Tuesday, May 20, 2008

From Our Archive 2003 :: AIR To Lengthen Life Of Short Wave Radio

AIR To Lengthen Life Of Short Wave Radio
Posted online: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 0000 hours IST
NEW DELHI:  At a time when short wave analogue radio is on its way out all over the world, All India Radio (AIR) is all set for a relaunch of its National Channel on short wave. Surprisingly, even the working group on the information and broadcasting sector for the Tenth Plan had recommended that short wave should be phased out, citing poor reception quality.
According to Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma, AIR's National Channel, which has been available during the night hours so far, can now be heard all through the day. But, the service will be available throughout the day only on short wave frequency, admits another official.
Result: Wide coverage, but poor reception quality. However, the channel would be available on other frequencies during night—through medium wave (MW) transmitters at Nagpur and Delhi each, and a frequency modulated (FM) transmitter at Kasauli.
On short wave, the channel will be available through a 500-kw transmitter in Bangalore and a 250-kw one in Delhi. So far, listeners in India have been getting the National Channel on medium wave only. The external service catering to listeners abroad, a short wave transmitter at Bangalore was being used.
Why the transition from MW to SW then for the National Channel in India, in stark contrast to the world trend? Digital short wave radio of course is a new concept in the international scenario. Giving reasons, a Prasar Bharati official says wide coverage up to 1000 km all through the day is what prompted the shift to short wave.
So far, only a radius of about 100 to 150 km could be covered through the medium wave transmitter located at Nagpur during daytime. At night, however, the entire middle India was receiving the channel.
The difference in coverage is due to the medium wave that can be propagated through the ionosphere at night.
But the official agrees that short wave listening is down internationally. ''Even AIR is phasing out short wave because of poor reception quality,'' he adds. But, in this case, short wave is being better utilised, with the existing infrastructure, for wider coverage of the National channel, he says.
According to the report of the working group on the Tenth Plan, shortwave radio broadcasting services in analogue mode should be phased out.

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