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Radio Ilucan, Peru


The following item is taken from Relampago DX #121 (Sept 2000) by Takayuki Inoue Nozaki. It is placed here with permission.

Por las Rutas del Perú (31) ...

RADIO ILUCÁN The number of shortwave stations in Latin America except in a few Andean countries has been gradually decreasing since the 1970's due to communication improvement such as nationwide broadcasting networks, television, postal services, and telephone systems. While the shortwave activity remained stable in Ecuador and Bolivia in the 1980's, a myriad of commercial and religious broadcasters newly started shortwave transmissions particularly in the mountainous and jungle regions of Peru. The majority of these shortwave stations which transmit on the out-of-band frequencies to avoid the congestion of their usual broadcasting assignments, are variously termed illegal, pirate, or clandestine in the Peruvian broadcasting scene. These unofficial stations have been the target of a great deal of DX investigation since their existence was stumbled upon in the early 1980's.

Having produced over 50 shortwave stations on the out-of-band frequencies since the early 1980's, the Department of Cajamarca has been known among Latin American DX enthusiasts as the epicenter of the shortwave broadcasters in Northern Peru. Most of these stations have disappeared from airwaves due to financial difficulties, technical breakdowns, and the political situation. Some of unlicensed stations were closed down by the Ministry of Transports and Communications because of illegal operation on the airwaves, and the rest continues their transmissions by getting licenses, or not being founded out by government authorities.

Radio Ilucán was just one of these many unlicensed stations squatting outside of the broadcast bands. It was in December of 1980 that an unfamiliar signal transmitting in the vicinity of 5620 kHz from the Peruvian inland came into DX monitors' notice. The station name had been phonetically reported as Radio Yucán in DX bulletins for more than one year because it was not easy to establish a proper noun in indigenous language like Quechua and Aymara. Afterward, it was definitively proved as Radio Ilucán in 1982 when a few DXers luckily received QSL letters from the station. The station was named after "Cerro Ilucán", an archeological site of the Inca Empire on the hilltop of Cutervo, which is locally called "el símbolo de antepasado" (the symbol of ancient time).

Radio Ilucán was sporadically heard on the measured frequency of 5619.5 kHz from December of 1980 through April of 1982. After having been absent for some months, Radio Ilucán resumed shortwave transmissions, and slightly moved up to 5617.5 kHz, on which frequency it remained from December of 1982 to August of 1985. The station started morning broadcasts with a private diesel generator in January of 1983. Shortly thereafter Radio Ilucán became tunable in Japan in the middle of March, 1983. Announcing "5620 en onda corta, 1400 en onda media, transmite desde Cutervo, Perú, Radio Ilucán.", the station claimed to transmit on the nominal frequency of 1400 kHz medium wave and 5620 kHz shortwave. Scanning the official broadcasting lists issued by Ministry of Transports and Communications and National Institute of Social Communication in 1984 and 1985, it is recognized that both the frequencies were not officially assigned to Radio Ilucán. Thus, it was illegally operating on both those outlets without the broadcasting licenses. The station made its reappearance on the ultimately operated frequency of 5617.5 kHz in early December of 1985. However, some days later, the shortwave transmission was seemingly discontinued after Christmas time.

It was noted in the middle of July 1987 that Radio Ilucán went back on the air on shortwave, moving up slightly to 5618.2 kHz, on which frequency it stabilized until late November of 1988. Initially the shortwave transmission was carried out only in the evening at 2300-0230, but was not operated in the morning. In early March of 1988, the station reactivated its morning broadcast on shortwave. It was scheduled at 1100-1400 only on Sunday with an early morning show entitled "Cutervino Ausente", which was specially dedicated to people who have migrated from Cutervo to other regions in the country, giving personal messages and greetings with the hometown folklore. From 1988 through 1990, Radio Ilucán operated at 1100-0200 daily on the nominal frequency of 1470 kHz, and simultaneously transmitted on 5620 kHz at 1100-1400 only on Sunday.

From 1988 of December through May of 1992, Radio Ilucán was not entirely traced on shortwave. After having remained silent on the airwaves, the station made its reappearance in early June of 1992, and slightly moved up to the frequency range between 5620.3 kHz and 5620.4 kHz, which it used from early June of 1992 to late June of 1993.

