Friday, July 07, 2017

The Radio Scene in European Turkey

The nation of Turkey is made up of two different geographic territories, known as Anatolia in Asia and Thrace in Europe.  The three provinces composing Thrace, European Turkey, encompass a total of 9175 square miles and they are located on the western side of the international waterways known as the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.  Even though European Turkey (Thrace) is not a separate independent country, yet it is considerably larger than nearly a dozen of the smaller independent countries within continental Europe.
            In ancient times, the territory now known as European Turkey was settled by Thracians who were considered to be cruel and bloodthirsty in warfare.  Little is known about their language, due to the fact that they apparently had not developed their own script, and thus brief inscriptions in other languages make only brief reference to the Thracians.
            These days there are three bridges and three tunnels crossing the Bosphorus, connecting the two major sections of the city of Istanbul, and thus also the two major sections of the Turkish nation.   These bridges and tunnels provide two way access for both motor vehicles and railway trains, as well as the delivery of water from Thrace to Anatolia. 
            The largest of these bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge, is eight lanes wide and nearly one mile long, and it was for many years the longest suspension bridge in Europe.  When fully loaded with vehicles, this suspension bridge sags nearly three feet.           
            Early in the year 1922, Professor Dyke at the American sponsored Roberts College in Istanbul (Thrace side) bought some wireless equipment from a Russian army officer and installed it in the college laboratory.  Student Henry Moreau, who had already successfully constructed several simple radio receivers, dismantled the receiver, re-constructed it, and re-installed it in the laboratory. 
            On this home brew equipment, they successfully brought in most of the radio stations that were on the air in Europe at the time, including Berlin with a one time radio lecture.  That was in the Autumn of the year 1923.
            However, in the following Spring (1924), the Turkish government in Ankara issued a decree, requiring that all unlicensed radio equipment should be dismantled.  Soon afterwards though, a Professor Tubini made a visit to England and while there, he bought several items of radio equipment made by the Marconi company.  On his return to Turkey, he approached the national government in Ankara and he successfully received a permit to install the equipment at Roberts College and he then began teaching a radio class.  
            The first radio station in Turkish Thrace was installed in the Central Post Office at Eminönu in old Istanbul.  This early broadcasting station was installed by the Turkish Post & Telegraph Dept and it operated at 5 kW on the longwave channel 250 kHz.
            In 1949, a New Broadcasting House with studios and offices was completed and a new American made RCA transmitter was installed at an out of town location.  This was a mediumwave facility with 150 kW on 701 kHz under the callsign TAW.
            Today, TRT, the Turkish radio broadcasting system, operates a 600 kW mediumwave station on 702 kHz in Thrace-Istanbul.  The transmitter is located in a farming area near Catalca, which is a countryside tourist location on the Black Sea coast that is very popular with city families for brief visits.
            In addition, there is a host of FM stations throughout Thrace these days; government, commercial and private.  If we were to try to tabulate the list of FM stations in Turkey as shown in the 2017 edition of the WRTVHB and compare it with a full size map of Thrace, perhaps we could count a hundred or more FM stations in European Turkey.  

            The Turkish State Meteorological Service TSMS was established in 1937, and even to this day, their shortwave station TAH is on the air on multiple occasions on multiple channels with weather information and alerts, in Morse Code, as well as in speech in English and in Turkish.  Maritime station and weather station TAH is located near the Sea of Marmara Coast and quite near to the airport in Thrace, European Turkey.    Station TAH is known to verify listener reception reports in English, though with a letter and not a card. 
(AWR-Wavescan/NWS 435)