BBC Kranji shortwave relay station to close July 16, 2023

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post contributors who have reached out about a report on AWR Wavescan regarding the closure of the BBC Kranji relay station in Singapore.

I contacted AWR Wavescan host, Jeff White at WRMI, and asked for any details he might have since I could not locate any press release from the BBC or Encompass.

Jeff shared the following notice from AWR Wavescan:

Another shortwave station is about to go off the air for good also. Encompass TV reports that the BBC relay station that Encompass operates in Kranji Singapore will cease operation as of July 16th, after many decades of service. This will result in a reduction of BBC English transmissions to South Asia. Some transmissions from Kranji will be moved to other shortwave transmitter sites.

Many thanks for the info, Jeff.

We’ll post more details about the closure as they become available.

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22 thoughts on “BBC Kranji shortwave relay station to close July 16, 2023

  1. Mike Taylor

    Hi, I happened on this website after searching for info on the old Royal Navy Wireless Station Kranji which I believe was operational from before or during WW2 to approx the seventies when the British Forces pulled out from Singapore and left whatever was there to either the ANZ (Australia & New Zealand Forces for a short period – then to the Singapore Defence Services.

    I joined the Royal Navy in September 1963 serving till April 1994. Initially I was a Boy Tel (telegraphist) and left as a Chief Petty Office Radio Supervisor spanning the wonders of morse code, automatic teletype and finally satellite comms. Along with thousands of other RN radio operators I spent a bit of time at Kranji – which was also the Naval Signal Training School for the Far East Station – not as part of the wireless staff – but as one of the sailors who were on course for their Leading Radio Operator grade promotion in 1967.

    I have been back to Singapore about five times since the late 80’s and on a couple of occasions have tried to locate the site of the old Krangi W/T (as we called it) without success.

    Does anyone on these pages have any info on the early days of the BBC taking over this station, where exactly it was located etc as, when I next visit Singapore in 2025 I’d like to have a look round. Many thanks

  2. Vonu

    AWR’s Adrian Peterson writes Wavescan. Jeff White produces and hosts it, along with Ray Robinson of KVOH, which recently switched off its domestic station.

  3. mangosman

    The current BBC Director General wants to go “Digital”, which means no broadcasting at all. It will be a library of programs and you use the internet to access.
    Originally they had radio and TV licences which paid for the BBC. The Radio Licences were dropped a while ago but the UK Government has said it is going to stop TV licences as well. I don’t know where the money will come from after that, but since the Audio on Demand of Spotify etc and for Video on Demand such as Netflix etc are subscription services I wonder if this is the ulterior motive?

    1. Chris Hunter

      The BBC has wanted the move to “digital” for several years. They obviously haven’t realised that their bloated salaries are entirely dependent on the ridiculous “Licence Fee” in the UK – if they wish to receive “live” TV from any broadcaster, UK citizens have to pay towards the BBC – by law – even if they never watch their awful output!

      Fortunately, the UK Government have realised that this bizarre situation can’t continue, and there are now firm plans to discontinue the TV Licence Fee. The BBC’s obvious left-wing, anti-government stance has ensured their demise (like turkeys wishing for Christmas!). Within a year or two, the BBC will be defunded and will have to make its way in the commercial world.

      Many of the more credible BBC broadcasters have already left the corporation for other, better broadcasters – mostly because they couldn’t take the left-wing drivel they were being asked to deliver. Any residual pretence of impartiality disappeared many years ago (roughly at the turn of the century), and their audience has been in steady decline ever since. The realities of the commercial broadcasting world will ensure that its gone quite soon.

      Also – I was under the impression that the Mediumwave BBC WS outlet in Hong Kong was closed down several years ago. There was a BFBS relay until 1997 (I installed a replacement transmitter back in the early 80s). Obviously BFBS closed down with the closure of the British Garrison there, and I really can’t imagine that any of the local broadcasters would want to carry “British” broadcasting after the Chinese takeover!

      1. SIMON MASON

        The BBC’s obvious left-wing, anti-government stance has ensured their demise (like turkeys wishing for Christmas! IS THAT WHY FARAGE WAS ON BBC QT EVERY WEEK AND THEIR AUDIENCE IS FULL OF RIGHT WING GAMMONS?

