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        1998 - THE SHORTWAVE YEAR IN REVIEW
               (c) 1999 Glenn Hauser
               [subheadings added editorially]

NEW STATIONS

Only a few brand-new shortwave stations and services started:
Merlin Network One, using spare BBC capacity, first weekly, 
then nonstop, mostly music. More and more stations originate in 
Britain--another one is Sunrise Radio, for Asians, but its leader 
got in trouble with the law. 

The United Nations activated Radio Minurca in the Central African
Republic, but reviving UN Radio itself for weekday half-hours
kept being delayed.

Tannu Tuva, not only an historical postal country but a radio 
country, now on shortwave with Radio Kyzyl.

RELAY EXCHANGES

New relay deals continued to proliferate, confusing the casual
listener about where signals really come from:

Guyana took turns relaying VOA and BBC overnight.

Democratic Voice of Burma kept testing via Palau.

Radio Free Asia bought a new site it could reveal, KHBI Saipan.

Merlin Singapore besides BBC and Japan added Switzerland,
Netherlands and Germany.

Voice of Hope gave up on Georgia, and signed up with Germany.

Voice of the Mediterranean, Malta, availed itself of Italy as
well as Russia.

Vatican started using Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan; UN Radio 
started relays via Vatican.

Allegedly from three sites somewhere in Europe, the Shortwave
Relay Service proliferated pirate programming.

Adventist World Radio added Madagascar and South Africa, while
starting to phase out Costa Rica.

Radio Australia, forever frustrated by government denial of 
Darwin, its strongest site, but made a minor deal for relays
via Taiwan.

RVI Belgium finally puts a strong English signal into North 
America thanks to Bonaire; poor Prague signed on with WRMI and 
found itself jammed along with everything else, courtesy of 
communist Cuba. 

OFF SHORTWAVE IN 1998

The list of stations or services quitting shortwave in 1998 is
too long for our liking: West Coast Radio Ireland, Canadian
Forces Network, VOA Rhodes, Russia's Mayak--but continued a bit 
longer to keep transmitter buildings warm in winter; English from 
Norway and Portugal; apparently Radio Saint Helena; Estonian 
Radio, but Lithuania is getting a new shortwave transmitter; 
Angola's VORGAN; two of the three shortwave sites in Switzerland, 
transmitters from Schwarzenburg sold to AWR Italy; Radio France 
International proudly reduces its shortwave output as a public 
service--including at yearend English to North America; Calvary 
Chapel in Idaho, which bought the KGEI transmitter, decided 
against using it, but may sell it to Alaska. HCJB continued to 
face a frightening future, threatened by vulcanism and airportism. 

And there is no more Feminist International Radio Endeavour nor 
Radio Nadezhda.

SHOULD QUIT SHORTWAVE

Stations which ought to give up unless they fix their modulation 
so anyone will listen include: Radio Cairo, Radio Moldova 
International via Romania, RadioBras, and WJCR.

SHORTWAVE REVIVALS

But we have an even longer list of shortwave revivals in 98, 
showing the medium is still viable: Radio Blue Sky, Mongolia;
Nei Menggu PBS, Inner Mongolia; RTBF from the French faction in
Belgium, realizing they should never have given up shortwave 
before; Pinochet's old transmitters in Chile got New Life as Voz 
Cristiana. Iraq sporadically resumed external service including 
English -- until December 16; Qaddhafi forsook Arabia, renaming 
Libya's shortwave, Voice of Africa, and adding some English. 

Other Africans revived were in Guinea, Niger, CRI via Mali, 
Sierra Leone, Kisangani, Voice of Nigeria, and Radio Morocco's 
Tangier site, not all of which were still going at yearend. 

Ireland's RTE added more relays from Ascension and Singapore, and 
an additional weekly program; but Emerald Radio's limited run was 
unlistenable. 

AFRTS came back to the delight of shortwave listeners, despite 
sideband-only and lots of interference. 

And despite tearful goodbyes, Tahiti's shortwave frequency lived 
again.

FUNDING SHORTAGES

Budget cuts accounted for problems like these: 

Radio New Zealand International was about to close down, but 
finally got enough to keep going on a reduced schedule by cutting 
most of its own program production, including several rare
Pacific languages. Radio Australia also survived by relaying
domestic radio more, not necessarily a bad thing.

BBC got 44 megapounds more, but complained it wasn't enough and
proceeded to cut favorite programming, so now "Anything Went".

Voice of Russia could not even afford to answer its mail.

POLITICAL INTERFERENCE

Politics rules in Liberia, where Star Radio kept being cut off
by the government; Korea North, where Radio Pyongyang tried to
involve its listeners with a new competition in the cult of the
Kims. 

CLANDESTINE DEVELOPMENTS

On the clandestine scene, Nigerians proliferated, with Voice of
Free Nigeria, Radio NADECO, Radio New Nigeria becoming Radio 
SNBS, Voice of Oduduwa, but the only one lasting, barely until 
yearend the only one remaining was the original, Radio Kudirat.

Off the air, Democratic Voice of Iran, but new on the air,
Radio Tomorrow's Iran.
                      
The United States expanded its responsiblity as a surrogate 
broadcaster for countries lacking a free press. Radio Free Asia
added Uighur but we're still waiting on Wu; despite the jittery
Czechs worried about which part of Prague was most expendable
to a terrorist attack, since they got all the heat for the 
studios rather than countries hosting transmitter sites, Britain, 
Germany and Greece -- Radio Free Iraq got underway a sesquimonth 
before the latest bombing of Baghdad, as did the service to Iran, 
but we're still standing by for the start of Radio Democracy for 
Africa.

It became quite clear that the Voice of Southern Azerbaijan 
actually comes from Israel. During the year, from Lithuania, 
Radio Free Tibet came and went, but Lithuania also tried Radio 
Baltic Waves, for Belarus. 

