Happy Birthday Radio Reading Service

zlxa

On behalf of DX League members and DX enthusiasts everywhere, we congratulate NZ Radio for the Print Disabled Inc and the Radio Reading Service in Levin, which celebrates its 15th anniversary on-air on Thursday 9 May. NZRPD was founded in 1985 by former League member Allen Little, who wanted to do something for people who, for whatever reason, cannot hold, see, or understand printed information. Allen himself is legally blind. Since May 1987, this voluntary radio station has broadcast on medium wave and shortwave for people who find reading a major challenge. A volunteer team of more than 240 people focus on “turning print into sound” They aim to provide full fresh information, topical news and current affairs based on published material.

Volunteers read from newspapers, magazines etc, while others operate the studio equipment. The Radio Reading Service is funded by donations, grants, subscriptions, bequests and sponsorship. “New Zealand on Air” helps with an Operational Grant from the Public Broadcasting Fee. At Easter weekend of 2000, I was able to visit the studios and transmitter site with local League
member and RRS volunteer Kelvin Bradshaw. I was also pleased to meet QSL Manager Brian Stokoe again – he had been my Scoutmaster in the early 1960s. The station has always been DXer friendly and welcomes reception reports,
which are all personally replied to by Brian. At the NZRPD offices and studios on the first floor of the Levin Shopping Mall, a world map is on display, surrounded by postcards from DXers and small pins to denote where the shortwave transmitter ZLXA has been heard. Brian includes a brochure promoting the DX League with all QSL responses. Kelvin got permission to take me out to the RRS transmitter site at Weraroa, about 2 kilometres south of Levin (with the main antenna mast just visible west of State Highway 1).† For 2XA 1602 kHz medium wave, the main transmitter is a 2.5 kilowatt Blyth unit, with a 1 kw Harris MW1 unit as standby. The omni-directional MW tower is 44 metres high.

Shortwave station ZLXA operates on 3935 kHz via a 1 kw Bauer 701b HF transmitter. The antenna is a half-wave Sloper, running Northeast-Southwest. In past years, alternate shortwave frequencies of 7290 & 5960 kHz have used Radiofon 500 watt transmitters feeding into inverted Vee antennas facing East-West. But these have not been operational for some time. I must say that I was amazed to see the simple 3935 SW antenna and realise that it was carrying ZLXA
broadcasts to DXers in all parts of the world.

Postscript:

In fact, it has already been silent since December 1 2008 and, as the following message from Kelvin Brayshaw [QSL Manager] says, the chances of it returning, except for a last special broadcast for DXers, are very unlikely.

Subject: Radio Reading Service – ZLXA 3935 kHz
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009
From: Kelvin Brayshaw

I’m sorry to have to tell you that, in all probability, the shortwave service of the Radio Reading Service will soon be discontinued. ZLXA, 3935kHz, has been in abeyance since 1st December 2008 pending the result of a listener survey and the consideration of cost-effectiveness.

The final outcome is expected to be advised following deliberations by management at the first board meeting of the year – probably in February.

I feel there will be members of SWL groups who might appreciate an opportunity to log this transmitter one last time during the northern winter, and I’m sure that if you were to make a special request on behalf of shortwave listeners, RRS management would, in a continuing spirit of goodwill, consider marking an event of such significanceto the worldwide DX community by resuming transmission for a brief period.

In the meantime Radio Reading Service programmes are streaming on the Internet.

73 & Best DX
Kelvin Brayshaw
QSL Manager

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *