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Radio La Voz de San Antonio, Peru

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The following item is taken from Relampago DX #130 (June 2001) by Takayuki Inoue Nozaki. It is placed here with permission.

Por las Rutas del Perú (39) ...

It was in late March of 1990 that Radio La Voz de San Antonio came into DX enthusiasts' notice on shortwave. Its signal was actually tuned on a measured frequency of 13255.3 kHz, despite announcing to transmit on a nominal frequency of 4417 kHz. If the measured frequency was the third harmonic, the fundamental frequency could be calculated to 4418.4 kHz, which nearly corresponded to the nominal frequency. However, the station was not traced around the announced nominal frequency under the DX monitoring. As Radio Frecuencia Líder had stabilized on 4419.0 kHz throughout 1990, it was obviously impossible that another radio station located in the same town could be on the air around the same channel. Therefore, it was very difficult to consider that 13255.3 kHz might be the fundamental channel.

Afterward in late June of 1990, when Radio La Voz de San Antonio made its reappearance on 13255.3 kHz in the aeronautical mobile band, the nominal frequency was changed to announce as 6627 kHz. According to the announcement, it was apparently confirmed that the fundamental outlet was established in the slightly drifting frequency range between 6627.7 kHz and 6628.1 kHz. Consequently, 13255.3 kHz, on which the station was first noted by DX enthusiasts, could be the second harmonic. However, it was not clear to us why the station initially announced to broadcast on the nominal frequency of 4417 kHz instead of 6627 kHz.

It was noted in the middle of July 1992 that Radio La Voz de San Antonio resumed the shortwave transmissions after about two years of silence. Since then, the station has announced to transmit on a nominal frequency of 6627.5 kHz, which was seemingly learned from DXers' reports. The station was monitored in the frequency range between 6627.4 kHz and 6628.5 kHz from July of 1992 through July of 1993. Then, the station moved down to the frequency range between 6627.0 kHz and 6627.4 kHz, on which it stabilized between August and December of 1993. The station drifted up to 6627.7 kHz, on which it stabilized between December of 1994 and late November of 1995.

It was in early December of 1995 that Radio La Voz de San Antonio switched over from 6627.7 kHz to 5645.9 kHz. According to announcement on the air, the frequency change was made to improve the shortwave transmissions, avoiding interference from utility stations around the former channel. The operating frequency was nominally announced as "5645 kHz en la banda de los 60 metros", though it was monitored between 5645.5 kHz and 5646.0 kHz. The station settled down on this frequency range for roughly one year and it was last traced on shortwave in late December of 1996.

Radio La Voz de San Antonio apparently ended its shortwave broadcasts by selling the transmitting equipment to another broadcaster in Bambamarca. Subsequently in February of 1998, it was noted by DX enthusiasts that a new station identifying itself as Radio Cultural Amauta made its appearance in the same frequency range, on which Radio La Voz de San Antonio had formerly transmitted from early December of 1995 to December of 1996. Obviously the station carried its signal utilizing the same transmitter of Radio La Voz de San Antonio. Radio Cultural Amauta was monitored in the frequency range between 5645.4 kHz and 5646.8 kHz from February through September of 1998. The station announced that it nominally transmitted on 5645 kHz from the studio installed at Jirón Jaime de Martínez in Bambamarca and the station director was Virgilio Carranza Tello. When the shortwave transmission was reactivated on 5645.6 kHz in the middle of August of 1999, the station name was changed to Radio Coremarca. The name "Coremarca" derived from the ancient culture in the region.

