"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 378, March 24, 2002
The Story of AWR in Europe
As we have mentioned on previous occasions, the first broadcast from Adventist World Radio went on the air from a 250 kw transmitter owned and operated by Radio Trans Europe at Sines in Portugal. This venture from a Deutsche Welle relay station was launched under the leadership of a husband-wife team, Allen and Andrea Steele. The date for the launching of this new venture was Friday October 1, 1971, and the initial broadcast was beamed to Italy in the Italian language. These broadcasts went on the air without prior publicity, and they caught the international radio world unawares.
These new broadcasts were heard in many parts of the world quite early, and shortwave listeners in Sweden and Australia notified their radio magazines with their monitoring observations. The weekly publication from the Radio Sweden DX program, "Sweden Calling DXers," reported the new broadcast venture as "unidentified." Likewise in Australia, both Robert Chester and Bob Padula logged the new broadcasts and reported them in the Australian publication, "Australian DX News." In their next issues, these same two magazines identified these new and unheralded broadcasts as the launching of the new international shortwave service from Adventist World Radio.
The original AWR office was located on the top floor of an apartment building on Rua Braamcamp in Lisbon. The program tapes were delivered to the studio at Sesimbra, out from Lisbon, from where they were microwaved to the transnmitter site for broadcast. The original QSL card for these new AWR broadcasts back more than 30 years ago is now an item of rarity.
Eight years later, in the year 1979, AWR enlarged its broadcast outreach by placing programming on the second transmitter at Sines. These early AWR broadcasts were on the air from the two transmitters at 250 kw in Sines, Portugal until the end of the year 1992. By that time, AWR was now on the air from other international shortwave stations in Europe. In view of the fact that RTE operated a third transmitter at Sines as a standby unit, it is quite probable over a period of time that AWR was on the air actually from all three of these units.
Four years after it was launched in Portugal, AWR took out a relay from Radio Mediterranean on the island of Malta. This shortwave station was another Deutsche Welle relay station, though it was closed a few years ago. AWR took out a series of special program relays in mid-1975 for coverage of the Seventh-day Adventist world convention in Vienna Austria. Ultimately the Malta transmitter was on the air with AWR programming for a period of eight years. For a period of a year or two, the second 250 kw transmitter at Cyclops in Malta also carried AWR programming.
In the year 1979, AWR took out experimental relays from two different locations in Europe. One was Radio Andorra, and the other was Radio Luxembourg. Adventist programming from Radio Luxembourg began in 1947, with the broadcast of the American "Voice of Prophecy" with the legendary Dr. H. M. S. Richards. However, 50 years later this program relay was officially recognized as an AWR service. These AWR broadcasts from Radio Luxembourg, mediumwave and shortwave, were on the air for a period of five years.
The Radio Andorra circumstances were quite interesting. The new programming from this exotic little radio station went on the air on Saturday night, September 8, 1979 during a local festival. The sounds of the festival and its fireworks were heard in the background during the inaugural broadcast. Radio Andorra procured two transmtters at 10 kw from Radio Free Europe in Holzkirchen, Germany, and these were installed in Radio Andorra for the exclusive usage of Adventist World Radio. After a successful series of test broadcasts, the first of these relocated transmitters went into regular service with AWR programming on August 1, 1980. It is understood that the second unit was in use at times, but not on a regular basis. Radio Andorra was closed by action of the French and Spanish governments on April 2, 1982, and suddenly AWR lost this exotic little radio outlet. However, some months afterwards AWR took out a 13 week series of test programs from Radio Milano International in Milan, Italy. These programs were on the air at the end of 1983 and into the early part of 1984.
However, soon after the conclusion of this successful series of test broadcasts, another AWR program was heard from RMI Milan. This was the AWR DX program from Southern Asia under the old title, "Radio Monitors International." This DX program was produced in the Poona studios of Adventist World Radio, and it was heard on international shortwave, tropical shortwave, mediumwave and FM from the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in Colombo, Sri Lanka for coverage in Asia. The well known broadcaster in the United States, Jeff White, included the DX program "Radio Monitors International" in his scheduling over several stations in the United States and in the Caribbean. In this way the AWR DX program, RMI, was also on the air from RMI Milan in Italy for a period of more than two years.
Well, that's as far as we can go today, but on the next occasion, when we take up the continuing saga of AWR history under the title "His Voice is in the Air," we will continue with the story in the European arena.