The shortwave outlet started its wanderings in the humble aeronautical mobile band to find a suitable channel free from interference. It was monitored as the following frequencies: 5866.7 kHz on December 19, 1993; 5612.5 kHz on January 15, 1994; 5422.2 kHz on January 30, 1994; 5615.5 kHz on May 1, 1994; and then, it could not be traced on shortwave for some months.

It was in September of 1994 that Radio Ilucán purchased a "Jorge Gómez Torres" brand transmitter of 1 kW to enlarge the coverage of the shortwave transmission. Subsequently, the station started transmitting with 1 kW power on shortwave. The operating frequency was nominally estimated as 5620 kHz, though it was actually measured on 5620.8 kHz. Thanks to the powerful transmitting unit of 1 kW, the shortwave outlet came to be widely heard in remote regions and also various overseas countries. The station remained on 5620.8 kHz from October of 1994 to March of 1996.

After having been out of service for about five months, Radio Ilucán came back to shortwave, utilizing the back-up transmitter of 0.1 kW. On the frequency range between 5619.2 kHz and 5619.3 kHz, it was heard from August of 1996 to late July of 1997.

Radio Ilucán started again changing shortwave frequency in search of a suitable channel free from interference: 5789.8 kHz between July 30 and August 2, 1997; 5629.8 kHz between August 7 and August 23, 1997. The station was once noted on a rare frequency of 3505.4 kHz on January 20, 1998.

Radio Ilucán made its appearance on 5678.1 kHz in early March of 1998, mixing with Radio Frecuencia San Ignacio, which had been on the slightly drifting frequency range between 5676.5 kHz and 5677.2 kHz since August of 1997. The battle of frequency placements was carried on by both stations for one month. Eventually, in the beginning of April 1998, Radio Frecuencia San Ignacio gave the channel to the other and returned to previously frequency of 5700.1 kHz. Since then, Radio Ilucán has remained in the vicinity of 5678 kHz, and it was observed between 5678.4 kHz and 5677.9 kHz. At the time of writing in November of 2000, the station still remains on 5678.9 kHz with fairly good signal.

It was on October 12, 1985 that I made my first visit to Radio Ilucán, located at Jirón M.B. Pérez No. 412 in Cutervo. The station was in a two-story ordinary house of white wall with a balcony on the second floor overhanging the street. The balcony had a small neon sign described with the station name in red, medium wave frequency as "1380 KC OM" in sky-blue, Cutervo in red, and illustration of antenna tower in red. Both sides of the balcony were painted horizontally "RADIO" in red and vertically "ILUCAN" in blue. I knocked several times on the closed door, but no one replied. Therefore, I went to look for some neighbors who could make contact with the station owner, and I was informed by neighbors that Radio Ilucán was temporarily out of service and the station owner might be in his workshop of electrical appliances repairing near the station. José Gálvez Salazar, the station owner and general manager, welcomed me with a great surprise. Unfortunately, the station had been off the air due to some technical problems since two months before. However, we went around the station facilities in the downtown and also to the transmitter site in the outskirts by guide of the station owner. The station facilities were composed of a reception desk, an administration office, a small record library, and a tiny studio. The transmitting plant was situated on the hill of Las Pachayamas at 2700 meters above the sea level, about 930 meters of straight distance from the studio. While having been active in 1985, Radio Ilucán broadcast at 1130-2400 from Monday to Saturday and 1100-2400 on Sunday.

"Radio Ilucán E.I.R.L." was established on December 8, 1979, at Jirón M.B. Pérez No. 412 in Cutervo. The creation of this pioneer broadcasting enterprise in Cutervo was performed by José Gálvez Salazar, a electrical engineer born in 1950, in Cutervo. He studied his technical training via a US correspondence course, and brought the first television to Cutervo via a repeater station. Radio Ilucán experimentally came onto the air on 1380 kHz in December of 1979. The signal emanated from a batteries-running transmitter of a mere 5 watts, which was built by José Gálvez Salazar. Initially, the programming consisted of the regional folklore and announcements of a new radio station in Cutervo as "Bajo el cielo azul hermoso de la tierra sin mancha y con esplendor se levanta portentosa Radio Ilucán de Cutervo". under the operations with a skeleton staff of three including the station owner. A few months later, a second hand transmitter of "Collins" brand, model BA-22 with an output of 0.1 kW, was purchased and modified to improve the coverage in the town. The station had been suffering from interference from Radio Cristal in Quito, Ecuador, operating on the same frequency. Consequently, its frequency was changed from 1380 kHz to 1400 kHz in mid 1980.

