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Radio Centinela, Peru


The following item is taken from Relampago DX by Takayuki Inoue Nozaki. It is placed here with permission.

It was noted in the middle of February 1994 that Radio Centinela, "La Voz de las Huarinjas", the fourth broadcaster established in Huancabamba, came to the air on the frequency range between 6544.5 kHz and 6544.6 kHz. The station had sporadically been heard by DX enthusiasts during its brief broadcasting activity on shortwave, but reportedly its signal was not traced in early December of 1994. While in Huancabamba, I turned on my portable SONY ICF-SW100 receiver, and entirely scanned all of the appropriate bands. As a result of band-scanning, I confirmed that Radio Huancabamba and Radio Sensación were active on shortwave, and no signal of Radio Centinela could be found on any frequencies.

On December 25, 1994, I went to visit Radio Centinela, which was located at Calle Ayabaca No. 339, Barrio La Vía, in Huancabamba. The station occupied a room of a one-story shabby tenement house with a zinc roof. A large and beautiful billboard above the entrance indicated its presence. It was decorated with fantastic paintings, which depicted the slogan a campeona del aire"he station name "Radio Centinela", the another slogan "La Voz de las Huarinjas", an antenna tower, and a microphone. There was a single dipole antenna attached from the station building to another building across the narrow street. Proceeding inside the house, nobody was seen at the dusky reception area, and I called out to a staff member to notify them of my visit. Shortly thereafter a young man came to see me, and asked me what I was looking for. I briefly explained to him that I was a Japanese enthusiast of shortwave broadcasts, so I was very interested in visiting the facilities of Radio Centinela. The young man understood me, and then introduced himself as the station owner's oldest son, José César Correa Ruíz. Regrettably, he told me that the owner was absent as he had gone out with his friends for a Christmas party.

Consequently, Jose ushered me into the broadcasting facilities. There were only a small reception area and a studio. which was about four meters long and two meters wide, surrounded by plywood partitions with a window. Some promotional posters of singers could be seen on the partitions. However, I was dismayed to discover an empty studio, whose equipment had already been dismantled. The transmitting unit was stored in the owner's house, located in front of the station building. I learned that Radio Centinela had been off the air since some weeks ago.

Transmitting from the capital of the Province of Huancabamba, bordered upon Ecuador to the north, the station has proclaimed itself under the name of Radio Centinela (Radio Sentry). In February of 1994, the experimental broadcasts were commenced on the nominal frequency of 6540 kHz with 0.25 kW under the management of Gabriel Correa Ruíz, providing a variety of music programs and free message services within a limited period. Subsequently, "Radio Centinela Sociedad Anonima" was established as an incorporated broadcasting company on July 16, 1994 by two stockholders: Gabriel Correa Ruíz (president) and Duber Mauriora (administrator). While being active on airwaves, the station operated at 1000-0300 from Monday to Saturday, and at 1100-0200 on Sunday with a staff of five announcers and operators, providing two newscasts in the morning and in the evening, public information, entertainment, messages, and music show.

Radio Centinela used to identify itself with two slogans: "La Voz de las Huarinjas" (the voice of the Huarinjas) and "La Campeona del Aire" (the champion of airwave). The former slogan was later used for a station name of a commercial broadcaster "Radio La Voz de las Huarinjas Empresa Individual de Responsabilidad Limitada", which was first launched into the airwaves on the measured frequency of 7003.4 kHz in December of 1997. The billboard and the station seal of Radio Centinela gave the name literally as "La Voz de las Huarinjas". It is also spelled as "Huaringas", however both the spellings may be phonetically acceptable. Huancabamba is known as one of Peru's major centers of brujería, loosely translated as witchcraft or sorcery. The traditional brujería methods are used both for influencing the client's future and healing and curing. The use of local herbs or potions is combined with ritual ablutions in certain lakes said to contain waters with curative powers. People coming from all over Peru visit brujos (witch doctors) and curanderos (healers), paying sizeable sums in their attempts to find cures for ailments which have not responded to more conventional treatment or to remedy problems such as unrequited love, bad luck or infertility. Although a few curanderos can be found in Huancabamba, those with the best reputation are to be found in the highlands north of the town in a lake region known as "Las Huaringas" which sits about 4000 meters above sea level. Huaringas is derived from the Quechua term "Huari-Ingas" which means "hot spring of Incas". The main lake is Shimbe, about 35 kilometers north of Huancabamba, though the nearby Laguna Negra is the one most frequently used by the curanderos.

The two stockholders came to be opposed to each other concerning the management policies. Eventually, the transmissions were suspended in December of 1994, and then the facilities were divided among them. At that time of my visit, Gabriel Correa Ruíz had kept the transmitting unit and programming material such as records and cassette tapes. All vacuum tubes which were taken apart from the transmitter, and studio equipment had been kept by Duber Mauriora. I was informed that Radio Centinela could not resume its transmissions until an agreement would be reached between the two persons.

After having returned from a DX journey in Peru, I learned that the shortwave outlet made a comeback on the same frequency in the middle of March of 1995, however the station newly identifying itself as Radio Imperial "La Voz de la Peruanidad". According to the announcement, the station continued to be owned and operated by Gabriel Correa Ruíz, one of the two stockholders. In early September of 1995, Radio Imperial changed its frequency to 6420.3 kHz in order to avoid interference from Radiodifusora Huancabamba, a new commercial broadcaster in Huancabamba. "Radiodifusora Huancabamba Empresa Individual de Responsabilidad Limitada" which is a privately-owned broadcasting enterprise, established by Freddy Ricardo Alberca Jibaja, has been authorized under the callsign OAW1A to transmit on 3370 kHz. After having made its transmissions on 3370.3 kHz in April of 1995, the station moved up to an off-band frequency of 6535.8 kHz in July of 1995. This move was probably carried out to extend its coverage by operating on a high frequency, whose signal could be received better over long distances than the lower frequency. It was in early February 1996 that Radio Imperial was last monitored on 6420.3 kHz, and it vanished from airwaves. Consequently, the shortwave transmitter was sold to another broadcaster in Chirinos, a small settlement in the Province of San Ignacio, Department of Cajamarca. It was August of 1996 that Radio Mi Frontera made its first appearance on the same frequency which Radio Imperial formerly remained.

Canned identifications
"Desde el centro magnético más grande del mundo, meollo del curanderismo, atalaya del acontecer cotidiano, transmite Radio Centinela. La Voz de las Huarinjas, en los 6540 kHz banda internacional de 49 metros onda corta tropical. desde la Calle Ayabaca 339, Barrio La Vía, en esta centenaria ciudad de Huancabamba. En el éter huancabambino, Radio Centinela."
"Con la bendición de Dios, galamparo de nuestra Virgen del Carmen surge Radio Centinela, la campeona del aire."
"Desde Huancabamba para el Perú y el mundo, Radio Centinela, La Voz de las Huarinjas."

Technical Information
6540 kHz: was equipped with a transmitter of 0.25 kW, manufactured by Rogelio Alvarado Cubas, a radio technician in Trujillo + a 1/2 wave dipole antenna (12 meters high above the ground). It was actually measured between 6544.5 kHz and 6544.6 kHz, approximately 5 kHz higher than the nominal frequency.

Address: Calle Ayabaca No. 339-341, Barrio La Vía, Huancabamba, Provincia de Huancabamba, Departamento de Piura, República del Perú.


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DXer of the Year for 1995

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