It was in the evening of January 3, 1995 that I visited Radio La Voz de San Antonio at Jirón Alfonso Ugarte No. 732 in a residential district of Bambamarca. The station was in two-story rustic buildings of discolored-white adobe with a wooden balcony, roofed with reddish brown clay tiles. There was a hand-painted sign on the wall above the entrance, which depicted the station name "Radio" in black "La Voz de" in green "San Antonio" in yellow, two nominal frequencies "6627.5 kHz onda corta 45 mts" and "FM 95.5 MHz" in black and "Bambamarca" in red. Walter Hugo Silva Bautista (the programming chief) and Wilmer Vásquez Cubas (operator) gave me a hearty welcome for my visit. Unfortunately, Valentín Mejía Vásquez (general manager) was not at the station due to poor health. However, they attended me very kindly and gave me manifold informations as much as they could. On the first floor of the building, there were a reception room, a control cabin and an announcers' room. The control cabin was equipped with a "Nippon Amerika" brand MX-3030 brand stereo mixer (six channels), two "National Panasonic" brand turntables, a "JVC" brand TDW-118 model radio-cassette recorder, a "Crown" brand super amplifier and a "Dynamic" brand microphone. The control cabin and the announcers' room were divided by a wooden partition with a window decorated by many radio-station's stickers, in front of the console desk and the announcers' desk. On the right hand of the console mixer, many LPs and 45s discs were neatly lined up by music category. On the second floor, there was an administration office, and a repair room. The transmitting unit was installed at a small, mortared shed in the backyard. There was a "FRANVEL" brand transmitter shielded by metal box of 120 cm high, connected into a 1/2-wave dipole antenna. According to the station staff, this transmitter was a secondhand and purchased from Radio Onda Popular in Bambamarca. The nominal maximum output power was 0.5 kW, but it was reduced at about 50%. The station temporarily transmitted on 95.5 MHz FM with an output of 50 watts for local audience. However, the FM outlet has not been in operation for several months due to technical problem.

The history of Radio La Voz de San Antonio is the story of Valentín Mejía Vásquez, a man nicknamed as "Valico". He was born in a small community of San Antonio de Lacamarca in the District of Bambamarca. Having been a young dialog-educationist (catequista), he organized a cultural and educational group "Los Caminante" with a primary object of developing the youth men's activity in the communities, evaluing the peasant's culture and creating conscience.

It was one day in the middle of the 1970's that Valico played an old radio receiver, a loudspeaker and a turntable. He noted that a music played by the turntable was apparently heard from the loudspeaker of radio, when he closed the radio receiver to the turntable. Valico learned that the music produced from turntable was heard through radio because transistor was turned on a channel free frequency. Then, he connected wire to turntable, the music was powerfully heard. This accident by manipulating a radio receiver was the start of installing a radio station. Going to the bottom of the matter, they learned that the casual matter also had explication. As he was not technically specialized in installing broadcasting equipment, he asked to his friend, Saúl Benavides Lozano, a hobby-technician of the community.

In the beginning of 1978, the first experimental transmission was launched with a dry-battery-driven transmitter of merely 5 watt, a non directional long wire antenna of 10 meters, a turntable and a microphone. The transmitting unit was modified basing on a radio receptor of "JVC" brand. As the result of the experimental transmissions, they learned that the transmitter could cover an area of about one kilometer. The first day of the regular transmissions was not apparently recorded in the documents. However, Radio La Voz de San Antonio was not the first broadcasting station in the peasant community of San Antonio. Actually, the first radio station was Radio San Antonio transmitting on shortwave, which was founded by the Protestant Church. After the appearance of Radio San Antonio, the second radio station came into the airwaves in 1978. Identifying itself as La Voz de Caminante, the station has aimed at promoting the educational and cultural activity of the "Los Caminante" group. It was established under the administration of Valentín Mejía Vásquez and the technical direction of Saúl Benavides Lozano with the financial assistance from the Parroquial(?) Church of Bambamarca However, La Voz de Caminante was seemingly founded to oppose the influence of Radio San Antonio. It means that the motivation subsisted the religious competitor could be considered as another factor of installing of new radio stations in a small community. Accordingly, the Bishop of Cajamarca had learned by the missionary work for many years that the formation of young dialog-educationists was very important element to bring the Christianity to the peasant communities in the rural region. In this meaning, the radio appeared as the utility and effective medium. With a indirect assistance of the Catholic Church, the establishment was made by the initiative of the peasant dialog-educationist, respecting the necessity of medium of communication and expression of the community. In fact, the Catholic Church has never accomplished the leadership in the development and maintenance of the station. However, the Catholic Church played an importance of formatting the peasants that made an opportunity to establish a radio station.

