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Radio in Pucara, Peru


The following item is taken from Relampago DX #107 (May 1999) by Takayuki Inoue Nozaki. It is placed here with permission.

Por las Rutas del Perú (22) ...


Pucará, one of the twelve districts included in the Province of Jaén in the Department of Cajamarca, is a pleasant and peaceful town. Situated on the northern side of the Valley of Río Huancabamba, it is located at an altitude of 903 meters with a warm, subtropical climate. The town may be found on a map at the following coordinates: 05-23-00 L.S. and 78-25-50 L.W. The easiest way to travel to Pucará from Jaén is to take a shared boxcar. A pleasant feature of this shared boxcar journey is the opportunity to enjoy a view of the spectacular winding mountains during the trip. This trip takes about 90 minutes, during which there are several stops at different towns. The shared boxcar trip costs US$1.66 (5 nuevo soles). On the other hand, travelers who are on the Pacific coast should take one of the long-distance buses which make journeys between Chiclayo and Jaén, Bagua, or Bagua Grande. These buses make a stop at Pucará. The easiest way to leave Pucará is to stand on the highway and wait for a passing bus.

The town's name means "fortress" in Quechua, because Pucará is named after a small outpost of the Inca ruin known as "Pucará Viejo" (Old Fortress) located on a flat mountain spur above the Río Huancabamba. The District of Pucará was officially established on February 2, 1956. According to the census of 1993, the population of the whole district has 6,568 inhabitants. Pucará is a sleepy settlement surrounded by beautiful mountains. The town contains a yellow and white Cathedral which stands out because it is painted in very bright colors, a tiny Plaza de Armas, a municipal office, a public school, a public health center, some small variety stores and drugstores, and dusty unpaved streets. Along the highway leading from Jaén to Pucará, there are some roadside diners and small snack bars for the long-distance truck and bus drivers. The only accommodation in Pucará is Hotel Laureles, which charges US$2.65 (8 nuevo soles) per person for a simple room without bath. There is no post office in the town, so generally mail is received at the central post office of Jaén. However, occasionally letters are delivered by the municipal staff acting for the provincial post office of Jaén.

Pucará depends economically on agriculture, roadside business along the highway, and the work related to the commercial activity in Jaén. There is an oil refinery approximately 15 kilometers east of the town. This oil refinery is environmentally unsuitable for the countryside, but it has bought great prosperity to Pucará since 1975 and provides employment for people living in and near to the town. The oil refinery "Estación 8" is one of the relay stations of the "Nor Peruano" oil pipeline, which runs all the way from the oil fields in the Department of Amazonas to the port of Bayóvar on the Pacific seashore in the Department of Piura. The principal oil fields are located in the Tigre and Pastaza river basins: Pavayacu, Capahuari, Trompeteros, San José de Saramuro, Yanayacu, and San Jacinto.

Pucará is particularly well known to Latin American DX enthusiasts as a site of several illegal shortwave stations since the 1980's. As far as I recall, four stations sprang up from the District of Pucará: Radio Pucará, Radio Naylamp "Estación Pucará", Radio El Sol, and Estación Uno. According to the information of "Sistema de Radiodifusión" in the Ministry of Transports and Communications issued in September of 1998, no commercial or governmental broadcasting stations are officially registered in the frequency list. Furthermore, none of the FM stations based in Lima have applied to the Ministry of Transports and Communications for a license to broadcast in Pucará via satellite relay.

During my stay in Pucará, I made a band scan of the entire AM and FM bands on my SONY ICF-SW100. No local stations were found on the FM band, and there were no satellite relay transmitters of the metropolitan stations installed in Pucará. I heard two new stations on medium wave: Radio Cinco Estrellas (1000.1 kHz) and Radio Pucará (1195.0 kHz). When I scanned the shortwave bands, I heard a transmission of Radio El Sol (5560.6 kHz), but I could not find any trace of either Radio Estación Uno or Radio Naylamp "La Estación Pucará" .