Some months later, another second hand transmitter of "Continental Electronics Company" brand with an output of 0.1 kW was purchased to launch the shortwave broadcast for listeners living in the remote regions. Radio Ilucán commenced the shortwave transmission on the nominal frequency of 5620 kHz in October of 1980. At that time, the station broadcast simultaneously on 1400 kHz and 5620 kHz, being on the air only in the local evening 2300-0300 while the electricity was supplied in the town.

In July of 1985, Radio Ilucán received a provisional broadcasting license to conduct experimental transmissions for a one-year period, on the frequency of 1470 kHz medium wave, with the callsign OBX2U, under Ministerial Resolution No. 055-85-TC/TEL.15.17. The medium wave outlet changed from 1400 kHz to 1470 kHz. At the same time, the station purchased a "Jorge Gómez Torres" brand transmitter of 1 kW, fed into an inverted L antenna of 24 meters long and 24 meters high, to get major coverage in the Province of Cutervo. Afterward, the "Collins" brand transmitter was sold to Ing. Franklin Hoyos Cóndor, the founder of Radio Acunta in Chota, and it was utilized for the medium wave outlet.

On August 22, 1986, the medium wave outlet was definitively licensed under Ministerial Resolution No. 0119-86-TC/TEL.15.17. for a ten-year period. It has been assigned on 1470 kHz since it was authorized to conduct experimental transmissions in July of 1985. However, according my monitor in Cutervo, in fact, it was measured on 1476.4 kHz, which should be caused by no professionally adjusted crystal.

On August 26, 1996, Radio Ilucán received a provisional broadcasting license to conduct experimental transmissions on shortwave for a one-year period, with the callsign OAW2B, under Ministerial Resolution No. 0416-96-TC/TEL. The shortwave outlet has been assigned on 3280 kHz in the 90 meter band. However, in order to get major coverage and to avoid interference from other stations, Radio Ilucán continues operating on the nominal frequency of 5680 kHz outside the broadcasting bands assigned to the region by the ITU.

I had a second opportunity to visit Radio Ilucán on December 29, 1994 during my stay in Cutervo. After my previous visit to the station in 1985, the station facilities were moved to Jirón Lima No. 228, and then to Jirón Lima No. 290 in Cutervo some years ago. It was three-story building shared with the owner's house on the top floor, the station facilities on the second floor: there was a modern control room fully equipped with a new mixer, microphones, two cassette decks, two turntables, and a CD player. A mini auditorium for live music shows was next to the control room. There were a large disc library, and a newsroom; the first floor was used for the electrical repair workshop. José Gálvez Salazar and his family welcomed my second visit, inviting me to stay his home during my stay in Cutervo.

As of December 1994, Radio Ilucán broadcast simultaneously on 1470 kHz and 5620 kHz at 1100-0300 from Monday to Saturday, and at 1100-2300 on Sunday, with a staff of eleven employees. The regular broadcasts on weekdays were scheduled with the following programs: from Monday to Friday: 1100-1300 "Perú Profundo", 1300-1700 "Comunicado y Carnet Social", 1700-1800 "Noticieros Sucesos", 1800-1900 "Discoteca Juvenil", 1900-2200 "Comunicado y Carnet Social", 2200-2300 "Música del Recuerdo", 2300-2400 "Programa Cultural", 2400-0300 "Música Vernacular". Radio Ilucán, identifying itself as "voz y sentimiento de ande cutervino", has been set up to facilitate communication with outlying districts flooding since telephone and postal services were not available outside of Cutervo. The most popular and important program is "Comunicado y Carnet Social", which is on the air daily in the morning and the evening, consisting of messages, either personal ones, or taking the form of local government communiques, announcements of births, deaths, missing documents, mass invitation, and usually providing well-selected regional folklores. On Saturday, the station has an audience participation show entitled "Canta, Cholo Canta", which can be translated as "Sing, Peasant Sing". It was broadcast at 2300-0130 every Saturday, providing a variety of live folk music and songs presented and participated by rural people coming from outlying villages. The weekly market of Cutervo is Saturday, and the market is a colorful affair with thousands of people from many surrounding villages flocking to barter, buy and sell. Consequently many people visit the auditorium of Radio Ilucán to participate in the program.

