Monday, October 18, 2010

Massive Flooding in North India - The Lucknow Story

Recent news from India tells of massive flooding in the north, particularly in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Heavy monsoon rains together with the necessary release of water from three major dams has caused excessive flooding throughout the state. The main highway running towards Delhi was under two to five feet of water in several places, more than 100 villages & towns were totally flooded, and food has been air dropped to marooned people sheltering on the top of tall buildings. Even to this day, the state is still reeling from the recent devastation.
The state of Uttar Pradesh was known in earlier days under the British Raj as United Provinces, with the initials U.P. After partition, the name of the state was changed to Uttar Pradesh, meaning Northern Province, thus keeping the same initials in English, U.P.
Uttar Pradesh shares a northern border with Nepal, and it has a massive population somewhere around 200 million people. Found within its borders are at least four well known cities: Agra with its famous Taj Mahal, Benares with its Hindu bathing rituals, Fatehpur Sikri the now abandoned and silent red city, and Lucknow as the state capital.
The regular Hindu festival known as Khumba Mela is celebrated every four years at several of the major cities in Uttar Pradesh. Regular attendance always attracts several million people, and on special occasions according to a pre-arranged calendar, the attendance is considerably larger. In the 2001 Kumba Mela the total attendance was 60 million people, including 1 million foreigners, making it the largest festival, it is claimed, in the entire history of planet Earth.
The city of Lucknow was founded in the 1200s, and at the time, it was known as Lakshmanpur. When the British came in 600 years later, the name of the city became Lucknow, as it is today.
In a news report, Jose Jacob VU2JOS at the National Institute of Amateur Radio in Hyderabad, states that the radio & TV stations operated by All India Radio at Bareilly were flooded and taken off the air. Bareilly city is located half way between Lucknow & Delhi.
It can be remembered that Priyanka Chopra, Miss World 2000, spent her growing up years in Bareilly. She is well known today as a famous film star in India.
The first wireless station in the state of Uttar Pradesh was installed at Allahabad back in the era before World War 1. This station was on the air in spark gap Morse Code under the callsign VWA. Available information would suggest that it was closed a dozen years later.
The first radio broadcasting station in Allahabad was located at the Agricultural Institute and it was opened in 1935 under the callsign VUA with 100 watts on 1071 kHz. This station was on the air for a period of 14 years, and it was closed when a new station was opened by All India Radio under the same callsign VUA with 1 kW on 760 kHz. The inauguration date for the new VUA was February 1, 1949. Six years later a 50 kW mediumwave transmitter was installed and the operating channel was moved to 980 kHz.
These days, Allahabad is on the air with two program channels of AIR programming, 20 kW on 1026 kHz & 10 kW on 100.3 FM.
Moving over now to the capital city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, we note that the first radio
station was an experimental broadcasting facility installed by the Department of Physics at the
University of Lucknow. This station may have been the very first broadcasting station in the state. It was on the air daily with a short period of broadcast programming. This service was on the air until the era of World War 2, when the transmitter was taken over by the British military.
A regular broadcasting service for Lucknow was inaugurated on April 2, 1938 under the callsign VUW with a power output of 500 watts. However, a 5 kW transmitter was inaugurated shortly afterwards, and in 1955 a 50 kW mediumwave transmitter was installed.
These days AIR Lucknow is on the air mediumwave with 300 kW on 747 kHz and 10 kW on 1278 kHz.
As far as shortwave broadcasting is concerned, the story is quite simple and straightforward. A 10 kW shortwave transmitter was inaugurated in 1958 and it was first noted in Australia on 4880 kHz in September. This unit was replaced by a new 50 kW transmitter in 1992, and this is still in use to this day.
AIR Lucknow has usually occupied three or sometimes four shortwave channels throughout the broadcast day, changing frequency every few hours to meet the changing propagation conditions. These days they are noted on 4880 kHz morning & evening and 7440 kHz during the day.
In earlier times, AIR Lucknow was a reliable verifier, and the Indianapolis collection contains many cards from this station, in fact, confirming the reception of programming over a period of time from four different transmitters. Likewise, cards have been received from AIR Allahabad in earlier times verifying their 1 kW transmitter. All QSL cards for the AIR stations in Uttar Pradesh are processed these days at the AIR national headquarters in New Delhi
(AWR Wavescan/NWS86 via Adrian Peterson)