"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 N369, March 20, 2016
Turkey on Shortwave
The first radio broadcasting station installed in Turkey was a 7 kW longwave unit that was inaugurated on May 6, 1927 under the callsign TAC. This new station was installed in Ankara, the capital city, which is located almost in the center of their country, and it operated on 166 kHz.
Their first mediumwave station hit the air nearly a quarter century later, in January 1950. This new facility, under the callsign TAW, was a high powered station, with 150 kW on 704 kHz.
Even to this day, in an era when some countries have closed out all of their mediumwave stations, yet Turkey still maintains a network of six high powered mediumwave transmitters which can be heard nationwide, and beyond in neighboring countries. In addition, there are some 2,000 FM stations on the air throughout both territories of their country, in Asia Minor and the eastern edge of Europe.
In 1933, Turkey gave consideration to the installation of a shortwave facility, for internal and external coverage. This new shortwave station was installed in Etimesgut, an outer suburban area west of the capital city, Ankara. Preliminary test broadcasts began in May 1938 on 10710 kHz under the callsign TAO, and these were reported by an international radio monitor living in Cuba.
This new shortwave station contained two American made RCA transmitters each rated at 20 kW. The first transmitter TAO was noted with additional test transmissions in July (1938); and preliminary test transmissions from the second unit under the callsign TAS were heard in the United States, also in the same month July. This new shortwave station with its twin transmitters was hurried into regular operation on November 10, due to the sudden and unexpected death of their first national president, Kemal Ataturk.
In the early days of wireless communication, Turkey was allocated the alphabetic sequence beginning with the two letters TA to identify stations throughout their country. As in a lot of other countries back in the early days of radio broadcasting, the Turkish authorities issued a separate callsign for each transmitter, as well as for each different shortwave frequency in use.
Thus all 26 possibilities for three letter callsigns running from TAA to TAZ were already allocated for use in the Turkish radio scene in the era immediately prior to the beginning of World War 2. However, the best known callsign in use by TRT, the Turkish Radio & Television Corporation, would have to be TAP, a major shortwave callsign.
An additional 100 kW Marconi transmitter was installed in this same transmitter base at Etimesgut in 1950, together with an additional 20 kW unit and a system of 6 directional antennas. The two older and ailing 20 kW transmitters were still available, though they were not always in service.
Twenty years later, the entire station at Etimesgut was ailing, and its usefulness was faltering. A big new station was constructed at Cakirlar in an open area a little north of the airport at Ankara. This station was taken into service in 1970, and ultimately it contained a total of five shortwave transmitters, three at 250 kW and two at 500 kW, all made by BBC Brown Boveri in Switzerland.
Then 20 years later again, another shortwave station was constructed, this time in a desert area near Emirler, a few miles south of Ankara. With a total of 5 Swiss made transmitters at 500 kW, this station was taken into service in 1992.
The first international shortwave station in Turkey, Etimesgut with its three transmitters at 20 kW and one at 100 kW was phased out and closed after more than 30 years of on air service when the second station was constructed. The location for this first station was in what is now an industrial area.
The second international shortwave station in Turkey, Cakirlar with its five high powered transmitters was phased out and closed after a quarter century of on air service when the third station was constructed. The location for this second station was in an open area near the main city airport.
The third international shortwave station in Turkey, Emirler with its 5 transmitters at 500 kW is still on the air to this day. The station is heard almost worldwide and it is on the air daily in 21 languages. Three tall self standing towers, each with its own subsidiary buildings, can be seen on Google Earth at 39 30 07 05 N & 32 51 38 80 E.
TRT Turkey has always been a reliable verifier of listener reception reports. In earlier times, their QSL cards listed all of their radio broadcasting stations together with callsigns and power; in more recent times their QSL cards have been picturesque cards in full color in various different styles.
More on the radio scene in Turkey next time.
Focus on the South Pacific: Australian Shortwave Callsign VLH
The callsign VLH has been shared consecutively by transmitters at three different locations in the South Pacific; two ships and a land based facility. The two ships were plying the Pacific under the maritime flag of New Zealand, and the land based transmitter was located within a now historic shortwave station in Australia.
The SS Hauroto was launched for the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand at the William Denny shipyards at Dumbarton in Scotland in 1882. This ship, the Hauroto, was named in the Maori language in honor of a small lake and river in the South Island of New Zealand.
