On The Air In Bahrain

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

In the earlier part of last year, Radio Bahrain re-activated their shortwave transmitter which had been off the air for several years. In this edition of Wavescan, we take up the story of Radio Broadcasting in Bahrain.

The Middle Eastern country of Bahrain is located in the Persian Gulf and it is made up entirely of islands, more than thirty altogether. Most of these islands are quite barren and the total area is about the same size as, for example, the city of Chicago.

This area is very hot in summer, with little rain falling, no more than about three inches a year. However, there are many freshwater springs that provide ample water for the local inhabitants as well as for animals and the irrigation of large farming areas.

Underground oil was discovered in 1932 and this gave a remarkable impetus to development in the islands of Bahrain. However, the oil supply has since diminished and Bahrain has turned to oil processing and other forms of commerce and manufacturing. It is stated that Bahrain has the best electricity supply in the Middle East.

The capital city is Manama on the main island, Bahrain. The total population numbers around half a million and Arabic is the official language, though there are also many other residents who trace their national origins to India, Pakistan, or Iran.

Bahrain also has a long history going way back in ancient times to 2000 BC when the islands were known as Dilmun. Many other nations have dominated the area over the centuries, including Portugal, Persia, Saudi Arabia, and England. They gained independence in 1971.

Somewhere around the year 1920, the first communication station was installed in Bahrain by the Indo-European Telegraph Company and it was on the air for local and international communication under the callsign VTE. The more modern counterpart was Cable & Wireless which verified listener reports with a square folded QSL card.

The first radio broadcasting service in Bahrain was on the air from 1941 – 1945 and it is presumed that this was a mediumwave facility. Three years later, a shortwave station was noted on the air with daily programming for an hour or two in three languages.

However, it was another seven years before a regular broadcasting service was established in Bahrain and this was inaugurated on July 21, 1955 with 2 kW on 610 kHz. Programming was mainly in Arabic with some English and occasional other regional languages. Over the years, Radio Bahrain has increased its output of programming and today they are on the air with five mediumwave transmitters ranging in power from 1 kW up to 100 kW as well as five FM transmitters.

Back in the 1970s, a petroleum company launched its own radio station with just 100 watts on 1230 kHz, and a television station ran the audio channel on 570 kHz for local listeners. There was also a Voice of America relay station in Bahrain for 18 months during the first Gulf War, with 25 kW on 1350 kHz. They subsequently donated a 50 kW mediumwave transmitter to the government radio station.

On shortwave, Radio Bahrain took out an experimental relay of their regular mediumwave programming over Radio Kuwait on 6010 kHz in 1991. In August of the same year, Radio Bahrain transferred this programming to their own 60 kW transmitter located at Abu Hayan.

This service was on the air for seven years and it was terminated in 1997 as no longer being necessary. However, the shortwave service was reactivated last year and it is now listed as on the air 24 hours daily with two transmitters at 60 kW on 6010 kHz & 9745 kHz with programming in Arabic & English.

A few years ago, Radio Bahrain was quite a reliable verifier and they issued a QSL card with a map of their islands and a list of all mediumwave & shortwave transmitters.

On the Air in Bahrain

References


———————————————————————————————-
Year Date Event Reference
———————————————————————————————-
1921 VTE Wireless station Indo-European Telegraph Co YBWT&T 82.7 572
1925 VTE Wireless station Indo-European Telegraph Co YBWT&T 82.7 501
1941-1945 No AFRS nor BFBS stations listed for Bahrain Reference books
1941 Radio service on air as 1st in Gulf area ADXN 5-03 10
1945 Radio service closed ADXN 5-03 10
1948 Broadcasts in AA Persian FF 1000-1130 days 1000-1200 S&S RN 4-48 150
1948 Manama on 6910-7200 mainly 7070 kHz RN 4-48 150
1948 Playing American, French, German records RA DX program RN 4-48 150
1955 Arabic radio service began RM 14
1955 Jul 21 New radio station inaugurated Manama ADXN 5-03 10
1973 PAL TV station installed by American company RM 14
1975 MW move from 610 to 615; TV sound soon on 570 kHz EA 79.17 3-75 102
1975 50 kW MW under construction for Arabic 570 kHz EA 79.17 1-76 95
1977 Apr English radio service began on MW & FM RM 14
1981 New studio and office building ADXN 5-03 10
1981 New transmitter building 2 @ 100 kW MW ADXN 5-03 10
New 100 kW MW transmitter, 50 kW standby DSWCI
1991 Jan VOA tests began last week Jan military station EE 2200-0300 ADXN 4-91 12
1991 Jan VOA tests 25 kW 1350 kHz, plans for 50 kW ADXN 4-91 12
1991 Jun 29 Radio Bahrain noted on SW 6010 relay HS ADXN 7-91 9
1991 Jul Radio Bahrain 6010 kHz 60 kW relay HS (Via Kuwait) NASWA 8-91 28
1991 Radio Bahrain relayed short while by Radio Kuwait SW DXO 9-91 59
1991 Radio Bahrain now on air SW own facility 6010 kHz 60 kW DXO 9-91 59
1991 Now on air SW 2 channels ADXN 5-03 10
1992 Jul VOA relay ceased end July, MW transmitter donated to Bahrain ADXN 9-92 5
1992 Jul 31 VOA Gulf War MW 50 kW closed, different transmitter given NASWA 9-92 29
2003 Apr SW re-activated 9745 USB Arabic HS heard 2 weeks April ODXA 6-03 15
2003 Active on 6010 & 9745 in Arabic ADXN 5-03 10
2003 Newly activated DSWC 7-03 14
===============================================================

