Radio Pakistan Larkana: Newly installed transmitter proves to be dud
LARKANA, Sept 15: With medium wave transmission of Radio Pakistan Larkana already off the air since Aug 14, the recently-installed 2.5 kilowatt transmitter for F.M-93 designed to broadcast up to 80 kilometres radius, has also proved an enigma for the faithful listeners who claim it can hardly be heard within 20-25 km.
The 2.5 KW transmitter replaced 1.5 KW transmitter of FM-101 after its mast collapsed in December 2008 and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation renamed it FM-93. The radio station was commissioned in October 1995 and Ms Benazir Bhutto had inaugurated it.
Sources in the PBC and listeners of FM-93 told Dawn on Tuesday that the new transmitter could hardly be heard in 20 to 25 km. It was neither properly tuned nor its antennas were properly fitted, restricting the transmission up to 20 km radius, said the sources.
The sources said the officials at the radio station had refused to give certificate to the mast installers about transmission range without carrying out tests and informed the PBC high-ups about the faults.
Najeeb Alam, the engineering manager of the PBC, had sent a letter to the controller of procurement cell, requesting him to ask the mast company to send experts to check the FM-93 transmitter, they said.
The old 1.5 KW transmitter’s range was 60 to 70 km. A large number of radio listeners recently held a demonstration in Qambar and protested over small range of FM-93. They called for rectifying its fault.
The director general of PBC Ghulam Murtaza Solangi said that medium wave transmission had been temporarily suspended in Larkana because the old transmitter was hardly giving its 40 per cent output.
It was, therefore, not fair to keep it tuned and it would be replaced by newly approved 100 KW medium wave transmitters, which would take at least a year to get operational, he said.
He claimed the range of old medium wave transmitter of Lahore radio station had almost doubled after necessary repairs and admitted the transmission of 100 KW medium wave transmitter of Karachi radio had been off the air also temporarily. A new 5 KW FM transmitter installed in Karachi was quite enough for the whole metropolitan, he claimed.
To a question about poor performance of the new 2.5 KW F.M-93 Larkana, he said that he would check it.
A 100 KW medium wave transmitter purchased for Larkana was shifted to Turbat by the previous government and replaced it with 10 KW, said the sources.
The medium wave transmitter of Khairpur radio also remained off the air for over six days, which the DG of PBC claimed was now on the air after necessary repairs.
Mr Solangi said that a new 100 KW medium wave transmitter would be installed in Hyderabad within a year and the PBC was planning to install medium wave transmitters in Muzaffarabad, Multan, Guwadar and Turbat because the budget had already been allocated for them in the current fiscal year.
He disclosed that a summery for installation of 1000 KW medium wave transmitter in Gwadar, which would broadcast transmission to Iran, Afghanistan and Middle East, had been submitted to the Ministry of Information and hoped it would be okayed soon. A new 150 KW medium wave transmitter would be installed in Quetta and Dera Ghazi Khan while a 300 KW medium wave transmitter would be installed in Peshawar, he said.
Besides, the management of Larkana radio appears so oblivious to the precarious security situation elsewhere in the country that it has not paid any attention to the rebuilding of 350 feet boundary wall of the Low Power Transmitter located near Chuharpur village since it collapsed four years ago. Interestingly, the Low Power Transmitter is powered by a feeder, which also supplies power to a village and faces regular power shutdown, thereby affecting smooth transmission.