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The following item is taken from pages 156-159 of LA-DXing, 4th Edition (1987), as published by Radio Nuevo Mundo. It was written by Takayuki Inoue Nozaki and is placed here with permission. (Check out my Costa Rican Radio graphics and photos menu for some graphics from this station.)

Leaving Guatemala by SAm 505, 1 f lew to Costa Rica on June 26, 1985. It's only one hour 15 minutes by air to San Jose. Because of security problem in Nicaragua, I preferred airplane to bus. San Jose has a population of 240,000, situated in the central part of the country.

Building of Sistema Radiofonico HB is located at a corner of Av.2 and Calle 15. Stepping into a front gate, I could see a control room over the window. At the side of the reception desk, there is an antique clock which receives pulses sent via telephone line from Astronomical Observatory. It is almost the same with the one used at XEQK La Hora Exacta in Mexico. The clock recognized me that I'm in a "time" station. Telling my purpose to a senorita at the reception, I was immediately introduced to big men. They welcomed me as well as they reply to us with QSL cards. We walked around the station. The building has studios for TISR Sonido 1120 (1130kHz & 106.7MHz FM stereo, 0600-2300), which also belongs to Sistema Radiofonico HB. Underground floor has a recording studio for news, advertisements; STL transmitter room. First floor has director's room, administrator's room, control room (as well as recording room) of Radio Reloj; a studio and a news production room of program "Radioperidico Reloj". The studio is also used for Time Checking and "Servicio Social". They use Costa Rican "Electronic Corporation" (ELCOR) console mixer Estudio 88, "AKAI" open tape deck GX650D, 3 "Gates" disk players, 2 "Sparta" cartridge tape decks-, "RCA" microphone and a monitor radio receiver "National Panasonic" DR-26.

Characteristics of Programs

As the station name tells, they are giving exact TC about every 4 minutes in music programs which occupy 80% of total transmission time. And during music programs, "Servicio Social" is broadcast at any time at the request of listeners. TIHB Radio Reloj is the sole radio station in San Jose to have this kind of public service and the message service (which is faster than train, bus or airplane) has been broadcast since 1958 at free of charge ... this is very unique way for a commercial station. Due to having double outlets, Radio Reloj can play an important role and Radio Reloj can get more listeners through the user.

"Aero Noticias", started in 1970, is also a unique information program which no other Costa Rican stations have: it is to inform listeners of the flight schedule of "EL Coro" Airport every 30 minutes between 0700 and 1900 from a mini studio at the airport via micro wave. As for news program, a few minutes live news "Micro Noticias Reloj" is broadcast every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day. Another news program is "Radioperiodicos Reloj", daily at 0530-0700, 1130-1230, 1900-1930. This program has been on the air since May 1, 1958. Personnel concerned to the program: Director: Rolando Angulo Zelepon (founder of Radioperiodicos Reloj S.A.), Editorial Chief: Edgar Arce Saenz, Announcer: Jorge Mario Lee, and other 5 persons take charge of producing this news program. There are 2 sports programs daily but Sundays: "Al Ritmo del Ciclismo" (2000-2045) and "Enfoque Deportivo" (2100-2200).

History of Sistema Radiofonico HB

1945: Sr. Roger Barahora Gomez decided to apply himself to broadcasting in San Jose. With a small capital of C15,000, he bought a small radio station, operating in San Jose de Tibas. He thought to obtain another more powerful station "Radio America Latina" belonged to Sr. Girton, but its price was the double of what money he had. He installed studios in Edificio Feoli, located at the west of the current Central Bank, where he inaugurated his first broadcasting service. He had a music program, which became popular among listeners at that time, introducing an orchestra "Internacional Lubin Barahora y sus Caballeros" to the music scene.

1946 One Sunday night in June, fire occurred in the Edifici Feoii where studios of Radi Cristal, the first station of the radio company, was installed. It was an accident, not failure. They went off the air for some days. Soon, a provisional studio was installed in a room of a house of Don Isaac Barahora. From the provisional studio, Cabita Montes de Oca de Barahora, alias Tia Elena, broadcast a program "Receta de Cocina" for ladies, with a musical collaboration of "Lubin Barahora y sus Caballeros". In this year Barahora Brothers acquired Social Center "El Bambu" and arranged a functional studio for the station. It was in this studio that a sports program "Deportes en Costa Rica" directed by "El Maestro" was born;

1949 Central studios of Radio Cristal moved to a place diagonal to the Liceo de Costa Rica. The station had already matured and increased in prestige. Two programs monopolized the audience: "Costa Rica y sus Artistas" at 1200 and "Deportes en Costa Rica" at 1800. "Costa Rica y sus Artistas" had contributed much in introducing Costa Rican singers, musical bands, orchestras to the music scene that would become famous - later.