Radio Cinco Estrellas is one of the new medium wave outlets in Pucará. On September 29, 1998, I tuned in its transmission on 1000.1 kHz, but its nominal frequency is announced as 1360 kHz. Its fourth harmonic was also heard with a fair signal on 4000.3 kHz. The facilities of Radio Cinco Estrellas are located outside of the town and reportedly may be reached by truck and a further 30-minute walk.

Station address: Sector Campamento, Distrito of Pucará, Provincia de Jaén, Departamento de Cajamarca, Perú.


This is another new broadcaster identifying itself as "Radio Pucará". It should not be confused with the original Radio Pucará which used to transmit on the slightly variable frequency of 5560 kHz. "Radio Pucará Empresa Individual de Responsabilidad Limitada" was founded by Profesor Sixto Muñoz Torres, on March 1, 1998. The new Radio Pucará broadcasts on the nominal frequency of 1190 kHz with a small transmitter of 0.3 kW power and 20 meter high antenna. As mentioned above, I actually heard it on the measured frequency of 1195.0 kHz. Based upon the programming, Radio Pucará can be classified as a hobby pirate station playing a variety of Peruvian music. No commercial advertisements are on the air, and the message service for the local audience is absolutely free of charge. It operates at 1000-0300 from Monday to Friday, and 1000-2200 on Sunday, with a voluntary staff of four. It has no transmission on Saturday.

(Check my Peru Radio Graphics website for some great photos of Pucara and these stations.)

Opening announcement - 29/SEP/98
"Y amigos, tengan ustedes muy buenos días. Exactamente en los estudios, las 5 de la mañana con 17 minutos, 5 horas con 17 minutos. Y bién, la hora que Radio Pucará apertura su programación de hoy, martes, 29 de setiembre de 1998, en el año del fomento y intelección nacional de los derechos humanos, en nuestro deseo de que pasen un bonito día, un bonito martes para todos nuestros amigos que están en nuestra sintonía en los 11-90 del dial de su receptor. Es Radio Pucará, la radio que está siempre al servicio de la comunidad. Estamos transmitiendo desde la Calle Circunvalación a pocos pasos del centro de salud, desde el progresista Distrito de Pucará. Antes de iniciar nuestro programa de la mañana, vamos a rendir homenaje a nuestro ande peruano, a nuestro Perú profundo, escuchando el segundo himno peruano, a ritmo de la zampoña, a ritmo del charango, de la guitarra, del bombo, El Cóndor Pasa."

Closing announcement - 28/SEP/98
"Bueno, amigos, muchísimas gracias por tu preferencia. Hasta el día de mañana, Dios mediante con su mismo, con su mismo programa y a la misma hora por su misma frecuencia 1190 amplitud modulada. Gracias amigos, hasta el día de mañana y Radio Pucará da punto final, da punto final a su programación correspondiente al día de hoy, esperando que haya sido de su completo agrado de todos ustedes, y que tengan divertidos a la hora del día de hoy, el día de hoy, lunes, día laborable, día en que todos, en que todos están ... centro del labor y del trabajo. Así es en el día de la semana. Gracias amigos y muchísimas gracias por tu preferencia. Hasta el día de mañana. Muy buenas noches gente linda, buneas noches, buenas noches, un feliz anochecer y que lo pasen de la mejor de esta noche, lo que pasen de la mejor noche. Muy contentos a todos nuestros amigos, chicas y chicos. Para todos ustedes, gracias y hasta el día de mañana, un feliz anochecer y un alegre despertar. Muy buneas noches, servimos amigas y amigos, su servidor José Mendoza Castellana y a nombre de todo el personal que labora en esta empresa radial y nuestro director gerente Profesor Sixto Muños Torres, el propietario de esta empresa radial. Nos despedimos hasta el día de mañana a partir de las 5 de la mañana. Chau, chau, chau, mi linda gente, permiso."

