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Don Moore's
Second Ecuadorian Journal

(In our 1985 trip through South America, Theresa and I started out with seven weeks in Ecuador before continuing south. Several months later, we returned to Ecuador for a few weeks before returning home. This is an account of our second visit to Ecuador. The first visit was much more extensive and included many more station visits. It will be added here later when I have time to scan it and set it up.)


Using notes from my travels, in 1986 I put together this account as part of a larger body of work on all my South American travels in 1985. I intended to find some method of self-publishing this, but the never got beyond the first draft stage. The text below was scanned from the original document. I went through it to format for HTML and correct scanning errors, or at least those that I found. I made no attempt, however, to do a much needed editing for style, sentence structure, etc. This is a first draft, and I am sure it reads like one. The station information, of course, is at least somewhat outdated.


Tumbes, Peru is just across the border from Machala, so in crossing to Machala we were able to visit Theresa's college friend there one more time. She had moved since we last visited her and now lived in a one room apartment on the roof of a five story building. She had the entire roof for her terrace, part of it being covered over. I strung up an antenna to see how reception would be. Although she was only three blocks from city center, it was amazingly quiet, static-wise. Indeed, DX there was probably better than anyplace else of the entire trip, excluding places that did not have electric service. I spent most of our three days in Machala there milking my Sony for all the out-of- band Peruvians I could get. Who knew when I would have another chance like that?

On Monday morning we were on our way back to Quito. A day's rest there and it was off on a short side trip to visit two of the last three stations of the trip. We arrived in Saquisili early Wednesday afternoon. There were two objectives to the visit. One was to visit that rare Ecuadorian station, La Voz de Saquisili 4900 khz. I needed a QSL from it to have the dozen Ecuadorian provinces verified that are required for the NASWA Senior Ecuadorian DXer Award. It was a visit I wouldn't miss! Secondly there was the weekly Saquisili market held every Thursday morning. It was said to be one of the best in Eucador.

First thing to do was to verify the station. I knew from DX bulletin reports that the owner/manager Arturo Mena was a school teacher at the local high school. I figured I had better get the station verified Wednesday afternoon, or I wouldn't have the chance with him in school on Thursday morning. Even so, it took multiple visits to get the verie. The first time Arturo wasn't there but a phone call to him at school said he would be back in an hour. He wasn't, and after a third trip later in the afternoon I still had to wait an hour.

La Voz de Saquisili is located along one of the main dirt streets of the town. It is in the second story of a tiny two story building. A sign hangs from the balcony, and another round one hangs from a cable suspended across the street. Upstairs there is one huge room that serves as a combination office and reception hall and a studio in the back, seen through the usual plate glass windows. Among the usual girlie and record posters were a number of certificates given to the station for civic contributions and some Ecuadorian tourism posters.

Arturo Mena finally arrived and, in a rather business like manner, stamped and-signed my prepared QSLs, one each for myself and two DX friends. He also took the time to find me a certificate card the station had had printed up in February, 1984 for its 2Oth birthday.

Senor Mena then inquired into what I thought of Ecuador and told me a little about how much he liked receiving reception reports. He then asked me if I could send him replacement transmitter parts once I was back in the states. He expected it as a gift on my part, and what else could I do but take a list of the parts and promise to look into it. In the end they were way too expensive to be gifts.

Even if there had been no station, we would still have had to visit Saquisili for its market. Unlike Otavalo, this is not a handicraft market but rather a market for day-to-day things the local campesinos need and use. The market is held in eight different plazas in the town, each one having a different type of merchandise. In one area livestock is brought in and sold - sheep, goats, pigs, cows, and horses. Its a feast for the eyes (if not for the nose!), with people bringing in their pigs on leases being the most amusing.

In other areas clothing, baskets, kitchen goods, & food products are sold. One form of livestock - guinea pigs - are sold in the food section. That way one can buy the guinea pig, and the onions and carrots to accompany it, all in the same plaza. There were cages and cages of guinea pigs, enough to fill three dozen pet stores, or hundreds of Andean skilllets.

