Monday, September 19, 2016

Anniversary for RRI Radio Republik Indonesia

Voice of Indonesia QSL (Gayle Van Horn Collection)
As our anniversary feature honoring Radio Republik Indonesia, we present the story of their major shortwave station that was installed near their national capital Jakarta way back nearly half a century ago.  The first new shortwave transmitter that was installed in 1967 at this new shortwave site, Cimanggis, was a 100 kW Telefunken unit, Model SST338, made in Germany. 

            Cermanggis is located about a dozen miles south of downtown Jakarta and it replaced the earlier shortwave site at Kebayoran, a few miles closer to Jakarta.  Back then, the usage of callsigns was still in vogue, and this new unit was allocated the call YDF.

            Unfortunately, the story of shortwave broadcasting from Cermanggis is the saga of an almost constant supply of new transmitters which replaced earlier ailing transmitters; brought about by the harsh tropical climate with its high temperatures and monsoonal rains, and wersoned by financial shortages and insufficient trained staff.  There were times also when the delivery of electricity from the national grid was insufficient to empower the high powered transmitters. 

            In his monumental compilation of shortwave transmitter histories, Transmitter Documentation Project 1998, Ludo Maes in Belgium presents this following trail of shortwave transmitters that have been installed over the years at RRI Cimanggis:-          

                        1967    1          Telefunken      Germany         100 kW            SST338

                        1970    4          Philips              Holland            50 & 120          8FZ514 & 8FZ515

                        1974    2          Funkwerk        Germany         100

                        1982    3          Harris              USA                100                  SW100

                        1983    1          Thomson         France             250                  TRE2320

                        1992    4          Marconi           England           250                  B6131

                        1995    3          Marconi           England           250                  B6131

             On May 21, 1984, the completed installation at Cimanggis with four new transmitters (3 Harris at 100 kW and 1 Thomson at 250 kW) was taken into service, and President Suharto presided at an official commissioning ceremony.  This cluster of four transmitters was intended to provide RRI Home Service programming on a nationwide basis as a national unifying factor.  The three 100 kW transmitters relayed the RRI programming to the westward islands, and the 250 kW transmitter beamed the same programming eastward. 

            In 1992, RRI ordered a total of 9 shortwave transmitters at 250 kW together with 20 curtain antennas for installation at both Cimanggis and at another site on distant Sulawesi Island.  This new double facility was officially inaugurated on September 14, 1996.

            In September 2005, international radio monitors in Australia were surprised to hear Radio Australia programming on relay over RRI shortwave in Indonesia.  This program relay in the Bahasa (ba-HAH-sa) Indonesian language was educational in nature and it was presented under the title Kang Guru (Kangaroo).

            Despite their best efforts, recent international monitoring reports indicate that only one transmitter is currently on the air at Cimanggis, and it is noted on 9525 kHz.  A Google Earth search shows the shortwave transmitter base at Cimanggis, though the view is obscured due to a hazy cloudy sky.

            Over the years many international radio monitors around the globe have been successful in logging RRI Cimanggis and their reception reports have netted an invaluable QSL card.  During the past 71 years, they have issued a variety of QSL cards, usually in color; some as artistic renderings of Indonesian symbols, and some showing their cities and their country.

We choose another piece of Indonesian music and this time it is under the title Love Ambon.  If you are able to tune in one of the RRI regional shortwave stations, you may hear the melody Love Ambon at the close of a transmission.
You Tube audio
AWR-Wavescan/NWS 394)