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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 431, April 6, 2003

Fiji on Mediumwave

As was mentioned on a previous occasion, the first radio broadcast in Fiji came from a new 500 watt mediumwave transmitter manufactured by AWA at their factory near Sydney in Australia.  This transmitter, designated as No. 1, was installed at the communication facility operated by AWA on the edge of Suva in Fiji.  This new broadcasting service was inaugurated in March 1926.

As a wartime exigency, this station also began a relay of American AFRS programming for the benefit of servicemen in the wide areas of the Pacific.  The same programming was also carried in parallel by the shortwave outlet, VPD.

Soon after the end of the Pacific War, work began on a new broadcasting facility in Suva with a two story building for the studios and offices, and a new tranmitter base some eight miles out of town.  The new studios were taken into service in 1954 and the old ZJV transmitter was re-installed in this new location for use as a second program channel in the capital city area.  Callsigns were changed at this stage from the historic ZJV and VPD to the more familiar VRH, though callsigns throughout the whole network were dropped in 1968.

It took another ten years before the new mediumwave base at Naulu was ready for use, though ultimately several additional mediumwave transmitters were installed at this location.  The regional shortwave service was closed in August 1972 and the two remaining shortwave transmitters were converted to mediumwave usage.
The first country station was installed in Lautoka in 1956, and this was a complete radio station with its own studios, offices and transmitter.  These days, Radio Fiji operates eight mediumwave transmitters at five different locations in two networks for nationwide coverage.  In addition, there are also several FM networks on the air as well.

The QSL cards issued in Fiji over the years have always been prized very highly, and the old cards verifying the reception of ZJV and VPD are these days valued historic items.  If you should chance to hear Radio Fiji on mediumwave while on location nearby, a reception report will produce a colourful QSL card of an exotic island scene.