Fiji Foundations Part III

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 April 1st 2003. Author: Adrian Peterson

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 storey 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 & VPD to the more familiar VRH, though callsigan throughout the whole network were dropped in 1968.

It took another ten years before the new mediumwave base at Naulu (nah-OO-loo) 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 (lau-TOE-ka) 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 additian, 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 & 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.

Fiji on Mediumwave

Time Lines

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Call Location Year Date Event
——————————————————————————————————————
ZJV Suva – 1 1936 Mar Inauguration 500 watt transmitter, AWA No 1
1943 AFRS relay, concluded Dec 1944
VRH2 Suva – 2 1954 Old ZJV re-installed at new Broadcast House
VRH Lautoka 1956 Dec 15 1st country station, new studios, transmitters
VRH Naulu 1964 New facility began operation 8 miles from Suva
FBC Fiji 1968 Callsigns no longer in use
FBC Fiji 1972 Aug SW transmitters closed converted to MW
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Fiji on Mediumwave

References

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Callsign Information & Reference
——————————————————————————————————————
Suva Mediumwave
ZJV 1st studios 2 rooms ground floor C&W building; FBC 84.118 5
ZJV 1st room, studio & control room; FBC 84.118 5
ZJV 2nd room transmitter & gramophone library; FBC 84.118 5
ZJV March 1936 on air Serial No 1 341 m Agreement between AWA & British Gov, Wireless rights for beam service; Copied note
ZJV 500 watt transmitter; FBC 84.118 5
ZJV 920 kHz 400 w; YB 84.200 RN 10-36 216 135
ZJV 920 kHz 400 w; YB 84.200 BYB 10-40 182
ZJV AFRTS relay 1943-Dec 44 (not noted Australia); DeLay 79.21 443 447
ZJV Test broadcasts on SW relay new 2 kW MW ZJV; RH 79.14 4-53 84
VRH New studio building officially opened; Fri Jul 1 1954: FBC 84.118 cover
VRH2 Old ZJV re-installed at new Broadcast House 1954 840; FBC 84.118 10
VRH2 Old ZJV transmitter nearing end of its useful life; FBC 84.118 15
VRH New VRH 5 kW 710 built by FBC staff; R&H 79.15 11-64 117
VRH 930 moved to Naulu; RH 79.15 11-64 117
VRH2 Old ZJV donated to museum; R&H 79.15 11-64 117
VRH11 New MW 1320 increase from 800 w to 1200 w; R&H 77.14 6-66 165
VRH One transmitter in operation in 1967; FBC 84.118 21

Naulu Mediumwave (Suva)
VRH New property 105 acres leased off King’s Road 1959; FBC 84.118 15
VRH New property swampy area 8 miles from Suva; R&H 77.14 1-60 99
VRH New property 2 @ 10 kW mediumwave planned; R&H 77.14 1-60 99
VRH Work began 2 @ 10 kW transmitting station; FBC 84.118 15
VRH 930 transmitter in Suva moved to Naulu; RH 79.15 11-64 117
VRH 930 retuned to 560; RH 79.15 11-64 117
VRH FBC bought 6 transmitters from RNZAF Laucala 1966; 84.118 FBC 21
VRH 5 mediumwave transmitters in operation in 1967; FBC 84.118 21
VRH Orders placed for replacement transmitters 1979; FBC 84.118 29
RF 560 & 710 now only mediumwave; RH 79.16 11-69 191
RF 560 & 710; RH 79.17 11-71 135
RF 2 @ 3 kW to transfer to new site at Lautoka; EA 9-72 119
RF Two @ 10 kW SW off air to be converted to MW; EA 79.17 9-72 119
RF 560 kHz 10 kW ex SW through 200 ft tower; EA 9-72 119
RF 710 kHz 10 kW ex SW through 150 ft tower; EA 9-72 119
RF Plans for 3rd netwrok 500 w 1570; EA 6-73 118

Lautoka Mediumwave
VRH New studios, offices & transmitters opened Dec 15, 1956; FBC 14
VRH 2nd transmitter RNZAF added; FBC 84.118 21
VRH 3 mediumwave transmitters in operation in 1967; FBC 84.118 21
RF 500 w now on 4756 relay 840; RH 79.16 1-68 129
VRH Plans laid 1979 to replace transmitters over 3 years; FBC 84.118 29
RF 890 1320 only mediumwave; RH 79.16; 11-69 191
RF Due to change to 640; RH 79.17 8-70 175
RF 640 & 890; RH 79.17 11-71 135

Lautoka New Site
RF 2 @ 3 kW to transfer to new site at Lautoka; EA 9-72 119
RF Plans for new site 200 ft tower replace 150 ft; EA 79.17 6-73 119

