VOA in the Philippines

This article was originally aired over Adventist World Radio’s “Wavescan” program 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 the South Pacific DX Resource hosted on www.radiodx.com for a period of 5 years from December 1 2003. Author: Adrian Peterson

These days, it is not so well known, that the Voice of America has operated a total of four different shortwave radio facilities located in the Philippines. To commemorate this long and interesting history, we take a look at each of these four VOA facilities in the Philippines in turn.

*1. MANILA: Towards the end of the Pacific war, when American forces returned to the Philippines, the Voice of America began the relay of its programming over two radio transmitters that were on the air previously as a commercial enterprise. This was station KZFM, with two transmitters at 5 kW each, one on mediumwave and the other on shortwave. This relay of VOA programming was simply an interim usage awaiting the construction of a new VOA facility at Malolos (m’-LOW-loss).

The two transmitters that were in use as VOA-KZFM were located on the edge of Manila city and they were on the air as a VOA relay station for a period of four years, stretching from 1945 – 1948. This facility was returned to its previous owners for use as a commercial enterprise.

* 2. MALOLOS: This second VOA location in the Philippines was situated on the northen edge of Manila Bay. It was here that the Voice of America constructed its own facility with a total of four transmitters; one on mediumwave at 50 kW and three on shortwave at 50 kW & 7.5 kW.

This new facility at Malolos began test broadcasts under the same callsign KZFM, though when the station was taken into regular service, it identified on air as VOA Northern Luzon. This station replaced the interim facility that operatde on air as VOA Manila. In those days, the 50 kW mediumwave unit located at Malolos and operating on 920 kHz was heard widely at night while most other mediumwave stations in Asia, Australia and the Pacific were off the air.

VOA Malolos was in use for a period of 22 years, from 1948 – 1969. It was gifted to the Philippine government who then operated it as DZRP, the “Voice of the Philippines”.

* 3. PORO (PORE-oh): Actually, the third VOA facility in the Philippines was made up of two separate units, one a permanent facility and the other a transportable unit. These were both co-sited in the Wallace Air Force Base at Point Poro, near San Fernando, 150 miles north of Manila.

The first unit on the air at this location was the one megawatt, that is 1,000 kW, mediumwave transmitter which was heard widely on 1140 kHz. This unit went on the air in June 1953 and at one stage, this massive super-powered mediumwave transmitter was licensed by the Philippine authorities with the callsign DWVA.

The installation of six shortwave transmitters at 100 kW, 35 kW & 15 kW followed soon after the mediumwave station became airbourne. In VOA scheduling, this fixed VOA station at Poro was designated with the abbreviation, PHP, followed by the actual number of the transmitter.

A transportable unit containing three shortwave transmitters at 50 kW and known as Transportable 1, was transferred from VOA Liberia and installed at Poro in 1964. These transportable transmitters were designated in VOA scheduling as PHPX.

A few years ago, a nearby volcano, Mount Pinatubo, erupted producing a massive devastation which closed VOA Poro for some weeks.

At the end of September 1999, the VOA shortwave station at Poro was closed down, though the mediumwave unit still remains in service with 1 megawatt on 1143 kHz.

* 4 TINANG (t’-NANG): The fourth VOA unit in the Philippines is located at Tinang, about 50 miles north of Manila and rather close to the original facility at Malolos. This large radio base is also made up of two separate units, the permanent facility and a transportable unit.

The first unit to go on the air at Tinang was Transportable 2, which was manufactured in the United States specifically for installation at Tinang. This unit, with three transmitters at 50 kW, became operational in May 1968.

A total of ten transmitters at 250 kW each were installed at Tinang and these came into service progressively beginning in May 1969. Two additional transmitters at 250 kW were installed in an adjoining facility at Tinang in 1982.

In VOA schedules, the main transmitters at Tinang are designated as PHT and the transportable transmitters are designated as PHX. This fourth VOA shortwave station in the Philippines is now the only remaining VOA facility in that country.

In the earlier days, VOA QSL cards were issued over the years for all four VOA units in the Philippines, from both Manila and from Washington. These days only VOA Washington issues QSL cards for the Philippine relay station and the Philippine cards are now quite rare.

Voice of America in the Philippines

Time Lines

Location Station Year Date Information
Manila Several 1941 Dec 28 VOA relay on air for 6 days only
1942 Jan 2 VOA relays ended

Manila KZFM 1945 1 MW @ 5 kW & 1 SW @ 5 kW, interim
1948 Temporary VOA usage concluded

Malolos KZFM 1947 Sep 11 Test broadcasts began 50 kW SW
VOA 1948 Mar 7 Regular relay service began
1949 Jan 1 Callsign change from K to D
DZRP 1967 Jun 50 kW MW closed
VOA 1969 Jul 1 Entire facility taken over by PBS

Poro Point PHP 1953 Jun MW began, SW added progressively
1999 Sep Station closed

Poro Point PHPX 1964 Originally in Liberia, co-sited with PHP 1999 Sep Station closed

