The Radio Scene In Haiti

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

The small independent nation of Haiti in the Caribbean has featured in major news events in recent time; and so, on this occasion here in “Wavescan”, we present the first of a two part story on “The Radio Scene in Haiti”.

Actually, the country of Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola which is located in the central Caribbean between Cuba & Puerto Rico. Haiti is French, and the Dominican Republic on the eastern end of the island, is Spanish.

The total area of Haiti is a little over 10,000 square miles and the greatest distance in their country is less than 200 miles. The total population is around 6 million, and the capital city is Port-au-Prince with around half a million people.

The radio scene in Haiti began a little over 80 years ago when the American navy established a wireless communication station in Port-au-Prince with the callsign NSC. Subsequent communication stations were erected by the Haitian government and these were given the callisgns HHM, HHW & HHZ.

The first radio broadcasting station in Haitit appeared on the radio dail in 1927 with the callsign HHK and this station was also located in the capital city. Station HHK was a government facility and it was licensed with 1 kW on 830 kHz.

Shortwave broadcasting began in Haiti eight years later when the Haitian Automobile Association established a station that was given three different callsigns, one for each of the three licensed channels. This station was heard in North America & Europe under the callsigns HH2R, HH2S & HH2T. However, the first Haitian shortwave station that was heard in the South Pacific was HH3W which was noted five years later, in the year 1940.

In the year 1946, ambitious plans were announced by a commercial organization in France for the establishment of a powerful station that would give radio coverage to almost the entire planet. This station with a commercial world service was planned with three transmitters at 50 kW each. However, that august (au-GUST) announcement was the last that was ever heard of this project.

Over the years, a large number of small shortwave stations were established in Haiti and these have been on the air with programming in mainly three different languages, French, Spanish and English. Each of these small stations was usually a shortwave relay from a regular mediumwave station, though on occasions a truly international service was heard from a few stations. The target areas for an international service were usually other island nations in the Caribbean basin.

The power output of the shortwave stations in Haiti was usually in the range of just 1 kW or less, though a couple of stations were on the air at times with 10 kW. Some of these stations also issued QSL cards which these days are quite rare.

It was at the beginning of the year 1950 that the cailsigns of all radio stations in Haiti were changed from the origianl prefix HH to the new prefix 4V. Thus, for example, the station mentioned earlier, HH2S, became 4V2S.

Over the years more than 60 different callsigns have been noted on shortwave in Haiti, and the station with the longest tenure was the Gospel station 4VEH with a close runner-up 4VWA. This station was on the air for more than half a century as Radio Citadelle. The era with the greatest number of shortwave stations was in the 1960s & 1970s with more than 20 on the air.

The last two surviving shortwave stations in Haiti were Radio Citadelle 4VWA and the Gospel station 4VEH. The Gospel station left the international shortwave bands in 1982, and both stations left the tropical shortwave bands in 1992.

“The Right Station with the Wrong Callsign”

We should mention also, that our own Adventist radio station in Haiti, together with the Adventist university and the Adventist hospital, have all found it necessary to modify their activities due to the social unrest in their country. The Adventist radio station, 4VVE, has been on the air with 10 kW on 1560 kHz mediumwave since 1988, and the FM outlet in parallel on 89.5 MHz has been on the air since the year 2001.

Situated in a politically difficult climate is this small and exotic radio station which began its days as a shortwave station and is today heard only on mediumwave and FM. This station began its shortwave career with one callsign which it still retains for identification, though it is registered these days for on-air usage with another call.

It was on the northern coast of Haiti, at Cap Haitien, that Haiti’s best known shortwave station was established more than half a century ago. This station, 4VEH, with the slogan “The Evangelical Voice of Haiti” was founded in 1950 specifically as a shortwave station by Rev G. T. Bustin. This unique station made its first broadcast on June 2, 1950 and at the time it was a small unit radiating just 400 watts on the unusual channel 9884 kHz.

The studios and transmitter for this new station were located at first in the back rooms of the church building in the “East & West Indies Bible Mission” at Vaudreuil in northern Haiti. At the time, there were several other shortwave stations located in Haiti, the western section of Hispaniola, though they were located mainly in the capital city area, Port au Prince.

Subsequent to its inauguration and with the evidence of success for this bold new venture, new studios were established and a new transmitter building was constructed for 4VEH. The transmitter base was located seven miles away in the salt flats at Petite Anse across the bay from Cap Haitien. The 10 watt FM link between the studios in Vaudreuil and the transmitter at Petite Anse came into service in 1965.

To celebrate their 5th anniversary and to honor the 25th anniversary of the International Shortwave Club in London, 4VEH made a series of special DX broadcasts on May 21 & 22, 1955. Three different channels in the 31 metre band were used and attempts were made also to use two other shortwave transmitters for the occasion.

In 1958, just eight years after its inauguration, station 4VEH was taken over by the missionary organization, OMS International with its world headquarters on the edge of Indianapolis. This station, originally established to broadcast the Gospel to the Caribbean, continued under its new ownership with regular programming in French, Spanish and English to Haiti and neighboring islands.

