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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, July 22, 2012

Falklands Radio Anniversary - 2: The Story in Argentina

Just 4 weeks back, we presented the first article in the story of radio broadcasting during the Falklands War, as a 30th anniversary feature. In our program today, we present Part 2 in this our Falkland Islands sequence, and it is the Argentine story of radio broadcasting in association with the Malvinas conflict.

As you will remember, Argentine forces invaded the Falkland-Malvinas Islands with a small task force during the early morning hours of Friday, April 2, 1982. This first group landed at Mullet Creek, about 5 miles north of the island capital, Port Stanley; and this event was followed by a 2nd landing at Port Stanley itself, less than 4 hours later. Surrender was declared at 9:15 am.

Over in Argentina itself, at least three of the prominent radio networks in Buenos Aires, Radio Continental, Radio Rivadavia and Radio del Plata, joined in with the government network, RAE, Radio Nacional Argentina, and formed a working relationship for the production and broadcast of programming beamed to the Malvinas Islands. The initial broadcast from this new and temporary programming service was presented on April 8, less than a week after the successful take over of the Malvinas Islands by the Argentine armed forces.

The programming from this National Sovereignty Network, as it was called in English, was heard widely throughout Argentina on the government and commercial radio broadcasting networks, mediumwave and shortwave, and it was also beamed to the Malvinas Islands with the use of at least 5 shortwave channels. In addition, RAE, Radio Argentina Exterior, increased the duration of its daily external service on shortwave, particularly in English.

In addition, a new radio service specifically designed for the occasion was inaugurated in Argentina, and this was launched on April 22, as Radio Liberty. This new shortwave programming, 40 minutes in duration, was on the air sometimes three or four times daily, and it was voiced by a well known TV news anchor in Buenos Aires, Silvia Fernandez Barrio.

Programming for Radio Liberty was produced in available radio studios in Buenos Aires; and in like vein to Tokyo Rose of World War II fame, the Argentine girl was dubbed by the English as "Argentine Annie."

The broadcasts of Radio Liberty were in English and they were beamed on shortwave to the British armed forces in the Malvinas area. Known channels for this Radio Liberty were 15115 kHz, 17740 kHz and 25680 kHz. The final broadcast went to air on June 22.

We would ask the question: What were the transmitters that were in use for these special broadcasts beamed to the Malvinas Islands? And where were they located?

In answer, we would suggest that the Argentine authorities used whatever was available at the time. Radio Argentina Exterior, RAE, was known to be on the air during that era with just one shortwave transmitter, a five year old 100 kW Harris transmitter from the United States, operating at half power, 50 kW. This unit was installed in the large transmitter plant, near Buenos Aires, General Pacheco, which houses many other shortwave transmitters that are in use for national, maritime and international communication.

It would be presumed that some of the 10 kW units at General Pacheco were also in use for the shortwave broadcasts beamed to the Malvinas area, depending on the time of day and the frequencies in use. It is also probable that several of the lower powered regional shortwave commercial transmitters throughout Argentina were also carrying the combined programming from the National Sovereignty Network whenever it was scheduled.

In addition, a list of shortwave stations in use for the Malvinas programming specifically identifies Radio Nacional Mendoza in the Radio Sovereignty Network. This regional shortwave station, LRA34, was on the air with 1 kW on 6180 kHz.

It is stated also that Radio Liberty was on the air at varying times on three shortwave channels, 15115, 17740 and 25680 kHz. We would suggest that some of the 10 kW transmitters located at the large shortwave station identified as General Pancheco were on the air for this purpose.

At one stage, it was suggested back then that the programming from Radio Liberty was produced and broadcast from a radio station located in Algeria. The reason for this conjecture lies in the fact that the 25 MHz channel for Radio Liberty was the same as for a shortwave station located in Algeria. However, the same channel in use by two different stations was simply a coincidence and it is understood that this Radio Liberty originated in already established facilities in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In addition to the program broadcasts on shortwave, the Argentine authorities also attempted to jam three of the British program services on shortwave that were beamed to the area:

DX reports at the time state that the jamming against Atlantico del Sur was rather ineffective, and it is suggested that the jamming transmitters in Argentina were lower powered units at Transradio Internacional, at the General Pacheco location.

A few lonely QSLs were obtained from Radio Liberty in Buenos Aires by international radio monitors living in the United States and New Zealand.