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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 6, 2011

Cabinda! Whatever is a Cabinda?

Cabinda! Whatever is a Cabinda? It is not an explosive comment indicating some form of sudden accomplishment during a magic show in front of an appreciative audience. It is not a small animal found only in the Amazon Basin in South America. It is not an exotic fruit found only in Goa, India. It is instead a small one-time Portuguese territory in Africa.

The word Cabinda sounds like it could have been taken into the Portuguese language from the international word "cabin", meaning a small house like was used at the colonial trading posts in Africa during the era of European domination. Or perhaps this word Cabinda was formed from an African word in use in the territory during the era of European colonization in Africa. Or maybe both origins are combined into the name for this very small territory.

In any case, Cabinda is the name of a small territory on the Atlantic coast of Africa, just below the large continental bulge on the west side. If you look at a color map of Africa, you will see that Cabinda is the smallest defined territory on the entire continent.

The shape of the territory of Cabinda could be described as a parallelogram with a shallow bend in the middle. Each arm is about 250 miles long and the entire territory is about 80 miles wide. The regional capital of Cabinda territory is Cabinda city, located on the coast towards the south of the province. The entire province has a population of around 3/4 million. In 1954, offshore oil was discovered and these days oil is their main export, at the remarkable rate of 3/4 million barrels a day.

Historically, the area was first settled by the African Bushmen; and some 1500 years ago, the Bantu swarmed into the territory in a massive migration. Portuguese explorers first visited the coastal areas in 1482, followed soon afterwards by traders and missionaries.

The Dutch and the English also established trading posts in Cabinda; and the area was also traversed by the famous Dr. David Livingstone at the beginning of his trans-Africa trek in May 1854. The Portuguese assumed a protectorate over Cabinda in 1885; and in 1975, Cabinda was formally integrated into Angola as a province, though it is separated from the main territory of Angola itself by a narrow strip of the Congo about 50 miles wide at the ocean front. It was not until the year 1987 that the defined boundaries for Cabinda were finally established.

The first radio broadcasting station in Cabinda was inaugurated on shortwave in 1958, with just 25 watts. However, during the following year, the electronic equipment at this new radio enterprise was upgraded to 1 kW during the day and 250 watts at night on the shortwave channel 5055 kHz.

This original radio broadcasting station in Cabinda was operated in the same way as in several other Iberian colonies in Africa and elsewhere, and that was under the auspices of a radio club. In Cabinda, as would be expected, this local club organization was named Radio Clube de Cabinda.

Three years later, a mediumwave channel was added, and this was at 1 kW on 1340 kHz. Some ten years later again, an additional program channel was inaugurated and the full radio service on both channels in 1973 shows:

Mediumwave 1349 kHz at 1 kW and 1250 kHz at 5 kW
Shortwave 5035 kHz at 1 kW and 6025 kHz at 5 kW

It should also be mentioned that by this time, the Cabinda radio transmitter base was located at suburban Tenda, and the officially allocated callsign was CR6RW. This callsign looks like an amateur call, though in reality it was a regular radio broadcasting station. All transmitters at Cabinda were on the air under the same callsign CR6RW, regardless of which unit was in use.

In 1984, the shortwave channel was changed to the more familiar 4970 kHz and this was in use until the mid 1990s. In 1997, the shortwave channel was listed as inactive, and the final showing in the World Radio TV Handbook for shortwave is for the year 2002.

Currently, just three radio channels are shown as on the air in Cabinda and these are: 1278 kHz at 25 kW; 1530 kHz at 10 kW; 91.3 FM at 4 kW; but no shortwave.

It should also be mentioned that a clandestine radio broadcasting station was on the air in the area during the mid 1990s. This was a low powered operation noted on various channels in the 3, 4 and 5 MHz range, and each broadcast was on the air for just 20 minutes. This station, with its unstable transmitter, claimed to be located in Cabinda, but in reality it was located in nearby Zaire, close to the border with Cabinda.

Additionally, there was another shortwave transmitter on the air with broadcast programming for a while in Cabinda, and this was located at the industrial coastal town of Molongo, a few miles north of the capital city, Cabinda. This station was operated by one of the large oil companies for the benefit of its many employees, some of whom were on duty at isolated locations. Radio Molongo was known to be active in 1977, with 5 kW on 4822.5 kHz.

Going back to the original Radio Clube station in Cabinda, it is known that at least one QSL card was in use. This was a plain text card giving the callsign CR6RW and the address in Cabinda. It would seem that this would indeed be a very rare QSL card.

Odd Times Around the World

According to the encyclopedia, time is one of the world's deepest mysteries and it defies complete understanding, as do also magnetism, electricity and the spatial universe that is visible up there during the darkness of the night. The same encyclopedia goes on to state that no one can say exactly what time is.

OK, then perhaps we could suggest that time is the progressive duration between two consecutive events. And maybe our definition could be at least partially correct. As we are aware, time is measured here in our modern world by the clock, and by the calendar.

Last Sunday, October 30, was the date for the beginning of the new shortwave transmission period, running through until late in March next year. However, in the United States, the change from Summer Time, Daylight Savings Time, to Standard time, took place in the early hours of today, Sunday, November 6.

So, on this occasion, we take a look at Odd Times Throughout the World.

During the year 1883, for example, there were around 100 different time zones in use by the railway systems in the United States, and many other countries throughout the world shared similar time zone problems. During that year, 1883, on November 18, the continental United States and Canada were divided up into four time zones, each one hour apart. This co-ordinating of time zones was accomplished through the endeavors of the Canadian physicist, Sir Sandford Fleming.

During the following year, 1884, the world was divided into the equivalent of 24 time zones, each one hour apart. These distinctions were based upon the location of the Greenwich Observatory in England, hence the older term, GMT, standing for Greenwich Mean Time.

These days shortwave radio uses the abbreviation, UTC, standing for three words in the French language meaning in English, Co-ordinated Universal Time. A simpler term could of course be IRT, International Radio Time.

However, even though the world was co-ordinated into 24 time zones, there were some strange anomalies in the expression of time that were very difficult to interpret. A radio document printed in the year 1931 lists a whole slew of unusual time zones around the world, from which we take the following information.

As a demonstration of regular time zones in 1931, London for example could be at Midday, and Washington, DC was five hours earlier, at 7:00 am. Likewise, Canada, with all of its provinces was on complete hours in the same way.

However, during that same era, two notable territories were observing their own standard time, at a half hour difference from standard time. At Midday in London, it was 1:30 am in Honolulu, Hawaii, and 9:30 pm in New Zealand.

Now for some quite strange time zones in different countries in 1931:

At Midday in London 9:07 am in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7:17 am in Valparaiso, Chile
12:17 pm in Paris, France
11:24 am in Lisbon Portugal
6:31 am in Havana, Cuba
1:34 pm in Athens, Greece
4:51 pm in Bombay, India

Perhaps the strangest time zone of all was on the island of Newfoundland, off the east coast of Canada. At the time of confederation into Canada as a province in 1949, Newfoundland adjusted its time zone to match standard time in Canada by exactly 14 seconds.

Back in 1931, the international radio monitor tuning in to shortwave stations all around the world had to know what was the local time in the country he was listening to on his radio, and then re-calculate that time to his own local time. UTC-IRT is so much easier!