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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 400, August 25, 2002

The Big 400!  The Story of AWR DX Programs and The Story of Radio in Jamaica (from Paul Ormandy in New Zealand)


The Big 400!  The Story of AWR DX Programs

Today marks an important milestone for Adventist World Radio and for our DX program, "Wavescan."  This is the 400th edition of "Wavescan," and I wonder if there is anybody out there who has heard every one of these 400 editions during the past more than 7 years?

As we look at this milestone event, 400 editions in "Wavescan," let's go back over the past 30 years and examine all of the many DX programs that have been on the air from Adventist World Radio.  Statistically, there have been 9 different DX programs in 4 different languages--English, French, Italian and Spanish--with a grand total of more than 3,200 editions during the past 30 years.

The first broadcast of a DX program from Adventist World Radio went on the air from AWR-Europe on November 5, 1972.  The script was provided by the "World DX Club" in England and it was read on air by Dr. Allen Steele.  This DX program was on the air for 20 years with more than 1,000 editions.

A French version of the same program "World DX News"î was on the air every second week from AWR-Europe around the same era, and this continued for nearly five years.

Soon after the introduction of "World DX News" from AWR-Europe, I was asked to commence a DX program for listeners in Asia and this went on the air on June 1, 1975.  It was always a joint production between the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and Adventist World Radio. 

The first editions of "Radio Monitors International" were recorded in the SLBC studios in Torrington Square, Colombo, though later in that same year production was transferred to the AWR studios in Poona, India.  This program was on the air for a period of 10 years, though re-runs were noted on some stations for perhaps two or more years.

In addition to the main edition of "Radio Monitors International" which was on the air shortwave, mediumwave and FM from the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, there were two additional versions.  For a period of time, "Radio Monitors International" was also on the air during a series of AWR test broadcasts to Africa.  This special series of programs was on the air shortwave from AWR and SLBC in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

A North American edition of "Radio Monitors International" was on the air from shortwave stations in the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe, through the courtesy of Jeff White and his Radio Earth as it was at the time.

An Italian DX program made its debut at the beginning of the year 1987 under the title "Radio Magazine."  This program was aired at first every week, though in more recent time it has been heard every second week.  The Italian language "Radio Magazine" has been prepared for many years by Dario Villani.

Back in the year 1985, a new DX program in the English language was launched by Greg Scott at AWR-Asia, KSDA in Guam.  At the time, he was Program Director with KSDA, though these days he is a Senior Vice President at the AWR headquarters near Washington DC in the United States.  His DX program, "DX AsiaWaves," gave way to the current AWR DX program, "Wavescan," at the beginning of 1995.

Initially, the early editions of "Wavescan" were produced locally at several different locations, including AWR in Europe, as well as at WRMI in Miami Florida, Guatemala City in Central America, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Guam.   For a short period of time, the "Wavescan" scripts were also translated into Spanish for broadcast over several stations in Latin America.

The scripts for "Wavescan" have always been researched and written in Indianapolis, though for several years now they have been centrally produced at the AWR studios in a country area near London in England.  This program is on the air globally via shortwave, and of course, it can also be accessed from the AWR website.  The "Wavescan" scripts can be accessed at the Jerry Berg website <http://www.ontheshortwaves.com>

We would like to thank you, our listeners, for the thousands of letters and reception reports that you have sent to "Wavescan" from every part of the globe.  We appreciate also the input from our listeners for many very interesting and very significant items of radio news and information.  We are grateful too to the many reporters in different countries who provide regular DX reports for inclusion in "Wavescan."

The Story of Radio in Jamaica (from Paul Ormandy in New Zealand)

Courtesy of the Committee to Preserve Radio Verifications, here are three QSLs from ZQI, Jamaica.  The 1940 and 1946 cards make reference to the predecessor amateur station VP5PZ, as explained in the article.  And on the 1940 card, might that be the signature of John Grinan, who is referenced in the article?  (Jerry Berg)

Some time back, Paul Ormandy came across a website that contained an article on the history of radio broadcasting in Jamaica.  This article is no longer available on the website, jamaica-gleaner, so Paul sent this item to us by E-mail.  We edited this item for use on radio, and this is what it says:

Some fifty years after its inception, radio is still the most powerful medium in Jamaica.  It is claimed that more than two million of the island's 2.5 million people listen to the radio regularly. 

Almost everywhere in Jamaica you can hear the sound of music and the human voice coming from a radio receiver.  On street corners, in restaurants and offices, in fact anywhere people are gathered together, there you are likely to hear the sound of a radio.

The story of regular radio broadcasting in Jamaica goes back to the year 1939 when an amateur radio operator went on the air shortwave with wartime news and information for a half hour broadcast once each week.  The station was licensed under the amateur callsign VP5PZ (VP5P Zed) and it was located in the home of the owner, John Grinan on Seaview Avenue.

During the following year, 1940, Grinan negotiated with the colonial government to set up an official radio station, and thus his amateur unit, VP5PZ, became the more familiar ZQI.  This station was on the air from the same location and on shortwave until the year 1956.  It is estimated that about 100,000 listeners tuned in to ZQI on a regular basis even though imported radio receivers were very expensive in Jamaica at the time.

Ten years later, on July 9, 1950, the whole radio service was re-organized as a commercial service, Radio Jamaica Rediffusion RJR.  Mediumwave transmitters were established at four different sites in order to give full radio coverage to the entire island. 

Actually there was an earlier radio station in Jamaica that was on the air occasionally with radio programming on shortwave, and this was the communication station operated by Cable & Wireless under the callsign VRR.  On some occasions, both ZQI and VRR were heard in parallel with the same programming, usually test cricket matches between Jamaica and another country.

Programing could be tuned in over the air on a radio receiver or by wire in an early form of cable radio.  The program format at the time was modelled on the style of the BBC in England, though there were also many inserts of local Jamaican programming.

These days Jamaica is on the air from five different mediumwave sites, all rated at 10 kw, as well as from nearly 50 FM transmitters spread right across the island.

The famous QSL card from ZQI is printed black on yellow and it gives also the original amateur callsign, VP5PZ.  The shortwave transmitter at ZQI was rated at 200 watts.

Thank you, Paul Ormandy in New Zealand, for providing this interesting information for use in "Wavescan."