Sigatoka Mediumwave
VRH Opened 1968 RNZAF transmitter; FBC 84.118 21
RF Will use 5 kW on 930 kHz; RH 79.16 1-68 129
RF New 930 2 kW soon 5 kW T antenna, unmanned; RH 79.16 8-68 150
RF 930; RH 79.10 or 6; 11-69 191
RF Plans laid 1979 to replace transmitters over 3 years; FBC 84.118 29
RF 930 & 1210; RH 79.17 11-71 135

Rakiraki Mediumwave
RF New 1470 later this year; RH 79.16 8-68 150
RF New 2 kW 1470 now on air; RH 79.16 10-69 181
RF 1470; RH 79.16; 11-69 191
RF Opened 1969 RNZAF transmitter; FBC 84.118 21
RF Plans laid 1979 to replace transmitters over 3 years; FBC 84.118 29
RF Due to change to 680; RH 79.17 8-70 175
RF 1320 & 1470; RH 79.17 11-71 135

Labasa Mediumwave
VRH Opened 1969 RNZAF transmitter; FBC 84.118 21
VRH Plans laid 1979 to replace transmitters over 3 years; FBC 84.118 29
RF 840 changing to 810 avoid Tara 844; RH 79.17 11-70 72
RF New 5 kW 840 commenced May 1, 1970; RH 79.17 8-70 175
RF 680 & 810; RH 79.17 11-71 135

Nadroga
RF New station duplicate MW transmitters; EA 9-72 119

Network
RF 6 mediumwave & 2 shortwave transmitters; RH 79.16 3-68 145

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Fiji on Mediumwave

WRTVHB References

——————————————————————————————————————
Year Call kHz kW Suva
——————————————————————————————————————
Suva/Singatoka Lautoka Lautoka
1954 ZJV 930 2 Nadroga
1955 VRH 930 2
1956 VRH 930 2 VRH 840 .5
1957 VRH 930 2 VRH2 840 .5 VRH3 890 2.5
1958 VRH 930 2 VRH2 840 .5 VRH3 890 2.5
1959 VRH 930 2 VRH2 840 .5 VRH3 890 2.5
1960 VRH 930 2 VRH2 840 .5 VRH3 890 2.5
1961 VRH 930 2 VRH2 840 .4 VRH3 890 2.5
1962 VRH 930 2 VRH2 840 .4 VRH3 890 2.5
1963 VRH 930 2 VRH2 840 .4 VRH3 890 2.5
1964 VRH 930 2 VRH2 840 .4 VRH3 890 2.5
1965 VRH 710 5 VRH2 930 3 VRH3 890 2.5 VRH11 1320 1
1966 VRH 710 5 VRH2 930 3 VRH3 890 2.5 VRH11 1320 1
1967 710 840 890 930 1320
1968 560 710 840 890 1320
1969 560 710 840 890 930 1320
1970 560 710 840 890 930 1320
1971 560 640 710 810 890 930 1210 1470
1972 560 640 680 710 810 890 910 1210-2 1320 1470
1973 560 640 680 710 810 890 930 1210 1320 1470
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Fiji on Mediumwave

QSLs

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Call Location kHz kW Year Date Information
——————————————————————————————————————
ZJV Suva 920 .5 1936 Jun 22 Village scene; AWR Collection
ZJV Suva 920 .5 1937 Aug 11 Village scene; AWR Collection
ZJV Suva 920 .5 1938 Aug 4 Village scene; AWR Collection
ZJV Suva 920 .5 Village scene; ATC TWIME 164
ZJV Suva 930 2 1953 Small business card size; CPRV
ZJV Suva 930 2 1953 Jul New cream card; R&H 7-53 90

VRH Suva 930 1954 Jul 10 Large, color village hut; AWR
VRH Suva 930 1954 Jul 24 Large, color village hut; AWR
VRH2 Lautoka 840 1955 Jan 29 Large, color village hut; AWR
VRH2 Lautoka 840 .5 1955 Apr 24 Large, color village hut; AWR
VRH2 Lautoka 890 2.5 1956 Dec 26 Large, color village hut; AWR
VRH3 Lautoka 890 1958 Jun 16 Large, color village hut; AWR

RF Suva 558 10 1979 Jun 8 Prepared card; AWR collection
RF Suva 560 10 1974 Apr 10 Prepared card; AMP
RF Suva 560 10 1974 Apr 10 Fishing boat in color; AMP
RF Suva 710 10 1974 Apr 10 Prepared card; AMP
RF Suva 710 10 1974 Apr 10 Fishing boat in color; AMP
RF Naulu 710 10 1976 Sep 29 Fishing boat in color; AWR files
RF Lautoka 640 2 1974 Apr 10 Fishing boat in color; AMP
RF Lautoka 640 2 1974 Apr 10 Prepared card; AMP
RF Lautoka 930 3 1974 Apr 10 Fishing boat in color; AMP
RF Lautoka 930 3 1974 Apr 10 Prepared card; AMP
RF Lautoka 890 2.5 1971 Apr 10 AMP entry
RF2 Suva 774 20 1883 Feb 7 Map card; D Reibold ANDEX
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