Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Diospi FM now On Air in Puno!

Sunday 07 April 2019

I am proud to announce that on Monday 01 April 2019 at 5:22pm I switched on Diospi Suyana Puno FM 103.7 MHz.


This is our 6th Diospi Suyana FM transmission site, which according to the 2017 Peru Census, is home to some 128,637 inhabitants.  But our reach is beyond just the city of Puno and so per my originally tabled population estimates, we believe we will reach conservatively 200,000 including the surrounds of Puno.  A more optimistic estimate is as high as 300,000 inhabitants are in our FM coverage area.

Our Puno FM computer coverage prediction.
This is a prime FM site for Diospi Suyana as is a significant patient intake district for the hospital (as of Friday 5 April, our register shows 46,084 patients came from Puno).  And for the Gospel message to go forth 24 x 7 x 365 for all to hear - the rich the poor, the permanent and the visitor alike.
 
The thriving city of Puno viewed from the main highway access.
This view is from our transmission hill, reminding us that our radio coverage reaches the very poor as in the foreground (showing a typical Quechua farmer’s house) to those more well-to-do in the city further afield.
Our installation took some 7 full days including the 10 hour scenic road trip over a 4,335 metre snow caped mountain pass alongside the railway line which services Puno with tourists.

Our installation went relatively well except for our satellite telemetry modem which for some reason was faulty out of the box.  So until a replacement unit arrives, this site’s security will rely on the security guard who lives amongst the towers on the transmission hill overlooking Puno.  And the supply utility Electro Puno installed a supply cable sufficient for not much more than a light bulb, and not a medium power FM transmitter system load, as we had well documented with them from the outset.  So we had to use our supply of larger cable (very expensive) which we brought with us to upgrade their supply back to their pole.  We then had to purchase more cable to cover the shortfall in our installation.  It’s not fair, but that’s how things work in Peru.
 
Our equipment delivery truck arrives to unload before a heavy rainstorm reaches us.
All hands on deck to unload the heavy boxes – here we are unloading the satellite antenna.
Here Oebele de Haan stands on the scaffolding we brought to upgrade the Electro Puno supply authority power cable.
The FM antennas get installed by our contractor’s riggers.
I install the 2.4m C-Band satellite antenna with the help of a local school teacher.
We are out for dinner in Puno, and I am alarmed to see people setting up business on the active train line.  Sadly here there is a total lack of safety understanding and/or law enforcement in Peru.
Oebele and Isaias install the electric fence around the Diospi Suyana FM compound wall.
We have some curious local visitors during our work.
Doris attends supportive churches in Puno who are excited about Diospi FM radio commencing soon!
The RF feeder cable is prepared to be hauled up the tower.
Oebele installs the 4th CCTV security camera and strobe light on the tower.
Here I hang around conducting the final installation inspection of the FM antenna system J.
I found the RF radiation levels too high from the other 55 towers on our hill over Puno, and would have damaged my R&S ETL test instrument.  So unfortunately I could not fully test our FM antenna at this site but no reflected power and achieving the predicted coverage was a sufficient indicator in this case.
Our team take a moment for the traditional service commencement photo in front of our transmitter, 5:22pm Monday 1 April 2019.
Glancing over the fence, I see not all transmitter sites are created equal.
A main street of Puno where Quechua farmers make their way to sell at the weekend markets.
Here Quechua vendors make stalls for the tourist trade on the side of the Panamericana highway at the 4,335m snow caped mountain pass between Puno and Cusco.
Here Oebele, Doris and I arrive back at Diospi Suyana late on Wednesday afternoon, 3 April.
I am delighted that this 6th FM site completes the prime objective for our 3 year mission term in Peru with Diospi Suyana.  It has been a lot of hard work and a testing time, not only for me but Sandi and all of our family.  With language, culture and missing family and friends back home in Australia.  But also incredibly rewarding and enriching.

Again I want to say a huge thank you to all our supporters who have made this work possible!  We look forward to catching up with hopefully all of you during the course of this year that we are back in Australia.  And as previously, my love and thanks for Sandi keeping life running smoothly back at home with our great kids whilst I am away on these installation trips.

And not overlooking thanks for the one true God, who is always faithful to His promises.  As noted at the beginning of this Welch family journey to Peru, the one of special note given to us is this, of which we have quoted and assured ourselves with countless times;

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
(Psalm 121:1-3)

And I can testify He has done just that for all of our family.

For now, we are all busy with packing up house and selling many things that we cannot store for our pending return in 2 weeks’ time.  Sandi has had a garage sale here whilst I was away and I have since travelled to Cusco to try to sell our car.  As well I have additional upgrade works to try and complete in Curahuasi and Casabamba. 

Please pray for us that all this goes smoothly including our flights to Australia.  Not to mention that we find a suitable home in which to live.

Chris