Monday, August 23, 2010

The Long and Interesting Story of All India Radio-Hyderabad, Part 2

In our program here in Wavescan two weeks ago, we presented the earlier part of the story of radio broadcasting in Hyderabad India. In this edition of Wavescan today, we conclude the story of
radio broadcasting in Hyderabad Deccan, and we present the story of All India Radio, mediumwave and
shortwave, and their three major locations. Again, we express appreciation to Jose Jacob VU2JOS at NIAR, the National Institute of Amateur Radio in Hyderabad, for much of the historical information in this interesting Station Profile.
It was on April 1, 1950, that the twelve year old mediumwave station known as Deccan Radio and which was on the air under the Indian callsign VUV, was taken over by the government of India and subsequently absorbed into the nationwide network of mediumwave stations operated by AIR, All India Radio. This was a 5 kW unit radiating on 730 kHz.
Seven years later, a new 5 kW transmitter was installed at what is known as the Low Power Transmitter Site at L.B. Nagar, some eleven KM from the main AIR studio building. The operating frequency for this new transmitter was adjusted from 730 kHz to 740 kHz.
Over the years, several different transmitters have been installed at LB Nagar. A 10 kW unit was installed in 1969 to carry the Yuva Vani, Youth Radio Service, on 1220 KHz, though this was replaced by a 20 kW unit some thirty years later.
The Hyderabad VB service, Vividh Bharati, was inaugurated on March 14, 1963 with a 1 kW Japanese NEC transmitter on 1170 kHz. However, this program service was transferred to FM in 2001 and the 1 kW transmitter was silenced.
Quite unexpectedly, there was a rash of protests at the closure of this mediumwave service, due to the fact that many of the country families did not own an FM radio receiver, and so the small mediumwave transmitter was re-activated in order to once again carry the VB service. The nationwide VB programming, Vividh Bharati, with its multitudinous cinema tunes, is very popular throughout India.
Soon afterwards, this 1 kW transmitter was placed in standby mode. Then, in the sequence of events, it was dismantled and moved to the High Power Transmitter Site at Hayat Nagar where work began for its installation as a standby unit. However, before the installation was completed, the transmitter was again removed and re-installed again at its former location for use on 1170 kHz in a new program service for country farmers under the slogan, Raithu Vani.
The High Power Transmitter Site is located at Hayat Nagar, some fifteen KM from the AIR city studios. The first transmitter here was a 50 kW Japanese NEC transmitter that was inaugurated in 1966 for use on 740 kHz. Some forty years later, this transmitter was removed and sold for scrap.
The two mediumwave transmitters rated at 100 kW each were installed at Hayat Nagar in 1998. These units were made by BEL in Bangalore, and the output is combined on a single channel, 738 kHz. The standby unit at Hayat Nagar is a 1 kW Japanese NEC transmitter that was previously on the air at Kozhikode in south India.
The studios and offices for AIR Hyderabad are located at Safiabad, and a relatively new tower here radiates the FM service at a power level of 10 kW.
The shortwave service of All India Radio at Hyderabad is on the air from the Low Power Transmitter Site at LB Nagar. The original 10 kW unit, an Australian made AWA BTH model, was inaugurated on July 16, 1958. This unit was in service for a period of thirty three years, and in 1994, a new 50 kW Indian made BEL transmitter was installed. The previous 10 kW transmitter was retained for standby usage for a number of years, but it was finally removed and sold for scrap three years ago.
There are occasions when AIR Hyderabad is on the air for extended hours in order to provide special coverage during cyclones and other regional emergencies. During those occasions, the two high powered mediumwave transmitters and the shortwave unit can be heard in parallel with programming directed to the afflicted areas.
Currently, AIR Hyderabad is on the air mediumwave with two units at 100 kW located at Hyat Nagar.
At LB Nagar, there are actually two transmitter sites. The older site operated two mediumwave transmitters and the shortwave unit. The attached newer site houses the 1 kW mediumwave standby transmitter, and also transmitters for the FM service.
In earlier times, AIR Hyderabad was noted as a very reliable verifier, and the Indianapolis collection holds more than a dozen of their cards, mostly an ornate text card in various styles. These days though, reception reports for Hyderabad need to be addressed to the main offices in Delhi, from which attractive color cards are issued.
(AWR Wavescan NWS78 via Adrian Peterson)