Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Radio Scene in the Ancient Land of Nakhchivan


Back during the month of July 2020, BBC TV in London presented a glowing travel documentary on the somewhat isolated and generally unknown land of Nakhchivan, which is located on the northern edge of the Middle Eastern areas. The commentator commented, "Chances are you have never heard of Nakhchivan. It is jammed in between Armenia, Iran, and Turkey on the Transcaucasian plateau, it is one of the most isolated outposts of the former Soviet Union, and it is a place that few travelers ever visit.:

However as the BBC Travel Channel stated additionally: Even though very few travelers visit Nakhchivan, yet it is emerging as one of the world’s most sustainable nations. It is a most ancient land, and at the same time, it is quite modern and progressive. 

The territory of Nakhchivan, or as they call themselves, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, is in reality not a separate country, but rather it is an exclave of Azerbaijan. In other words, Nakhchivan is politically a part of Azerbaijan, though it is geographically separated from Azerbaijan by an irregularly shaped land corridor anywhere from 5 to 25 miles wide.  This territory is described as the largest exclave in the world.

Nakhchivan is 75 miles long and 25 miles wide and it is made up of mountainous regions, rocky slopes, verdant plains, and wide-open desert areas. The resident population is a little less than half a million, and they grow much of their own foodstuffs.  

They manufacture and sell chemicals and minerals, and they weave colorful carpets with the snow-white silky wool from their local sheep. They manufacture and assemble Lifan motor cars, the same models as having been developed in China.  The Lifan is a small compact sedan, modern and neat.  

According to the local historians and tour guides, the name of this territory, Nakhchivan, means the Place or the Land of Noah. They tell that Noah and his family exited the Ark after the Great Flood and that they settled in what became Nakhchivan.  

The Bible in the Book of Genesis (Chapters 6 - 8) states that Noah, under Divine direction, was the master-builder of a massive wooden ship, the size of the large tourist cruise ships of our modern era.  All forms of animal and bird life entered the Ark, together with just the eight members of Noah's family.  

As the Bible indicates, after the Earth settled down at the end of the massive worldwide Flood, the Ark came to rest upon the slopes of the mountain cluster known as Ararat, in the extreme eastern area of what is now known as Turkey.  Nakhchivan is located around 75 miles due east of Ararat.        

At least a dozen ancient historians who lived in the early civilizations and countries around the Middle East make reference to the Flood and to Noah's Ark, and also to the early society in Nakhchivan.  

Many of the rock carvings and paintings are known as the Gamigaya Petroglyphs (7,422 of them) show stylized and simplified boats and a host of different animals. Modern travel brochures printed in the English language in Nakhchivan refer to their own ancient history as one of the first human settlements upon Earth.

The capital city of the territory called Nakhchivan is also known by the same name, Nakhchivan, and it is described as one of the ancient cities of the entire world.  Although life in this geographic exclave is far from idyllic, yet their capital city is a modern, clean, and very spacious city, where, as the BBC TV documentary states, cleanliness and health are emphasized.  On the edge of the city is an ornate towering mausoleum where, as the tour guides will tell you, the prophet Noah is buried.

Nakhchivan came under Russian influence in 1828, and almost a century later in 1920, Russia invaded and occupied the territory.  Seventy years later (1990), at the breakup of the USSR, Nakhchivan briefly exerted its own independence, though shortly afterward, it came under the control of nearby Azerbaijan.

Documents and articles published in the English language in Nakhchivan assert the fact that their first experiment in radio broadcasting took place in 1930 and 1932.  However, an analysis of the available information seems to indicate that these radio events some ninety years ago occurred in nearby Azerbaijan, during the era when Nakhchivan was tied with Azerbaijan in the Soviet Union, rather than in Nakhchivan itself.

The first amateur radio DXpedition in Nakhchivan took place in 1973 when two Azerbaijan-Russian amateur operators, Valentin Ivanov and Vladislav Frolov, operated in the city under the special callsign UK6CAA.  A current list shows a radio beacon in Nakhchivan operating within the standard mediumwave band on 680 kHz.  This NDB (Non-Directional Beacon), or more accurately an ODB (Omni-Directional Beacon) radiates the callsign NT.  

Entries in the Word Radio TV Handbook would indicate that the first radio broadcasting stations in Nakhchivan were established at two different locations in 1999.  These two locations were Sarur, some 40 miles north of the capital city, and Ordubad, some 35 miles south of the capital city.  Interestingly, two transmitters were listed at each of those two locations; the power for each transmitter was listed at 17 kW; and each channel was operating in the old East European FM Band 1, at frequencies ranging between 69 and 73 MHz.  

Subsequently, all radio broadcasting in Nakhchivan was switched to the more widely accepted International FM Band 2 with relay transmitters installed in at least five different regional areas in the territory of Nakhchivan.  These days, four transmitters are listed, each with a power of 1 kW, and these are located at Babak, on the central west coast, Sarur and Sadarak in the north, and Ordubad in the south.
(AWR Wavescan NWS 619)

To learn more about Nakhchivan, visit YouTube and the various videos available at