At its greatest potential, 4VEH was on the air with a total of eight transmitters radiating on allocated frequencies in the shortwave, mediumwave and FM bands. These were generally lower powered units, though for many years they operated two 10 kW units simultaneously. During its era as a shortwave broadcaster, reception reports were received from all areas in the United States, as well as from many other countries in Europe, the Americas and the Pacific. Two shortwave antennas were in use; a simple dipole, and a two element delta beamed towards Florida.

Currently, the American headquarters for radio station 4VEH are located in Florida and the station is on the air in Haiti with the usage of just two transmitters under the callsign 4VEF. They are heard with 10 kW on 840 kHz and on FM at 94.7 Mhz. Interestingly, radio station 4VEH no longer on the air from a transmitter under that original designation; 4VEH is now in reality, 4VEF. Thus, they have become, as we said, “The Rght Station with the Wrong Callsign”.

The Gospel station 4VEH was the last station in Haiti to leave the air shortwave. This station was indeed an exotic shortwave station in an exotic tropical location. In bygone years, it was much sought after by distant international radio monitors who wanted a picturesque QSL card from this fascinating island nation in the blue Caribbean.

On the Air in Haiti

References

———————————————————————————————————-
Mode Year Call Information Reference
———————————————————————————————————-
Morse 1921 NSC Port-au-Prince US navy station YBWT&T 82.7 1921 556 1925 NSC Port-au-Prince US navy station YBWT&T 82.7 1925 492

Local communication stations
1933 HHM OSWL&CB 1933 18
1977 HHW & HHZ Speedx Utility Guide 84.142 1977 165

MW 1927 HHK Port-au-Prince 1 kW 830 kHz YB 84.200 1927 48
1928 HHK Port-au-Prince government station 1 kW 830 RHD 1928 Keller 30
1929 HHK Port-au-Prince 1 kW 830 kHz RHD 1929 RN 10-29 337
1931 HHK Port-au-Prince 1 kW 920 kHz RHD 1931 50
1933 HHK Port-au-Prince 1 kW 920 kHz RHD 1933 Pierre Key 238
1934 HHK Port-au-Prince 1 kW 920 kHz RHD 1934 White 4

SW 1935 1st SW station HH2R&S&T Haitian Auto Assoc SWL 10-35 84.161 13
1936 HH2T Port-au-Prince 11570 kHz irregular specials LI 79.23 3-10-36 36
1936 PaP HH2F6065 HH2R9550 HH2S6070 HH2T11790 HH3W9595 RHD 99
1937 PaP HH2S 5925 HH2Y 9551 HH3W 9645 RHD 1937 RN 7-37 146
1940 HH3W 1st Haiti commercial SW heard in Australia R&H 79.11 8-40 55 1942 HHBM new 1 kW QSLs with letter R&H 79.11 2-42 55
1942 New 1 kW soon 49 m in parallel 9660 kHz R&H 79.11 3-42 54
1946 Good QSLs Magloire net HH2S HHBM HHBC HHCM HHCA R&H 3-46 44
1946 Plans 3 @ 150 kW total French commercial world service R&H 11-46 71
1947 Plans 150 kW SW station cover Americas Europe Africa RN 3-47 137
1948 New HHYM on MW & SW 50 m DXSAN 82.1 3-48 3
1948 HH2S 300 w heard in Australia R&H 79.13 5-48 85
1949 HHCP Cape Haitien moved to 6200 R&H 79.13 4-49 85
1950 Callsign prefix changed from HH to 4V
1950 Jun 2 First broadcast from new 4VEH with 400 watts QSL Card
1950 4VWA Radio Citadelle began in 49 m band Cap Haitien NASWA 10-73 3
1950 4VRW Port-au-Prince new callsign 9795 R&H 79.14 1-50 84
1958 New Gospel station Cayes 4VI 1600 w & 4VU 250 wR&H 79.14 11-58 112
1959 4VRW HH3W call loud signal Christmas music poor verifier R&H 2-50 84
1951 4VGA schedule on 6165 kHz ARW 77.8 1-51
1952 4VEH 4VRW 4VPL 4VM (QSL card USA) heard Australia R&H.14 4-52 98
1960 New 4VED 6005 QSLs with letter R&H 79.15 12-60 137
1962 4VWA Aug moved to MW 1500 NASWA 10-73 3
1962 New Gospel 4VM 6165 Port-au-Prince R&H 79.15 2-62 105
1973 4VWA SW re-activated 500 w 6155 kHz, dipole N-S NASWA 10-73 3
1973 4VWA Aug 15 23rd anniversary celebrations NASWA 10-73 3
1982 4VEH left the air HF SW WRTVHB NL
1992 4VWA & 4VEH left tropical shortwave bands
1995 CPRV QSL cards HH2W 4VHW 4VRW NASWA CPRV 10-95 52

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On the Air Shortwave in Haiti

