Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Friday, 27 January 2017

An Update on Diospi Suyana Transmission Activities

28 January 2017

A week after arriving in Curahuasi I travelled to snowy Avon, Colorado USA (2 hours’ drive out of Denver) from 10 to 14 December to visit a key US satellite equipment supplier Satcom Resources with Dr Klaus John.  The aim was to acquire a cost competitive satellite system proposal comprising 1 x uplink and 4 x downlink systems. 

Klaus outside of Satcom Resources, Avon Colorado (2 hours’ drive out of Denver).
During this time away, Sandi and the rest of the family moved into the Diospi Suyana hospital accommodation so they can get familiar with the ministry and people.  Also because the bridge accessing our house is not safe to cross without experience and confidence.  It is one of the essential upgrades needed here.

Soon after returning from the US we placed orders for the satellite system, but from the Lima based supplier Intelect (Integraciones Electronicas S.A.C.) on 17 December 2016 having achieved a USD $40k discount from our US Satcom Resources proposal.  The following a summary of our purchase;
·         5 x General Dynamics 2.4m C-Band transmit/receive capable dishes (NB all having transmit capability will allow future monitoring of each remote site by telemetry, thus saving much travel and provide needed real time security surveillance)
·         Fully redundant active equipment for the uplink hub i.e. block up-converters (iBUCs), encoders, modulators and low noise blocks (LNBs)
·         Non redundant downlink equipment but with on the shelf spares to enable rapid manual service restoration (as such specialised equipment lead times are lengthy in Peru)

We placed orders again with Lima based supplier Intelect (Integraciones Electronicas S.A.C.) on 5 January 2017 for the studio to transmitter site link (STL) to deliver radio and television programme to the Curahuasi site.  We went to two other suppliers but Intelect offered the best price and support.  This solution is based on my TCP/IP design which will future proof the STL to enable it to deliver analogue television now and for minimum cost, if any, deliver digital television when it is required in 2018 or 2019 (timing depending upon the Peru regulator MTC).  A full set of spare units were included in our purchase to ensure service availability.  The following is a summary of our purchase which includes a full set of spare units;
·         ClearOne audio/video to TCP/IP encoders and decoders for television
·         Tieline radio to TCP/IP encoders/decoders for radio
·         Ubiquity Bullet M2 ti TCP/IP radios
·         Yagi antennas, cables with mounting brackets, TCP/IP switches and patch cords

On Saturday 7 January I travelled with Dr Klaus John to Andahuaylas which is about 5 hours’ drive over mountains and through valleys with countless hairpin bends and steep ravines, with driving rain at times thrown in just for fun.  This was to inspect the next Diospi Suyana transmission site and attend a community meeting run by the local mayor for people objecting to the proposed Diospi Suyana FM radio transmission site with health concerns.  We prayed and then Klaus presented the faith story of Diospi Suyana and I contributed my knowledge of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and international standards (WHO ICNIRP) to allay fears of any detrimental health effects.  The result was extremely positive with all except one of the 65 attendees being in favour of the transmission proceeding.  We arrived home after midnight absolutely exhausted but happy with the result achieved.

I officially commenced work in my new Diospi Suyana office on Monday 9 January 2017.

Here is a view from my window with a very fitting aspect of the first Diospi Suyana mast!  Also on this day including the 5 resident Diospi Suyana Alpacas.
Since then I have been engaged with Diospi Suyana procedures and processes orientation, site installation, planning work including AutoCAD drawings for equipment layouts and site inspections of the Curahuasi tower construction.

We saw the completion of the new Curahuasi 30 meter free standing 4 sided tower this week on Tuesday 24 January, by the Lima based supplier ICESE SAC.  This tower is some 52 metres higher than the original hospital compound guyed mast (seen from my office) and which is shaded to the majority of the Curahuasi township by a significant hill.  Albeit the lightning earthing system design is sub-standard and needs further work per my specification to make it effective.  The Diospi Suyana civil team are continuing working on completing the 3m compound wall and shelter out of concrete filled block.  After it is secure, we will install the antenna systems and transmitter and link equipment.

I am now in discussion with Klaus about approaching the main satellite operators of the US to see if Klaus and I can meet with their president and present the Diospi Suyana story.  The intention is achieving a better satellite access cost.  That said we know that our current proposed operator, Argentinian based ARSAT, are giving Diospi Suyana the market rate for a single radio channel bandwidth via their ARSAT-2 satellite.

Looking Ahead…

The Diospi Suyana TV service will commence from the newly relocated Curahuasi transmission site we hope by the end of February 2017.

A 36 meter free standing 4 sided tower for Andahuaylas has been acquired and is to be installed in March 2017 along with a new transmission building and electrical services connection, but subject to community consent which is an ongoing issue with health concerns (unsubstantiated).

Further Diospi Suyana Media Centre staff are to be employed in 2017 making the total ten people.  This includes me as the only expatriate volunteer broadcast engineer (which I am repeatedly assured is a most timely arrival and a needed and valued skillset for Diospi Suyana).

A third FM transmission site, Totoray is planned to service the city of Abancay comprising a population of about 80,000.  The transmission lot at 4,000 metres above sea level has been acquired, but licensing approval is subject to Perú MTC negotiations and my coverage / antenna design work.  Our hope is that this site can proceed before the end of 2017.

