ENG-version

PA100M

″Malabar Radio (PKX)″

PA100K

″Kootwijk Radio (PCG)″

Celebrating 100 years of radiocommunication history
between Indonesia and The Netherlands in May 2023

About the Special Event Stations

About The Stations

Celebrating world radio history, bridging 100 years from 1923 to 2023. Powered by members of RCL | Radio Club Limburg.

Two historic radiostations, at the time referred to as PKX (Malabar, Indonesia) and PCG (Kootwijk, The Netherlands), pioneers in the field of long-range long-wave telegraphic communication. And now two special event stations celebrating 100 years of radiocommunication history between Indonesia and The Netherlands.

After 100 years we are honoring in 2023 Malabar Radio with amateur radio station PA100M and Kootwijk Radio with amateur radio station PA100K.

   When

The two special events stations will be active during 28 days from Monday, May 1st to Sunday, May 28th, 2023.

From Friday, May 5th to Sunday, May 7th, 2023, the Special Event Stations will be open for public.

   Where

During the public opening days one (or more) location(s) in or near Gennep, The Netherlands.

QRA: JO21xq

Th elocation(s) will be disclosed in time.

History

The history of the two stations in brief

    Preface

At the beginning of the twentieth century, The Netherlands was dependent on an English cable connection for telegraphic communication with Indonesia (former The Dutch East Indies). During the Second Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902), the British government exercised such severe censorship on telegraphic communications that an alternative was sought in The Netherlands. An agreement was then concluded with Germany. In 1905, the ´Deutsch-Niederländische Telegraphen Gesellschaft´ was founded in Cologne and operated the Menado–Yap–Guam cable. This cable connected to an American cable from the Philippines to the United States, which was operated by the American Commercial Cable Company. It soon became apparent that this company had close relations with the British company, so this was not a real option in the end.

About 1913, two plans for a wireless connection with Indonesia were submitted in The Netherlands. One plan envisaged a connection via intermediate stations in Tripolis, Massovah and in Sri Lanka (former Ceylon) depending on the cooperation of Italy and (again) England. The other plan envisaged a connection through the West Indies, Hawaii and the Samoa Islands. The commission granted a concession for the first plan, but this plan was covered up. Opposition mainly came from the Minister of Colonies and the Minister of Water Management. The latter stated that he wanted to let the matter rest pending the tests that the Dutch government wanted to take in the field of radiotelegraphy in Indonesia. Both the Marconi Company and Telefunken were to be invited for these trials. Shortly afterwards, the First World War broke out.

The disadvantages of being dependent on foreign connections were again very noticeable, especially when the German submarine cable with which the coded telegraphic communication between The Netherlands and Indonesia was maintained, was destroyed. Indonesia was now only accessible via British cables and that meant a ban on the use of code words and it meant censorship and huge delays. In 1917, Captain-Lieutenant Commander E.H. Friderichs, chief of naval wireless telegraphy, urged the Permanent Commission to speed up a wireless connection with Indonesia. He proposed to build a powerful transmitting station within the Defence line of Amsterdam, for the time being only for political and military purposes. This proposal also proved to be unsuccessful.

    Malabar Radio (PKX)


The call for a wireless connection to Indonesia grew louder and louder. In response to this, shortly after the end of the First World War, the Dutch Government reported from Jakarta (former Batavia) they had started building a wireless telegraphy radiostation that could communicate directly with the radiostation in The Netherlands (PCG). Building the Long Wave Radiostation Malabar, or ´the Gouvernements Zendstation Malabar´, in Malabar near Bandung (Java, Indonesia) started in the year 1917. Dr. ir. C.J. de Groot designed a 2.4 MW long wave spark-gap transmitter, the original Poulsen arc transmitter design accordingly and about 60 - 80% of its power into the antenna. It took about 2 years to build the station. The long wave antenna was mounted in the Malabar gorge. The newly constructed antenna also had tremendous dimensions (see the pictures above and below). The large long-wave antenna was supported by 5 inch steel cables stretched over the gorge of some 2.000 meters. The suspension points on the two foothills of the Gunung Malabar were located about 900 meters above the station. Five motor-driven winches on the south side, and corresponding counterweight conditions on the north side, served to keep the tensile stress of 10.000 kg constant.

