* Theme - 00:00
“Birthday Serenade” - Willi Glahe
* Opening Announcement - 00:16
Welcome to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
Researched and written in Indianapolis, produced in studios of shortwave WRMI
Today begins a new transmission period
1. 100th Anniversary Panama Canal: The Radio Story - Part 1
2. Indian DX Report
3. Australian DX Report
4. URU QSL: Thomas Drescher Self-designed QSL Card
* 100th Anniversary Panama Canal: The Radio Story - Part 1 - 01:04
Quite recently, we discovered an important anniversary from a couple of months earlier that had escaped our attention. The official opening of the Panama Canal in Central America to shipping traffic occurred on August 15, 1914, and here we are a little over one hundred years later, and we have not yet presented a feature on this important anniversary.
Let us catch up on this highly significant world event; and so here in Wavescan today we present this slightly delayed feature on the story of the Panama Canal, together with part 1 of the radio history in the American administered Panama Canal Zone.
We go back to the beginning, and we discover that the first suggestion for digging a canal across Central America to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans came from the Spanish in the year 1529. Of course, back then technical capability was quite limited and there was no practical way in which this concept could be implemented.
In the year 1821, the Central American colony of Panama broke away from Spain, declared its independence from European control, and joined South American Colombia, which conjoined ultimately emerged as the Republic of New Granada. However, 82 years later, on November 3, 1903, Panama split off from Colombia and thus became an independent nation in its own right.
It was in 1826 that the United States began preliminary negotiations with New Granada for the construction of a canal, though the French actually began construction work on the canal in the territory of Panama a little over half a century later. Just two weeks after Panamanian independence (November 3, 1903), the United States and Panama signed a treaty which established the Panama Canal Zone (November 18).
The Panama Canal Zone was administered as an American territory, and it encompassed 553 square miles in a swathe of jungle territory ten miles wide, plus all of the lakes and waterways that feed into the canal. During its ¾ century tenure, the Zone issued its own postage stamps, some of which were overprinted Panamanian and American stamps, though the valid currency generally speaking was the American dollar.
Nearly 50,000 men from all around the world were employed in canal construction, large numbers of whom died from poor hygiene, deadly jungle snakes, and a multitude of diseases, including malaria from the mosquito infected jungles. In 1906 alone, 80% of the work force were hospitalized at some time or another for malaria.
Work on the Panama Canal was completed in ten years, and the official opening took place one hundred years ago, on August 15, 1914 when the cargo ship SS “Ancon” traversed the entire system. However, the first ship to traverse the canal was a pleasure boat the “Lasata” which made an unofficial voyage during the day before.
The highest fee ever paid for the use of the canal was more than $⅓rd million by the cruise ship “Norwegian Pearl” in 2010; and the lowest fee ever was paid by American Richard Halliburton who swam the full distance of the canal in 1928. This epic swim took 50 hours of swimming spread out over 10 days and it cost him just 36 cents. These days, more than 30 ships traverse the eight hour journey through the canal each day.
The Panama Canal Zone was taken over by the government of Panama on October 1, 1979 and once again the two sides of Panama were joined together into a single country. The Panama Canal Zone, which for example had a population of 45,000 in 1970, was no longer an American territory.
The first wireless station in the Panama Canal Zone was installed by Dr. Lee de Forest for the United States navy near the Atlantic entrance to the canal at Colon in 1906 and it was on the air originally under the callsign SL. The 35 kW longwave spark wireless transmitter operated on 1250 metres, 240 kHz.
A couple of years later, a 100 kW spark transmitter was installed and the callsign was regularized to an American navy callsign NAX. This station was in regular usage up into the 1930s.
The United States navy operated two other wireless stations in the Panama Canal Zone: stations NNL at Coco Solo and NBA at Balboa. The Coco Solo Station was located at a submarine base and it was on the air in the 1920s.
Additionally, the U. S. army also operated half a dozen wireless stations in the Canal Zone, and these were located at army camps and they were on the air under army callsigns, such as:-
WUCG Fort de Lesseps WUCH Fort Sherman WUCI Fort Randolph
The two best known wireless/radio stations in the Panama Canal Zone were the navy communication station NBA at Balboa, and the army broadcasting station at Quarry Heights. That is the story next time, when we present part 2 of the story about radio broadcasting in the Panama Canal Zone.
Panama Canal Song in Spanish: Instrumental & vocal
* Program Announcement - 08:03
* Indian DX Report - 08:53
* Australian DX Report - 14:26
* Special QSL: Listener Designed QSL Card, AWR Sines, Portugal - 24:16
Our unusual, rare, unique QSL for this week is a QSL card received by Thomas Drescher at Rosrath in Germany. On August 26, 1977, he was listening to a broadcast from Adventist World Radio AWR-Europe that was on the air from a 250 kW transmitter at Radio Trans-Europe in Sines Portugal. This QSL card was unique for Thomas Drescher, because he himself designed the card.
Back more than a quarter century ago, AWR-Europe staged a listener contest in which listeners were invited to design a QSL card. The Drescher card shows a large red flame, signifying the ministry of the Holy Spirit, on a black background, and AWR identification is printed as a white breakthrough in the background.
Perhaps other listeners who also designed a QSL card for AWR back then are holding a QSL card of their own design.
* Closing Announcement - 25:19
Thanks for listening to “Wavescan”, international DX program from Adventist World Radio
Researched and written in Indianapolis
1. North of the Stone Wall: Part 2 in the Scotland radio story
2. WRMI Insert
3. Japan DX Report
Several QSL cards available. Send your AWR & KSDA reception reports for Wavescan to the AWR address in Indianapolis; and also to the station your radio is tuned to: WRMI or WWCR or KVOH, or to the AWR relay stations that carry Wavescan. Remember too, you can send a reception report to each of the DX reporters when their segment is on the air here in Wavescan: Japan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Australia & India. They will verify with a colorful QSL card. Return postage and an address label are always appreciated.
Indiana 46229 USA
Wavescan @ AWR.org
Jeff White, shortwave WRMI
* Music of the World - 27:00
Panama Canal Song in English: Vocal & instrumental
* Program Ends - 28:54