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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 330, April 22, 2001

Tribute to Rimavska Sobota

The central European lands of Bohemia, Moldavia, Moravia, Czechia and Slovakia have featured significantly in political history during the Middle Ages and beyond.  The people of these areas were also involved in the events associated with the Protestant Reformation, and at the end of World War I, a new nation was formed, Czechoslovakia.  This country was again bifurcated, quite peacefully, on January 1, 1993, and two nations were formed, Czechia and Slovakia, with Prague and Bratislava as their respective capital cities.

Radio broadcasting began in the combined Czechoslovakia in 1923 when a Morse telegraphy transmitter was modified for use as a broadcast unit.  In 1934, an imported Marconi transmitter from England was installed at Podebrady near Prague, and this new shortwave facility was inaugurated on August 31, 1936 under the callsign OKI.  Three omni-directional antennas were in use at the time, according to antenna beam and frequency.

Construction on the large shortwave facility located near Rimavska Sobota in Slovakia began in 1956 with the installation of two transmitters at 100 kw.  Over a period of time, several additional transmitters were installed here, as well as a bevy of curtain antennas.

Then, beginning in the year 1982, the entire station at Rimavska Sobota was rebuilt, and two Russian-made transmitters at 250 kw were installed.  Two more units of a similar design were subsequently installed

On January 1, 1994, test broadcasts on behalf of Adventist World Radio commenced from this high powered shortwave station located at Rimavska Sobota in Slovakia.  During the first week, these test broadcasts on transmitter RS10 consisted mainly of recorded music, with occasional test announcements in English. 

One week later, on Saturday January 8, a day long series of meetings in the large Seventh-day Adventist Church building in Bratislava officially launched the new AWR Slovakia.  Part of the afternoon program was a live broadcast from the church, with music and official speeches in the Czech language.

Interestingly, the name "Rimavska Sobota" means "Romanian Sabbath." The station is located near a small village, a little beyond the town of Rimavska Sobota some four hours by car from Bratislava. During the past eight years, AWR has been on the air from three of the four shortwave transmitters at Rimavska Sobota, designated as RS08, RS09 and RS10. 

During this same time period, untold hundreds of QSL cards have been issued to listeners throughout the world, verifying the reception of AWR programming from these three transmitters.  Currently, the three AWR QSL offices at London, Forli and Indianapolis are processing the "Last Week" QSL cards honoring the final broadcasts of AWR via Rimavska Sobota.

As we sometimes say in our modern world, time moves on, and AWR moves on also.  The new shortwave transmitter relay base taken out for AWR programming is now the ORF-ROI facility at Moosbrunn near Vienna in Austria. 

Rimavska Sobota has served AWR well during these past eight years, and as we say "goodbye," we here at Adventist World Radio would also like to say "thank you."