Local Radio In The Seychelles

This article was originally material for a broadcast of “Wavescan” via Adventist World Radio and now forms part of the Radio Heritage Collection (c). 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

The first wireless facility in the Seychelles was established by the British navy in the era soon after the end of World War 1. This station was on the air with navy communications under the callsign BZH.

Back nearly 50 years ago, there were two other communication stations active in the Seychelles Islands. One was the Cable & Wireless station with the callsign ZCQ, and the other was a NASA tracking station with the callsign AFE.

We should also remember the BBC relay station, with its two Marconi transmitters at 250 kW and its six curtain antennas, which was opened on September 25, 1988. This BBC shortwave relay station is located on a tidal mangrove swamp on the western edge of Mahe (MAH-HAY) Island.

The first local radio station in the Seychelles Islands was a shortwave operation using a low powered transmitter under the callsign ZCQ3. The first known reference to this station is found in two radio magzines of that era, suggesting that the station was launched around the middle of the year 1951.

The station was on the air with programming provided by the government Education Department and a transmitter provided by Cable & Wireless. The original channel was 5770 kHz, the power output was somewhere between100 & 150 watts, and the station was on the air twice a week in English & French for an hour on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Some time around the year 1956, the transmitter power was listed as 40 watts and the operating channel was changed to 4990 kHz. A QSL letter to a listener in Cyprus shows that the programming was still prepared by the government Education Department, though we could guess that the transmitter in use was now an amateur transmitter. Shortwave station ZCQ3 was also heard in Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand at this low power rating.

The important move to mediumwave was made on July 20, 1965, just 15 years after the original launching of the shortwave service in 1951. The first mediumwave transmitter was a 500 watt unit on 1336 kHz, though this was upgraded to 1 kW a couple of years later.

These days, station ZCQ at Mahe in the Seychelles Islands is on the air with 10 kW on 1331 kHz and a small network of FM transmitters. A QSL card with a silhouette scene in black & white was issued in 1974 at the time when they increased power from 1 kW to 10 kW, This QSL card is still available, if ever you happen to hear this exotic local station located on a distant island.

Radio Stations in the Seychelles Islands

Time Lines

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Units Station Year Date Event
——————————————————————————————————————
Communication
BZH 1920s British Navy station
ZCQ 1970s C&W communication station
AFE 1970s American communication station

International Shortwave
BBC 1988 Sep 25 BBC relay station commissioned
FEBA 1969 Oct 8 First broadcast
FEBA 2003 Mar 29 Final broadcasts

Local Radio
ZCQ3 1951 Sep 1st known reference to new local SW station
1956 Change from 100 w on 5770 to 40 w on 4990
1965 Jul 20 SW closed & MW inuagurated

WRTVHB 1954 ZCQ3 5770 100w Wsun 1 hr English & French
1955 ZCQ3 5770 100w Wsun 1 hr English & French
1956 ZCQ3 4990 100w Daily 1 hr English & French
1957 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1958 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1959 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1960 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr Letter
1961 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr Letter
1962 ZCQ3 4990 1 kW Daily 1 hr Latter
1963 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr Letter
1964 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr Letter
1965 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1966 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1967 ZCQ3 1330 500w Daily 3 hr
1968 ZCQ3 1336 500w Daily 3 hr
1969 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 4 hr
1970 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 4 hr
1971 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 4 hr
1972 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 4 hr
1973 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 7 hr
1974 ZCQ3 1331 10 kW Daily 8 hr Card
2003 ZCQ3 1368 10 kW 4 FM stations Card
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Radio Stations in the Seychelles Islands

References

——————————————————————————————————————
Station Location Information & Reference
——————————————————————————————————————
BZH British navy, 600 & 2000 m (500 & 150 kHz) 1921; 82.7 580

ZCQ St Louis Hill C&W Mercury House Victoria; Speedx Utility 84.142 194

AFE Mahe US Eastern test range Facility; Speedx Utility 84.142 194
US Air Force station used for NASA tracking; 82.18 143

BBC Seychelles 2 x 300 kW operational in late 1987; NZDXT
2 @ 250 opened Sep 25 1988; SWL 10-88 14; DXO 9-88 60
2 @ 250 opened Sep 25 1988; ADXN 6-88 15
2 Marconi @ 250 kW & 6 curtains; ADXN 8-88 13
On tidal mangrove swamp w side Mahe island; ADXN 2-89 9

ZCQ3 SW Seychelles ZCQ 5770 on air; WRHB RTVN 9-51 156
Full details SW 100 -150 w; RN 11-52 149
ZCQ3 5770 daily 1 hr EE FF; RTVN 11-54 152
15-40w 4990 CreoleFrench QSLCyprus;R&H77.14 8-56 104
40 w 4990 1 hr daily QSLed NZ; R&H 79.14 8-59 112
BBC relays, messages for all islands; R&H 79.14 8-59 112
Heard in Asia with BBC news relay; R&H 79.15 1-60 103
Daily on 4990 kHz 40 w; R&H 77.14 2-61 119
Heard in Africa 4990 more than 2 hrs; R&H 79.15 10-62 133
Moved to MW 1336 on 20-7-65; R&H 79.16 2-66 117

ZCQ MW Seychelles Moved to MW 1336 on 20-7-65; R&H 79.16 2-66 117
Details 1st transmitter 500w 2nd 1 kW; EA 77.14 5-68 147
MW station bombed destroyed; B Bacon letter, Oct 8, 1971
Began 1965, now 10 kW 1331; CBAHB 1979 84.136 109
Began 1965, now 10 kW 1331; CBAHB 1981 84.135 101
Began 1965, now 10 kW 1331; CBAHB 1985 84.135 101

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Radio Stations in the Seychelles Islands

WRTVHB Listings for Local Radio

——————————————————————————————————————
Year Call kHz Watts Schedule Langauges QSLs
——————————————————————————————————————
WRTVHB 1954 ZCQ3 5770 100w Wsun 1 hr English & French
1955 ZCQ3 5770 100w Wsun 1 hr English & French
1956 ZCQ3 4990 100w Daily 1 hr English & French
1957 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1958 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1959 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1960 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr Letter
1961 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr Letter
1962 ZCQ3 4990 1 kW Daily 1 hr Latter
1963 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr Letter
1964 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr Letter
1965 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1966 ZCQ3 4990 40 w Daily 1 hr
1967 ZCQ3 1330 500w Daily 3 hr
1968 ZCQ3 1336 500w Daily 3 hr
1969 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 4 hr
1970 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 4 hr
1971 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 4 hr
1972 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 4 hr
1973 ZCQ3 1331 1 kW Daily 7 hr
1974 ZCQ3 1331 10 kW Daily 8 hr Card
2003 ZCQ3 1368 10 kW 4 FM stations Card
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