        1. Chris Hunter

          Simon – the BBC used to put Farage on in an effort to belittle him, but stopped doing it when they realised that it was entirely counter-productive to their bizarre agenda. The “audience” is mostly Trade Unionists selected by their local Union branches – there are seldom any “Gammons” as you so kindly describe them.
          The BBC has lurched towards the “progressive” side of politics, and with their ridiculous “Climate” agenda, they’ve lost all credibility. It’s just a matter of time before that embarrassment gets too much for the government, and their Charter will be withdrawn. There have been high-level meetings in Westminster over that last few months on exactly that topic.

  4. Walt Salmaiw

    I heard at the beginning of today’s broadcast on 12035 at 15:00 that the BBC announced closure of the Singapore site as of tomorrow (13 July), so perhaps it’s been pushed forward. Better listen while you can!

  5. mangosman

    Encompass is a HF transmitter contractor to the BBC. They have transmitters at Kranji and Tashkent, Uzbekistan 41°13’13″N 69°9’4″E They both aim signals at Asia from opposite sides. The Tashkent transmitter has a power of 100 kW. The target area is India, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, and Western China. This is a similar coverage area to Kranji Source:

  6. 8

    BBC World Service radio used to be broadcast by a local medium wave / AM repeater 24/7 in Hong Kong.
    Many people – especially expats – were avid listeners.
    When that service ceased, we switched to listening to the BBC World Service on shortwave, Singapore being the preferred repeater due to its close proximity to Hong Kong and therefore its relative clarity.

    Is there a reason why almost all consumer shortwave receivers today are made in China and that China is the biggest market for short wave radio receivers, could it be that Chinese people enjoy listening to international broadcasters?

    1. Cees

      The BBC World Service are still on 674mv, which is relayed through RTHK. It have never gone an off air.

      No one in Hong Kong switched to listening to the BBCWS on shortwave.

      Why does China produce so many shortwave radios? I would suggest you go and read up on what is a “planned economy”. SOEs in China have one job. And that is to produce and produce no matter is anyone is buying what-ever product they are manufacturing.

      Shortwave listeners in the PRC? Maybe 30 years ago. Today maybe a few DXERS left. I have never come across one shortwave radio being sold at of the large electronic chains in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dalian or Shenzhen.

  7. Chris Hunter


    It really suits the BBC’s agenda! They have wanted to close down the Shortwave Service since the turn of the century.

    1. Cees Smal

      Again. It has nothing to do with the BBCWS. The land belongs to the Singapore government, which has wanted to take it back for 30 years.

  8. mangosman

    As far as I am aware there are only two BBC transmitter sites who have been transmitting Digital Radio Mondiale regularly. Kranji aimed at India and Woofferton, UK and its signals are aimed at NW Europe.
    Kranji has a directional antenna pointed at India and they transmit a one hour program daily to that market. I have a recording of that signal in South Western Western Australia 4000 km away and from the rear of the antenna. I comes in uncorrupted every day, in good quality sound with no noise or phasing.
    The electricity consumption when transmitting in DRM drops to 60 % of the AM mode.

    The ABC is following the BBC mantra of going ‘digital’ which means podcasting. This means they do not have the pressure of filling a continuous schedule. Our complaint is the amount of repeat programs and repetition within programs. We dropped radio licences a long time ago, because it cost more to collect it than it was worth. The UK Government is going to stop TV licences in a few years. I don’t know how much they will fund the BBC or make it all subscription.

    We also have DAB+ which has all but News radio and ABC sport in stereo. Even the ABC Classic has a very high bit rate(120 kbit/s) which is higher than HDRadio’s ,maximum 96 kbit/s for the highest quality sound. When will the BBC ‘bite the bullet’ and replace the DAB encoders in studio outputs with DAB+ ones so they can also go stereo in higher then existing quality. This has happened every where else with DAB transmissions. In addition DAB+ has better error correction so there is no bubbling mud sound near the edge of the coverage area.

