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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 412, November 17, 2002

The Mystery of Irish Radio History - The Modern Era

As we mentioned in Wavescan last week, the Irish shortwave service was switched off forever at the end of the year 1953.  It had begun as an experimental service using a small 1.5 kw shortwave transmitter located at Athlone in the year 1939, and it was on the air spasmodically for brief news broadcasts over a period of 15 years.
Along with the low powered unit, the usage of the high powered 100 kw unit at the same location was also terminated.  This transmitter was on the air with no more than a few test transmissions in the early 1950s.   

Some eight years later, Ireland was on the air shortwave again for a series of special broadcasts beamed to Irish troops on service in the Congo in Africa.  The frequency in use for these broadcasts in 1961 was 17544 kHz.

Then 20 years later again, broadcasts from a pirate station, Radio Dublin International, appeared on the shortwave dial, in 1980.  Initially this was a very low powered unit at just 40 watts, though later the power was increased to 800 watts.  Radio Dublin had found a loophole in the law and it was able to continue broadcasting on shortwave for many years.

The current era of shortwave broadcasting from Ireland began in the year 1996 when Mid West Radio presented a series of broadcasts to the world in honor of St. Patrickís Day.  This event proved so popular that a regular service on shortwave was subsequently introduced using a 100 kw transmitter located at Julich in Germany.

The official government radio service, RTE, Radio Television Eire, introduced a similar shortwave service in 1997 with occasional broadcasts followed later with a regular schedule.  RTE was on the air at first from a 100 kw unit at WWCR in Nashville USA for coverage of the Americas, Africa and the Pacific, and then later from Merlin BBC facilities.

It was also somewhere around the year 1997 that UCB, United Christian Broadcasters, launched their own shortwave service, with a 1 kw transmitter on the air from probably somewhere near the border with Northern Ireland.  QSL cards for the UCB broadcasts were issued from their headquarters in the Midlands in England.