"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.
The Continuing Story of AWR in Europe
During the past 31 years, Adventist World Radio has been on the air shortwave in eight different countries of Europe, at 10 different shortwave locations, and from 20 different shortwave transmitters. On the previous occasion when we took up the continuing topic of AWR outreach under the title "His Voice is in the Air," we looked at AWR broadcasts from five transmitter locations in five different countries. On this occasion, we complete the story of AWR in Europe, at least up to the present time, and we take each of these five locations in chronological order.
Letís go back to the year 1985. AWR had conducted a successful series of test transmissions over the facilities of Radio Milano International at Milan in Italy, and the old DX program, "Radio Monitors International," was still on the air from this European location.
Through the efforts of our AWR Frequency Manager, Claudius Dedio, a 10 kw Collins transmitter was procured from Swiss Telekom. This unit was on the air previously with Radio Free Europe in Holzkirchen in Germany.
This 10 kw Collins was installed in a small transmitter building on the edge of Forli in northern Italy. The studios and offices for the new AWR Forli were housed in an ornate Italian Villa. Test broadcasts began on January 30, 1985, and regular broadcasting began six weeks later, on March 16, using a rotatable yagi antenna.
The coverage area from this exotic little station, operating at just two and a half kilowatt, was Europe and North Africa, though on the occasion of special broadcasts it was heard in North America and even in New Zealand.
Due to the fact that higher powered transmitters from other locations in Europe and the Middle East became available, the Forli station was closed with a flourish on the last two days of last year. Special programming to honor the work of this little station and its staff was heard from the Forli transmitter, as well as from one of the 100 kw units operated by Deutsche Telekom in Julich in Germany.
January 1, 1994 was an auspicious day for AWR in Europe. It was on this New Year's Day that test broadcasts were inaugurated from the Slovak Telecom station located at Rimavska Sobota in Slovakia. These test broadcasts from transmitters RS09 and RS010 gave AWR its loudest voice thus far, as this station could be heard at some time of the day in every country of the world.
Transmitter number eight was added into the AWR broadcast network during the following year. However, with changing events and changing needs, the AWR usage of the two units, eight and 10, was phased out three years ago, and the entire AWR schedule from Rimavska Sobota was reduced to just one broadcast each day just last year.
A smaller station in Slovakia, on the air with two transmitters at 100 kw, was located at Velke Kostolany. AWR was on the air from transmitter VK02 for three years beginning in 1994. This station has since been demolished.
Over in Germany, a large transmitter station containing a dozen units at 100 kw was constructed for the usage of Deutsche Welle. AWR began a relay over this station using two units, beginning in 1996. AWR is still on the air from Deutsche Telekom in Julich for coverage of areas in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Our final location in this tour of Europe is Austria. Quite close to the famed Vienna Woods is Moosbrunn, and it is here that Radio Osterreich International has established two high powered transmitters at 500 kw each. Just last year, AWR began a relay of its programming over these two units for coverage of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
About a month from now, we will continue the saga of AWR on the air, and on this next occasion, we will take a look at the AWR usage of five different locations in Russia.
The Mystery of the Disappearing Islands, With a Twist - New Caledonia
The big island of New Caledonia lies about a thousand miles off the east coast of the Australian mainland. From the air on a bright sunny day, New Caledonia is indeed a beautiful big island, covered with the lush growth of the dark green jungle, surrounded by sparkling white beaches and emerald green waters. All in all, there are some 25 islands making up this overseas French territory in the South Pacific.
The original inhabitants of these French islands were the Melanesians, who came in from New Guinea many centuries ago. They were followed some time later by the Polynesians, who came in from other islands in the South Pacific.
The first European explorer to visit New Caledonia was Captain James Cook in 1774. However, the French annexed these islands in 1835 and used them as a penal colony for some 33 years.
During World War II the United States established a military base near the capital city, Noumea, and during this era they operated an AFRS radio station under the callsign WVUS. This station belonged to the Mosquito Network, and its 1 kW transmitter was verified by several prominent DXers in New Zealand. WVUS was on the air for a period of nearly four years, from 1943 to 1946.
A recent edition of an international airways magazine contains an article stating that discussions are underway with the French government regarding the possibility of New Caledonia being granted independence. Thus it is quite possible that New Caledonia could be disappearing quite soon, not as an island underneath the waters of the blue Pacific, but as a department of the French government.
If this were to happen, what then would be the status of their government-owned radio station? Currently, Radio Nouvelle Caledonie is on the air from a network of 20 FM stations and the one mediumwave outlet with 20 kW on 666 kHz. The QSL letterhead identifies the station as FR3, France Region 3.
Under independence, would New Caledonia take a new radio prefix? Would the station then be given a new international callsign?