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"Wavescan" is a weekly program for long distance radio hobbyists produced by Dr. Adrian M. Peterson, Coordinator of International Relations for Adventist World Radio. AWR carries the program over many of its stations (including shortwave). Adrian Peterson is a highly regarded DXer and radio historian, and often includes features on radio history in his program. We are reproducing those features below, with Dr. Peterson's permission and assistance.

Wavescan, August 15, 2010

The Long and Interesting Story of All India Radio, Hyderabad - Part 1

Some time ago, Jose Jacob, VU2JOS, at the National Institute of Amateur Radio in Hyderabad, India, sent us a batch of detailed information about the radio station located in his city of employment, Hyderabad Deccan. We have compiled our Station Profile on All India Radio Hyderabad this week with the usage of his information, together with additional research information taken from various other historical sources.

The city of Hyderabad itself has a very long and interesting history. According to the local story, the fourteen year old Sultan of Golconda fell in love with a beautiful village girl, Bhagmati. He later married her, and he also established a new village-city nearby, which he named Bhagynagar in her honor. "Bhagynagar" would mean "Bhagy Village". When Bhagmati became queen, she took a new name Hyder Mahal, and so the village of Bhagynagar was renamed Hyderabad. "Hyderabad" would mean "Hyder City".

The now large and illustrious city of Hyderabad traces its earliest origins to the year 1589 under the reign of Shah Muhammad, the Sultan of Golconda. The best known landmark in Hyderabad would have to be the Char Minar, a roadway building consisting of four joined minarets. This ornate structure was built in 1591, and it is still standing proudly today, more than four hundred years later.

In pre-federation days, the princely state of Hyderabad was the largest princely state in all of India. Back in those times, Hyderabad flew its own flag, issued its own currency and postage stamps, and it operated an airline, a railway system, and its own radio station.

At the time when India obtained independence from England in 1947, Hyderabad opted to become an independent country within the British Empire. However, a year later, under Operation Polo, Hyderabad was incorporated into the new nation of India. The state boundaries for Hyderabad were re-drawn, with various language areas carved off and added to the adjoining states where the same language was spoken.

However, the new Indian state of Andhra Pradesh as it was named, with the state capital Hyderabad, is still a huge territory, and it is the 4th largest state in India. The state language, Telugu, is the 3rd largest language in India. The nation of India recognizes 22 languages as official languages.

We go back to the very beginning of wireless in Hyderabad, and we find ourselves looking at the admittedly sparse information about the early communication station in the area. This original station, established somewhere around the year 1919, was located, not in Hyderabad itself, but rather in the nearby twin city, Secunderabad.

Station VWX was a spark wireless station established and operated by the Indian government for communication with other early spark wireless stations in British India. A report in an Australian radio magazine published in 1924 states that station VWX, along with eight other wireless stations throughout British India, was to be placed "in care of maintenance parties, which will keep the stations in running order and ready for service on six hours notice."

However, in spite of the fact that this historic wireless station was to be downgraded, available information would suggest that just the opposite took place. During the following year, 1925, a new spark station was installed and the station was given a new callsign, VWT.

And what happened subsequently to wireless station VWT? We just don't know. There is no known additional information. We can only guess that when the era of valve or tube transmitters came into vogue, then the station must have been closed.

The first known radio broadcasting station in Hyderabad was a very small one-watt unit constructed in 1933 by a postal official and installed in his own home on Chirag Ali Lane. As was the custom in those days, this transmitter was used at times with the broadcast of what we would call radio programming. The coverage area, with just one watt, would have been very small indeed.

During the following year, the Nizam of Hyderabad initiated the development of a radio broadcasting station which was inaugurated on February 3, 1935. This station became known as Deccan Radio.

On May 1, 1939, the foundation stone was laid for a substantial radio broadcasting station, and soon afterwards the new 5 kW facility was inaugurated on 730 kHz. This station was allocated the Indian callsign VUV, though some radio magazines at the time incorrectly listed the callsign as VUH. As time went by, this station was taken over by the Indian government and absorbed into the AIR nation wide radio network.

As often happened in the region in those days, a shortwave transmitter was installed with the mediumwave station. The best available information would suggest that this was an 800 watt unit and that it was inaugurated on December 1, 1948. This station is listed in two consecutive editions of the World Radio Handbook, 1949 and 1950, and it is shown as operating on 3335 and 6210 kHz. However, there are no known loggings of this small and somewhat temporary shortwave station.

