"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 403, September 15, 2002
World War II Memorabilia - Hawaii on Shortwave
Exotic Hawaii! It never fails to fascinate. If you are travelling from Asia to North America, Hawaii will give to you your first taste of the American scene. If you are travelling from North America to Asia, Hawaii will give to you your first taste, literally, of Asian culture.
During the Pacific War, Hawaii played an important role in spreading shortwave programming across the Pacific. In reality, during this era, there were just three major shortwave stations in the Hawaiian islands. These were the RCA station at Kahuku, the communication station for the American Navy at Pearl Harbor, and the Voice of America relay station at Maili, all on the main island of Oahu.
The RCA station at Kahuku on the northern edge of Oahu dates back to the year 1914 when it was established for Morse communication with California. At the time, it was described as the largest wireless station in the world.
From about 1935 onwards, the RCA station was often heard on shortwave with a relay of radio programming, sometimes outward and sometimes inward. The most famous of all of these program relays was "Hawaii Calls" which was a live tourist broadcast from a major hotel in Waikiki.
The broadcasts of "Hawaii Calls" usually originated with the two main mediumwave stations in Honolulu, KGMB or KGU. The relay was picked up in California and fed to a major mediumwave network for nationwide coverage in the United States.
During the Pacific War, the RCA station was frequently noted in Australia and New Zealand with an outward relay of programming for the Voice of America and the Armed Forces Radio Service. Many three letter callsigns were noted, including, for example, KEQ, KHE and KRO. On one occasion, the callsign KRCA was noted with a test transmission on 6860 kHz.
During the climactic years 1944 and 1945, the American navy station at Pearl Harbor, NPM, was noted occasionally with the relay of radio programming, usually for the benefit of local army stations in forward areas of the Pacific. Actually, this navy station, NPM, was on the air from three different transmitter locations on Oahu, all operated remotely from the main facility at Pearl Harbor.
On Christmas Day 1944, a big new shortwave station was inaugurated at Maili as a relay station for the Voice of America. This new facilty was located in an armed forces base just off the highway on the western edge of Oahu.
The 100 kw. KRHO propagated a strong signal throughout the Pacific rim with its programming in English and Asian languages. Five years later a sister transmitter, KRHK, was installed at the same location. After a quarter century of service, this facility was dismantled in the year 1969.
There was another shortwave station in Hawaii noted on one
occasion in Hawaii. This was station WTV with a relay of
AFRS programming for the famous Pacific Ocean and Mosquito Networks.
Although not stated, it is probable that this was a communication
station operated by the American army and diverted as a temporary
Over the years, all three shortwave facilities in Hawaii have issued QSL cards. The RCA station used a generic QSL card with the callsign inserted by typewriter. The broadcasts of "Hawaii Calls" were acknowledged with QSL cards from both KGMB and KGU, and the card from KGU showed the shortwave service.
QSL cards for the VOA station KRHO were issued in both Honolulu and Los Angeles, and the Honolulu card is these days a valuable collector's item. Station NPM has also issued its own QSL card.
Currently there are two shortwave stations on the air in Hawaii. One is the chronohertz facility WWVH with its several outlets on exact frequencies, and the other is the Gospel station KWHR with its two transmitters at 100 kw. Both stations verify with attractive QSL cards.