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Linares, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

By Carl Huffaker


The following item is taken from pages 28 to 30 of the book Carl Huffaker's Latin Notebooks as originally published by SPEEDX. This book is a collection of Carl's columns in the SPEEDX magazine between 1986 and 1991. It is placed here with permission of SPEEDX.

JULY 1988

I hadn't intended to start with a profile this month, but I've just returned from a visit to XEUJ up in Linares Nuevo Leon, and the station is so typical of a small Latin American station that the story will help explain how stations suddenly come on the air.

It's a unique station in Mexico: The country's one SW-only commercial station. It was a surprise to DXers when they stated broadcasting in 1983; for there had been no advance publicity, nothing in official publications, and not even any rumors among those in the business. I logged them during their initial broadcasts, received a QSL, but only recently learned their history.

Historically, Monterrey, the main city in the Linares area, has been financially and politically somewhat apart from the central government. It's not the border area--that's a hotbed from the friction of contact--but Monterrey has always been the "other Mexico." It has a special relationship with the U.S., and even in radio it's oriented in that direction. During the 70's, the central government suppressed SW radio, not to the extent of making it illegal, but they so encouraged FM, TV, and low-powered MW that it's almost impossible to find a SW receiver on a dealer's shelf today. This policy built a transmission wall around the country, except for official radio. Permits for new SW stations just didn't happen, and those that were not in active use were canceled. Those two factors combined to make the Monterrey area the most unlikely place for a new SW station, and any new station at all itself unlikely.

Marcelo Becerra is an electronics engineer with the ability to get along with people and the easy communication that's characteristic of the north. He's younger than I am, but still an "old timer," as he designs and builds his equipment and makes do with what's available. He's worked in all phases of broadcasting, and is himself an excellent announcer. He DXes the scripts of his news reports and presents them in such a professional manner that I twice glanced across the studio to make sure that it was him at the mike, not a tape lifted from some international powerhouse.

Linares, his hometown, had no radio station, so he determined to start one there. For local coverage, and also the ability to get out to the world, he chose 49 meters, and this put him against the political trend.

He got a permit to start construction and built the station. It's completely homebuilt, and was a slow proccss. But when it was ready, the license to operate was not forthcoming. He faced one bureaucratic excuse after another. Things move slowly in the capitol, especially when it's contrary to general policy.

One day the President visited there to inaugurate a new federal project. Marcelo pushed through the crowd and explained his situation to the President who made a hurried note and said he'd look into the matter. A week later, the license for full 24-hour operation arrived and the station went on the air. Presidential sponsorship lasts a long time in Mexico. XEUJ carries some religious programming, discouraged in Mexico, and is relatively free of the government promos forced on other stations. The news broadcasts are impartial and free of official propaganda.

Rosario Breones, the YL DJ, aims her afternoon programs at the younger set. The music is that of the popular combos, but with a northern flavor. The recording industry has exploded in Mexico, and there are a lot of new releases every day, but watching them make up a program, they seem free from pressure by the song peddlers.

The station is in downtown Linares, just four blocks from the main plaza. It's in the still-standing portion of an old building built with large blocks of local sandstone. In places where the plaster had crumbled, I recognized some fossils. This contrasted sharply with the modern brass letters, XEUJ," on the wall. The main antenna tower, bent double in the wind some years ago, has been propped back in place by three metal supports: A temporary arrangement, and already rusting in place. The dipole has a slight Vee to the east, and the feeder and center of the antenna are supported by another metal pole. With so much metal so close to the antenna, it's largely non-directional and reception reports tend to confirm this.

The transmitter is completely homebuilt, but shows excellent workmanship and puts out a clean signal. The station is a one-room affiar with the transmitter at one end, the console in a corner, and the office, a desk with a battered typewriter, in another. One wall with floor to ceiling shelves is the music library. For air conditioning, there's an open door and window augmented with glasses of cold lemonade that Rosario makes between announcements. It reminds me of a DXer's shack.

We went over the reception reports and there were several names familiar to the column. Marcelo remembers them all. When I introduced myself, he dug into the file and found my 1983 report. Too often we envision bored secretaries answering or not answering our reports as the mood strikes them. That's not the case at XEUJ; Marcelo answers them all, and the DXer is important.

In the afternoon, we drove out to the site of the new station outside the town. The building is almost completed and one tower is finished. The antenna will be a dipole with approximately the same orientation. But the height will be 25 instead of the present 15 meters so the signal should improve. There'll be a couple of all-night tests and something special for SPEEDX before they go to their normal schedule. I'll have the schedule here in the column as soon as the dates been set, but it's tentatively late December. Try to log them before that time so you can make a comparative report. There'll be no change in power or frequency when they move to the new installation. The present reduced broadcast schedule is a reflection of the economic situation, and likely will be expanded soon.

Station data

Call: XEUJ
Frequency: 5980 (nominal)
Power: 500 watts
Schedule: 20:00 - 23:00 UTC M-F, 12:00 - 15:30 Sundays. This will change to one hour later when Nuevo Leon returns to standard time in October.

For mail, the address is: Ing. Marcelo Becerra Gonzales, Director General Canal Libre Internacional Apartado Postal No. 62 67700 Linares, Nuevo Leon Mexico.

Their crystal is still running a little high, so you'll find them on the high side of 5980. Marcelo has always been aware of this and welcomes an exact measurement in your reports.


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