OK, now that's as far as we can go in our story of radio broadcasting in Hyderabad, India, in this edition of Wavescan. We plan to present Part 2 in the story of Radio Broadcasting in Hyderabad here in Wavescan in two weeks time. So, you will want to keep listening for the concluding information in this fascinating story.

On the Air with AT&T in New Jersey

On several occasions recently, we have taken a close-up look at various important shortwave radio stations located somewhere in the eastern areas of the United States. Each of these historic radio stations also featured in experimental radio broadcasting with the relay of programming to other parts of the world. Each of these stations was also in use, at least on a temporary basis, by the Voice of America for the relay of programming to Europe, Africa, and the Pacific Rim countries during the earlier part of World War II.

While delving deeply into this interesting and half forgotten information, we came across some additional items of interest to those who like to learn more about wireless and radio in its early eras. In particular on this occasion, this information tells us more about the development of radio by the mighty conglomerate known as AT&T, the American Telegraph & Telephone Company.

You will remember that we presented the story of the two shortwave giants at Lawrenceville and Ocean Gate a few months ago. Both stations were owned and operated by AT&T, with its connections to the Bell telephone companies, and both were taken into service with VOA, the Voice of America.

In earlier years, there were several other experimental and communication radio stations operated by AT&T in the American state of New Jersey. And that's the story in this special feature in Wavescan today.

Deal Beach was one of the very early radio sites established by AT&T in New Jersey. Back in the year 1919, AT&T procured a site of 63 acres and established a mediumwave broadcasting station at this location. Experimental transmissions from station 2XJ, with 1 kW on 720 kHz began in March 1920.

This station was in use for experimental broadcasting and also for communication with nearby shipping. On one occasion, local amateur radio operators noted 2XJ in experimental communication with station KDOW, a 500 watt transmitter on board the passenger liner, S.S. America.

Another major purpose for station 2XJ was to experiment with the possibility of opening a radio phone service with England, and these trials began in the year 1922. As a result of these successful ventures, AT&T did open a radio telephone service to England, but this was from the large RCA transmitting station located at Rocky Point on Long Island. On another occasion we will present that story.

In the meantime, back to Deal Beach. Five years after station 2XJ was established, AT&T procured an additional 145 acres for expansion and they added several shortwave transmitters at this location, probably all around 10 or 20 kW. The main callsigns during this era were WOO, WNC, WND and WMI. However, as time went by, many of these callsigns were transferred to the better known AT&T station located at Ocean Gate.

The Deal Beach station was in constant usage for more than thirty years and it was often heard by radio monitors in the United States and the South Pacific. In 1953 the station was sold, and it was then leased by the new owners to the American army for use in tracking satellites.

More then twenty years later again, in the 1990s, the property was again sold, and it is now in use as a local community park for sports and festivals and other forms of recreation. This property is now known as the Joe Palaia Park.

Another important AT&T location in New Jersey was Whippany. This location was established back in the mid 1920s for the purpose of conducting experiments in both radio and television under the callsign W3XN. One of the broadcast transmitters was rated at a power of 50 kW and it was on the air with test broadcasts at night on either of two channels, 700 or 1000 kHz. The service on 1000 kHz was considered to be an official standard frequency broadcast, supplementary at the time to the well known chronohertz station WWV.

Experimental radio broadcasting also took place at Holmdel in New Jersey beginning in the year 1930. The programming for the experimental station W2XM was usually taken off a radio receiver tuned to a local mediumwave station. In the year 2006, more than seventy years after the facility was established, the property was sold and it was taken into use for housing development.

Cliffwood was another AT&T experimental radio broadcasting location in the American state of New Jersey. Back in the 1920s, the station at this location was on the air under the callsign W2XF.

We could also mention Mendham as another location operated by AT&T in New Jersey. The Bell telephone company installed a station here, licensed as W3XA. This was back in the early 1930s.

And in actual reality, AT&T, together with their other associated companies such as the Bell telephone companies, and Western Electric, operated many other facilities in New Jersey back in the 1920s and 1930s.

Each of these AT&T facilities scattered throughout the American state of New Jersey played its part in the development of local radio broadcasting, international radio broadcasting, and/or television. The station at Deal Beach began the story of the international radio telephone service with England, and the two shortwave stations at Lawrenceville and Ocean Gate were taken into usage for the programming of the Voice of America. We can remember also that the well known maritime callsign WOO began its career at Deal Beach, before it became the main callsign at the station located at Ocean Gate.