On August 17, 1982, the station was officially inaugurated and was renamed as Radio La Voz de San Antonio. At that time, the station was on the air at three slot times a day with programming of music, newscasts, personal announcements, communiques of Rondas Camesinas (the auto defense organization of peasant), radio theater and religion: 1100-1300 (morning transmission), 1900-2000 (afternoon transmission) and 2300-0200 (evening transmission). To get news and information in the community, the station worked with the coordination of 60 to 70 volunteer correspondents, who send periodic reports of their news and events. The station had still a small financial assistance of the Catholic Church, however, the major income of the station was from selling airtime for personal announcements including messages, greeting and music dedications.

Having came a boomed of establishing commercial broadcasters in the District of Bambamarca, Radio La Voz de San Antonio encountered many difficulties. Technically speaking, the station transmitted with only 5 watts of power, the station has lost little by little its audience and popularity in the community. Politically, the local government authorities has begun to utilize the station with a political motive. Therefore, the station lost its primary aim of broadcast. Finally, Valentín Mejía Vásquez, the station administrator should close down the station after the life of transmission for some years.

The CNR (Coordinadora Nacional de Radio) had made every effort to resume the transmissions of Radio La Voz de San Antonio. In 1990, the station made its reappearance on airwaves with a more powerful transmitter. Its studio and transmitting plant were installed at Jirón Mariscal Sucre No. 731 in the town of Bambamarca, where there was a sufficient audience population for such a station. Radio La Voz de San Antonio was no more a broadcaster assisted by the Catholic Church, however, its principal objective has not been changed. The station aims at assisting peasant community with educational and cultural orientation, under the slogan "un nuevo canal de expresión popular integrando a los pueblos del Perú y el mundo", which has characterized itself as the new channel of popular expression integrating the people of Peru and the World". The station was managed and operated by the following personnel: Valentín Mejía Vásquez (general director), Hilario Vásquez C. (coordinator of CEMECOP - Centro de Medios de Comunicación Popular), Hermelinda Vásquez R. (general coordinator of administration), Marcos Leyva Llamo (administrator), Walter Hugo Silva Bautista (programming chief), Wilmer Vásquez Cubas (announcer).

As of January of 1995, Radio La Voz de San Antonio broadcast at 2300-0500 daily, while the electricity was available in the town. The programming consisted of variety of music, information, news, personal messages and greetings, personal communication services, religion and educational orientation. The broadcast day commenced with the canned station identification and the live opening announcement at 2300. Then, the transmission started with a music program entitled "Así Canta Perú", providing the regional folklore and practical information for peasant communities. Between 0000 and 0100, the airtime was leased to the Catholic Church and some religious organizations. The newscast "El Acontecer de los Pueblos" was on the air at 0100-0200 from Monday to Saturday, featuring comprehensive coverage of international, national and regional news and social events in the region, and also offering suggestion for improvement of health, education and living standard to the peasant living in the rural area. After the newscast, the station broadcast the following music programs: "Paraiso Tropical", a tropical music program with chicha, cumbia, salsa and merengue, was broadcast at 0200-0300; "Romance Juvenil", a music program featuring Latin-American ballade for the young generation audience, was on the air at 0300-0400; and "Por las Rutas del Recuerdo" played Peruvian folklore at 0400-0500. After the broadcast day finished, a prayer and closing announcement were made, and finally the National Anthem was played before turning off the transmitter.

