"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 432, April 13, 2003
Mosquito Network in Fiji
In this edition of Wavescan we wind up our mini-series on the radio broadcasting scene over the years in the islands of Fiji. In the three previous topics in this series, we have presented: the early radio scene in Fiji, Fiji on shortwave, and Fiji on mediumwave.
Now for Topic Four. Back around half a century ago, two new varieties of mosquito were discovered in the islands of Fiji in the South Pacific. One important new variety of mosquito, which is found only in Fiji, was discovered in 1954 and given an identification name, using scientific Latin.
Some ten years earlier there was another variety of mosquito that was airborne in Fiji, and this new variety was given a four letter identification. No, this other mosquito was not a biting insect, but rather an exotic new radio station. This is what happened.
Some time during the month of May in the year 1945, this new radio station was launched in Nadi, which is located on the western edge of the main island, Viti Levu. This coastal city lies some 50 miles across the island from the capital city, Suva.
This new AFRS station was owned and operated at the time by I&E, the Information and Entertainment Service for American servicemen in the Pacific. It would be presumed that this station was located on or near the air field at Nadi.
The first broadcast from this new AFRS station with the American callsign, WVUT, was noted in May 1945. The transmitter was a 50 watt unit, commercially made in the United States with the model number 191. The operating channel was 665 kHz.
When station WVUT in Fiji first made its appearance on the radio dial, it was officially listed by AFRS headquarters in Los Angeles California as a member of the now famed Mosquito Network. This Mosquito Network was a loose association of AFRS stations located on some of the smaller island groups in the Pacific during the latter part of the Pacific War. Other stations in the Mosquito Network were:
WVUQ Solomon Islands
WVUR New Hebrides (HEB-ri-DEEZ)
WVUV American Samoa
Navy American Samoa
1ZM Auckland New Zealand; and of course,
In March 1946, station WVUT in Fiji left the Mpsquito Network when it was taken over by AACS, the American Army Communications System.
Even though the station WVUT was low powered at only 50 watts, it was heard on many occasions in Australia and New Zealand. The last reported logging was in October 1946 in New Zealand, and it is presumed that the station closed soon afterwards.
Just a few QSL letters were issued by the American station WVUT in British Fiji, and some of these are now lodged in the massive collection of Pacific Radio Heritage in the Hocken Library in Dunedin, south New Zealand.