Other sites are also planned to cover the main patient catchment areas of Diospi Suyana hospital.  Here is a map showing the approximate locations which will have a service area of approximately 1.3 million people with 9 transmission sites (NB red dots are current outlined in this report and the white are planned/proposed subject to licensing);

I have included a brief montage of site progress photos and some engineering drawings examples of what I have been working on here.

The Curahuasi tower foundations 2.5m deep dug through very hard rocky ground all by hand.
The concrete was also all done by hand and mixed on site by the Diospi Suyana civil team.
The Curahuasi 30m tower construction commenced 19/01/2017 with me in foreground on left and Diospi Suyana Civil Engineer Udo Klemenz on right.
Curahuasi 30m tower construction approximately midway 20/01/2107.
Curahuasi tower completed on 23/01/2017.
Dr Klaus John standing on the Diospi Suyana Andahuylas site 7/01/2017.
Overlooking the city of Andahuylas from the hill precipice where the Diospi Suyana site is well located for broadcasting services.

Thank you for your support toward this important ministry work for Peru.

Bendiciones, Chris

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Our Relocation from Arequipa to Curahuasi

06 December 2016

Most of our things were picked up by truck on Friday 25 November and taken to our casa la hacienda in Curahuasi.  We followed to arrive over a week later.

On Tuesday 29 November we took delivery (later than the dealer had committed) of our new family vehicle.  It’s a Foton K1 16 seat minibus which is a Chinese replica of the Toyota Hiace Commuter minibus like we had in Australia and sold to our Lifesource Church upon leaving for Peru.  We used all those funds to buy the Foton.   We chose this option due to the excessively high cost of both new and second had Japanese minibuses in Peru.

For those that appreciate the mechanical details, it has a UK made Cummins 2.8 litre industrial diesel motor which should ensure the vehicle is essentially reliable (the Chinese cars don’t have the best reputation).  Having a diesel motor will ensure it works well at high altitude unlike petrol which loses power with low oxygen (some of the roads we travel will be over 4 km above sea level).

Chris with our new Chinese Foton K1 minibus
We left Arequipa the following day after a house clean up and final packing and saying good bye to our landlord family who lived on the floor beneath us and so we got to know well.  They just could not get enough of our baby Stacey (it’s a Peruvian cultural thing too).  And also doing a last dinner with some very special ABC Español language school teachers and worship music mentor for Sam – Litos and Pao.

Dinner with Litos and Pao – this kids loved Litos’ smartphone "face morphing" app
Saying farewell to our Arequipa landlord family
Furthermore it took 2 hours just to drive out of Arequipa due to major roadworks and traffic jams.  The authorities diverted the 4 lane highway traffic through single lane rural backstreets in peak hour – crazy!  It took us a total of 14 hours to get to Yucay – about 70 km the other side of city of Cusco (the main base for tourists accessing Machu Picchu). 

Traffic gridlock in Arequipa taking us 2 hours to leave town
We learnt the hard way that the longer distance main highway route is a much quicker & better route than the physically shortest way our GPS took us.  This ended up being on winding dirt roads over 4.8km mountain ranges! L

Our new Foton performed flawlessly as we travelled over the mountains up as high as 4.8km above sea level, we encountered all conditions; bitumen, gravel and dirt roads, dry weather and raining, still and windy, hot and cold.  Although an exhausting trip, we were carried along by prayer and amazement of the beauty and diversity of the Peru countryside.  The kids did amazing for such a long tiring journey.  

Here is a brief photo montage of some of the scenes we passed by;

A view of the outskirts of Arequipa
A typical mining operation in Peru – a key source of government revenue
One of the many rivers we passed over with amazing rock formations
Our lunch stop at a remote rural sheep and lama herding outpost
A typical rural Peruvian village we passed through
A recent bus incident – we are surprised we did not see more of this given the way the Peru tour buses drive at high speed and overtaking on blind corners.  It’s quite insane on the roads here!
Our front seat photographer!
A farmer’s house with coral in a rocky region somewhat off the main highway
Passing Laguna Pomacanchi in the Cusco region 3.66km above sea level
Why did we go to Yucay and not directly to Curahuasi?  As the timing had it, Diospi Suyana met on Friday to Sunday for their annual retreat.  So it made sense to attend this on the way with a couple of days respite beforehand after a demanding time in Arequipa at language school.  What a great way to meet all the missionaries in a non-work setting.  It was a wonderful time in a beautiful place before we hit the ground running in Curahuasi with an intensive schedule for the media centre and settling into a new place with a lot to do to make it habitable (e.g. the casa la hacienda is without an inside kitchen or hot water on tap).

Yucay in the Secret Valley of the Incas – an amazing oasis for the family to recover before Curahuasi
We were treated by Santa “Klaus” whilst at the Yucay retreat – the faces of all the missionary kids said it all as Dr Klaus John played the part so well. There were activities in the day for the whole family and an excellent husband and wife speaker from Columbia (we were told, as it was all in Spanish and we did not understand as much as we would have liked! J).  They shared a powerful testimony on their relationship being restored by the Holy Spirit.
Santa “Klaus” at the Yucay Diospi Suyana missionaries retreat
We finally arrived at Curahuasi on Sunday evening 4 December, to be greeted by two of our waiting landlords to introduce us to our new abode.
Our family with landlords Melvin and Herly (centre and back left) plus the local house helper Rosita, her son Luis (front left in blue jumpers) plus the local farmer’s wife Jesusa (front right)
Thank you for your travel prayers and help getting us to this stage.

Bendiciones, Chris & Sandi