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Radio Chota, Peru

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The following item is taken from Relampago DX #125 (January 2001) by Takayuki Inoue Nozaki. It is placed here with permission.

Por las Rutas del Perú (34) ...

It was in August of 1981 that Radio Chota, one of the Peruvian stations transmitting illegally on out-of-broadcast band frequencies, came to be widely heard by DX enthusiasts. On the drifting frequency in the vicinity of 6296 kHz, the station was regularly heard from August of 1981 to May of 1983. Afterward, the shortwave transmission was suspended due to some technical problems until it returned to the airwaves in the beginning of December 1984. Radio Chota was sporadically monitored from December 1984 through March of 1990, remaining in the drifting frequency range between 6293.2 kHz and 6297.7 kHz during that time period.

After having operated on out-of-band frequencies for many years, Radio Chota shifted to 4890.5 kHz in the 60-meter band in early June of 1990. As the shortwave outlet was officially assigned on 4890 kHz by the Ministry of Transports and Communications in 1981, the alteration was eventually executed under the control of the proper authorities. Radio Chota moved down to the measured frequency of 4890.1 kHz, on which it remained between January of 1993 and November of 1995. Later, the shortwave outlet moved to the slightly drifting frequency range between 4890.45 kHz and 4890.53 kHz, on which it remained transmitting from early December of 1995 through April of 1997. Afterward, the station continued drifting up and down the nearby authorized frequency, and was observed as follows: on 4890.1 kHz (late May of 1997), 4889.6 kHz (June of 1997), 4889.2 kHz (August of 1997), 4890.2 kHz (from February to March of 1998), 4890.5 kHz (late March of 1998).

After having changed its shortwave frequency, Radio Chota came to be more difficult to tune in Japan due to strong interference from the National Broadcasting Corporation in Port Moresby on 4890.0 kHz. Nevertheless, it was occasionally heard by persistent DXers who could pick up its signal when the Papua New Guinean powerhouse was absent and propagation favored Northern Peru. Radio Chota also suffered interference from other two Latin American shortwave stations transmitting on nearby channels in the early 1990's. One was a Peruvian broadcaster, OAZ5C Difusora Radio Huanta, which was also authorized to transmit on 4890 kHz by the Ministry of Transports and Communications, which transmitted its signal in the drifting frequency range between 4886.7 kHz and 4889.1 kHz. Another one was HCVC3 Radio Centinela del Sur transmitting on 4889.5 kHz from Loja, Ecuador. Reportedly, the shortwave signal of Radio Chota was almost as loud as local stations in Ecuador. Consequently, the Ecuadorian station started to move to interference-free channels, and was monitored as follows: 4898.9 kHz (March of 1991), 4871.1 kHz (April of 1992), 4889.4 kHz (mid September of 1992), and 4770.7 kHz (late September of 1992).

At 08:00, on the morning of January 2, 1995, I visited Radio Chota, located only two blocks from the hotel at which I stayed overnight. It was very easy to find thanks to a remarkable station billboard outside, which depicted the station name vertically. It was on the first floor of a two-story building at Jiron Gregorio Malca No. 560 in downtown Chota. At the reception desk, I explained to a receptionist the purpose of my visit. She proceeded inside the manager's office. Soon after, the station manager came to see an unexpected visitor from abroad. Mauro Vasquez Gonzalez, the general manager of Radio Chota, received me warmly. He told me that there were only the reception and the administration offices here. The broadcasting facilities were not installed at the same place, but at the transmitting site. He asked me to have breakfast together at his house before showing me the station facilities. Naturally I received his good proposal. Eating a typical Andean breakfast including choclo (big white corn on the cob), natural cheese and chicharron (fried salty pork), he explained that the station was heard around the world. Many letters arrived from DXers of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Italy, England, and other European countries, and he showed me a file of the reception reports. I could see a mountain of reports from shortwave listeners, including several follow-up reports of mine. According to DX bulletins, Radio Chota was not a good verifier. However, a few DXers, who sent their reception reports when the shortwave outlet came to be heard in the early 1980's, were fortunate enough to obtain replies from the station. As I had never received a QSL from Radio Chota, I asked him why the station had not replied to reception reports in recent years. Mauro said in spite of having sent verification letters to shortwave listeners, the station has never received any letters of thanks. Furthermore, the postage to send letters abroad was quite expensive. Therefore, the station decided not to send replies for reception reports, Mauro Vasquez Gonzalez explained with chagrin.

