It was early spring in 1997 when I started listening to distant radio signals on my 10-band Kchibo shortwave radio receiver. Back then, the shortwave bands were open and teeming with radio stations. The BIG 5 international broadcasters in my region (ITU Zone 41) were - British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Voice of America (VOA), China Radio International (CRI), Deutsche Welle (DW) and Voice of Russia (VOR). Apart from them, there were the major gospel stations transmitting every morning and evening in dozens of South Asian and South East Asian languages preaching the message of Jesus! The BIG 4 broadcasters of the time were - Family Radio, Adventist World Radio, Transworld Radio (KTWR) and FEBA Radio.
Apart from these 'usual' stations that every listener would eventually hear on the radio bands, there were others too! The challenge for SWLs/ DXers back then was to tune in to those 'other' stations - the ones that were hard to tune and harder to decipher! Most of these dx stations either targeted their transmission to zones other than mine (zone 41) or were using low-powered transmitters to broadcast to local communities.
One such station was Transworld Radio Swaziland broadcasting from Manzini in Eswatini (Swaziland)! It is part of TWR's global ministry in Africa. TWR Swaziland opened their radio broadcast every evening (IST) around 14 hrs. UTC with a unique signature tune and station ID. The station would broadcast only 45 mins of programming in Urdu back then. Their other broadcast times did not match with my local time zone! TWR Swaziland remained one of my favorites for years during that period of my DXing hobby-life!
A good two-decades hence and today, while I was sorting through truck loads of DX interactions from all these years - and archiving email communications with radio stations those hold dear memories, up came an e-QSL from TWR Africa (erstwhile TWR Swaziland) confirming my reception of their broadcast in Malagasy on 18th Dec, 2017.
I have been quite a sporadic listener ever since the pandemic has ebbed! DXing took a backseat due to major broadcasters closing doors on shortwave, Chinese stations dominating the air waves left vacant by the media houses and governments running the big radio stations and shifting the most prominent radio stations to digital media. However, amid my dwindling interest of shortwave listening and the predominance of online SDRs and app-based tuners like radio garden et al. eclipsing the ever-so-alluring art of distant shortwave listening, this e-QSL from TWR Swaziland was a stark reminder that - "past can never be forgotten" and it eventually pops up in our present at the most unlikely hours and instantly takes us back to where our hearts belong!