AWR Poona on Shortwave

This article was originally aired over Adventist World Radio’s “Wavescan” program 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 the South Pacific DX Resource hosted on www.radiodx.com for a period of 5 years from December 1 2003. Author: Adrian Peterson

The city of Pune (POOH-NAY) or Poona as it was known in earlier days, is noted as a university city and a centre of Indian culture. Poona featured in the independence movement under the revered Mahatma Gandhi, and in the days of the British Raj, Poona was the summer capital for the Bombay Province due to its higher elevation and therefore cooler climate.

In the international radio world, Poona in India became quite well known as the location of the production studio for Adventist World Radio. For a period of nearly thirteen years beginning in 1976, the broadcasts from the Poona studio were officially identified on air over the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in Ekala as Adventist World Radio in Asia.

However, it was back in 1922 that the first communication station in Poona was established with the dual callsigns of VVO & VVJ. This station was owned and operated by the Indian Radio & Cable Communications Company and it was located at Kirkee, quite close to Spicer College, the large university-level college operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church.

Five years later, two new callsigns were noted on air from Kirkee, Poona, and these were VWZ & VWY. It would be presumed that this was the same station, though perhaps with new equipment. Both of these units were noted in many parts of the world in the pre-war era carrying communication traffic between India and England.

In view of the changing political circumstances in Europe, the 10 kW VWY transmitter at Poona was taken into broadcast usage for a French service into Syria. The first broadcast of the new “Radio Francaise Libre d’Orient” was noted on December 13, 1940.

During the two and a half years that these broadcasts were on the air, they were often heard at a good level also in Australia and New Zealand, and also, we would presume, in Europe. The final broadcast of this unique radio service was heard in May 1943 and it was closed quite abruptly without prior announcement.

The half hour daily program began with the ticking of a metronome as the identification signal. This was followed by a stiring rendition by a brass band of the March Lorraine and then the opening announcement in French. The entire program consisted of French and Middle Eastern music, news and news commentaries.

It is suggested that the programming was not produced in India but rather at some external location and then made available on disc for broadcast from VWY in the service back to the Middle East. There is only one known QSL from “Radio Francaise Libre d’Orient” and this was a letter received by a radio columnist in Australia.

For a very brief period of time, there was another shortwave station on the air in Poona, India. This station was located at the Poona University and it was on the air in 1978 with test broadcasts on 4212 kHz. These test transmissions were preliminary for the purpose of broadcasting educational programs as a distance learning project. However, these broadcasts never proceeded much beyond the testing phase.

We could also mention All India Radio as a broadcast service in Poona, with its origins in 1953 using a 1 kW mediumwave transmitter. Several additional transmitters with higher power on mediumwave have been installed over the years at AIR Poona, though this station has never y operated on shortwave.

POONA ON SHORTWAVE

Time Lines
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Location Call Event
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Poona 1922 VVO & VVJ Original communication station established in Pune

1927 VWZ & VWY Indian Radio & Cable Communications station established Kirkee

1940 VWY Dec 13, 1st broadcast VWY as Radio Francaise Libre d’Orient
1943 May, final radio broadcast from VWY

1976 AWR Oct 7 Broadcasts from SLBC officially ecognised as AWR-Asia
1985 Jan 1 Re-designated as AWR Southern Asia
1988 Dec 31 Final broadcast as AWR unit

1978 University Test broadcasts 4212 kHz 1978

1953 AIR Oct 2 1 kW inaugurated
1955 Mar 13 Increase to 5 kW on 800 kHz
1964 Mar 28 1 kW Pune B 920 kHz
1972 20 kW 785 kHz inaugurated
1964 Mar 28 1 kW 1602 kHz inaugurated
1984 100 kW inaugurated 792 kHz
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POONA ON SHORTWAVE

References
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Station Information & Reference
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Original Communication station in Poona
VVO Communication station established about 1922; YBWT&T 1923 494
VVJ Poona 44.06 & 27.77 m; OSWL&CB1933 30

Indian Radio & Cable Communications station at Kirkee, Poona
VWZ VWZ 8690 10 kW Indian Radio & Cable Communications Co, Poona 6; RD 1928 117
VWZ Beam station 16.3 m; RD 1928 1 WW 27-4-28
VWZ Kirkee 5 shortwave channels listed; OSWL&CB1933 30
VWZ Kirkee 8700; RD 1936 SWL 1-36 275 122

VWY VWY phone to England; LI 79.23 5-10-35 44
VWY 8975 & 17510 kHz; RN 8-36 RD 1936 112
VWY Kirkee 8980 kHz works England mornings; SWC 6-36 RD 1936 95 130
VWY2 Kirkee 17510 kHz works Rugby; SWC 6-36 RD 1936 95 130
VWY Kirkee 9045 phone; RN RD 1937 10-37 148
VWY2 Kirkee 17480 phone; RN RD 1937 10-37 148
VWY2 Kirkee 17480 & 17510 kHz; RD 1938
VWY Kirkee 9045; RD 1938

VWY as Radio Francaise Libre d’Orient
VWY 1st heard Dec 13 1940, metronome ticking; R&H 79 12 2-41 52
VWY French to Syria 1st heard Jan 1941; 79.11 R&H 1-42 54
VWY 9045 33.17; 79.12 R&H 2-41 56
9045 33.17 Radio France Libre program detail; 79.12 R&H 2-41 52
9045 33.17 very strong signal; R&H 79.12 3-41 57
9045 33.17 Radio Francaise Libre d’Orient; R&H 79.11 4-41 57
9045 33.17 RFLO; R&H 79.12 5-41 57
9045 33.17 RFLO; R&H 79.11 6-41 57
9045 33.17 RFLO excellent; R&H 79.122 7-41 57
9045 33.17 RFLO even more powerful than previous; R&H 79.11 8-41 57
9045 33.17 Kirkee Radio Francais Libre d’Orient; 79.11 R&H 2-42 57
9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee directed to Syria; R&H 79.11 3-42 56
VWY; R&H 78.12 4-42 56
VWY; R&H 78.12 5-42 56
9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee to Syria; ARW 77.8 6-42 23
9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee to Syria; ARW 77.8 8-42 49
9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee good signal, R&H 79.11 9-42 49
9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee to Syria pleasant program; ARW 77.8 9-42 23
9045 33.17 Kirkee; R&H 79.12 1-43 49
VWY; R&H 78.12 2-43 49
9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee heard again; R&H 79.12 3-43 44
9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee radiating to Syria; R&H 79.12 4-43 44 9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee service to Syria; R&H 79.12 5-43 44
9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee service to Syria last listing; R&H 79.12 6-43 45
9045 33.17 VWY Kirkee service to Syria last listring; ARW 77.8 6-43

AWR 1976 Oct 7 Officially recognised as AWR-Asia; AWR GC Minutes
1985 Jan 1 Re-designated as AWR Southern Asia; ANARC News
1988 Dec 31 Final broadcast as AWR unit; WS394 3948

University
1978 Test broadcasts 4212 kHz 1978; RMI 181

AIR 1953 Oct 2 1 kW Inaugurated; RA 20
1955 Mar 13 5 kW Increase to 5 kW on 800 kHz; RA 20 & 138
1964 Mar 28 1 kW Pune B 920 kHz; RA 138
1972 20 kW 785 kHz inaugurated; TIAIR 02.138 237
1964 Mar 28 1 kW 1602 kHz inaugurated; TIAIR 02.138 237
1984 100 kW Inaugurated 792 kHz; MMII 02.256 173
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