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Owdjim
02-08-2005, 23:37
Vanuatu gets two new mediumwave and DRM capable transmitters

The New Zealand Government has given funds for 2 new MW transmitters, one for Vila area, the other for Santo area, and both will be installed by September 2005. Each will be DRM capable. In handing over funding, the NZ High Commissioner [Ambassador] said that FM and TV might be 'nice to have', but mediumwave 'is an essential part of a functioning democracy'.

MW broadcasts in many parts of the Pacific are in danger of shut down from high power costs [usually diesel generators], lack of technical expertise, weather damage and old equipment. Currently, Radio Cook Islands 630, SBC Samoa 540 and SIBC Honiara 1035 are all running at half or reduced power because of power costs, Nauru 1323 is off air, KJAL American Samoa 580 is on reduced power after a cyclone, WVUV American Samoa 648 has been operating only at very low power awaiting an FCC frequency and tower change and part of Papua New
Guinea's MW network is being rebuilt with Japanese aid.

The comments from the New Zealand government reflect a real concern that neighbouring island broadcasters are under severe pressure to survive. Both RNZI and Radio Australia now provide much of the technical and training expertise needed to keep stations on air as far away as the Marshall Islands and as close as Tonga and Niue. This 'aid' is expected to expand in the future. The model emerging is for island stations to get help buying new DRM capable MW transmitters so they can relay RNZI DRM [from later this year] and RA DRM [2006] broadcasts to local repeater FM stations whilst providing a stable MW signal for continued reception on analogue radio sets.

Recommended reading: 'Digital Radio Broadcasting' and 'Radio Happy Isles' from the Top 40 Radio Book List now available at The Radio Heritage Store (c) at www.radioheritage.net.

(Source: David Ricquish, Radio Heritage Foundation, July 31)