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December 1990

Whatever the benefits and burdens of Empire, it produced some great DX.

From what was then known as the Straits Settlements, BMBC came on the air in late 1938 and was well heard on the west coast until s/off at 0640 EST. It's QSL--a black and orange drawing of a Malayan sunset--was a real beauty.

ZHJ in Penang, Malaya, which broadcast on 6060 kHz. with 1 kw., was less often heard. It's QSL is shown at the top . . .

Ceylon's entry into high frequency broadcasting was by way of Britain's Radio SEAC (South East Asia Command). Starting in October 1944 as Forces Broadcasting Station ZOJ, broadcasting for just a few hours a day, it went to 7.5 kw. in 1945 and 100 kw. in 1946. Its broadcasting goals were entertainment, news, and a link with home, the latter evidenced by a regular Sunday night program beamed to the U.K. Radio SEAC received as many as 8,000 letters a month, mostly record requests, and adjusted the weekly programming based on the number of requests received. There were no full-time announcers--all of the 20 or 30 voices heard over the air belonged to people with other work, like scripting, producing, program compiling, etc. The station was a good verifier. It stayed in business until early 1949, when the facilities were handed over to the new Radio Ceylon. The special U.K. program continued even after the new management took over.