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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 410, November 3, 2002

The Mystery of Irish Radio History - BBC Era

As a security precaution during the era of the European Conflict, the BBC in London implemented a massive project for the diversification of its shortwave locations.  Part of this planning was for the construction of shortwave stations in two or perhaps three countries overseas, as well as the installation of additional shortwave facilities at widely separated localities within the United Kingdom.

With the co-operation of the two national governments, large shortwave stations were planned and constructed in Canada and Australia; at Sackville in New Brunswick and at Shepparton in Victoria.  Similar plans were enacted for the island of Singapore, and the electronic equipment was sent out by ship on two separate occasions, though on both occasions the consignment never reached its intended destination.  The ships were sunk en route.

In addition to the planned overseas locations, the BBC also diversified its shortwave locations within the United Kingdom with the installation of shortwave facilities in eight different locations, including one in Northern Ireland.  In September 1939, the BBC owned only eight shortwave transmitters, and these were all located at Daventry, though they were also using a couple of units in the communication station located at Rugby.  However, four years later, the BBC was on the air from 43 different shortwave transmitters at the eight different locations.

During this concentrated time period, five new transmitters were installed at Daventry, and huge new transmitter bases were constructed at Rampisham, Skelton and Wooferton.  In addition, two large mediumwave transmitters at Clevedon near Bristol and at Start Point were converted for daytime usage on shortwave, and an additional shortwave unit was installed at Start Point.

Over in Northern Ireland, a 100 kw shortwave transmitter was co-sited with the 100 kw mediumwave unit at Lisnagarvey, near Belfast.  The mediumwave station at this location was quite new at the time.  It was commissioned in 1937 as a replacement for the earlier small unit which had been on the air under the callsign 2BE.

The BBC shortwave transmitter in Northern Ireland was a 100 kw unit, model number SWB18, manufactured by the Marconi Company in England.  This transmitter was taken into regular service on November 20, 1941 and it was on the air with the BBC as Sender 51.

During the first year, this unit carried a relay of the Forces Program on 6140 kHz, after which it carried the general Overseas and Foreign Service.  This transmitter left the air on May 26, 1946, when it was officially "mothballed." We would presume that it was afterwards removed.

Thus, the only regular shortwave station on the air in Northern Ireland was a 100 kw unit operated by the BBC for a period of five and a half years.  If ever there were any QSLs issued by the BBC for this station, they would indeed be very rare.