"Radio Ilucán, la voz que desde Cutervo llega al Perú y el mundo con su mensaje de amor, paz y prosperidad."
"Radio Ilucám, expresión genuina de la cultura cutervina se levanta majestuoso para llegar a tu hogar con su voz desde que alba despunta."
"Ilucán, cumbre de nuestro antepasado, voz derivada del maya, símbolo de progreso y cultura de la ciudad de Cutervo."
"Radio Ilucán, desde los arenales de su pétreo guardián, proyecta y comunica a Cutervo con el Perú y el mundo."
"Entre el turbio Marañón hacia el oriente, y el costanero arenal de Lambayeque en el este, los Andes reduciendo su altitud, determinan un suelo de gran pluvialidad y de verdor constante, tal es la Provincia de Cutervo en Cajamarca, Ilucán, voz de Cutervo."

Opening announcement
"Señoras y señores, muy buenos días. Radio Ilucán en los 1470 kHz inicia a partir de estos momentos su transmisión correspondiente a la fecha. Estamos seguros que nuestra programación será del agrado de todos ustedes y contará con su aceptación porque conocen de radio. Con su permiso aquí iniciamos un nuevo día de programación especial en Radio Ilucán desde nuestra querida y ensoñadora ciudad de Cutervo."

Closing announcement
"Señoras y señores en esta forma llegamos al final de una jornada más. Radio Ilucán, voz y sentir del ande cutervino en los 1470 kHz les agradece su sintonía dispensada. Para Radio Ilucán realmente ha sido un verdadero placer acompañarles hasta estos instantes. Queremos despedirnos, deseándoles que tengan un reparador descanso y que mañana sea mejor que hoy. Que el éxito y el triunfo siempre les acompañen. Hasta mañana Cutervo, feliz noche Perú."

Technical Information as of January 1995
OBX2U 1470 kHz: is equipped with a "Jorge Gómez Torres" brand transmitter of 1 kW in July of 1985 and a 1/4 wave vertical antenna (78 meters high above the ground). The medium wave outlet is officially assigned on 1470 kHz, but it is actually measured on 1476.4 kHz.
OAW2B 5620 kHz: is equipped with a "Jorge Gómez Torres" brand transmitter of 1 kW purchased in September 1994 and a 1/2 wave dipole antenna (11 meters high above the ground). The shortwave outlet is currently licensed to transmit on 3280 kHz in the 90 meter band. However, it actually broadcast on the nominal frequency of 5620 kHz, and it was actually measured in the vicinity of 5620.8 kHz.
OAW2B 5620 kHz: is equipped by a "Continental Electronics Company" with a mere power of 100 watts transmitter. In case of power failure, it will be utilized for back-up transmitting equipment. It was actually measured in the vicinity of 5618.3 kHz according to my monitoring made in December of 1994, in Cutervo.
---------- 96.1 MHz: is equipped by a monaural sound transmitter of 0.01 kW. The FM outlet was irregularly used for special event transmissions. FM transmitter was installed at Calle Lima No. 290, Cutervo, Departamento de Cajamarca, República del Perú.

Transmitter site: Cerro Niño Pucopata, Cutervo, Departamento de Cajamarca, República del Perú. It sits at L.S. 78-49-14 and L.W. 06-22-33. The studio and the transmitter site were connected by a fixed telephone cable. The transmitter is one kilometer west from the studio.

Studio: Calle Lima No. 290, Cutervo, Provincia de Cutervo, Departamento de Cajamarca, República del Perú.


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