1951: Airconditioning system was installed in the office: control room, sports program room and a room for orchestral performance. Thus Radio Cristal became one of the best Costa Rican radio stations, having eleven live programs (drama, music, and so on).

1952: Radio Cristal began transmission on SW 6006kHz, which is now used by Radio Reloj . This transmitter was constructed by Don Roger Barahora who got knowledge of electroniics. Don Angel Alfaro, Tecnico, made advice on the transmitter construction. Soon they received reception reports from all parts of the world, especially from Spanish speaking countries. Thus Radio Cristal, the first radio station of Sistema Radiofonico HB, consolidated its prestige.

1958: The plan to change characteristic and station name of Radio Cristal had been discussed already in January, and resulted in vanishment of the station in February. Instead, Radio Reloj which has a unique broadcasting style, was born. Radio Reloj provided listeners with exact TC between music, as well as social service. Thousands of totally "free" message have been broadcast through the social service. Thus the characteristic of TIHB Radio Reloj was established. Sr. Rolando Angulo, as a university student, became interested in news, and read cables sent from the Embassy of United States of America. Thus "Radioperiodico" was born, and the program was later called "Radioperiodico Reloj". All facilities of Radio Reloj were moved to an own building at Tibiri, on a way to Desamparados, in July. The building has announcing room, Radioperiodico cabin, recording studio, disk library, news room, teletype room, and administration offices. FM service on 94.3MHz was added.

1962: Barahora Brothers purchased the plants and authorised frequency of Radio Excelsior, and inaugurated Radio Popular. Thus the real "Sistema Radiofonico HB" was born by operating the second commercial station, in addition to Radio Reloj. Radio Popular (1120kHz) was operated under a different system from Radio Reloj, with music program of musica caliente, alegre and pachanguera. Afterwards the company imported a 10kW transmitter for Radio Popular. They obtained the first movil unit to broadcast news from where it happened, and Radioperiodico amplified its information system.

1967: New studios of Sistema Radiofonico HB, were inaugurated in front of Central Park in downtown San Jose on December 1. It was necessary to get an easy access to the public, in order to serve better with efficient social service. Also Radio Exito FM (103.5MHz) was installed as the first station totally radio independent, without announcement, which came to satisfy the necessity of music lovers of musica fina, suaves melodias and musica ambiental.

1969: Radio Popular was closed and Radio Capital, with a slogan "La Musica Mas Fina del Mundo", was born (1120, 4832 and 106.7MHz).

1970: In September, a new service "Aeronoticias" was inaugurated. This service contemplated to broadcast a flight information (both domestic and international, arrival and departure) sent constantly and directly from El Coco Airport. By accepting this new service, Radio Reloj came to receive many telephone calls from listeners inquiring the flight information. At the same time the station began to provide various information service to travellers who need help at the branch office at El Coco Airport.

1985: As of June 27, 1985, Sistema Radiofonico HB owns and operates the following stations: TIHB Radio Reloj (730, 4832, 6006 & 94.3), TISR Sonido 1120 (1130 & 106.7) and TIHBG Radio Popular FM (103.5).

Technical Information

730kHz-- (MW): "ELCOR" VT-20C transmitter (25kW) connected to 1/4 wave dipole (using 93m high tower) . Emergency transmitters: "Gates" (10kW) and "ELCOR" (2kW). QSY to 730kHz (ex-700kHz) in 1979.

94.3MHz-(FM): "Gates" FM-Monaural 10000 transmitter (10kW). Transmitter site is located on the top of Volcan Irazu, 48km from studios. An FM transmitter (UHF: 450MHz) with power maximum 15W & normal 8W is used to connect studios to transmitter site.

4832kHz-(SW): "ELCOR" VT-2V transmitter (2.5kW) connected to 1/2 wave dipole antenna (using 35m high tower). SW transmitter site, as well as MW, is located at San Antonio Parado, 8km away from the city. Micro wave circuit (940MHz) is used as STL.

6006kHz-(SW): "ELCOR" VT-2V transmitter (2.5kW) connected to 1/2 wave dipole antenna (using 35m high).


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Association of North American Radio Clubs
DXer of the Year for 1995

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