"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 414, December 1, 2002
AWR on the Air in Russia
For an extended period of five years, Adventist World Radio was on the air shortwave from a total of a dozen different transmitters at six different radio facilities located throughout Russia. These external relays began in 1992 and they were finally terminated in 1996. In addition, AWR was on the air internally in Russia at the same time over a network of almost 1,000 stations; longwave, tropical shortwave, international shortwave, and cable radio.
Today's story is about the AWR international broadcasts that were on the air from shortwave stations located in Russia and Siberia.
The first AWR relay from a Russian shortwave station began on March 1, 1992 from a huge shortwave complex located near Novosibirsk in Siberia. Some of these transmitters had been in use during the Cold War as jamming transmitters in an attempt to discourage listeners in Russia from tuning in to radio broadcasts from foreign countries.
Initially the AWR programming was heard over a single 100 kW transmitter, though two weeks later, a second unit at 100 kW was also brought into service. At first the two transmitters were synchronised on the same channel, though two years later the two units were operating on separate channels.
At the height of usage, AWR was on the air 23 hours daily from Novosibirsk in Siberia. The final AWR broadcast from Novosibirsk in Siberia was aired on October 28, 1994.
Two months after the inauguration of the AWR relay from Novosibirsk, three more locations in Russia were brought into service for the relay of AWR programming. These stations were designated as Samara, Ekaterinburg and Moscow.
However, through the research of Olle Alm in Scandinavia, it was later discovered that the station designated as Moscow was in reality three widely separated transmitter sites. These facilities were located at Kurovskaya, Taldom and Lesnoy, all clustered around Moscow. All three of these stations carried AWR programming utilizing transmitters at 250 kW.
Throughout the year 1993 the AWR usage of the relay stations in Russia was phased out until Samara was the only one left that was still carrying the AWR programming. This AWR relay continued for another two years until this also was closed out, on October 25, 1996.
The AWR programming for broadcast from the Russian stations was coordinated by Peter Kulakov in the large four-storied Adventist Media Center in Tula, half a day's journey south of Moscow. You will hear an interview with Peter later in this program and he will tell you about his personal experience regarding the AWR relays from the radio stations located in his country.
Adventist World Radio was the first Gospel station to go on the air from shortwave stations in Russia, and that was on March 1, 1992. We were closely followed two days later by FEBC Manila, and they took out a relay over a 20 kW transmitter that had been on the air previously as a jamming facility.
On one occasion, the AWR relay via Samara contained a special announcement in English for the Nordic DX Championship, on September 10, 1994. They issued a special QSL for this particular broadcast.
These days, AWR QSL cards verifying our relay from the six transmitter sites in Russia are quite rare, and they have become collector's items. The rarest of them all is the QSL card confirming the reception of the Moscow relay via Lesnoy, which was in use for only a few days, beginning March 27, 1993.
The specific transmitter in use at that time is designated as RV193, a Russian made transmitter with a power of 250 kW. Olle Alm in Scandinavia tells us that this actual transmitter is pictured on a QSL card issue by Radio Netherlands. They were also on the air during that era with a relay of their international programming from the same transmitter, RV193.