    Lastly it is not all bad news. Radio New Zealand Pacific has ordered a new transmitter which is currently being built and to be on air early next year. They have been transmitting DRM since 2005 for part of each day except Sundays.

  9. Keith Perron

    Actually closing Kranji has nothing to do with the BBC World Service. The land is owned by the Singaporean government and they had already said they won’t be renewing the lease past the expiration date. Just up the road from the BBC site is the ex-site for Radio Singapore International. When the MediaCorp Radio pulled the plug on them it was to make the site available to the site available for a development in that tiny corner of Singapore.

    The Singaporean government has wanted this land for for 30 plus years.

    Singapore is a very tiny city state and land is very valuable and they are running out of space for new housing and businesses.

  10. Paul

    I remember when Big Ben chimed in the background on BBC transmissions and they would annouce which meter bands their broadcasts were on.

    1. Chris Hunter

      You’re right Paul – the frequency announcements were so lengthy that you’d often miss the ones you wanted to know about! The wide range of frequencies was to try to ensure that World Service lived up to its name, and could be heard virtually anywhere on the planet. Back in the 70s, I travelled to many parts of the world for my work, and always took a small portable shortwave receiver with me so I could hear the news from home….

      I also recall the huge transmitters and curtain array aerials assembled to try to overcome the Soviet jamming, to allow the more open-minded Russians to hear Deutsche Welle, Voice Of America, and BBC World Service. These were some of the most powerful transmitters ever built and deliberately ensured that the Soviets would use a very significant proportion of their electricity generation just for jamming purposes!

      1. mangosman

        Do you remember the old radios with the names of broadcasters in the SW bands on a slide rule dial?
        DAB+ receivers you do a scan, the receiver stores the frequency and ensemble name and you pick your choice from the name transmitted by the broadcaster. DAB+ only operates these days between 174 – 230 MHz.
        Digital Radio Mondiale can operate in all broadcast bands. Like DAB+ it too has the Alternate Frequency Switching System data. Ie the broadcaster transmits on all their transmitters in the coverage area as well as the adjacent coverage areas the modulation type including AM, and FM, the frequency and the ensemble number as well as the name of each program stream. Then the listener selects the program stream name from a menu and the receiver checks the sources for the best signal and then selects it in the background. It means the receiver has to have a second tuner continually scanning the AFSS data for the best signal If the data error rate is more than 1 in 10000 bits. This second background tuner only has to demodulate the incoming signal and measure the error rate. It does not have to convert that signal back to analog and on to the speakers.
        So in a way we have returned the screen with a list of names which is what we originally started with!

  11. Hank Michalenka, CPA

    In an excellent article from “Shortwave Central” [I cannot reproduce it without their permission], the BBC Singapore site is powered entirely by electricity provided by the Government utility.

    As of now, the price per kilowatt hour is 31.3 cents US, which is staggering compared with generating electricity on-site.

    Another issue is the rising water level at the station, which would require raising the facility [again, see the site mentioned at the beginning.]

    I would not be surprised to see the site relocated to Australia.

    Hank Michalenka, CPA

  12. Mark

    The BBC are sure keeping their word and ridding the World of those awful out dated Shortwave transmitters. The world will be a far better place and the climate will benefit without Shortwave transmitters by going digital to a data centre that consumes thousands of times the energy, well done BBC.

    Anyone detect a hint of Sarcasm ?

  13. Tony Pavick

    Yet another bonehead move by the BBC World Service. Not only does this result in a reduction of service for south Asia, but for those in the USA and Canada cuts us off from access to the world service that is simple. The BBC argues that they are accessible via the internet, Sirius XM, or public broadcasters. These arguments fall flat because access via the internet lack the portability of radio and Siruis XM requires payment. As to the argument that they are available via public broadcaster, I invite the BBC to find a single outlet here in the lower mainland of British Columbia that relays them in a manner that they are found on shortwave. While some BBCWS programming is available via CBC, it is between the hours or midnight and 5 AM and is only a few programmes on a schedule determined by the CBC and does not include newscasts.

    Why does the BBC hate shortwave?


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