The actual antenna wires consisted of copper wire wrapped non-ferrous carrier material of 7/8 inch strength. Due to the large surface area achieved in this way, Corona effects were encountered. The attachment to the carrier cable took place at a height of 700 meters by means of 2 meter long insulators. The drawings show that roughly the eastern antenna cross-lines, which carried the antenna, were mounted at the slope of mount Gunung Poentang, and the western lines were anchored at the slope of mount Gunung Haroeman. The parallel antenna wires in the gorge started at 246 meters above the Malabar station level and sloping up to 715 meters. The station itself was at a level of 1.250 meters ASL.

Most probably the gorge did not give the antenna much directivity, as its length was too short in respect to the transmitter maximum wavelength (λ) of 18.75 km! Its main function was to create a capacitance against ground.

On May 5th 1923 the Malabar Station (PKX) was officially opened sending a telegram of congratulations to Her Majesty The Queen in The Netherlands. The picture on the right.

The location of the Malabar Station near Bandung was obvious; Bandung was the political-strategic centre of Indonesia at those days. Since Dr. ir. De Groot did not have masts of sufficient height, he came up with the idea install the antenna in a mountain gorge on the Malabar, a plateau near Bandung. In this way a height was reached that even surpassed the Eiffel Tower, the highest radio mast in the world at that time. The arc transmitter was connected to this antenna.

When the transmitting station took on a more final character, a new building was erected. The picture on the left. It became a mixture of the typical indigenous construction and the Dutch variant of the ´decorated shed´. Despite the simplicity of the construction, the building had unmistakably monumental features, which were due to the symmetrical structure with a double tower on both the left and right and a cooling water pond in the axis of the whole. If we now know that one tower contained the 400kW Telefunken transmitter, the other the giant 2.4 MW arch transmitter, it seemed that this architecture embodied the triumph of Dr. ir. De Groot by demonstrating the equality of both transmitters.

In that first year, no fewer than 3.413 QSO´s took place between The Netherlands and Indonesia. The Indies- and Dutch Radio Services were therefore justifiably proud of this longest direct telegraph connection in the world. A new way to Indonesia had been opened. The stations proved to be the most important connection between The Netherlands and Indonesia during the Interbellum. But the enormous resources required to send telegrams were actually disproportionate to the achievement.

"Special Event Stations PA100M and PA100K" A few years earlier, in 1920, a few radio amateurs, who had been pushed to ever shorter waves by the growing number of official transmitters, had discovered that with relatively little transmitting energy at wavelengths of 200 meters and higher (short-wave) one could bridge enormous distances. These radio waves had the nice property that they lost relatively little energy during their journey through the air. Moreover, these frequencies were much less affected by the noisy atmospheric disturbances that so often drowned out the long-wave radio signals. However, the professional radioworld ignored this fact and stubbornly stuck to the generally accepted theory that only long-waves were suitable for reliable long-distance traffic. But more and more publications about record connections appeared in radiomagazines. In 1925 a short-wave transmitter was built more or less unofficially in the PTT Laboratory on Parkstraat in The Hague. This transmitter operated on a 42 meter wavelength and had a power of only a few hundred watts (a fraction of the 2.4 MW in Malabar and the 400 kW station in Kootwijk). An aerial wire had been stretched from the laboratory attic to a nearby churchtower. The days after the first trial broadcast, a reception report arrived from Indonesia. The transmitter was heard loud and clear. But here too, Indonesia had already been ahead of The Netherlands by six months. The transmitter ANE, which was broadcasting from the Malabar, was already working regularly with stations at a great distance on a wavelength of 85 meters. On August 7th, 1925, a connection was established on the shortwave and 500 words were telegraphed that same evening.

The fate of the longwave transmitters was thus sealed. A better result was achieved with equipment that fit on a table top than with the Malabar giant. Now radiotraffic between the Netherlands and Indonesia could really start. After all, it was now possible to maintain a connection 24-hours a day instead of the few nighttime hours that were possible with the long-wave transmitter. Technology made more and more possible. From January 7th, 1929, the public could also telephone via the radiolink between The Netherlands and Indonesia. And it was a huge success, despite the fact that a conversation of a few minutes cost almost half a week´s average wage.