The Voice of the Tigers, Tamil Eelam clandestine went back on 
shortwave for Sri Lanka, on the coattails of a more respectable 
Tamil service from London, IBC. Another Tamil station, Radio Asia 
Canada had pretensions of competing with RCI as the Radio Voice 
of Canada, until it mysteriously disappeared following inquiries 
into its connexions with the Tamil Tigers. 

Goodbye and good riddance to the Khmer Rouge station whose exact 
name I've already forgotten.

NEW NAMES

Name changes of significance: BRTN became VRT in Belgium; Voice
of Free China turned into Radio Taibei International.

Shortwave seasons W and Z were renamed B and A, with a few
stations still observing M, J, S and D.

It's News, Now, on VOA almost all the time at the expense of
much other programming, and BBC is "modernizing" in the same 
direction, while dumbing-down its overall quality level.

U S NEWS

Pacifica news finally made it onto shortwave, reluctantly with
the persistence of RFPI, but not on WBCQ, which did bring us
the satire of Harry Shearer.

Yes, Allan Weiner's dream of his own shortwave station finally 
came true after a decade, but it turned out to be -- licensed! 

Meanwhile, the much-promoted Electra radioship project crashed 
before it ever reached St. Kitts.

The FCC cracked down on pirates including shortwave late in the
year, greatly reducing activity on 6955.

WGTG doubled its capacity with transmitter two, and pushed
single sideband as the wave of the future.

The USA gained another shortwave station, what else but religious,
WWBS in Georgia; and yet another fundamentalist is on the way
from North Carolina. 

Jeff Baker was anything but prophetic in choosing Honduras, as 
the paradise for his followers, and a supposed shortwave station
in Siguatepeque.

DISASTERS

A drought in Papua New Guinea cutting off hydroelectric power
was one of several reasons for disappearance of regional
shortwave stations. But Radio Free Bougainville found a way
to operate off -- coconut oil. 

Notable for comebacks following hurricanes and floods are
Radio Cima Cien, Dominican Republic; Caribbean Beacon, Anguilla;
and Radio Internacional, Honduras.

ANNIVERSARIES

In 1998, every station in the world celebrated an anniversary; 
but the significant LX milestone, that is four sesquidecades, was
reached by Radio Sweden and YLE Radio Finland. Bhutan made it to
XXV.

DX PROGRAMS

DX Partyline from HCJB goes on and on, though Ken MacHarg left 
for Florida; we do not expect Spain's Distance Unknown, whose
very name was a misnomer, to survive the retirement of Terry
Burgoyne. Sheldon Harvey started answering questions about DXing
on RCI's mailbag. Merlin Network One gave us the rowdy Media Zoo.
We were pleased to exchange guest appearances with Wavescan on
Adventist World Radio, but that show is still so elusive actually
to hear.

VERIFICATIONS and GOODIES

On the QSLing front, AWR issued a 3D QSL depending on unfocussing
your eyes; another club stepped in to keep cards flowing, ARDXC
for Radio Australia. Romania offered 36 different designs; 
Slovakia had multi-color castle stickers; Belgian DXer Guido 
Schotmans printed and donated some QSL cards to Zanzibar, whence 
a few have come back to DXers. But Christian Voice, Zambia makes 
QSLing do-it-yourself on their website. 

PUBLICATIONS

The American SWL Club is gone, 
Graham Barclay's Kiwi Radio Weekly from New Zealand has ceased,
but the World Radio TV Handbook is reborn.

JAMMING HONOR ROLL

Cuba remains the source of jamming in the Western Hemisphere,
but even they had the sense to turn it off temporarily for Radio
Marti's hurricane warnings. The Maldive Islands join the
dubious list of jammers, since the anti-Islamic FEBA Seychelles 
dares to broadcast in their language. 

EQUIPMENT AND TECHNICAL

Abuse of the Orban 9105a audio processer gets the blame for much
of the distortion and spurious splatter we hear. Voice of Vietnam 
cleaned up modulation, frequency variation, and left those far-
out-of-band frequencies.

RCI made the most of its 15 megadollars, ordering new 
transmitters, and finally renovating its tiresome jingles. 

One more country, Sweden, experimented with digital shortwave, 
but it's still in the future; while internet broadcasting 
proliferates in the present. And the World Radio Network leads 
the way with more relays via NPR, WLIO-TV, and about to go on 
direct satellite in North America. 

PROPAGATION

The new solar cycle is taking off, with eleven meters opening
up again, but so far only one international broadcaster, Budapest,
daring to use it; even more so thirteen meters, still with the 
notable exception of VOA. 

OBITUARIES

We're sad to note the passing of these individuals: Frank Muir,
who brought us so much enjoyment on the BBC; longtime Radio 
Moscow announcer Annabelle Bucar; Pete Myers of Radio Netherlands; 
Donald Flamm, whose activities led to the VOA; and California 
shortwave listener Gerald W. Arrington.

PEOPLE AND PROGRAMS

Other personalities of note: Rudi Hill lost his shows from New
Zealand and was reported very ill. Bob Holness and Dave Lee 
Travis are fine, but BBC has just cancelled Anything Goes and A 
Jolly Good Show.

Co-host of the year on RKI was Maria Echevarria; on RCI, the 
Maple Leaf Mailbag became Marc Montgomery's; Reshida Morali on 
Voice of Turkey's Letterbox. Minnesota's Mindi Ratner became a 
major voice on China Radio International. Manolo de la Rosa 
disappeared from Cuban airwaves for reasons never really 
explained. And a kitty named Paz took over Radio for Peace 
International.                        ###

Credits and sources for most of these items can be found in our
MONITORING TIMES columns for 1998 and early 1999; and/or in
REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING.