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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 7, 2011

Early Shortwave in Pakistan: Lahore

The history of the city of Lahore in Pakistan goes so far back that its earliest origins are lost in the mists of antiquity. It is thought that the city was named in honor of its apparent founder Price Loh, a Hindu prince who moved into the area from a neighboring kingdom.

The Greek military general, Alexander the Great, together with his wandering army, bypassed the area in the year 325 BC; and it is possible that the Egyptian historian Ptolemy mentioned Lahore under a similar name a hundred years later; and then, the Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang visited the area in the 600s AD. It seems that the oldest genuinely authentic document mentioning Lahore by name is lodged in the British Museum, dated 982.

As the centuries went by, Lahore was conquered by many invaders; from other Indian states, from Turkey, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Persia. The British came in 1839; and when Pakistan gained its independence at "Freedom at Midnight" in 1947, Lahore became the capital city of Pakistani Punjab, the largest state in the newly declared country.

These days, Lahore is a flourishing city of ten million people, the second largest in the country of Pakistan. Its edge is just 15 miles from the border with India; and its tourist attractions include the Shalimar Gardens, the Red Fort, and the Badshahi Masjid.

English cricket is their most popular sport; and Lahore was at one time the home court for world champion squash players. Lahore is also a production center for movie films under the name, not Hollywood in California, nor Bollywood in Bombay, but Lollywood in Lahore.

As noted here in Wavescan some time ago, Radio Pakistan Lahore was the temporary headquarters for Radio Pakistan in the new, fledgling country; and at the time, a single 5 kW transmitter on 1086 kHz was on the air under the new callsigns APL. The only other radio broadcasting station in West Pakistan at the time was the smaller APP located on the edge of Peshawar.

Two years after partition, a small 250 watt shortwave transmitter was installed in Lahore as the first stage of a wider radio coverage. The compass bearings for the new facility indicate that it was located in a vacant area near the railway station in a locality known as Faiz Bagh.

At the time, Radio Pakistan announced that plans were underway for the installation of a 7.5 kW shortwave transmitter, one of several new units intended for installation throughout Pakistan. The stated power level of the new transmitter indicates that it would be a unit built by the English Marconi factory at Chelmsford, out from London in England. However, this planned intent was never fulfilled.

The original .25 kW shortwave transmitter in Lahore was inaugurated on November 1, 1949, stated an international radio monitor by the name of Sampat, living somewhere in India. The original frequency, he stated, was 6075 kHz, though other sources indicated that another channel, 11740 kHz was also in use at the time.

Two years later, this small radio station was logged in New Zealand on 4810 kHz, with a news relay from Karachi. It would be suggested that this was an off air shortwave relay, because at the time, there was no reliable telephone service covering the 1,000 mile distance between the two cities. In fact, two years later again, an international radio monitor in England heard shortwave APL2 on an adjacent channel, 4805 kHz, and the station announcement indicated that it was indeed an off air shortwave relay, and the Karachi channel was 11674 kHz.

In January 1953, a listener in Australia heard this same low powered station on 3465 kHz, when it was still apparently on its original low power.

The records show that a 1 kW shortwave transmitter was installed later the same year, and a few months later the older transmitter was removed from service. The listed geographic co-ordinates show that this new transmitter was installed at a location on Multan Road, somewhat south west from Lahore city. The station engineer at the mediumwave location on Multan Road, a mile south of the headquarters campus of the Adventist church in Pakistan, confirmed back more than 40 years ago, that this was indeed the actual location of the 1 kW shortwave transmitter, APL3.

Interestingly, the World Radio TV Handbook gives a list of as many as 21 shortwave channels registered for use by APL3, the 1 kW shortwave unit of Radio Pakistan Lahore. However, monitoring reports at the time show that no more than three channels were in use, 4885, 6160 and 7245 kHz.

However, due to the fact that mediumwave coverage was becoming the accepted mode for radio coverage throughout Pakistan, transmitter APL3 was removed from service during the year 1968. Apparently a transmitter fault was the immediate reason for the closure, but the transmitter was never repaired and reactivated for service on the air.

Two years later, Radio Pakistan announced that a new 10 kW shortwave transmitter would be installed at Lahore, replacing the current 5 kW unit. However, the events of radio history tell us that there never was a 5 kW shortwave transmitter in Lahore, and neither was the projected 10 kW unit ever installed.

Thus, Radio Pakistan Lahore was on the air shortwave with two different transmitters at two different locations. The 250 watt unit within the city was on the air for five years from 1949 to 1954, and the 1 kW unit was on the air for 15 years at an out of town location along Multan Road.

All programming was taken from the Lahore studios of Radio Pakistan, and the shortwave transmitter was always in parallel with one of the local mediumwave stations. Some programming was produced in the Lahore studios, and other programming was taken on relay from Karachi and co-ordinated in Lahore.

A total of four different QSL cards are known for the verification of Radio Pakistan Lahore under the shortwave callsigns, either APL2 or APL3, though all four designs are rather similar. These cards show the stylized Pakistani symbol of the crested moon in green, with a list of active radio stations, mediumwave and shortwave, in both West and East Pakistan as they were at the time.