The Malabar station - in the end - was part of a larger network of radiotransmitting- and radioreception sites in the Bandung region, first on long-wave and later on short-wave. Reception stations were built at Padelarang, Ranca-Ekek and Cangkring. Other transmitter sites were located at Cililin and Dajeuhkolot. Furthermore there was an antenna teststation at Cimindi (picture on the left) and two radiolaboratories in and near Bandung.

In 1947, just after the second world war, the fate of many of these station was sealed and many stations completely destroyed. Today, only ruins remains of the Malabar station. A closer look on the map reveals the original cooling water pond.

    Kootwijk Radio (PCG)

As a trading nation and country with large overseas territories, The Netherlands had a great interest in good and, above all, fast international connections. Until the First World War, The Netherlands was dependent on (telegraphic) cable connections from abroad (see above). The disadvantages of this dependence were particularly felt during the First World War, when England began to censor the messages that ran through its cables. People increasingly felt the need for their own, independent international connections. After much political discussion, it was finally decided in 1918 to build a transmission station for the long-wave, for which a suitable location was found on the sand drifts near the village of Kootwijk.

In the winter of 1918 about 150 excavation workers from Amsterdam started preparing an area of 450 ha on the Kootwijkerzand under supervision of The Dutch company Heidemij for the construction of a long-wave telegraphy station for communication between The Netherlands and Indonesia (former The Dutch East Indies). The masts were ordered in Germany in september 1918 since there was no such supplier to be found in The Netherlands. About 380.000 cubical metres had to be moved to lay out and level the site. After completion of the ground works a narrow gauge railway was constructed for the supply of building materials, tools and steel for the antenna masts. Six large lattice masts of each 211.6 metres were erected for supporting the long-wave antenna, together with the construction of the main Building A for the long-wave station with its transmitters. The weight of each mast was 80.000 kg and each side was 3.50 metres wide. Each mast balanced on one point on a ball joint being isolated from ground. Each mast was kept in place with isolated guy wires each at a distance of 48 meters on the mast. All the masts were placed at distances of 450 meters. The six lattice masts carried an long-wave umbrella antenna. Inside the main Building A two Telefunken machine transmitters of each 400 kW were to be set up.

In the years before 1925, the general opinion was that large distances could only be bridged by radio on very long-waves, such as wavelengths of several tens of kilometers. This required powers of hundreds of kilowatts and two methods were known to generate this: the arc transmitter and the machinetransmitter. The transmitter in Kootwijk was of the latter type. For the powersupply a high-voltage line was laid to Kootwijk from a PGEM substation near Apeldoorn. At the completion of the main radio Building A and the cooling water pond, other annexes, (service)buildings, a 50kV high voltage switching station, transformers houses, a watertower, a hotel and the village radio Kootwijk were built.

On Thursday, January 18th 1923, the transmitter was heard for the first time in Indonesia. PCG officially entered service on May 5th 1923.

The results were disappointing. The transmittingstation in Kootwijk and receptionstation in Sambeek (near Boxmeer) involved a large investment for that time. But the results, measured by the number of telegrams transmitted, were disappointing. As already mentioned, the transmitter officially went into operation in 1923. A historic moment in Dutch radio history, because the distance between The Netherlands and Indonesia of 11.410 km was bridged on both sides. But why it didn´t work out? The connection was only possible when the entire radio path was in the dark; in The Netherlands between about 5 and 11 p.m. Moreover, the telegraph operators in Indonesia in particular were plagued by the heavy thunderstorm disturbances at low frequencies in tropical areas. As a result, and partly due to the ´lumpy´ signaling system used and the small bandwidth of the transmitting antenna, it was only possible to signal slowly. No more than 500 to 1.000 words were sent each evening. But the main reason for the very limited success was competition from short-wave, whose good long-distance capabilities were ´discovered´ just before PCG entered into service.

From 1923 to 1925 the station was on the air on long-wave (radiotelegraphy) and test were executed on short-wave (radiotelephony). See the picture on the right for short-wave building C, D and E and a selection of the short-wave antennas. The long-wave station existed until the Second World War, and was used on short-wave until 1998 for radiotelegraphy, radiotelephony and telex. Scheveningen Radio (PCH) had also started using the facilities from 1968 to 1998 for radiotelegraphy, radiotelephony and UPI telex.

