|The 50m Diospi Suyana radio tower of Puerto Maldonado with the new FM antenna installed atop.|
- Upon arrival we found the site was overgrown with tropical plants – it was like an episode of Lost in Space I recall watching as a child. In fact a vine had even grown half way up the 50 metre tower ladder! (see photos)
- The electrical supply meter on the outside wall was stolen just before we arrived!
- Then I find that the electrical authority installed 3 phase power instead of single phase – despite providing drawings, load charts and having face to face meetings with them in advance. So they had us run in double the extra heavy gauge copper cables which we had to go out and buy (expensive) in order to get approval for our power connection, even though we would still only actually use the original single phase pair of cables we brought with us.
- The tower rigger arrived a day late. Then the day after he could not start as his supervisor went missing for most of the next day! So we lost 2 days there.
- The antenna pipe clamps did not fit their brackets despite coming from the one supplier, and all needed workshop bending to fit.
- The satellite antenna alignment was delayed as we had a significant frequency error in our satellite downlink equipment due to a misconfiguration in the telemetry decoder. So the spectrum did not match my signature reference plot taken the week before. This made me think I was pointing to the wrong satellite, but I was not. When I worked out what was wrong (no external 10 MHz reference to our LNB resulting in it drifting hundreds of MHz off frequency), then support was not available to fix the reference issue in the German provided modem (a complex unit) as it was the weekend. So we had to get a conventional standalone type LNB sent from Curahuasi. Fortunately our team was able to send this to Puerto Maldonado overnight (it’s a 12 hour drive) to get us operational the next day.
1. On 2 July, just two days after launch, one Puerto Maldonado man named Victor was about to commit suicide but listening to Diospi radio, he calls at 6:15am and asks for help. Our team prays and councils him over the phone to avert this tragedy, putting him on the path to a better life.
|A vine amazingly climbed half way up the 50m tower ladder!|
|Unloading the truck with our transmission equipment – here our 2.4m satellite antenna box (which is heavy!).|
|Piecing together our 2.4m C-Band satellite antenna.|
|The Electro Sur electrical authority worker connects a new circuit breaker and meter whilst the wires were live and with one leather glove and a metal handled screwdriver! (a normal practice in Perú)|
|When in the city, Diospi Suyana enjoyed a strong police presence J|
|A top down view of the new FM antenna installed on our 50m tower.|
|Testing the FM coaxial cable return loss (in the sweltering Puerto Maldonado day heat) with our R&S ETL analyser.|
|Here I am commissioning the FM transmission system with my originally Australian acquired R&S ETL analyser (with radio option donated by R&S Australia).|
|Our Diospi Suyana installation team – from left to right: Carlos, me, Doris, Euloguio and Cristobal.|
|After completion we were back in the Diospi Hilux for the 12 hour drive back to Curahuasi in the Andes via a 4,725m mountain pass with seemingly unending hairpin bends.|