Today's Mailbox includes Topics: comment on Radio Prague news, listening conditions in Japan and India, Litomysl, one of the historic sites shown on this year?s Radio Prague QSL cards. Quotes from: Diane Martin, Andy McQueen, Junichi Nishikawa, Ryo Ohashi, D.Prabu

Welcome to today?s Mailbox, presented by Olga Szantova and Nicole Klement, busy looking over the many comments we have received regarding our programs - mostly good, but some of them also quite critical.

Let's start off with some praise. Diane Martin e-mails

"I am a final year student in the university of Limerick, Ireland. I am currently undertaking a final year project on Slovakia with special emphasis on its attempts to gain EU accession. I would just like to comment that your piece on Slovakia's split from Czech was extremely interesting and very easy to both read and understand. I would also appreciate if you would have any handy websites or contact names that you may feel would benefit me with my project."

I think the best thing to do would be to contact Radio Slovakia or some other institute in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, if you are interested in Slovak developments, Diane. As for the Czech view of the situation, we are e-mailing you one or two suggestions where you could get information. Otherwise, thank you for your words of appreciation.

But, as I've said, we have also received criticism. Here is one example from Andy McQueen who sends us his best wishes from, as he says, a sunny and very hot NEW ZEALAND, and he writes

"Your report on Doctor Zhivago contained a very bad error. Sam Neill is not an Australian actor he is a New Zealander and lives here when not filming overseas. How would you like people from your country being called Hungarians???"

I don't think that happens, because the two nations and their cultures are so very different, but before Czechoslovakia split up some people did get it mixed up with Yugoslavia and I don't think we were indignant, just surprised, I'd say. As for Andy's indignation, and mind you, we didn't quote all he has to say on the topic, we're really sorry, because we did make a mistake. Thank you, Andy, for drawing our attention to it.

And so, we'll leave Australia and New Zealand on tip-toe and go on to another continent, Asia. We do hope listeners in Japan and India are listening, because we would like to concentrate on some problems they seem to be having in receiving our programs.

It is a fact that we have had a number of letters about listening conditions from listeners including D.Prabu who lives in India, and some Japanese listeners have been complaining that they have problems listening to Radio Prague, that the signal tends to be poor and there is much interference. So it was a pleasant change to receive a letter from Junichi Nishikawa who lives in Tokyo, Japan and writes

"I heard Radio Prague in English at 21:00 UTC on 9430kHz in the 31 meter band. The signal strength was fair. Interference was slight and the noise was moderate."

In fact, it was such a pleasant surprise, that I told our short wave expert Olda Cip about this good reception on 9430kHz in Japan and asked him to comment:

Well, it's interesting to hear, actually, because that particular transmission is directed rather towards South Asia and especially to the South-Eastern part of Australia, so the Japanese location is rather off the beam of this particular transmission.

So, which transmission is beamed to Japan?

At the moment, because we cut on the number of frequencies and transmitters, there are no special transmissions to Japan. But of course some of the transmissions that are directed Eastwards for Australia and South Asia can probably be heard in Japan as well.

Some listeners have been complaining about the quality. What you have already does explain some of it, or most of it. There is also a letter here from Ryo Ohashi from Japan who says he hears us on 21.745 kHz in the 13 meter band and he says: "I am sorry to tell you that Radio Prague can not be heard well recently."

Yes, that is exactly the same situation, or a very similar situation. The 21.745 kHz transmission is on a directional asymutal beam that is even more off the direction Japan, so this is not very surprising. It's better for India and those parts of the world, South Asia and then Western Australia.

Talking of India, here is a letter from a listener in Tamilnadu, India, suggesting that Radio Prague increases its transmitting power, because they seem to have problems listening to us. So, does India have the same problems as Japan?

No, not at all. I think that India should be quite well served by our signal from the transmitter in Litomysl, and especially on that particular frequency that we mentioned a little while ago, 21.745 mHz and listeners in India should be recommended to tune in to that frequency at 10.00 UTC, because this frequency should be covering that region at this time.

And, to come back once more to Japan?

Well, people there could try listening to some other frequencies, mainly to those directed Eastwards.

And they can, of course, find those either on our schedules, which we send to all regular listeners or to those, who ask for them, or they can find them on our web-site -, where they can also find the full text of today's Mailbox, and all Mailbox programs, for that matter.

That's information listeners who collect QSL cards will find useful.

That's true, because copies of this year's QSL card series which includes 8 photos of UNESCO protected historic sites on Czech territory can be found on Radio Prague's web-site. We also talk about one of them on every Mailbox program, explaining why those places are so precious that UNESCO included them on its list of protected heritage sits. We thought it would be of interest to listeners who receive the cards. And if they don't hear the particular program when we talk about the particular site they are interested in, the can look it up on the internet.

Now, on to today's site. Olda Cip mentioned Radio Prague's transmitters located just outside the East Bohemian town of Litomysl. And Litomysl, or rather, the Litomysl castle is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites shown on our QSL cards this year.

The Renaissance Litomysl castle, is very well preserved and contains more than 8 thousand original, historic graffiti. The complex also includes a brewery, maybe not so famous for its beer as for the fact that the well known composer Bedrich Smetana was born there in 1824. The town is proud of that fact and has preserved the house where the composer was born. Every year Litomysl organizes an International Opera Festival named after Bedrich Smetana.

So, since time is practically out, I think it would be appropriate to end today's Mailbox with some music by Bedrich Smetana.

But, before we do, I'd just like to remind listeners that we are looking forward to hearing from them - eitherthrough their letters addressed to Radio Prague, Prague 2, 120 99, Czech Republic

Or their mail addressed to our e-mail address: [email protected].

And with that reminder this is Olga Szantova

and Nicole Klement ending today's Mailbox with a polka by Czech national composer Bedrich Smetana.

Authors: Olga Szantová , Nicole Klement
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