ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), and the military will get some equipment from a closed Voice of America relay station, which is being dismantled.
The Voice of America made its last broadcast from the relay station in Iranawila, Chilaw on June 10, 2016, amid budget cuts and declining viewership for shortwave radio listening.
The VOA station had two 500 kiloWatt Marconi transmitters and six 250 kW transmitters when it began operations over 16 years ago, according to publicly available data.
The VOA had been present in Sri Lanka from the early 1950s with its first relay station in Ekala, before the Iranawila was built. The SLBC also had shortwave facilities there.
The SLBC is known to have requested at least one 250 kW transmitter from VOA.
The Iranawila station which was near the sea, experienced corrosion and was less easy to maintain than a station away from salt water.
Various conspiracy theories were floated at the time the stations was built, including that will be a covert communications station for very low frequency signals from submarines, as an electronic intelligence gathering station.
The station was operated for many years Sri Lankan engineers after the initial set up.
Sri Lanka is planning to set up a tourism zone in the area. (Colombo/Jan19/2016)