On the Air in Bahrain
WRTVHB Listings
Changes & new developments only

———————————————————————————————–
Year Date Event ` Reference
———————————————————————————————–
1949 Radio Bahrain, Manama 7075 kHz 1949 50
1956 610 kHz 2 kW (1st new entry) 1956 88
1972 New station listed Bahrain Petroleum co, Awali 1230 100 w 1972 131
1973 Bahrain Petroleum co, Awali 1230 100 w same listing 1973 135
1974 Awali station not listed 1974 140
1975 Radio Bahrain now 20 kW 615 kHz 1975 151
1975 Radio TV Bahrain new listing 570 kHz 50 kW 1975 151
1976 TV radio station not listed 1976 173
1979 612 kHz 20 kW 1979 189
1980 Additional transmitter on 1485 kHz 250 w in English 612 kHz in Arabic 1980 187
1980 Petroleum co listed again 1215 kHz 100 w 1980 187
1984 Petroleum co no longer listed 1984 179
1984 612 & 801 kHz @ 100 kW in Arabic, 1584 @ 1 kW in English 1984 179
1991 1584 no longer listed, English service on FM 1991 163
1992 SW 60 kW at Abu Hayan 6010 & 9745 kHz, 1584 kHz 1 kW relisted 1992 177
1997 SW listed as inactive 1992 167
2002 SW listed as reactivated 24 hrs 6010, new 1458 @ 50 kW 2002 98
2003 New 1521 @ 10 kW 2003 87
2004 SW – 2 @ 60 kW; MW 2 @ 100 kW, 1 @ 50 kW, 1 @ 10 kW, 1 @ 1 kW 2004 103
Channel 1 Service in Arabic 801 kHz 100 kW 90.9 Mhz 3 kW
1458 50
9745 60
Channel 2 Service in Arabic 612 100 93.3 3
1521 10
6010 60
Indian Language Service 104.2
English Service 1584 1 96.5 2.5
6010 60 101.0 .5
9745 60
==============================================================


On the Air in Bahrain
QSLs

———————————————————————————————-
Station Location Year Date kHz kW QSL Holder
———————————————————————————————-
Radio Bahrain Manama 1999 Feb 27 612 100 Map card AMP
Radio Bahrain Manama 1999 Apr 3 801 100 Map card AMP
Cable & Wireless Hamala 1975 May 12 10750 10 Folded card AMP
===============================================================
On the Air in Bahrain

Stations

———————————————————————————————-
Station Location Year Year Information
———————————————————————————————-
Communication Bahrain 1921 1925 VTE Telegraph company

1st radio station Bahrain 1941 1945 1st in Gulf area (MW?)

1st SW station Manama 1948 1948 7075 khz, and other nearby channels

Radio Bahrain Manama 1955 Inaugurated Jul 21, 2 kW 610 kHz
1975 Move from 610 kHz to 615 kHz with 20 kW
1979 20 kW move to 612 kHz
1980 Additional 1485 kHz with 240 w
Isa Town 1981 New studios & offices
1984 New 2 @ 100 kW 612 & 801 1584 @ 1 kW
2002 New 1458 @ 50 kW
2003 New 1521 @ 10 kW
2004 5 MW listed

Petroleum co Awali 1972 1983 1230 kHz 100 watts

Radio TV station 1973 American TV station installed, audio on 570
1975 New 50 kW MW 570 lsited

VOA 1991 Last week Jan 25 kW 1350, 50 kW planned
1992 Closed Jul 31, other transmitter donated

Radio Bahrain SW via Kuwait 1991 Began Jun relay HS, terminated Aug, 6010

Radio Bahrain SW Abu Hayan 1991 1997 Began Aug relay HS own 60 kW transmitter
2002 Reactivated 2 channels 6010 & 9745
2004 2 @ 60 kW listed
===============================================================

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