The longwave transmitter PCG (or ´Lange Gerrit´ as it was called by the staff) existed until the Second World War as stated before. The Germans blew up the station and it led to the of end a special piece of Dutch radio history. Kootwijk radio was ´silent key´. Two lattice masts were rebuilt after the war from the remains of the six also blown up lattice masts. The two masts served as support masts for other antennas. Today none of these masts exist anymore.

The most striking and largest building, Building A, has the status of a national monument. The same applies to the watertower, several electricity pylons, the kV station and the transmitter buildings C, D and E.


    Locations of the two historic radiostations

The locations of the two historic radiostations PCG and PKX visualized on the map.

Use the radiobuttons in the box to change the Map Layers and toggle the visibility of the Locations, Path and Antennas. To see the configuration and actual sizes of the former antennas at Malabar Radio and Kootwijk radio use the Zoom in to buttons to actually zoom in. Clicking the respective buttons allows you to Zoom in to the station locations with Google Earth (when installed on your computer).




Station

Operators and station descriptions


  Station description

Automation


      HF

 HP laptop
 N1MM Logging software

VHF/UHF

 HP laptop
 N1MM Logging software

Antennas


      HF

 4 el HF yagi 20/15/10m
 skywire loop 160m
 beverage RX 40m

VHF/UHF

 Diamond X200 V-/UHF
 6 el VHF yagi
 14 el UHF yagi

Transceivers


      HF

 ICOM IC-775-DSP
 Kenwood TS-590-SG
 legal limit HF PA

VHF/UHF

 VHF/UHF FM/SSB TRX
 PA 100 Watt

PA100M




PA100K



Transceivers


      HF

 ICOM IC-775-DSP
 Kenwood TS-590-SG
 legal limit HF PA

VHF/UHF

 VHF/UHF FM/SSB TRX
 PA 100 Watt

Antennas


      HF

 4 el HF yagi 20/15/10m
 skywire loop 160m
 beverage RX 40m

VHF/UHF

 Diamond X200 V-/UHF
 6 el VHF yagi
 14 el UHF yagi

Automation


      HF

 HP laptop
 N1MM Logging software

VHF/UHF

 HP laptop
 N1MM Logging software



QSL/Logbook Information

Our QSL card, QSL information and logbooks

QSL card

PA100M

PA100K

Malabar Radio

Radio Kootwijk

QSL information

All the incoming QSL cards and our outgoing QSL cards will be preferably processed by the Dutch QSL Bureau (DQB). Direct cards go via our QSL manager, but use of the bureau is strongly recommended.

We will not wait for incoming cards. All QSL cards will be sent in one batch a few months after the special events station´s QRT.

If you have no other option and you want to apply for a direct QSL card, please send your card(s) to our QSL manager directly after the station´s QRT. For direct requests from:
 The Netherlands: your card + SASE.
 Other countries:  your card + SAE + 2.

Logbooks for PA100M and PA100K

Explanation:
  Click to select the Number of entries to show in the logbook (default = 5 entries).
  To search a specific item in the logbook use the Search pane.
  Ordering (ascend/descend) is available for each column.
  Advanced filtering is available below each logbook on Band, Mode, QSO-date and RST, or a combination.


 Logbook PA100M (example logbook)

Band Callsign Mode Date RS(T) UTC


 Logbook PA100K (example logbook)

Band Callsign Mode Date RS(T) UTC

Event Schedule

The schedule of our special event activities in 2023

Both PA100M and PA100K will be active during 25 days from locations of the individuals members of RCL | Radio Club Limburg (see the Operators chapter above). During 3 days the station´s activities will be open for public.

Use the schedule and zoom in with your mouse by dragging a certain area - on either a specific activity and/or a day/hour - to get more information.

Clicking the button top-right will bring the schedule back in its default state.



Tools

HAM Radio morsecode and tools



PA100M
PA100K

Contact Us

You can reach us with the contactform


If you want to contact us for whatever reason, please use the contactform below. Your message will be sent by e-mail to the PA100M/PA100K-team.



Your information will only be used to reply to you and will not be used for commercial purposes, nor shared with third parties.




Contactform


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