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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, November 14, 2010

American Radio Stations in Dutch New Guinea - On the Air in Hollandia

In our program today, we return to the shortwave radio scene on the island of New Guinea north of Australia in the South West Pacific. It is an interesting thing that the word Guinea has many different variations, meanings and usages. There are several countries in Africa and South America in which the word Guinea is a part of the country name. For example, there are Guinea Bissau and Equatorial Guinea in Africa, then there are the older names of Dutch Guiana and British Guiana in South America, and of course, New Guinea in the South Pacific.

In the world of nature, you can find a Guinea Fowl, or if you prefer, a Guinea Pig. Then too, there was the old English gold coin, a Guinea, first issued in the year 1663, that was valued at 21 shillings. The choice of the name came from the fact that the gold used for minting these coins came from the country of Guinea in Africa.

It is understood that the word Guinea came into the English language through the Portuguese language, and it was derived from an African language, Berber, in which it described the original Hamitic people living there.

In our radio topic today, we go to the Indonesian side of the island of New Guinea. If you picture the shape of the island as the shape of a bird, their Bird of Paradise if you please, you would find the city of Hollandia near the top of the back of the bird, just inside the old Dutch border.

The city of Hollandia was established by the Dutch in the year 1910 as a center for colonial administration. Back during the past century, Hollandia has undergone half a dozen name changes and among its previous names are Kota Baru and Sukarnapura; and today it is Jayapura. However, at the time of today's radio story, it was still known as Hollandia.

On a previous occasion we presented the story of the American exploration station in Hollandia, PK6XX, and so, on this occasion, we tell the story of the two subsequent shortwave radio stations at this same location.

Actually, these two large shortwave stations were erected almost side by side in Hollandia. One was erected by the U. S. navy and it was in use for communication purposes, and sometimes for the forwarding of news and information for use in Australia and the United States. The other station was erected specifically at the request of General Douglas MacArthur primarily for the forwarding of news reports and commentaries for use in Australia and the United States, and it was also used at times for regular communication purposes.

It is not known as to which station was taken into use first, but the MacArthur communication station was the first noted on air. Identifying with the self-granted irregular callsign XBC, this station was initially noted in Australia in October 1944 with the relay of news and commentaries for re-broadcast in the United States.

Over a period of time, station XBC was noted on more than half a dozen shortwave channels, and always with some form of news reports for re-broadcast on the NBC and ABC Networks in the United States. However, these regular daily broadcasts were not beamed directly to North America, but rather to Brisbane in Australia. Here they were received at the American receiving station located at Capabala on the edge of Brisbane and re-transmitted to the United States via the nearby station located at Hemmant.

Available information would suggest that the temporary station XBC, as it was described, was in use for probably a little less than a year. The evidence would suggest that the transmitters at XBC were probably in the range of 10 kW and less. The specific location for this station was at Skyline, Hollandia, in Dutch New Guinea, now known as Jayapura in Irian Jaya. It is reported that some of the 65 year old aerial masts are still standing in the original location.

The other communication shortwave station at Hollandia was located on Signal Hill, and the area is still known under this title to this day. It was constructed by the United States navy, it was inaugurated at around the same time during the year 1944 as the other shortwave station, and it was in use for round about the same time span.

In November 1944, two callsigns known to be in Dutch New Guinea were heard in Australia with what we understand was the transfer of news commentaries. These stations were WVLS on 18270 kHz and WLVC on 14830 kHz and it would be presumed that these shortwave relays were from the American navy station located at Hollandia. The callsigns WVLS and WLVC appear to be self-allocated callsigns similar to the callsign WVLC which was in use during that same era by the radio ship Apache. It is known that the Apache was in the area at the time.

Interestingly, as mentioned in Wavescan last week, the shortwave communication service to the Philippines that was in operation from station KAZ at Adelaide River in the Northern Territory of Australia, was transferred to this navy station in Hollandia, New Guinea on November 21, 1944.

However, when the American personnel in Hollandia moved away later during the years 1944 and 1945, the two temporary shortwave stations at Hollandia were closed. It is known that the navy station KAZ was re-located in the Philippines, and we would guess that the equipment from the communication station XBC was also transferred for use in the Philippines.

