Friday, November 14, 2014

The Calcutta Radio Story: QSL Cards and Letters-Part 5

In our program today, we present part 5 in the five part series on the wireless and radio history in Calcutta, or Kolkata, area in the Indian state of West Bengal.  Calcutta was the capital city for India for a period of time, up until a little over one hundred years ago when the functions of the national capital was transferred to New Delhi.
            In this our final report on the Kolkata scene, we draw attention to the many QSL cards and letters that have been issued by All India Radio in Kolkata.  The QSL collection in Indianapolis holds more than 300 QSL cards and letters from Indian radio broadcasting stations, and more than 30 are from Kolkata itself.
            The oldest Calcutta QSL is dated in the year 1935.  It is a letter addressed to an international radio monitor who was living in Christchurch New Zealand.  The small style letterhead itself states that it was issued by the Calcutta Station of the Indian State Broadcasting Service and this was in the era before the now familiar All India Radio was established.  At the time, station VUC was on the air mediumwave with 2½ kW on 810 kHz and with 2 kW on 6110 kHz, though the QSL letter does not specify which outlet was logged by the listener in New Zealand.
            Next, VUC issued a Form Letter QSL and our copy is dated in 1938 when the shortwave unit VUC2 was operating at 10 kW with a daily schedule of 4850 kHz morning and evening and 9530 kHz during the day.  Their first QSL card was the Silver Logo network card which showed Calcutta with the same three frequencies, mediumwave and shortwave.
            In the 1970s, AIR Calcutta was issuing picture postcards with the QSL text in the left panel on the address side of the card.  Those cards issued from Calcutta showed local Calcutta scenes, such as the Howrah Bridge and the Victoria Memorial.  Those cards issued from the AIR headquarters in New Delhi on behalf of Calcutta portrayed any number off colorful scenes all throughout India.  Many of the other Kolkata QSL cards in the Indianapolis Heritage Collection are self-prepared Postal Cards with the QSL text rubber stamped onto the blank side.
            We should also mention that the Calcutta-Kolkata QSL cards verify some twenty different mediumwave, shortwave and FM channels with power ratings ranging from 2½ kW through 10 20 & 50 kW up to 1,000 kW over a period of ¾ of a century.

 (AWR?Wavescan/NWS 298 via Adrian Peterson)