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By Dr. Adrian Peterson

The following article was originally published in the Volume 2 #8 edition of the Radio News Bulletin, published by the Special Projects section of Adventist World Radio.) It appears here with permission of the author.


One of the great thrills in monitoring the radio bands is to hear an emergency broadcast coming from a radio station in a crisis area. Along with other long time international radio monitors, I too have heard my share of emergency broadcasts in this way.

The first of these remarkable occasions was back in 1954 while I was attending college in a country area of New South Wales, in Australia. One evening (when maybe I should have been doing my homework!) I was tuning across the mediumwave band and was greatly surprised to hear emergency flood messages coming from a regional commercial radio station, 2MW, located in Murwillumbah on the state line with Queens1and. This station operated on 1440 kHz at the time and the announcer stated that he was broadcasting from an emergency studio located in the transmitter building some miles out of town. Floods were very high in the area and the landline link between the studios and the transmitter was cut. The announcer in the emergency studio was giving flood notices and also calling the main studios of the station in downtown Murwillumbah.

After a few minutes, another weaker station appeared on the same channel, underneath the main transmitter of 2MW. This was the emergency transmitter for the same station, 2MW, which was located at their downtown studios. The announcer in the main studios was also giving flood notices and he was calling the main transmitter building asking them to leave the air.

For nearly an hour, both transmitters, one at 2 kW and the other at 100 watts, were clearly heard, going on and off the air intermittently, giving flood notices and calling each other. Obviously, there was no radio receiver at the main transmitter in the country though a receiver was in use at the downtown emergency transmitter. I tried to phone the station at the time, telling them what I was hearing but the phone lines to the area were down also.

A subsequent report to the station produced two QSL cards, one for the main 2 kW transmitter out in the country and the other for the 100 watt emergency transmitter located in Murwillumbah. As far as is known, these are the only QSL cards that were issued for these twin emergency broadcasts.


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