80 Years With Radio Prague

A significant milestone from Czechia

This article was originally material for a broadcast of “Wavescan” via Adventist World Radio and now forms part of the Radio Heritage Collection ©. All rights reserved to Ragusa Media Group, PO Box 14339, Wellington, New Zealand. This material is licenced on a non-exclusive basis to South Pacific DX Resource hosted on radiodx.com for a period of five years from May 1st 2003. Author: Adrian Peterson

Eighty years of radio broadcasting in Prague, Czechia, is indeed a long and historic era. It was on May 18, 1923, that the first regular broadcasting service was launched in Prague by the Elektra Bulb company, a name that was later changed to Tesla.

These early broadcasts originated from a tent erected at the transmitter site of a communication facility located in the suburban area of Kbely (ke-BEE-lee). One listener in England reported hearing test broadcasts on shortwave from this site shortly before the regular mediumwave service was inaugurated.

Eleven years later, a 30 kW Marconi shortwave transmitter was imported from England and co-sited with a new mediumwave transmitter at Podebrody (POE-de-BROE-dee), near Prague. This unit was designated with the now familiar callsign, OLR. The first test broadcast from this new unit was heard on July 24, 1936, and a couple of weeks later, it was taken into regular service.

In 1938, two new German transmitters were installed, at Podebrody and four years later, international radio monitors noted the usage of new callsigns. Instead of, for example, the callsign OLR3A, the identification became DHE3A. The final German announcement of that era went on the air around midday on May 5, 1945. The Podebrody shortwave site was closed in 1996.

The shortwave transmitter site at Litomysl (le-TOM-i-sil) near Prague was inaugurated in 1956 with the first of seven transmitters at 100 kW, two of which are still on the air today.

Work at the familiar Velke Kostolany station in Slovakia was begun in 1949. This station was on the air for nearly half a century, and it will be remembered that AWR took out a relay via this site a few years ago with the usage of two of these transmitters. This station was closed in October 1997.

Another large shortwave station was constructed near Rimavska Sobota in Slovakia in 1956. This station originally contained several transmitters at 100 kW, though the station was rebuilt in 1982 and four Russian transmitters at 250 kW were installed. AWR has also enjoyed outstanding worldwide coverage from this transmitter site.

And so, in summary, we find that Czechia has been on the air shortwave during the past eighty years from a total of five different transmitter sites. Three of these were located near Prague; Kbely, Podebrody & Litomysl, and two of these were located in Slovakia; Velke Kostolany & Rimavska Sobota. We should remember also, that Radio Prague International is also on relay to the Americas from station WRMI, Radio Miami International in Florida.

Right this very day, May 18, Radio Prague is remembering its 80th anniversary, and we here at Wavescan honor them for their 80 years of broadcast activity on both mediumwave and shortwave.

Shortwave Radio Broadcasting in Czechia

Time Lines

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Location Year Information
——————————————————————————————————————
Kbely 1923 Occasional test broadcasts on shortwave

Podebrody 1934 New imported 30 kW SW transmitter co-sited with 1925 MW unit
1938 2 new German transmitters 30 kW installed
1050 Several new Czech transmitters installed
1996 Podebrody closed, on air 73 years

Litomysl 1956 Installation of 7 transmitters @ 100 kW begun
2003 Currently on air with 2 transmitters @ 100 kW

Velke Kostolany
1949 1st transmitter @ 100 kW inaugurated, several added later
1970 Station rebuilt, with VK01 & VK02 at 100 kW
1997 Oct Velke Kostolany in Slovakia closed

Rimavska Sobota
1956 Construction work began with installation of 2 @ 100 kW
1982 Station rebuilt with 4 @ 250 kW installed
2003 Currently 4 @ 250 kW in use

Miami Relay via WRMI

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Shortwave Radio Broadcasting in Czechia

References

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Year Date Information & Reference
——————————————————————————————————————
Kbely
1923 Elektra Bulb Co (Tesla) tests on SW 10-50 w; RPI WS156
1923 Test broadcasts over modified telegraphy transmitter; SP27 3
1923 May 18 Regular broadcasts tent studio near transmitter Kbely-Prague
Callsign PRG 1200 m 250 kHz 1 kW

Podebrody
1925 New 5 kW MW transmitter installed 368 m (815 kHz) OKP; WS156
1934 New imported 30 kW SW transmitter installed Podebrody
1936 Feb New OLR 30 kW Marconi 3 antennas 3 channels; LI 20-2-37 52
1936 Jul 24 1st test broadcast on SW 30 kW; RPI WS156
1936 Aug 31 Began regular broadcasting SW 1000 hrs CET OKI; RPI WS156
1936 Oct Heard in Australia at good level; LI 79.23 3-11-36 62
1937 Schedules; LI 79.23 13-2-37 50
1937 Callsigns OLR3A OLR4A; LI 79.23 13-3-37 50
1938 2 new German transmitters 30 kW installed OLR; SP 27 3
1940 New Czechoslovakian units on air; R&H 79.11 2-40 55
1940 Callsigns OLR7B & OLR7C; LI 79.24 16-11-40+
1941 New calls DHE2A DHE2B DHE3C DHE5A DHE5B; R&H 2-41 54
1942 OLR callsigns changed to DHE2A callsigns; SP27 2
WW2 3 hours daily to expatriates in NA; RPI WS156
1945 May 5 Last announcement approx 12MD, German announcer; RN 5-47 70
1945 May 9 Festive transmissions began, OLR callsigns again; RN 5-47 141-2
1947 SW broadcasting re-commenced; SP27
1950 Next 12 years, many transmitters installed; SP27
1996 Podebrody closed recently, on air 73 years, SW & OMA; WS 78 2

Litomysl
1956 Installation of 7 @ 100 kW begun; TDP 98 19
2003 Currently, 2 @ 100 kW on air; TDP 98 19

Velke Kostolany
1949 May 1 1st transmitter @ 100 kW inaugurated, several added later; SP27
1970 Oct 17 Station rebuilt, new VK01@ 100 kW inaugurated; SP27
1971 Feb 27 New VK02 inaugurated; SP27
1997 Oct Velke Kostolany closed; WS143

Rimavska Sobota
1956 Construction work began, 2 @ 100 SW installed; SP27
Several others at 100 kW subsequently installed; SP27
1982 Jul 15 Station rebuilt, 2 @ 250 inaugurated; SP27
1982 Dec 9 Two more @ 250 kW inaugurated; SP27

Relay via WRMI

QSL Cards
60th anniversary re-printed CPRV QSL cards; RPI WS156
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