QSLs

————————————————————————————————————
Station Location kHz kW Year Date Notes QSL Holder
————————————————————————————————————
4VEH Cap Haitien 1973 Letter AMP
4VEH Cap Haitien 1987 Letter AMP
4VEH Cap Haitien 9770 2.5 1973 Apr 1 Card AMP
4VEH Cap Haitien 4930 2.5 1987 Oct 15 Paper Card AMP
4VEH Cap Haitien 15278 3 1955 Nov 30 Spanish Card AWR
4VEH Cap Haitien 4930 1.2 1989 Sep CardNASWA
4VEJ Cap Haitien 11835 2.5 1973 Jun 28 Card AMP

HH2S Port – Prince 5915 Oct 3 Card AWR

Radyo 16 Desanm Noblesville 11790 100 1993 Apr 5 Via WHRI Letter AMP Noblesville 11790 100 1993 Jan 4 Via WHRI Card AMP
La Voix de la Revolution 5985 1966 Dec 13 Actual 5905 Copy File
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On the Air Shortwave in Haiti

WRTVHB Entries – 1

————————————————————————————————————
1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
————————————————————————————————————
HHCN HHCN HHCN 4VCN 4VCN 4VCN 4VCN 4VCN 4VCN
HH2S HH2S HH2S 4V2S 4V2S 4V2S 4V2S 4V2S 4V2S 4V2S 4V2S 4V2S
HHCM HHCM HHCM 4VCM 4VCM 4VCM 4VCM 4VCM 4VCM 4VCM 4VCM
HHBM HHBM HHBM 4VBM 4VBM
HH3W HH3W HH3W 4VRW 4VRW 4VRW 4VRW 4VRW 4VRW 4VRW 4VRW 4VRW 4VRW
HHCA HHCA
HHYM HHYM
4VGM
4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH
4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE
4VWI 4VWI 4VWI 4VWI
4VM 4VM 4VM
4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA
4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP
4VPL 4VPL 4VPL 4VPL 4VPL 4VPL
4VGM
4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW
4V2H
4VW
4VSW
4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB
4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS
4VB 4VB 4VB
4VPB 4VPB 4VPB
4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC
4VPM 4VPM 4VPM 4VPM 4VPM
4VDP 4VDP 4VDP
4VYM 4VYM 4VYM
4VPH
4VRM 4VRM
4VBS
4VGC
4VES 4VES
4VU
4VCB
=============================================================

On the Air Shortwave in Haiti

WRTVHB Entries – 2

————————————————————————————————————–
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972
————————————————————————————————————–
4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU 4VU
4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS
4VPM 4VPM 4VPM
4VRM 4VRM 4VRM
4VCB 4VCB 4VCB 4VCB 4VCB 4VCB 4VCB
4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB 4VB
4VEC 4VEC
4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA
4VES 4VES
4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW 4VHW
4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP 4VCP
4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC 4VC
4VWI 4VWI 4VWI 4VWI 4VWI 4VWI 4VWI
4VRW 4VRW 4VRW
4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB
4VO 4VO 4VO 4VO 4VO 4VO 4VO 4VO 4VO 4VO
4VSC 4VSC 4VSC 4VSC 4VSC 4VSC 4VSC 4VSC 4VSC
4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH
4VGA 4VGA 4VGA 4VGA 4VGA 4VGA 4VGA
4VAF 4VAF 4VAF 4VAF 4VAF
4VEE 4VEE 4VEE 4VEE
4VM 4VM 4VM 4VM 4VM 4VM 4VM 4VM 4VM
4VVU 4VVU
4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ
4VSO 4VSO 4VSO 4VSO 4VSO 4VSO 4VSO 4VSO4VSO
4VG 4VG 4VG 4VG 4VG 4VG
4VYM
4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE
4VPJ 4VPJ 4VPJ
4VAE 4VAE 4VAE 4VAE
4VEW 4VEW 4VEW 4VEW
4VEL 4VEL 4VEL
4VOD 4VOD 4VOD
4VWB
4VEA
4VMD
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On the Air Shortwave in Haiti

WRTVHB Entries – 3

————————————————————————————————————
1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985
————————————————————————————————————-
4VU
4VSO 4VSO 4VSO 4VSO 4VSO 4VSO
4VEL 4VEL 4VEL
4VM 4VM 4VM
4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS 4VGS
4VOD 4VOD 4VOD
4VAE 4VAE 4VAE 4VAE 4VAE 4VAE
4VEW 4VEW 4VEW
4VB 4VB 4VB
4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB 4VEB
4VMD 4VMD 4VMD 4VMD 4VMD 4VMD 4VMD 4VMD 4VMD 4VMD 4VMD
4VG 4VG 4VG
4VSC 4VSC 4VSC
4VHW 4VHW 4VHW
4VO 4VO 4VO
4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE 4VE
4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA
4VPJ 4VPJ 4VPJ
4VRW
4VC 4VC 4VC
4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH
4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ 4VEJ
4VWI
4VH
4VCM 4VCM
============================================================


On the Air Shortwave in Haiti

WRTVHB Entries – 4

————————————————————————————————————–
1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
————————————————————————————————————–
4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH 4VEH
4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA 4VWA
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