Tinang PHX 1968 May Began regular service

Tinang PHT 1969 May 4 Began regular service

Voice of America in the Philippines


Location Information & Reference
Philippines VOA relayed by local MW & SW stations; RE 84.267 49 & VOA document
Local 5 SW in Philippines KZRH KZRM KZIB KZRF KZRC; 79.10 R&H 1-41 57
6 SW relayed “VOA” programming to China; GJ 97.001 V3
New relay USA on 6 SW & 6 MW stations began Dec 28; GJ 97.001 V3
KZIB relay FIS from USA began 28-12-41 ended 2-1-42; GJ 97.001 V3 KZND relay FIS from USA began 28-12-41 ended 2-2-42; GJ 97.001 V3 KZRC relay FIS from USA began 28-12-41 ended 2-2-42; GJ 97.001 V3
KZRC Cebu City 1941 Dec 28 began FIS relay from USA for 6 days
KZRF relay FIS from USA began 28-12-41 ended 2-2-42; GJ 97.001 V3
KZRH relay FIS from USA began 28-12-41 ended 2-2-42; GJ 97.001 V3
KZRH Manila “Voice of the Philippines” 1941 Dec 28 began FIS relay
KZRH & 6 SW & MW relay “VOA” began Dec 1941; GJV 97.0013 KZRM Manila 1941 Dec 28 began FIS relay from USA for 6 days
KZRM relay FIS from USA began 28-12-41 ended 2-2-42; GJ 97.001 V3

Manila VOA = KZFM, not KZRM
VOA KZFM Manila 5 kW In use with AFRS & VOA programming 1945
KZFM in use by AFRS & VOA 1945-1946; PBS Folder, Philippine File
KZFM new 9615 as People’s Station; 79.12 R&H 11-47 85
KZFM 3 SW channels 5 kW; WRTVHB 1948 63
KZFM VOA Manila 5 kW MW returned to gov 1948; Piersein 165

Malolos – Manila Bay, Bulacan, Northern Luzon, 25 M NW Manila
VOA VOA Malolos work began early 1946; RN 4-47 164
VOA Manila began tests new 50 kW SW Sep 1947; LI 79.24 20-9-47
KZFM 50 kW as VOA relay; WRHB 1947
VOA Malolos 50 kW MW began 7-3-48
VOA began 11 Sept 1947 11840; R&H 79.12 10-47 76 & 78
VOA Manila began 11-9-47 new 50 kW SW; LI 79.24 20-9-47 20
VOA 50 kW; RN 10-47 183
VOA Malolos end 1948 SW began; 2 @ 50, 1 @ 7.5, 10 rhombics; PhD
VOA Philippines; R&H 79.13 10-47 76
New VOA station; R&H 79.13 11-47 85
VOA 2 SW channels 50 kW; WRTVHB 1948 63
New VOA Manila change channel; R&H 79.13 3-48 57
New VOA station; R&H 77.14 8-48 84
VOA picture; RTVN 83.1 1-50 140
VOA Malolos 50 kW MW 920 kHz closed; EA 79.16 7-67 151
DZRP old VOA MW sister station KZFM; EA 77.14 10-67 168
VOA MW 50 kW Malolos call DZRP; EA 79.16 10-69 173
VoP now via VOA studio & transmitters Malolos; EA 79.16 10-69 173
PBS via VOA Malolos 1 @ 50 & 1 @ 7.5 began end 1969; EA 6-70 173
VoP began 1-7-69
VOA Malolos; 84.267 165 & 184

Poro Point – San Fernando, La Union; Fixed Station
PHP In Wallace Air Force Base, 206 acres, 150 m N Manila; YD
1 MW MW 1140 kHz 4 tower; VOA Yellow Document
2 @ 100 kW 2 @ 35 kWm 2 @ 15 kW SW; VOAYD
15 rhombics for SW PHP & PHPX; VOAYD
MW began on air June 1953, SW added successively; YD
New MW & SW Manila B 1 MW 1040 kHz; R&H 79.14 8-53 90
New VOA station; R&H 79.14 12-53 98
New VOA station San Fernando; R&H 79.18 3-54 98
Callsign MW DWVA; WRTVHB 1976 300
Closed end Sept, 1999; WS246

Poro Point – San Fernando, La Union; Transportable 1
PHPX 3 @ 50 kW SW; VOAYD
Originally in Liberia, transferred to Poro 1964
Closed end Sept, 1999; WS246

Tinang – Tarlac; Transportable 2
PHX In John Hay Air Base 2497 acres, 50 M N Manila; VOAYD
3 @ 50 kW SW; VOAYD
VOA Tinang; R&H 79.16 4-65 117
Began on air May 1968; VOAYD
New VOA station; R&H 79.16 10-68 149

Tinang – Tarlac; Fixed Station
PHT 10 @ 250 kW SW; VOAYD
34 curtains, 4 rhombics, 1 dipole SW PHT & PHX; VOAYD Began on air May 4 1969; VOAYD
New Tinang station; R&H 79.16 11-69 191
2 @ 250 BBC installed in 1982; 1998 TDP 46

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