Albania On Shortwave

This article was originally aired over Adventist World Radio’s “Wavescan” program. Copyright to the author, Adrian Peterson

Albania is a small mountainous country on the western edge of the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe. This country is a little over 200 miles long and a little less than 100 miles wide with a total area of 11,000 square miles. The largest city in Albania is Tirana which is also their capital and it is located almost in the center of their country.

The total population of Albania is around four million and the national language is Albanian which is spoken with two major dialects, Gheg in the north and Tosk in the south. They celebrate the date of their independence as November 28, 1912.

Their national flag is red with a black two-headed eagle. Interestingly, the name for Albania in their own language is Shqiperi, which means the “Land of the Eagle”.

The first settlers in Albania were the Illyrians, an Indo-European people who moved in from the east about 1,000 BC. Throughout the centuries since that time, many different ethnic peoples have swept through the area, leaving their mark on the historical and cultural development of the country and the language. These days, about half a million tourists visit Albania every year.

Construction on the first radio facility in Albania began in the year 1938 and it was established to serve three different purposes; local entertainment and information, international broadcasting, and international radio communication. On mediumwave, this new station was listed for 1384 kHz, and on shortwave it was on the air with broadcast programming and international communication in Morse Code under the callsign ZAA.

The new ZAA was a 3 kW facility located on the edge of Tirana in Albania and it was first heard in Australia with test broadcasts on February 1, 1939. The test programming was noted on 6090 kHz in the 49 metre band and announcements were given in five languages; Albanian, English, French, German, Italian. Frequent identification was given as “Radio Experimental, Tirana, Albania.”

Several different channels in the 31 41 & 49 metre bands were also noted around that era. Station ZAA was also heard on the air with communications in Morse Code with station IAC in Italy.

The new shortwave broadcasting station ZAA in Albania was heard periodically over the next few months with regular programming, but in July it was noted closing with the Italian National Anthem. During the Italian occupation, the original Albanian callsign was retained. However, with the changing events in continental Europe, we find that the last logging of this station during this era was reported in an Australian radio magazine for September 1940.

In February 1946, the broadcasting service from shortwave station ZAA was again heard in Australia and New Zealand. Three years later again, new studios and offices were built for the national radio service in downtown Tirana.

During the era of Chinese friendship, Radio Tirana was noted on relay to the United States via Radio Peking, usually on two channels in parallel, and Radio Peking was heard in Europe via a high powered mediumwave station in Albania. During this same era, two new highpowered shortwave stations were also built for Radio Tirana.

In addition, Radio Tirana has been on the air from five different regional locations throughout their country. These days though, their shortwave facilities are consolidated at just two locations, Cerrik & Shijak, and they can be heard worldwide quite readily.

In 1992, Trans World Radio took out a relay of their programming over the high powered mediumwave station at Filake (fee-LAH-kay) and this was followed shortly afterwards with the usage of their shortwave facilities also.

The first known QSLs from Radio Tirana were carbon copy letters, though in the 1960s cards were printed that feature peasant art. These days, colorful QSL cards are available from Radio Tirana in Albania.

Albania on the Air Shortwave

References

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Year Date Event References
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1938 Jan 1st radio station in Albania 1384 kHz under construction RNRHD1-38 413
1939 Feb 1 1st logging test broadcasts SW ZAA 3 kW in antenna R&H 79.11 4-39 48
1939 Feb 1 “Radio Experimental, Tirana, Albania”, Posts & Telegraph Office R&H4-39
1939 Feb Tests on 6090 7850 9970m announcements 5 languages R&H 4-39 48
1939 Feb ZAA calling IAC Italy in Morse Code on 7850 kHz R&H 79.11 4-39 48
1939 Apr Italy occupied Albania Apr 7 Pinkau booklet
1939 May Italy now occupying Albania, new call soon for ZAA? R&H 79.11 5-39 53
1939 Jun QSL receideb from ZAA psoted just before occuaption R&H 79.11 7-39 53
1939 Jul ZAA heard closing with Italian National Anthem 6085 R&H 79.11 8-39 59
1939 Oct ZAA heard some mornings in Australia 6085 kHz R&H 11-39 57
1940 Sep Last listing in R&H Australia during the war, heard in NZ R&H 79.11 9-40
1946 Feb ZAA 7850 heard NZ sometimes good sometimes poor ARW 77.8 3-46
1946 Feb ZAA noted in Australia R&H 79.13 3-46 46
1947 Nov ZAA Tirana noted regularly, QSLs come slowly R&H 79.13 11-47 86
1949 Central radio station at Tirana built Soviet Encyc 1-206b
1957 New “radio station” on 6671 kHz, Radio Qyuds Stalin R&H 79.14 4-57 98
1962 Radio Tirana on relay to USA via R Peking 15095 R&H 79.15 10-62 133
1963 Radio Tirana relay to USA via R Peking 9470 11945 R&H 77.14 6-63 117
1966 Powerful new MW in Albania built by China 1525 R&H 79.16 2-66 120
1955 Radio Shkodra confirms reception with schedule R&H 79 .16 9-66 167
1968 Radio Tirana HS 50 kW SW on 5940 kHz R&H 79.16 4-68 165
1970 New Chinese SW transmitters under installation R&H 79.17 6-70 172
1970 Gjirokaster began, 5060 kHz 50 kW BP Document
1971 Very strong signal in NZ from Albania R&H 79.17 7-71 145
1973 R Peking relay from Albania began 6200 7120 9500 9780 BP Document
1975 Radio Peking relays from Albania terminated BP Document
1992 Oct 1 TWR began mediumave service from Albania TWR website