The best areas of all were the fruit section, where there were truck loads of bananas, and the basket section, where the baskets were piled up in small hills. Although we spent several hours exploring, the only things we bought were some huge carved wooden spoons and a felt hat for Theresa. What would we have done with a Pig on a leash anyways?

Our stay in Saquisili over and it was time to start bus hopping again. We had three short rides ahead of us to our next destination. First it was Saquisili to Latacunga, the shortest, then another bus to Ambato, and finally our last bus, Ambato to Quero. The town of Quero cannot be found on many Ecuadorian maps, but it is in the province of Tungurahua, a little southeast of Ambato. Quero is home to Radio Panamericana, 3290 khz (25k jpeg photo).

The trip to Quero was one of the better bus rides in Ecuador for the scenary: a dirt road winding through hilly pine forests. It reminded me somewhat of parts of Honduras. The town itself was picturesque but nothing special. It was a very small town to have a radio station. However, that made it very easy to ask directions - everyone knew where the station was. Although the front of the station looks very rundown, especially with an old trash can by the door, the inside was very attractive.

The station is entered through a small courtyard. The first room, or office, is dominated by a huge wall map of the Quero area. There is very little furniture in the room, nor other wall decorations. Through the plate glass window the studio was visible. It was one of the largest studios I visited and also served as the station's record and tape library.

Cesar Fiallos Sanchez, an administrador, was there, as was a DJ. After Cesar showed us around, he asked if would consent to an on air interview. Well used to those, we of course said yes. When asked how long we planned to stay in town, we said all afternoon, so that we would have plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of Quero. Actually we needed to get back to Ambato, and planned to take the next bus out.

When I asked Cesar to stamp and sign the verie cards, he was unable to find the Radio Panamericana rubber stamp. What he found were ones for the station's previous identities. Thanks to this I learned a little station history. The MW station used to be known as Radio Viracocha. At the same time, in the 1970s, the family that owns it had some relations in Lago Agrio, out in the Napo area of the Eastern jungles. They decided to open a station there, which was Radio Amazonas on 3290 khz. As a business venture, this station failed, so the shortwave transmitter was brought to Quero for use by Radio Viracocha, which became Radio Panamericana to reflect its new long distance coverage. Since then the shortwave has been used rather rarely, so it really isn't very Panamerican in nature any more!

It still wasn't that late in the afternoon when we arrived back in Ambato. We knew from our previous visit that Ambato had a lot of fine music stores, so we spent several hours visiting those, and ended up buying six folk music albums. The following day we were in Quito to meet a friend of Theresa's who was flying in to spend ten days in Ecuador with us before we ended our trip. The first place the three of us went was back to Cuenca, it being one of our favorite spots in Ecuador, and one of the best places to buy handicrafts. A visit to Cuenca also gave me a chance to visit one final radio station, Ondas Canaris, in Azogues, just a little north of Cuenca.

Ondas Canaris was only two blocks up the street from the Azogues bus station and had a huge sign out in front, so I couldn't have missed it. The station was in the third story of its three story building. Visiting it it reminded me more of Bolivian stations, rather than Ecuadorian ones in that there were lots of huge empty rooms. Only the announcer on duty was present. He promised the station would return to shortwave soon, and verifed two reports I had brought along for friends. Finally, he used a screwdriver to pry open the locked drawers of the manager's desk, searched through piles of papers, and came up with a 25th anniversary pennant from 1982 for me. Such an odd way to end my last station visit, with the DJ pilfering things for me from the manager's desk!

We splurged and flew back to Quito from Cuenca. Actually the forty-five minute flight was only $14.00 dollars each and offered spectacular views of snow-capped mountain peaks. The most scenic forty-five minutes in a very scenic six and a half months. We visited nearby Otavalo for the market and Banos for the scenary and hot mineral baths again. We saw Wanda off at the airport, which left just two more days for Theresa and I. We made last minute trips to the shops on Avenida Amazonas in Quito for souvenirs, and to Avenida Guayaquil for records. The morning of August 5th we boarded the airliner at Quito's airport. A few last looks at the Andes and we were over the Pacific heading north.

This article is copyright 1986 by Don Moore.


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

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