Station address:
Calle Circunvalación s/n, Pucará, Provincia de Jaén, Departamento de Cajamarca, Perú.


Radio Estación Uno, one of the unlicensed shortwave broadcasters established in Pucará in the Province of Jaén, was first noted in early May of 1996, on the measured frequency of 5955.1kHz in the 49 meter band. The station signed on around 1100 and signed off between 0200 and 0300, although it was not definitely confirmed whether the shortwave programming was transmitted from morning to night without interruption, or was broadcast in two separate time slots. In fact, it could not be widely heard anywhere in the world due to interference on the same frequency caused by some international broadcasters and also by several Latin American stations such as Radio Cultural (Guatemala) and La Voz de los Centauros (Colombia).

Radio Estación Uno was established under the management of Coco Cardenas, but the exact date on which it was founded is unknown. It is the most short-lived shortwave broadcaster which ever transmitted from the Distrito of Pucará and was rarely heard between early May of 1996 and late March of 1997. The station was equipped with a Peruvian-made transmitter of 0.25 kW with a 1/2 wave dipole antenna. Its nominal operating frequency was 5960 kHz. According to people working at other local broadcasting stations, Radio Estación Uno ceased its transmissions due to financial difficulties and apparently has no plans to resume its operations. Its transmitting facilities were reportedly located in "Barrios Altos" when the station made its first appearance on shortwave. However, I discovered that the station existed on Avenida Jaén, just in front of the facilities of Radio El Sol. At this location was a rustic building on which the station name "Station Uno" was painted along with several other Spanish and English words. There was also a billboard on the building, but the writing on this billboard was very dim because it had faded due to the passage of time.

Station address: Avenida Jaén s/n, Provincia de Jaén, Departamento de Cajamarca, Perú.


Radio El Sol, the fourth shortwave station transmitting from Pucará in the Province of Jaén, was first heard in the beginning of January, 1997. The station announced that it was transmitting on the frequency of 5560 kHz, although it was actually tuned on the variable frequency range of 5560.7 - 5560.5 kHz. Interestingly, this is precisely the same frequency range on which Radio Pucará had broadcast on shortwave in the 1980's. In early 1997, Radio El Sol's early morning transmission was occasionally audible in Japan around 1100-1200 with a folklore show entitled "El Madrugador". The station identified itself with the following identification: "Transmite Radio El Sol desde el caluroso y acogedor distrito de Pucará, en la fronteriza provincia de Jaén, Región Nor Oriental del Marañón, República del Perú, en los 5560 kHz onda corta internacional para todo el Perú, América y el mundo. Siga sintonizando en nuestra frecuencia 55-60."

On September 29, 1998, I visited Radio El Sol. The station was in a one-story house located at Avenida Jaén 595 on the western edge of downtown Pucará. This location was very convenient for me, as it was right across the street from Hotel Laureles where I was staying and it took me only about 30 seconds to get there. The entrance was well decorated with fantastic paintings, depicting the station name along with pictures of the sun, antenna tower, and other beautiful illustrations. Wilmer Luis Ramírez Pérez, the station administrator and program announcer, cordially welcomed me and invited me to enter the station building. Inside the station building were a small reception desk, a control cabin, and a storage area. The control cabin could be observed though a glass, and I saw a young girl disk jockey announcing and playing cassette tapes. All the cassettes were piled up in a disorderly manner on a small table along with an "ETER" brand mixer (six channel), a broken "BSR" turntable, a "TOA" amplifier, and a "Shure" microphone. There was a very small transmitter in the narrow operating room, which room was three meters long and one meter wide (naturally there was no air-conditioning and the room was terribly hot). Another room in the back of the building, probably a storage area, was a little more spacious and contained an old piece of equipment waiting to be repaired. The antenna cables suspended by two small poles could be seen on the roof.