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Albania on the Air Shortwave
QSLs
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Station Year Date kHz kW Location Card Holder
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RT-A Typewritten letters, carbon BP
1960s Plain art cards BP
Albanian Flag BP
1980s Color card showing building BP

1971 Apr 18 9780 New station Paper folder studio bldng AMP
1971 Oct 20 9505 Paper folder studio bldng AMP
1973 Feb 18 1214 500 Paper folder studio bldng AMP
1974 Jul 23 6195 Paper, studio building AMP
1975 Jun 17 6200 Red Revolutionnaire AMP 1984 Mar 21 1458 500 Red Revolutionnaire AMP
1984 Mar 23 1458 500 Red Revolutionnaire AMP
1987 Feb 1 5057 15 Gjirokaster Natural History Museum AMP
1995 Jun 20 6100 Paper, village girl AMP
2000 Mar 12 7185 Drummer man Qypi AWR
2000 Sep 16 7185 Drummer boy Lodra AWR

TWR 1995 Jun 7 1395 500 Filake TWR via Radio Tirana AMP
1998 Nov 1 12090 50 Cerrik Boy in tree AMP
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Albania on the Air Shortwave

WRTVHB Entries – Listings show new changes only

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Band Location kHz kHz kW Observations Year Page
—————————————————————————————
Mediumwave
Tirana 1500 1 1947 12
Albania New stations Korca, Gjinokastra & Hekhurudra 1950 10

Shortwave
Tirana 1 6257 7895 3 1947 12
7850 3 1948 10
5 channels 3 1950 10
7850 3 1952 17
3 channels 3 1958 45
7850 3 Final listing for this unit 1962 65

Tirana 2 6571 .1 Only listing for this unit 1952 17

Tirana 3 6550 .5 1953 23 6570 .5 Final listing this unit 1954 27

Tirana 4 7090 25 1962 65
7092 20 1963 214

Tirana 5 7090 50 1964 80

Gjirokaster 5060 50 1970 BP

Korca 6257 3 1948 10
2 channels 3 1950 10
7595 .1 1952 17
8100 .1 Final listing this unit 1955 33

Kukesi 6660 .2 1964 80
6660 .2 Final listing this unit 1976 75

Shkodra 8216 3 1947 12
8220 3 1950 10
8215 .2 1952 17
8215 .2 Final listing for this unit 1957 37
8215 .2 Re-listed, re-activated 1964 80
8215 .2 Final listing for this unit 1972 39

Vlore 8500 .1 1952 17
8570 .1 Final listing for this unit 1955 33

1970 Listed 50 100 120 240 500 kW SW; however only 2 channels on air in parallel
1973 Listing for relay of Radio Peking on 1457 kHz only
1974 Listing for relay of Radio Peking on 1457 kHz only
1975 Relay of Radio Peking on MW not listed
1976 Four meter bands shown in parallel
1977 Four SW channels listed in parallel; 2 in Albania & 2 in USSR?
1987 Two SW locations listed; Kruje 19.37E 41.36N & Lushnje 10.40E 40.57N
1993 TWR Lushnje 1 MW 1395 kHz
1994 Two SW sites; Kruje (Cerrick)19.37E 41.36N & Lushnje Filake 10.40E 40.57N
1996 Two SW sites; Shijak 19.35E 14.21 & Cerrik 20.00E 41.00N
1996 TWR on SW from Cerrik & Shijak
1997 Radio Tirana & TWR Cerrik 20.99E 41.99N 50 kW & 100 kW
Shijak 19.35E 14.21N 100 kW
1998 Radio Tirana & TWR Cerrik 2 @ 50 kW & 4 @ 100 kW
Shijak 1 @ 100 kW
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