The Pacific Ocean Network

This article was originally material for a broadcast of “Wavescan” via Adventist World Radio in October 2000, 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 June 1 2000. Author: Adrian Peterson

The Story of the Pacific Ocean Network

We are looking at the entertainment radio stations that were established in the Pacific areas towards the end of the Pacific War, and on this occasion we examine the stations that were clustered together under the concept of the “Pacific Ocean Network”.

The Pacific Ocean was named by the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, in the year 1520 during his fateful attempt to become the first Europeans to sail completely around the world. The Pacific is the largest ocean and it covers more than one third of our planet. The deepest trench in any ocean is the Mariana Trench near the Mariana Islands and it is more than 36,000 ft deep, some 7 miles.

Scattered throughout the Pacific Ocean are numerous islands large and small, estimated to be 30,000 in number. Most of these islands are either volcanic uprisings, or coral islands.

The first American station in the Pacific was the AFRS unit, WXLG , located on the island of Kwajalein. This station was inaugurated on July 4, 1944 and it was heard widely with its 1,000 watts on 1440 kHz.

Several additional locations came on the air quite quickly, and the next was AFRS1 on Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands less than two weeks later. This station was subsequently given the callsign WXLE.

During the years 1944 – 1946 a total of 12 stations were loosely linked together as the “Pacific Ocean Network” and these were located in scattered islands in the south and central Pacific areas. These stations ranged in power from 5 watts up to 1,000 watts.

One of these exotic mediumwave stations was WVUU, located on Christmas Island. This station was unique, because of its isolation, its low power of just 75 watts, and for the fact that it was located on an island named Christmas, or Kiritimati (KIR-ee-tim-AHS) in the local Micronesian language

Most of the dozen AFRS stations in the “Pacific Ocean Network” left the air soon after the end of the Pacific War, though at least one is still on the air to this day. This is station KMTH on Midway Island, which is located in the central Pacific, almost as an extension to the Hawaiian Islands. These days, station KMTH is operated by the American navy and it is on the air on FM only, with 50 watts on 94 Mhz.

At least three of the stations in the “Pacific Ocean Network” have issued QSLs, and these were WXLD Saipan, WXLG Kwajalein, and Radio Barrigada on Guam.

Now, if any of you, our listeners, can provide us with additional information on these “Pacific Ocean Network” stations, and other similar stations in this era, do make contact with us at our e-mail address below.

Please let us know of any additions or corrections to the above list.

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