After breakfast, we went to visit the broadcasting facilities, located at Jiron Anaximandro Vega No. 690, only two blocks from the general manager's house. It was in a one-storied building of cement blocks. Inside of the building, there was a control cabin, an announcing room and a disk and tape library with a large variety of music. Behind the studio building, there was another building of cement blocks, in which three transmitters and a diesel-driven generator of 10 kW were equipped. Two "FRANVEL" brand transmitters of 1 kW were actually utilized for the medium wave and shortwave outlets respectively. A "Collins" brand transmitter of 100 watts, which was formerly used for the transmissions on the nominal frequency of 6295 kHz, was out of service, however, it is still installed at the transmitting site to use for back-up operations. As January of 1995, the electricity in Chota was available only between 1800 and 0400 local time (i.e. 2300-0900 UTC). Therefore, at that time, the generator was used daily for the transmissions from early morning through the afternoon while the electricity service was not provided in the district of Chota. As Chota has the electricity supply for 24 hours a day since April of 1997, the station may utilize the generator only in case of an electricity power stoppage.

On September 23, 1978, "Radio Chota Sociedad Comercial de Responsabilidad Limitada" was established by three people: Manuel Fernandez Vasquez, Guzmaro Perez Cabrera and Mauro Vasquez Gonzalez, being the second commercial broadcasting enterprise in Chota. Broadcasting from the studio and office, installed in the general manager's house at Jiron Anaximandro Vega No. 457 in Chota, the station first poked through the ether on the nominal frequency of 6295 kHz with a battery-driven transmitter of mere 10 watts output power, which was manufactured by Ing. Franklin Hoyos Condor, a local radio engineer. Later in 1981, the station purchased a secondhand "Heathkit" brand transmitter of 50 watts for its medium wave outlet, and a "Collins" brand transmitter of 100 watts for its shortwave outlet, in order to enlarge the coverage area. However, it was not so easy to expand for this broadcasting enterprise. Since the electricity shortage was one of the most serious problems in the District of Chota, the transmitting facilities had been equipped and operated with some car batteries, which were charged with electricity by a generator with expensive fuels.

For a couple of years, Radio Chota had been broadcasting experimentally without licenses in favor of taking immediate and practical steps to serve a large audience. Subsequently, the station submitted all the necessary documents required for licenses to the Ministry of Transports and Communications. Eventually on September 23, 1981, Radio Chota was authorized to conduct official experimental transmissions for a one-year period with the following call letters, frequencies and powers: OBX2D 1310 kHz 1 kW and OAZ2B 4890 kHz 1 kW. On October 18, 1982, it received the definitive broadcasting licenses for the respective outlets for a ten-year period. However, the shortwave outlet continued transmitting in the vicinity of 6296 kHz for many years, until "FRANVEL" brand transmitters of 1 kW were purchased in 1990 for the respective two frequencies.

As of January of 1995, two stockholders managed the broadcasting enterprise: Mauro Vasquez Gonzalez (general manager) and Leoncio Diaz Tapia (administrator) with a staff of five persons. Radio Chota broadcast at 1130-0300 daily with news bulletins (12%), music and light entertainment (35%), coagulation and message service with music (36%). sports (8%), religious (7%), social service (1%) and cultural (1%). The most popular program was "Congratulaciones Musiclaes" which broadcast at the following schedule: 1400-1700 in the morning, 2200-2300 in the afternoon, 0000-0100 and 0200-0300 in the evening from Monday through Saturday, providing personal messages and greetings, personal communication services, announcements of births and various invitations, with listeners' request music. On Saturday and Sunday, "Congratulaciones Musiclaes" was also broadcast at the similar schedules, but it might be changed depending the transmissions of sports events.

Identifications

"Desde la majestuosidad de Dios y el clarin optico entre el remanso del Chotano y la telurica fuerza andina del Huaylas, surge la misiva legendaria e indomable voz de Acunta, para llevar a traves del eter, un mensaje de cultura, de paz, amistad, y deseo de progreso. Radio Chota, voz y mensaje de la tierra de Acunta."
"Radio Chota transmite desde Chota, centro de cultura. La voz que se escucha en todos los rincones del Peru profundo con un mensaje de peruanidad, cultura y diversion, Radio Chota, OBX2D 1310 kHz onda media, OAZ2B 4890 kHz onda corta, senales potentes para llegar donde usted este. Radio Chota, Jiron Anaximandro Vega 690, telefono numero 100, Chota, Peru."

Technical Information

OBX2D 1310 kHz: is equipped with a "FRANVEL" brand transmitter, LF-1000MW model of 1 kW and a 1/8-wave vertical antenna (28 meters high above the ground).
OAZ2B 4890 kHz: is equipped with a "FRANVEL" brand transmitter, LF-1000OC model of 1 kW and a 1/2-wave dipole antenna (15 meters high above the ground).

6296 kHz: is equipped with a "Collins" brand EM 20/30 model transmitter of 0.01 kW and a 1/2-wave dipole antenna (12 meters high above the ground). This low power transmitter has not been utilized for years, however it is installed at the transmitting site to use for back-up operation.

Studio/Transmitter site: Jiron Anaximandro Vega No. 690, La Ladrillla, Barrio San Cristobal, Chota, Provincia de Chota, Departamento de Cajamarca, Republica del Peru.

Office: Jiron Gregorio Malca No. 560, Chota, Provincia de Chota, Departamento de Cajamarca, Republica del Peru.

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