Radio Vilnius DX program
Hello, DX-ers!
Edition No. 74 of March 16, 1992

Hello, dear friends! Welcome to the 74th edition of "Hello, DXers!", our fortnightly program for shortwave enthusiasts. I am Sigitas Žilionis, chairman of the Lithuanian DX Club BANGA.

Vilnius-based private commercial radio station Radiocentras became the first station in Lithuania to use the CCIR-FM band. Thus, our country has joined the two other Baltic states, Latvia and Estonia, which began using the frequencies between 100 and 108 MHz for radio broadcasting purposes somewhat earlier.

The new transmitter is owned by Radiocentras itself, not by the Lithuanian PTT. It has the power of only 25 Watts, and is intended to serve the Greater Vilnius area. Measurements prove that the signal is heard well within the radius of some 20 kilometers from the transmitter, which is installed in the studio of Radiocentras in the headquarters of the Lithuanian Spauda Publishing Company. The frequency of the new transmitter is 101 MHz, it operates from 8 AM to midnight local time (and this is Eastern European Time, equal to the Universal Coordinated Time plus 2 hours), rebroadcasting the whole program of Radiocentras in parallel with its main frequency 71.81 MHz in the OIRT-FM band.

Although the transmitter broadcasts in stereo, it is not possible to get the stereo effect at the receiving end, unless you have a special decoder at your disposal. That's so because the transmitter has a stereo encoder of a Soviet type, that is, it uses the Polar Modulation system. But the FM radios widely used by the listeners are of Western make and all have the decoders working in the Pilot Tone Modulation system. However, the engineers of Radiocentras (and Lithuania in general, I can say) do not have the necessary experience to build Pilot Tone Modulation encoder, so they decided to go this way. The station intends to apply to foreign radio stations for help in solving the problem.

As in the case of radio station M-1 which was the first radio station in Lithuania to put into service its own transmitter, the transmitter of Radiocentras is still unlicenced. It may broadcast only on a provisional basis, so the transmissions are in fact test broadcasts, intended to finally adjust the transmitter and determine the reception area.

By the way, earlier in this story I mentioned the FM band limits as 100 to 108 MHz. You may ask, why these differ from the normal CCIR-FM band limits of 87.5 to 108 MHz, as used in the West? To make this clear, we should remember that not only the radio bands are different in the countries of the OIRT zone, but the television bands, too. OIRT television channel R-4 occupies frequency range from 84 to 92 MHz, while television channel R-5 has the limits of 92 to 100 MHz. Thus, only the frequencies between 100 and 108 MHz were free of broadcasting in the former USSR, the main user of this band being the Soviet Army. Several years ago Soviet telecommunications authorities decided to allot this range to radio broadcasting stations. By now, the military have fully abandoned the lower half of the band, 100 to 104 MHz, and are in the process of abandoning the remaining half.

And that's all for today. Till we meet again in a forthnight's time - Good-bye and 73!