Radio Panorama RP5: The Discovery of Electricity

According to the World Book Encyclopedia, "everything is basically electrical". What they meant by this statement is that all matter, everywhere on planet Earth, and way out in space also, is made up of tiny particles of electricity.

The latest research in science indicates that the smallest single unit of matter is an atom. Each atom is very minute, and each atom is made up of positive and negative particles of electricity. Thus, strange as it may seem, everything we see and touch is made up of tiny electrical particles.

Some students of the Bible have suggested that when God called into existence light at the time of the original creation of planet Earth, He was in reality calling into existence the electrical particles that make up all matter. It has been demonstrated that visible light is part of the total electronic spectrum at a very high frequency. In earlier days, experimental radio broadcasts were made using the light section of the electronic spectrum, way above the highest frequencies in use these days for satellite broadcasting.

In our practical world, there are two forms of electricity; one is described as static electricity, and the other is described as current electricity.

Way back nearly three thousand years ago, experimenters in Greece observed that small beads of amber when rubbed with a cloth attracted small pieces of straw. Amber is a hard yellowish substance formed anciently from the resin of a pine tree. When buried over a period of time, the resin formed into what is called amber. It was the famous ancient Greek writer, Homer, that made reference in his Odyssey to "a golden chain of exquisite workmanship strung with amber beads that gleamed in the sun".

Two hundred years later, it was Thales, a Greek philosopher that named this phenomenon elektron, from which we derive our modern word, electricity. Another Greek philosopher, Plato, made similar observations a century later. Likewise, so did Pliny the Elder in Italy around 100 BC.

Over in England, the noted physician William Gilbert scientifically described the electrical properties of other materials, such as sulfur, glass and resin, around 1600 AD, and he named this unique phenomenon in the language of the day, electricus.

It was from the accumulated discoveries regarding static electricity that experiments were devised in what we call current electricity. In the year 1646, Sir Thomas Browne, another physician in England, was the first to use the now modern word, electricity.

In the 1700s, Stephen Gray, also in England, discovered that certain substances, such as various metals would conduct electricity, but other substances, such as wood, do not conduct electricity. Just 33 years later, a Frenchman, Charles du Fay, discovered the positive and negative charges of electricity, though it was the celebrated American, Benjamin Franklin, who gave the actual names to the flow of electricity, negative and positive.

Interestingly, we usually think of electricity as flowing from positive to negative, though it is demonstrated that the reverse is true; electricity flows from the negative to the positive.

It was in Italy, around the 1800s, that Alessandro Volta discovered that electricity can be generated chemically, by using different metals separated by a conducting liquid. His invention was named the voltaic pile, which was in reality, the first known battery cell.

It had been demonstrated in earlier times that electricity passing though a wire created a magnetic field. At this stage, two men working quite independently in two different countries began to experiment with the opposite concept. If an electric current passing through a wire produces a magnetic field, then maybe a magnet passing over a wire could produce electricity, which of course is quite true.

It was Michael Faraday in England and Joseph Henry in the United States who were working on this concept simultaneously though separately in the year 1831. Both men discovered that a moving magnet produced electricity in a coil of wire. This of course is the principal in the regular generation of electricity.

This generation procedure was implemented in the year 1879 by the California Electric Light Company and they placed in commercial operation the world's first central power plant that sold electricity to private customers. During the following year, New York City got its first electric generating station when Charles Bush constructed a new facility on 25th Street. This unit provided electricity for local lighting. Very quickly, similar electricity generators were installed in many cities throughout the United States.

During this initial era, power generation was always direct current DC, not alternating current AC. However, as time went by, it was discovered that the transmission of AC current was more efficient than the transmission of DC current.

Thus it was that the world's first hydro-electric power plant, the mighty giant constructed on the edge of the Niagara Falls, was an AC operation. This station, utilizing the flow of water to turn its huge generators, was opened in 1895 and it provided power to the city of Buffalo in New York state. From this time onwards, electricity has begun to flow through connecting wires in just about every place throughout our world.

Now, here is an interesting experiment. We are aware that the flow of an AC alternating electric current produces a rise in temperature. Wires get warm, electric stoves get hot. However, for example, if you pass a DC direct current through a block of aluminium, the temperature of the block of metal begins to cool down.