Home | Back to Wavescan Index

"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 413, November 24, 2002

The Mystery of Irish Radio History - Shortwave Summary

And so we come to the end of this seven-part mini-series of topics on the radio scene in Ireland under the title, "The Mystery of Irish Radio History."  In our first presentation seven weeks back, we posed the question:  "Was Ireland ever on the air shortwave?"  As you have heard week by week here in Wavescan, the answer is of course "yes."

Here now is a brief summary of all of the shortwave broadcasting in Ireland.

A small 1.5 kw shortwave transmitter was installed at the mediumwave base at Moydrum near Athlone in Ireland.  This unit was on the air with a bulletin of news on relay from the mediumwave station in two separate eras.  The first era stretched from early in the year 1939 until the year 1941 during the European conflict.  The second era began in 1944 as an interim experimental service pending the installation of a larger 100 kw unit.    

The 100 kw unit was installed in 1948, though it never got any further than preliminary testing.  The implementation of a regular shortwave service using their own transmitters was abandoned in 1953. 

However, relay services over other shortwave transmitters have been noted on many occasions.  In 1961, there were relay broadcasts for Irish troops on duty in the Congo, and in 1997 shortwave relays were implemented on behalf of both RTE in Dublin and Mid West Radio in a regional city.

Then, as previously noted, pirate radio broadcasts have been noted on shortwave; in particular from UCB with 1 kw, and Radio Dublin with even less power.

We should remember also that the BBC was on the air shortwave from Northern Ireland as a wartime measure using 100 kw at Lisnagarvey.  This station was on the air for six years, from 1941 to 1946.

However, if you would still like to obtain a valid QSL from a shortwave station located on Irish soil, you can do so by tuning in to the voice broadcasts from a well known communication station.  The Aeradio communication station, Shannon Radio, is on the air every day on many different shortwave channels with weather forecasts, and it is also heard in communication with international air flights across the Atlantic. 

Shannon Radio, with just 2 kw under the callsign EIP, is an excellent verifier.  We would suggest that you check your favorite radio magazine for frequencies and times when EIP can be heard in your area.  They issue a colorful and very descriptive folded sheet with full QSL details.

Animals and Birds in Radio - Literally!

On previous occasions here in our DX program, Wavescan, we have presented information on the story of animals and birds and fish and insects that have invaded the electronic equipment in a radio station and put the station off the air. The total summary of all of these creatures and their disruptive invasion of radio stations in many countries around the world makes a fascinating story.

In those previous presentations on the story of living creatures in radio, we have told you about

Can you imagine monkeys playfully leaping from antenna to antenna at a large shortwave station. while elephants are carelessly trampling down fences as they slowly progress through the antenna field?

Now on this occasion here in Wavescan, we tell the story of four more of these radio escapades on the part of little creatures.

Actually, it was an article in the American radio newspaper, "Radio World", that prompted this topic on this occasion. This recent article tells the story of a radio contractor who cleaned out an old transmitter facility at a mediumwave station that had been off the air for several months. When the building and all of its electronic equipment were spick and span, they took color photographs of their completed work.

A few days later, the irate station manager phoned the contractor, stating that he was very displeased with the cleanup work. However, when an inspection was made, it was discovered that mice had returned into the building and had built their nests into the antenna coupling networks. After the second cleanup, small utility holes in the walls of the building were plugged and sealed.

Some months back, John Vodenik, at the large VOA transmitter base near Delano in California took photographs of another bird that had transgressed into the antenna field. Now the owl has a reputation of being a very wise bird indeed, but on this occasion the unfortunate owl very unwisely rested on the transmission lines running out to the antenna system. The transmitter was shorted out and the bird was burned beyond recognition.

Back in the year 1988, the on-duty announcer at Radio Uganda in Kampala in Uganda was on the air reading the final news bulletin just before close down. Four minutes before sign off, a large snake slithered into the studio; the announcer abruptly completed his reading and quickly shut the station down. The snake was killed, though the explanation of what had happened was never revealed on the air. As the story is told in "DX Ontario", a local newspaper got hold of the story and printed it three days later.

Several years ago, the New Zealand DX Times came out with a story that took place in Hawaii. A long-time DXer in New Zealand sent a reception report to mediumwave station KLEI in Kailua, with 10 kW on 1130 kHz.

The avid mediumwave DXer received a QSL card back from the renowned Alan Roycroft, a New Zealander who was the engineer for a cluster of stations in Hawaii. A note on the QSL card stated that the transmitter at KLEI had just been refurbished due to the fact that a mongoose had put the station off the air. The unfortunate mongoose crawled across the base insulator of the antenna tower.