frequency in use below 9 MHz                                        WS 402

                                    VLQ                 7 MHz began in 1940 after antenna modifications       AMP-RA 638

                                    VLI                   7 MHz service began in 1942                                       AMP-RA 638

Vic       Braybrook        VK3ME            Seldom heard USA, only broadcast channel 9500               WS404

            Lyndhurst        VLR                 Loud signals in USA on 9580 kHz at 5:00 am               RN 8-39 42

Q         Bald Hills         VLQ                 Still in planning stage, 1st broadcast in 1943                        WS475

WA      Applecross      VK6ME            Seldom heard in USA only channel 9590 kHz                      WS422 

PNG    Port Moresby   VIG                  Seldom heard USA seldom on air with programs                 WS435

Fiji        Suva                VPD2               Seldom heard in USA, only channel 9535 kHz                     WS430

Ship     Australia          VK9MI              Kanimbla, only broadcast channel 49 m                               WS397

Ship     N Zealand        ZMBJ               Not on air this era, earlier broadcast channel 8840              WS411

NZ        Wellington       ZL                    Only LP stations, new station not yet built                                 R&H

NZ        Dunedin           ZL4ZF              Relay 4ZB on 4250 during snow emergency                RN 12-39 46









Solved - 65 Year old Radio Mystery


Only Possible Station




Territory  Location       Call      Year  Date       Information                                                            Reference


WA      Wanneroo       VLW    1938 Sept        Station under construction                        LI 79.24 29-10-38

                                                1939                MW 6WN transferred from GPO                           RHA 26 2

                                                1939 May         VLW towers under erection                    R&H 79.11 6-39 59

                                                1939 Jul           Test broadcasts expected soon             R&H 79.11 7-39 55

                                                1939 Aug         New VLW expected on air soon              ARW 77.8 7-39 39

                                                1939 Oct 19    Test broadcasts heard from new 2 kW transmitter   RHA26

                                                1939 Nov 22    1st tests heard in Australia                     R&H 79.11 1-40 66

                                                1939 Dec        Frequency tests heard in Australia         R&H 77-10 1-40 67

                                                1939 Dec        Test broadcasts heard in Australia          ARW 77.8 1-40 32

                                                1939 Dec 12   VLW officially opened                                          ABC 79.7 5

                                                1940 Dec        VLW on air regularly             R&H 77.10 Christmas 1939 67


Solved - 65 year old Radio Mystery


41 Metre Band



Year    Date    Information                                                                                                         Reference


1939   Jul       1st listing of stations heard in new 41 metre band in R&H            R&H 79.11 8-39 52

1939               New 41 m band has been approved for use                                               RN 11-39 40






Solved - 65 Year old Radio Mystery


Australasian Shortwave QSLs during this Era



Year  Date       Call      Land     kHz    M         Card                            Listener           Land          Reference


1931 Jul 3        ZL3ZC NZ      6 MHz  50 m    Text card                     Clench             NZ                       AWR

1936 Feb 21    VK3LR Vic        9580  31.31   PMG card                    Sanderson      NZ                       AWR

1937 Feb 13    VK3ME Vic        9510  31.55   Antenna map               Williams          USA                    AWR

1937 Jul 10      VPD2   Fiji                               Fishing scene             Osborne          NZ                       AWR

1937 Aug 5      VK9MI  Aust      6010  49.92   Kanimbla photo           Osborne          NZ                       AWR

193x                ZMBJ   NZ         8840  33.84   Awatea art drawing     Osborne          NZ                       AWR

1938 Mar 17    VK6ME WA       9590  31.28   Swan map                   Bergen                        USA                    AWR

1938 Jan 2      VK2ME NSW    9590  31.28   Kookaburra map         Hughes            England              AWR           

1939 Dec 30   VLQ2   NSW  11870  25.27   Form letter                                                                     AWR

1940 Feb         VLW    WA       3SW  3SW   1st QSL card, PMG    Simpson          Australia  RH 3-40 58

1940 Aug 22    VLW4  WA       9665  31.04   Orange kangaroo        Fox                  NZ                       AWR

1940 Aug 22    VLR     Vic        9580  31.32   Orange kangaroo        Fox                  MZ                      AWR

19xx                 VLW    WA       3SW  3SW   PMG card                    ---                    USA                 CPRV

1941 Oct         VIG      PNG   15770  19.02   Plain postcard             Simpson          Australia RH10-41 54 

1943 Feb 25    VLN     NSW  10525  28.50   Form letter                                                                     AWR

1945 Mar 17    VLQ2   Q          7215  41.58   PMG card                    AMP                 Australia             AMP