"Radio El Sol Empresa Individual de Responsabilidad Limitada" was established on September 3, 1996, by Santos Daniel Briceño Castillo, under the administration of Wilmer Luis Ramírez Pérez. Identifying itself with the symbol of the Inca Empire, Radio El Sol has aimed at supporting the cultural and economic development of the district through its radio programs which reflect its patriotism and cultural pride. As I had previously presumed, Radio El Sol is the reincarnation of Radio Pucará, the pioneer broadcasting station of the District of Pucará. Radio Pucará was founded on December 19, 1980, by the same station owner, and broadcast until September of 1986 when it was closed down due to economical difficulties.

As of September of 1998, Radio El Sol broadcasts at 1200-2400 (Monday-Saturday) and 1200-1900 (Sunday), providing 79 hours of a variety of programming each week, including news, information, music, sports, culture, and entertainment. The weekday transmissions were made up of the following programs: 1200-1300 "La Hora del Estudiante", 1300-1400 "Los Favoritos de la Cumbia", 1400-1500 "Los Dulcísimos de la Mañana", 1500-1600 "El Sabor de la Salsa", 1600-1700 "Tropicalizando la Mañana", 1700-1800 "Puro Perú", 1800-2000 "Informativo de los Pueblos", 2000-2100 "Variedades Musicales", 2100-2200 "El Show de Lucho Ramírez", 2200-2300 "El Cofre de los Recuerdos Románticos", and 2300-2400 "Variedades Musicales".

The station administrator informed me that a few reception reports have been received from the countries of Japan (two), Brazil (three) and Canada (one). However, he did not know how to verify reports prior to my visit. I explained to him why foreign shortwave listeners requested that their receptions be verified and also the importance of QSLs to shortwave listeners. He apparently understood my explanation, but he was still faced with another problem: he did not know how to send letters overseas. I hope that he will prepare QSLs, figure out how to send them overseas and that someone will get a nice reply from the station in the future.

Spot identification texts

  • "Radio El Sol, cerca de ti"
  • "Radio El Sol, un caudal en sintonía."
  • "Radio El Sol, calidad en sonido."
  • "Radio El Sol, tu fiel compañía de noche y de día."
  • "La mejor música y programación, lo escuchas en Radio El Sol."
  • "La mejor música y progrmación, las escuhas única exlusivamente en Radio El Sol."
  • "Desde el progresista distrito de Pucará, transmite Radio El Sol, un caudal en sintonía."
Full identification texts
"Un imagen que quema en radio, una voz que les engrandece. Transmite Radio El Sol en onda corta 5560 kHz desde el caluroso y acogedor distrito de Pucará. Estamos ubicados en Avenida Jaén, 595, Pucará."

Opening announcement
"A las puertas del siglo XXI a orillas del Río Huancabamba, surge resplandeciente en el cielo de la Región del Marañón, Radio El Sol, símbolo de progreso pucareño. Señores y señoras, muy buenos días. De esta manera, Radio El Sol de Pucará inicia su transmisión radial que corresponde al día de hoy, esperando cumplir con nuestra tarea encomendada con nuestro mejor deseo que Dios ilumine nuetras metas. Radio El Sol en los 5560 kHz onda corta internacional. Radio El Sol al servicio de la cultura popular."

Closing announcement
"Amigos radioescuchas. De esta manera, Radio El Sol culmina su programción radial del día de hoy, agradeciendo a cada uno de ustedes por habernos permitido ingresar a vuestros hogares. Nos despedimos con la esperanza de volver en las próximas horas. Radio El Sol les dice muy buenas noches."

Technical Information
5560 kHz: is equipped with a modified equipment based on "Phantom Radio System" PR-550-4SSB model transmitter (maximum power 0.5 kW /actual power 0.2 kW) + a 1/2 wave dipole antenna (10 meters high above the ground).

Station address: Avenida Jaén No.595, Pucará, Provincia de Jaén, Departamento de Cajamarca, Perú.


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DXer of the Year for 1995

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