This passenger/cargo ship sailed the waters of Australia and New Zealand, and also along coastal China. It was later sold to a Hong Kong maritime company, and it sank during a typhoon off the coast of China in 1919.
During its latter years, the Hauroto carried wireless equipment which was licensed by New Zealand under the callsign VLH.
The SS Kaiapoi, a small cargo vessel, was launched at the Osbourne Graham shipyards in North Hylton Sunderland in England in 1906. This ship was built under the planned name Holywood, but when it was taken over by the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand, it was renamed Kaiapoi, another Maori name, in honor of a small town in the South Island. The Kaiapoi was sold to Hong Kong in 1930; and in 1939 while carrying a load of coal, it ran aground and was wrecked at Wenchow Bay in China.
In the era when wireless became radio, the callsign VLH was applied to this ship the Kaiapoi, during its earlier time of service under the maritime flag of New Zealand.
The third application of the callsign VLH refers to a 10 kW shortwave transmitter that was installed at the ABC-PMG wireless station near Lyndhurst in Victoria.
In 1928, a small galvanized iron shack was constructed on the brow of a small hill near Lyndhurst, and a small 600 watt experimental shortwave transmitter was installed. Over a period of many years, the power of this transmitter was increased incrementally to 10 kW; and the callsign applied to this unit was 3LR, and then VK3LR, and ultimately to VLR.
A second shortwave transmitter was installed in 1941, and this new unit was identified under the callsign VLG. This unit served under both the ABC with programming for the outback and New Guinea, and also with the Overseas Service of Radio Australia.
A third new transmitter at 10 kW was inaugurated at Lyndhurst on January 21, 1946 under the consecutive callsign VLH. At this stage, the 1935 building was still standing, the second at that location.
This new unit VLH carried the Inland Service from mediumwave 3LO and the intended coverage area was the Northern Territory and outback Queensland. There were brief periods each day when all three of these shortwave transmitters, VLG VLH and VLR, carried the same programing. These daily bulletins of Inland News were broadcast specifically over the shortwave transmitters only.
In the late 1950s, a new building was constructed over the old building at Lyndhurst, and the old was then removed. In 1956, three new transmitters at 10 kW were installed. These were American made RCA units, Model ET457X, that were originally designed for installation in battleships that were declared surplus. Ten years later again, another eight new transmitters at 10 kW each, Australian made STC Model 4SU488, were installed.
For a period of more than three months, the ABC-PMG transmitter VLH at Lyndhurst was also in use for the relay of programming from Radio Australia. Beginning on January 2, 1951 and ending on April 10, VLH5 on 15230 kHz carried the Radio Australia French Service for Tahiti.
Then three years later, from December 17 to 23, 1954, VLH9 carried Radio Australia in French to Tahiti on 9580 kHz, and VLH15 to French Indo-China. This brief change in scheduling occurred during the broadcast of additional transmissions from Radio Australia for coverage of international tennis and cricket matches.
Interestingly, during the early 1980s, there were two 10 kW transmitters at Lyndhurst carrying the same relay of ABC programming under the one callsign VLH. From 0830 UTC till 0915 UTC daily, both VLH9 on 9680 kHz and VLH15 on 15230 kHz ran the same program service for a daily overlapping period of three quarters of an hour.
The final broadcast from the ABC-Radio Australia-PMG shortwave station at Lyndhurst ended at 1502 UTC on Friday June 12, 1987. This last transmission was from VLH9 on 9680 kHz; and then the station fell silent. Three transmitters from Lyndhurst were re-installed at Brandon, Queensland for the Radio Australia service to Papua New Guinea, and four were reinstalled at Llandilo for the VNG chronohertz time signal service.
In 1961, Radio Australia dropped the announcement of callsigns on air, though the callsigns, or abbreviated callsigns, were still used to identify specific program lines to the various transmitter sites. For example, in 1977, there were ten program lines running from the ABC and Radio Australia studios in Melbourne to the Lyndhurst shortwave station. Radio Australia utilized at least two of these feed lines one of which was apparently identified with the callsign VLH or just H.
The first QSL card for the ABC usage of the VLH transmitter was printed with red ink on a white card. Subsequent QSL cards verifying the reception of the VLH program service were the regular ABC cards, postcard size and subsequently larger, always depicting a map of Australia with all station
There are no known QSL cards verifying the Radio Australia usage of the VLH transmitter. However, there must be at least a few out there, maybe somewhere in New Zealand or Australia, or perhaps even over in the United States. Do you have one? Then do let us know!