Canned identifications and spots

"La inquietud en esfuerzo de un campesino para servir a los campesinos hizo realidad, Radio La Voz de San Antonio."
"Nosotros no lo decimos, el pueblo lo dice, Radio La Voz de San Antonio es superior."
"Radio La Voz con imaginación sirviendo de corazón."
"Un campesino llamado Valico hizo realidad, Radio La Voz de San Antonio, una radio para el pueblo."
"La Voz de San Antonio, la frecuencia de la amistad."
"Claro que sí Radio La Voz de San Antonio se sigue pasando."
"Esta es la radio de tu preferencia, La Voz de San Antonio, un nuevo canal de expresión popular cubriendo nítidamente la región nororiental del Maranón, el Perú y América."
"La Voz de San Antonio, la radio guardian de los valores culturales organizativos de los pueblos andinos del Perú."
"Desde Bambamarca, con estudio y oficina centrales en el Jirón Alfonso Ugarte 732, transmite Radio La Voz de San Antonio, fuerza radial del norte peruano, en los 6627.5 kHz banda internacional de los 45 metros onda corta."
"Bambamarca, histórica y acogedora tierra de Pencaspampa, rodeada por los ríos Maygasbamba y Llaucano, que dan un colorido verdusco y singular a nuestra tierra serrana. Bambamarca, gente valerosa en sus rondas campesinas que luchan sin desmayo para ver a nuestro pueblo en el sitial que le corresponde. Desde Bambamarca, segunda cuna rondera y gestora de la unificación de nuestras rondas campesinas, surge una voz llena de mensaje, cultura y esperanza al servicio de las grandes mayorías. Esta es La Voz de San Antonio, transmitiendo en los 6627.5 kHz banda internacional de 45 metros onda corta, desde sus estudios ubicados en Jirón Alfonso Ugarte 732, en acogedora ciudad de Bambamrca, Provincia de Hualgayoc, Cajamarca, República del Perú. La Voz de San Antonio, un nuevo canal de expresión popular integrando a los pueblos del Perú y el mundo."

Technical Information

6627.5 kHz: was equipped with a "FRANVEL" brand transmitter of 0.5 kW and a 1/2-wave dipole antenna (12 meters high above the ground). The output power was generally reduced at about 50%.
95.5 MHz: was equipped with a monaural audio transmitter of 5 W, built by Ing. Delideli, a radio-technician in Cajamarca, and a non directional long wire antenna.

Studio: Jirón Alfonso Ugarte No. 732, Bambamarca, Provincia Hualgayoc, Departamento de Cajamarca, Perú.

PEASANT COMMUNITY STATIONS

Beginning in 1982, the Caserío (small communities) in the District of Bambamarca have produced a number of radio stations, including Radio Agricultura in Chalapampa, Radio Cultural in Chalapampa, Radio El Campesino in Lucmacuho, Radio Frecuencia Popular in Maygasbamba, Radio Laucán in Laucán, Radio La Voz de la Libertad in Pueblo Nuevo, Radio La Voz del Campesino in Cuishacucho, Radio La Voz del Peregrito in Samangay, Radio Llaconora in Llaconora, Radio Lucma in Lucma, Radio San Antonio in San Antonio, Radio San Francisco in Llaucán, Radio Progreso in Chicolón, and so on. All these broadcasters have been established and operated by the peasant vigilante organizations, locally called "Rondas Campesninas" in order to have the proper medium of communications for the communities. Generally, these community stations broadcast in the evening with dry-battery-driven transmitting units of merely 5-10 watts. To my knowledge, these stations have never been monitored outside Peru. According to Walter Hugo Silva Bautista, a radio hobbyist and a staff member of Radio La Voz de San Antonio, who had wide experience in working as an announcer and a operator at different community stations, these stations had transmitted in the frequency range between 4000 kHz and 7000 kHz in the 1980's, though they vanished from the airwaves due to financial difficulties and technical problems.

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