Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Diospi FM On-Air in Andahuaylas

19 August 2018

As of 5:10 pm Saturday 18 August 2018, Andahuaylas and its surrounds is on the air with Diospi Suyana FM 96.1 MHz.  This is 3 of our 6 sites to launch as part of our initial rollout phase.

Our FM antenna bearing on the city of Andahuaylas.
It was another FM installation with its own set of unique challenges for us.  Being one of the first transmitter systems purchased by Diospi Suyana some 2 years ago, but its installation delayed due to a long string of problems not untypical in Peru.  This meant that the system was in storage for this extended period, and I discovered the preparation process that the 1-5/8” RF cable connectors had been lost due to multiple relocations of the Diospi Suyana store during this time.  Sourcing such specialised RF connectors quickly in Perú is not a trivial task.  But a pair was eventually found from a vendor in Lima, so our installation proceeded on schedule.

Then we had delays with the power connection by the electrical authority, Electro Sur.  After arriving on Monday, we did not see power at our site until Thursday.  Anyone familiar with installing sites will know how frustrating it is not to have power for tools, testing etc.  We were able to get access to a generator, but not without its own set of issues and delays.  The second hand HV transformer was then found to be faulty.  And then the new replacement they installed the wrong one with half the needed capacity!  It was enough to get by for now, but much patience is needed here.

Then the satellite pole was not in the correct location to enable it to point to our satellite.  So we had to get a new 6” diameter steel post sent overnight from Curahuasi while our team dug another 1.4m hole in the rocky soil for the foundation.  And more concrete, sand and gravel was purchased and delivered in loads with our new Toyota Hilux.  Followed by multiple trips to cart the needed water to the site.  With the most amazing rapid effort of manual digging I have seen, we had the new pole installed within 24 hours of me realising the mistaken location.  And with quick setting cement and some creative foundation steelwork welding to support the post, we had the satellite antenna installed that same afternoon and we were on the air – truly an amazing effort!

Temperatures in Andahuaylas dropped to near zero (1°C) overnight due to its 2,926 m altitude.

Our Centro de Medios manager Doris Manco’s father died of cancer in Lima early Sunday morning (terribly sad for all and a most difficult time for Doris) but he was told of our successful launch the day before by his daughter.  So Doris had to urgently return to Lima first thing that morning.  The good news is that he was a faithful Christian and supporter of Diospi Suyana, and we have the absolute assurance we will meet again in heaven.

But with lots of prayer and a resilient team of 4 Diospi Suyana staff, 2 equipment supplier contractors and me, we saw fruit to our labour after 6 days (all 12+ hours) with the launch of FM 96.1 MHz.  Then another 12 hour day to complete our installation work on the Sunday with the security system.

My previously publicised Andahuaylas radio reach was estimated to be 80,000.  But I now believe we are covering many more habitants based on the latest the Perú 2017 census figures which have just come to hand.  I am working on updating those figures based on our coverage predictions and hope to update these soon.

Following is a photo montage of some installation highlight moments.
 
Overlooking farmers’ crops – Diospi tower is on the very left.
Our installation team in front of the Andahuaylas FM site from left to right: me, Doris, Americo (contracted rigger), Euloguio, Cristobal and Luis (contracted equipment supplier).
Power is connected by the Electro Sur linesman.
Electrical pole access the cheap way – no cherry pickers here as used in Australia (and a very different WHS model in Perú).
My selfie of lunch time on site (with a few drop-in visitors).
Euloguio and Cristobal making lightning work of a new mounting hole in rocky ground.
A view of the satellite antenna through the open transmit port – our telemetry signal returns to Curahuasi through this.
Lifting the satellite dish onto its final mounting post.
Our satellite is commissioned on Intelsat using our R&S ETL brought out from Australia.  Thanks to R&S Australia for their support with this instrument.
My telemetry / security system install with thanks to support from Steve Schilg of Maximation in Australia.
An end of day completion of work up the tower (that’s me with the rigger toward the top)
Here are some examples of the many messages that have flooded into our Curahuasi studios (Centro de Medios) every day following our Andahuaylas service commencement:

Translation:  “Thanks to you also for using her (our announcer) as we experience the voice of our Father through her. We are always waiting for your program and it is a joy for me... so may God continue to bless your program. Thank you”
Translation: “Hello brother very good afternoon.  My name is Roxana I am from Andahuaylas and it is the first time I listen to your radio – it is a great blessing.”
Saludos cordiales (Best regards J),

Chris

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Our Centro de Medios Advances

06 August 2018

Whilst getting ready for our next FM site installation, Andahuaylas, there is a lot else going on here in Curahuasi.  The Centro de Medios (aka Diospi Suyana studios), is undergoing a major upgrade just as we approach the 2 year anniversary mark.  The roof has been removed and we are currently installing a 3rd floor on the building to accommodate another 12 offices for more media staff, a small TV studio and 2 small radio recording studios. 


To oversee the construction, civil engineer Udo Klemenz returns again from “retirement” Germany to Diospi Suyana with his wife Barbara (they are in their 70s).  They are here now with no plans to return to Germany this time.
 
View of the rooftop construction access ramp with our Curahuasi 5,850m+ snow-capped mountain peak backdrop.
Centro de Medios rooftop construction viewed from the front.
Dr Klaus discusses progress on the rooftop with our construction manager Udo Klemenz and Centro de Medios manager, Doris Manco.
This is necessary to improve our program further and provide much needed resources to a fatigued hard working production team.  This comes in the form of many areas such as phone support for the significantly increased number of listeners who call in since we have launched Puerto Maldonado.  We continue to receive many encouraging calls a day and many people desperate for help coming from shattered and seemingly hopeless lives. 

As of last week, 3 more Peruvian’s were added to our Centro de Medios team, now numbering 10 people.  Here copied is our current updated organisational chart;


There is a casual helper for me also, Christian Oswald who is from Germany albeit full time in other mission work in Curahuasi.  I will endeavour train him as much as his time allows to occasionally work with me so that there is someone who knows the transmission system for when I return to Australia on furlough next year.

With this new blood in the team, things are understandably upbeat in the Centro de Medios.  Note also Diospi are also moving into community announcements to help offset the day to day running costs of the expanding department.  So two of our new staff will work in this area (amongst other departments).

In the future, more staff will be added to supplement our production needs so we can provide more locally produced programs with more diversity to be more effective in our audience reach.
 
The complete Centro de Medios team with our new members, was introduced after the chapel service on Monday.
This Monday morning walking up the hill to Diospi Suyana I see a long line of people from the hospital entrance, down the road and around the corner along the lower fence line of the hospital.  This sight is becoming a more common sight since we launched our Puerto Maldonado FM transmission (a market we estimate to be not less than 200,000 people). 
 
Many of these people sleep on the path where you see them standing now for days waiting for Diospi Suyana entry!  This gives new meaning to being on a hospital waiting list!
The good news is that all of these people will hear and see the Gospel message whilst waiting to be seen by first world medical doctors.  And all of these people will have the option to attend our weekday chapel service which is packed to standing room only.

Moreover I hope to depart with my installation team early next Monday morning for Andahuaylas, where we will reach a further 80,000 people (conservative estimate) with our next FM service on 96.1 MHz.  As they say in this industry… “Stay tuned for more!”

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Chris