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By Dr. Adrian Peterson


(This article originally appeared in the January 17, 1994 issue - Volume 2 No. 1 - of Radio News Bulletin, published by the Special Projects section of Adventist World Radio.)

The territories of Bohemia, Moldavia, Moravia, Czechia and Slovakia have featured significantly in political history during the Middle Ages and beyond. The peoples of these areas were also involved in the events associated with the Protestant Reformation, and, at the end of World War I, a new nation was formed from among these central European states, Czechoslovakia. Interestingly, this country was again bifurcated, quite peacefully, on January 1, 1993, into two separate but associated nations, Czechia and Slovakia, with Prague and Bratislava as their respective capital cities.

Radio broadcasting began in combined Czechoslovakia in 1923 when a morse telegraphy transmitter was modified for use as a broadcast unit. A tent was erected as a studio near the transmitter in the Kbely area of Prague and the station was officially launched on May 18, 1923. This station was owned and operated by the Elektra Bulb Company in Prague and radiated its programs as station PRG on 1200 met.res longwave, 250 kHz.

Three years later, in 1925, a new 5kw transmitter was imported and installed, and this was described at the time as being one of the most powerful in Europe. This unit broadcast on 513 metres, 585 kHz under the callsign OKP.

In 1934, an imported Marconi SW transmitter from England, rated at 30 kw, was installed at. Podebrady. Regular broadcasting from this unit, OKI, began on August 31, 1936, using any of three omnidirectional antennas according to frequency. A directional antenna was installed for use in the service beamed to the United States.

In 1938, following the German annexation, SW broadcasting from Podebrady continued, and during the following year, two new transmitters, each of 30 kw were added. These were given the collective callsign, OLR, with a suffix numeral indicating the unit and channel in use. However, 3 years later, in 1942, German callsigns were introduced for the Podebrady transmitters, and the collective call became DHE2A. This alphanumeric designation was in use for four years.

Following the events of World War 2, SW broadcasting from Czechoslovakia was recommenced in 1947. Then, for a period of twelve years beginning in 1950, many new transmitters were installed progressively at Podebrady.

Construction on the large facility located at Rimavska Sobota in Slovakia began in 1956 with the installation of two transmitters at 100 kW. Over a period of time, several other transmitters, all at 100 kW were installed. Then, beginning in 1982, the entire station at. Rimavska Sobora was rebuilt and two higher powered transmitters at 250 kW were installed. During the following year, two more similar units were installed.

An additional site at Velke Kostolany, also in Slovakia, was commissioned in 1983 with the installation ultimately of a total of ten SW transmitters, each rated at. 100 kW. However, the combining capability at this transmitter base could increase the power output. on any one channel up to 250 kW.

On January 1, 1994, test broadcasts for Adventist World Radio commenced from the SW station, located at. Rimavska Sobota. During the first week, these broadcasts consisted mainly of music and test announcewents. Then one week later, on January 6, at a day long series of meetings in the large Seventh-day Adventist Church building in Bratislava, AWR-Slovakia was officially inaugurated. Part of the afternoon program in the church, from 2:00 to 2:30 pm local time, was broadcast live on shortwave. This remote broadcast was the first for Adventist World Radio in the Czech language.

During the live broadcast, I sat at the back of the auditorium with my radio listening to the program coming from the 250 kW SW transmitter at Rimavska Sobota. The signal was loud and clear. During the program, a phone call from Prague indicated that the signal was heard at a good level in the target country. Subsequent reports indicated a good signal also in Vienna and London.

Interestingly, the name "Rimavska Sobota", when translated directly into English, means, "Romanian Sabbath". The station is actually located near a small village a little beyond Rimavska Sobota, some four hours' drive from the capital city, Bratislava, and Bratislava itself is just a short drive from Vienna.

Currently, the SW facility operated by Radio Slovakia at Rimavska Sobota contains four transmitters, each with a power output of 250 kW. Those are numbered, 7 through 10, as an extension of the consecutive numbers designating each of the 100 kW units previously in use at this location. Adventist World Radio is currently broadcasting through transmitters 9 & 10, and Radio Czechia and Radio Slovakia through transmitters 7 & 8. It is likely that the relays from Radio Czechia and Radio Slovakia may be reduced, and it is possible that AWR could use a third transmitter at this site.

A large semi-circular pattern of antennas contains 12 curtains, all of which are slewable horizontally and three of which are slewable vertically. Adventist World Radio is using seven of these antennas at various times of the day for services to Asia, Africa and Europe.

Programming for the Rimavska Sobota site is produced in studios located in the countries to which the programs are beamed. These programs are assembled onto DAT cassettes in a central production studio at the AWR facility in Darmstadt Germany, and then forwarded to Rimavska Sobota for broadcast. A direct program link is under consideration.

Specially endorsed QSL cards are available for the broadcasts from AWR-Slovaki a, and these can be obtained from the AWR office at their new address:

Eschollbruckerstrasse 42
64295 Darmstadt
Return postage is requested.

Year DatekWEvents
1918- Czechoslovakia formed
1923 1 kW Test broadcasts over modified telegraphy transmitter
1923 May 18 1 kW Broadcasting commenced; tent studio near transmitter, in Kbely area of Prague, Czechia
1925 5 kW New MW transmitter, one of most powerful in Europe
193430 kWImported SW transmitter installed at Podebrady
1936 Aug 3130 kWRegular broadcasting from new transmitter; omni directional antennas, one beamed to USA
1938-German annexation
1939 30 kW2 new transmitters under group callsign OLR
1942-German callsigns introduced, DHE2A, in use 4 years
1947-SW broadcasting resumed, now 3 transmitters in use
195U-Several transmitters added at Podobrady over 12 years
1956100 kW Rimavska Sobota facility inaugurated, 2 transmitters
1981 250 kWRimavska Sobota rebuilt, 2 transmitters installed
1982 250 kWTwo more transmitters installed at Rimavska Sobota
1983-New site at Velke Kostolany, Slovakia; 10 transmitters installed, all made by Tesla; 100 kW units with combining capability up to 250 kW
1992 May 4 -Name change from Radio Prague to Radio Czechoslovakia
1993 Jan1 -Bifurcation into Slovakia & Czechia
1994 Jan 1 250 kWTest broadcasts for AWR commence
1994 Jan 8 250 kWAWR-Slovakia officially inaugurated
1994-Current status: In Czechia, 2 100 kW units at Litomysi. In Slovakia, 1 100 kW unit at Velke Kostolany and 4 250 kW units at Rimavska Sobota.


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