Thursday, September 04, 2014

A Visit to All India Radio:Khampur on Shortwave

All India Radio AIR is one of the worlds largest radio broadcasting stations.  They have erected numerous shortwave transmitting sites throughout the country for external service coverage as well as for domestic broadcasting.  Back in April 2010, a group of three well known international radio monitors made a visit to the AIR shortwave transmitting station at Khampur which is located on the swampy out skirts of the city of Delhi. The external service of All India Radio at the time of their visit was on the air via shortwave transmitting sites at:-
            Khampur            Near Delhi                            7 @ 250 kW
            Kingsway                    Delhi                            2 @100 & 3 @ 50
            Malad                          Mumbai                       1 @100
            Gorakhpur                   Nepal                           1 @ 50
            Dhodballapur               Bangalore                    6 @ 500
            Aligarh                    In North India                   4 @ 250
            Bambolim                    Goa                             2 @ 250
            Guwahati                     Assam                         1 @ 50 & 1 @ 200 kW mediumwave

             The visit to the station by three visitors, T. R. Rajeesh, Alokesh Gupta and Anker Petersen from Denmark, was organized by the former station Engineer of Delhi Khampur, Mr. V.Baleja.
            After visiting the AIR headquarters on Parliament Street New Delhi, the three visitors traveled by car for a little over half an hour to reach the Khampur station which is located 25 Km from New Delhi.  On the way to the Khampur station, they saw the Delhi Kingsway transmitting site from the road.  This 256 acre site is used for transmitting programs on shortwave for the national service as well as for the external services beamed to Indias South Asian neighbors.  They also saw the self radiating mast of the AIR New Delhi mediumwave station at Nangli which is capable of broadcasting in the DRM mode.
            The Delhi Khampur transmitting station is located on a large 630 acre site in the swampy fields of Khampur village in outer Delhi, bordering on the state of Haryana.  While approaching the transmitting station they could see the antenna towers and the curtain arrays from the road. 
            Several photos of the antenna masts were taken from the roadside as they were aware that it is impossible to take photos inside where photography is prohibited.  On the way to the station office, they saw much wildlife in the swampy field.  The dancing peacocks, doves and storks welcomed them without any official formalities!
            The Station Engineer, Mrs. Sonilatha Saigalin welcomed the visitors to her office and she was amazed that three international radio monitors would travel so far to visit this transmitter site!  Anker Petersen told her that the broadcasts from this station can be heard quite well in Denmark and he suggested that he could send monitoring reports to her.  The Station Engineer replied that such reports are forwarded to the Frequency Management Division in New Delhi.
            The Superintending Engineer, Mr. S. K. Aggarwal, who is the chief of the station, directed the Station Engineer to show the visitors the transmitters and antenna field.  They observed the old and new transmitters as well as a new DRM transmitter, and also the antenna towers and the vast arrays of shortwave curtain antennas. 
            This Khampur station houses 7 @ 250 kW shortwave transmitters and 36 antenna masts, and 49 curtain arrays.  A special power substation provides electricity to this transmitter station.  At the time, the Delhi Khampur station had a staff of around 200 employees, including 50 engineers and technicians. 
            The Delhi Khampur transmitter site was opened on January 1, 1959 and the first transmitter was
a 100 kW Marconi, which was more recently sold as scrap.  Two AWA units from Australia at 20 kW each were installed in 1962.  During 1965 four more transmitters were installed, two at 50 kW and two at 100 kW, made by STC (Standard Telephones & Cables) of Australia.
            A recent modernization plan was undertaken to transform Khampur into an external services transmission facility.  All of the new transmitters were placed in an oblong but spacious antenna switching hall and all of the AWA and STC transmitters were retired from service.
            In 1989, two 250 kW Brown Boveri transmitters were commissioned exclusively for the external services.  Then, two new modern Continental Electronics units were installed in June 2000.  During the year 2002, three new 250 kW Thomcast transmitters were commissioned for the external services and this converted Khampur into the second largest transmitting station of All India Radio, after Bangalore.
            The Delhi Khampur transmitting station celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009 with the participation of listeners and engineering staff.
            Digital Radio Mondiale or DRM is the new trend in shortwave broadcasting, particularly in India. Like many other major shortwave broadcasters, All India Radio has also introduced DRM transmission on shortwave.  It is from this site, Delhi Khampur, that AIR has tested DRM transmissions for both domestic and international audiences.  
            A 250 kW Thales/Thomcast transmitter was converted to DSB/DRM capability with an output of 55 kW for domestic transmission on 6100 kHz, and on 9950 kHz for external service to Europe.  The domestic transmission is monitored inside the transmitter building with a Chinese manufactured Himalaya DRM receiver.
            During the evening after the informative visit to AIR Khampur, there was an informal meeting with local international radio monitors in New Delhi.
            For those who would like to do so, reception reports for AIR Delhi Khampur may be addressed to:-         
                        AIR High Power Transmitting Station Khampur
                        Grand Trunk Karnal Road
                        Delhi 110036
                        Information  from Alokesh Gupta of New Delhi
                        Photos & support from Anker Petersen of Denmark

                        T. R. Rajeesh for the original article which has been adapted for broadcast
(AWR-Wavescan/NWS 288)