(Aug. 10, 2012 - by Harold Goerzen)
Countless thousands of potential radio listeners in HCJB Global's Asia Pacific Region have access to a clearer, more powerful signal as a result of a seven-year project to move the transmissions to a new shortwave facility in Australia late last month.
"I'm very excited to let you know that on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 24, we began permanent transmissions from our new international broadcasting facility," said Dale Stagg, chief executive officer of HCJB Global-Australia.
"With a stronger signal and a better antenna design, we look forward [to listeners' responses] with great anticipation. Please continue to pray with us as we seek to reach the unreached of this region with the good news of Jesus."
While broadcasts from the international broadcasting facility in Kununurra, a town of 7,000 on the northern edge of Western Australia, began in 2003, the original site was fraught with restrictions, limiting the broadcasts. Antenna height, for example, was limited to 40 meters (131 feet) because of the facility's proximity to the local airport.
A parabolic curtain antenna, formerly used by Radio Station HCJB in Pifo, Ecuador, is being installed with modifications at the new site with towers as high as 417 feet—four times the height of the tallest antenna at the original site.
The new site is called "Lot 3000," a 1,250-acre parcel of land that was granted to HCJB Global-Australia in 2005 on a long-term lease from the state government. "It lies approximately two miles west of the existing site and, crucially, outside of the airport restrictions," explained Site Manager Peter Michalke.
Opening the new site meant overcoming numerous obstacles such as obtaining use of the government land, the granting of native title approval that allowed electricity supply to be connected to Lot 3000, getting power from the grid to the new site, building a road and causeway that allowed access to the new site, and even acquiring an antenna originally purchased by Croatia for communist propaganda but never commissioned.
"God's provision been truly remarkable," Stagg related. "The doors He caused to be opened during this time, well, you just shake your head in wonder. God raised up people both locally and internationally that have made vital contributions to the project and continue to do so."
While the old site will eventually be decommissioned, it will continue to house one HC100 (HCJB Global 100,000-watt shortwave transmitter) during a transitional period of several months. The original site is also home to administration offices, accommodations for volunteers and maintenance facilities.
"We will maintain a back-up facility for a few months but, to all intents and purposes, we have relocated and our new antennas are now in operation," Stagg said. "Meanwhile, a third HC100 is being refurbished at the HCJB Global Technology Centre in Elkhart, Ind. When complete, it will be both analog and digital (DRM) capable."
DRM will be invaluable for broadcasting to places such as India, a country of 1.2 billion people, where the digital technology has been adopted as the nation's main communication network to the rural masses. "In spite of the giant leap forward of other technologies, shortwave broadcasting still has at least a medium term future in South and Southeast Asia," added Derek Kickbush, program manager for HCJB Global-Australia.
"There are still developing countries in the region where, in some places, there are no local media services and shortwave remains the only viable option."
The site in Kununurra is broadcasting the gospel in 23 languages (including English) into East Asia, South and Southeast Asia "which along with Africa has been one of the most heavily serviced shortwave targets in the world of international broadcasters—and remains so," Kickbush explained.
"It's a great moment to hear that HCJB Global-Australia is on the air from its new long-anticipated shortwave broadcast facility in Kununurra," concluded Asia Pacific Director Ty Stakes. "We're excited about the opportunities to deliver strategic programming to unreached peoples in the region afforded by this facility. Join us in praying for new program production partnerships with indigenous groups, and growing impact for the kingdom of Jesus through the ministry of HCJB Global-Australia."
Source: HCJB Global
(HCJB Global News Update for Week of Aug. 6-10, 2012)