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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 416, December 15, 2002

The new BBC Station in Oman

The encyclopaedia tells us that Oman is a small country located on the south eastern tip of the Arabian peninsula. The total area is less than 100,000 square miles and the total population is estimated to be in excess of one million people. Arabic is the official language

Oman is described as one of the hottest places on earth with one of the lowest rainfalls. The temperature can rise to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, 54 degrees Celsius, and the rainfall is around six inches per year.

Much of inland Oman is a desolate sandy wilderness where nothing grows, though there is an abundance of underground petroleum reserves. In coastal areas, fishing is an important way of life.

European influence began some six hundred years ago when Portugal took over the territory that is now Oman. However, in 1798 the British signed an agreement with the local rulers and Britain has maintained a close relationship with Oman since that time.

Work commenced on the new radio station at AíSeela, near Al Ashkarah, in March 2000. This facility houses three shortwave transmitters at 250 kw made by Thomcast, and two mediumwave transmitters at 800 kw. There is also a rotatabale shortwave antenna at this new station.

This new station is owned by the BBC and it was built by Merlin, who are also managing the facility. It was designed and constructed as a replacement for the station on Masirah Island which is more than 30 years old.

The phase over of programming from the old station at Masirah to the new station on the Omani mainland began in August, earlier this year. The final transfer of all programming to the new station occured at the beginning of the new broadcast day on October 8.

The rugged old station on Masirah Island is now silent, but the new station at Al Ashkarah is now on the air loud and clear.

New Shortwave Station for HCJB in Australia

A few years ago, the Australian government made two surprising moves. They gave approval for the sale of the Radio Australia base near Darwin in the Northern Territory to a Gospel organization, Christian Voice, and they gave approval for pioneer shortwave station HCJB in Quito Ecuador to set up their own shortwave station in Western Australia.

Christian Voice has now been on the air for some time from the Darwin shortwave station, and HCJB is nearing completion of the first phase of their project in Western Australia. They plan to activate the new station in time for Christmas with scheduling beamed to Asia and the Pacific.

The location of the Gospel station in Western Australia is near Kununurra in the northwest of the continent, just across the state line from the Northern Territory. The transmitter location is a large tropical farm, near the Ord River, that produces mangoes, papaya, bananas and sugar cane.

The Kununurra facility will initially consist of a single transmitter at 100 kW, together with three antennas beamed to Asia and the Pacific. Tentative plans call for a second transmitter to be installed before the end of next year.

All programming from this new Gospel station will at first be in English and additional languages will be added as soon as practicable. The coordinating studio is located in Melbourne, and the program feed will be by ISDN landline. A satellite feed is under consideration and is likely to be implemented when more transmitters are on the air from their northern location.

Another concept that would be implemented if sufficient funding becomes available is the construction of a large hydro-electric generating plant to feed the station and nearby areas. Station HCJB constructed a similar hydro-electric plant in Ecuador many years ago.

The new 100 kW transmitter was designed and built at the HCJB Engineering Center near Elkhart in northern Indiana. Shipment of the unit from California was delayed by the recent dock strike, though it is hoped that the transmitter can still be installed and activated in time for a Christmas launch.

Station HCJB has an excellent reputation as a reliable verifier, and they have already indicated that they plan to verify reception reports on the programming from their new station in Australia. It is anticipated that these QSL cards will be issued from their offices in Melbourne, Victoria.

According to Swopan Chakroborty in India, the introductory schedule shows four different segments beamed in two different directions. They are planning on ten hours daily, with five hours to Asia and five hours to the Pacific. When the Australian station is activated, the parent station, HCJB, in Ecuador will drop its programming directed to the Pacific.

Here is their tentative introductory schedule, and you may want to start checking these frequencies in order to catch them when they first begin test transmissions:

0700-1200 UTC 11755 kHz 25 kW
1230-1430 UTC 15130 kHz 100 kW
1430-1730 UTC 15135 kHz 100 kW
1730-1800 UTC 15430 kHz 100 kW