Radio Panorama RP12: Early Speech Transmissions

In our continuing series of topics on the development of wireless and radio throughout the past more than 100 years, we come to the time now when experiments were made in the transfer of speech from one location to another. It is during this experimental era that wireless begins to turn into radio, and the equipment begins to develop from electrical to electronic.

On March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, five years after he migrated to North America from Scotland, succeeded in transmitting his own voice from one room to another at his boarding home in Boston in Massachusetts. A few months later, he made a successful one way communication by voice over a line running 8 miles between Brantford and Paris in Ontario, Canada.

Bell also experimented with the wireless transmission of the human voice, and he developed what he called the photophone. This rather complicated instrument modulated a focused beam of sunlight and shone it towards a similar distant receiver.

This equipment was successfully tested in Washington, DC on February 19, 1880, and six weeks later he gave a public demonstration. Interestingly, a QSL card issued by the shortwave station Radio Budapest, Hungary ten years ago shows an artistic rendering in color of Bell and Tainter and their experimental photophone equipment.

During the following year, 1881, Mr. A. C. Brown, an officer with the Eastern Telegraph Co. in England, succeeded in experimentally transferring the human voice to a moving train. He used a telephone incorporated into the circuit of a long wire running parallel to the railway line. A receiver on the moving train consisted of a telephone incorporated into a large coil of wire that was wound around the engine.

Back again in the United States, Professor Amos Dolbear at Tufts College in Boston, USA devised a transmitter for sending the human voice, using an antenna attached to the equipment, and also a spike driven into the ground. This was in March 1882, and later in the same year he gave a public demonstration to the Society of Telegraph Engineers in London England.

Sir William Henry Preece was born in Wales in 1834 and he is noted as an experimenter and inventor. During the year 1885, he joined with Arthur Heaviside (who was the brother of the noted wireless experimenter Oliver Heaviside) in experimenting with voice transfer across parallel telephone lines, now known in the telephone industry as cross talk.

As an extension of this cross talk concept, Preece laid two insulated circuits in the form of two large squares each side a quarter mile long, and separated by a distance of a quarter mile. Telephonic speech was readily transferred from one square to another, by what is known today as induction.

Next on the wireless scene is the controversial Nathan Stubblefield, who lived and experimented near the town of Murray in Kentucky, USA. It is claimed on behalf of this lonely melon farmer that he was the original inventor of radio.

During the year 1885, Stubblefield drove two iron stakes into the ground, each connected to a telephone. In this way, he successfully transmitted the human voice over a distance of a few feet, from one telephone receiver to another, via ground conduction and induction. During subsequent experiments over a period of many years, he improved the equipment and increased the distance between the transmitter and the receiver.

In addition, it would appear that Stubblefield also wound huge coils of wire around some of the areas on his melon farm and he used these massive coils of wire for transmitting and receiving. This procedure is again described as a form of induction, rather than true radio transmission.

There seems to be no real evidence that Stubblefield ever used the true radio form of wireless transmission in his experiments and public demonstrations. Nevertheless, Stubblefield is honored and memorialized in his home town Murray and in his home state Kentucky for his pioneer experiments in these forms of wireless telephony.

Back to Europe again; this time the year is 1887, and the experimenter is A. W. Heaviside. He successfully made telephone contact between the surface and an underground gallery at one of the Broomhill Collieries in England. He laid two long wires in parallel, each 2-1/4 miles long. One wire was at ground level, and the other was deep down in the earth, in the gallery 350 feet below.

Next on the wireless scene is Archie Collins, who was born in South Bend, Indiana in 1869. At the age of 30, he developed the transmission of speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His equipment at the time was an electric arc lamp, connected to an antenna wire and a ground stake, with a telephone in the circuit. The telephone modulated the sustained oscillations of the arc lamp, and he successfully transmitted speech over a distance of 200 ft.

Over a period of time, Collins improved his equipment and he gave public demonstrations at many different locations, including New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Maine and at the 1909 World's Fair in Seattle, Washington.

South America also featured in the early experimental transmission of human speech, and most notable was the work of Roberto Landell de Moura, a Catholic priest and scientist in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He began his wireless experiments in 1893; and soon after the turn of the century, on June 3, 1900, he gave a public demonstration in which voice transmission was achieved over a distance of 5 miles. This demonstration was witnessed by the British Consul to Brazil, and also by several journalists who reported the event in their newspapers.

Finally, in this roundup of inventors and experimenters who developed the capability of speech transmission is the noted Canadian physicist Reginald Fessenden. At the time, Fessenden was working for the United States Weather Bureau.

He established a transmitter on Cobb Island in the Potomac River, 50 miles downstream from Washington, DC. His equipment was a voice modulated high frequency spark transmitter. The experimental test transmission on December 23, 1900 was heard at a mile distant, though the reception quality was highly distorted, due to the unstable quality of the primitive equipment.

That's as far as we go today, but on the next occasion when we look at these early wireless and radio inventions, we will examine the early development of music broadcasts.