Thursday, November 03, 2016

We Return to the Shortwave Scene on the Island of Guam

AWR Guam transmitters
On a previous occasion here in Wavescan, we presented the story of the first set of shortwave transmitters that were installed in the new transmitter building for Adventist World Radio KSDA at Facpi Point on the west coast of the island of Guam.  Under the administration of Dr Allen Steele, who had previously established the first AWR unit in Portugal some 15 years earlier, four transmitters at 100 kW each were installed in Guam over a period of eight years, running from early 1987 to early 1995. 
The first two transmitters were Thomson units Model TRE2311P from Gennevilliers in France, and the additional two units were Continental Model 418E and 418F from Dallas Texas in the United States.  In addition, there were four curtain antennas TCI Model 611 from Fremont in California arranged in two oairs, together with one dummy load for test purposes. Beginning in the year 2002, Adventist World Radio began a modernization project at the Guam station, and five almost new transmitters were obtained from a silent government army station at Langefontein on the west coast of South Africa.  That was the story in another recent feature here in Wavescan.
The five shortwave transmitters from South Africa were originally manufactured by Thomson ABB, Model Number SK51C3-3P from continental Europe, and the first shipment, in 15 containers, arrived in Guam early in the year 2002.  In subsequent shipment, the remaining equipment from South Africa arrived in Guam. 
Under the capable administration of Chief Engineer Brook Powers, each of the older transmitters was taken out of service, carefully removed from its location within the transmitter building, and ultimately packed for shipping to another shortwave station overseas.  The first transmitter removed from AWR Guam was the Continental KSDA3, and it was replaced by Langefontein Transmitter 2. This newly installed transmitter KSDA3 was inaugurated on September 26, 2002, and as part of the contractual agreement with Sentech in South Africa, David Berndt was already present when the first Langefontein transmitter was initially energized.  The well known Kathy Otto from the Sentech-RSA shortwave station at Meyerton in South Africa states that David Berndt is an acknowledged authority on the European made Thomson ABB transmitters that had been installed temporarily at Langefontein.  He made periodic visits to Guam to aid in the installation and commissioning of the Langefontein transmitters at shortwave station KSDA.  
The double process, removing an old transmitter and installing a new, was accomplished with limited down time.  In this way, four old transmitters were removed and replaced by five almost new units.  When all were totally installed, the fifth transmitter was maintained as a hot standby ready to replace any of the other on air units, if needed.
As each new transmitter was installed, the AWR office in Indianapolis offered QSL cards specifically identifying which transmitter was logged by the international radio monitor.  Thus it was possible for the dedicated listener to verify each of the five new transmitters by number during the nearly two year period of installation, running from September 2002 up to mid 2004. In early 2011, approval was granted for AWR to erect an additional fifth curtain antenna on the property at Facpi Point, and this would enable KSDA to be on the air with all five transmitters simultaneously. At a special rededication ceremony at the AWR shortwave station on Guam on Tuesday September 3, 2013, Adventist World Radio welcomed a group of international and local guests to mark the completion of this major expansion for the station.  The modification of the existing four antenna systems and the installation of a large new curtain antenna has increased the transmission capability of shortwave station KSDA by approximately 25%.
The official opening ceremony for the new antenna system was held on the antenna field, at the base directly under the newest tower, and this enabled attendees to experience close up the massive size of this equipment.  His Excellency the Governor of Guam, the Honorable Eddie Baza Calvo, was present for the occasion, as was also the president of Adventist World Radio, Dr. Dowell Chow. With the erection of the new curtain antenna and with transmitter KSDA5 now in regular active service, KSDA Guam is on the air with nearly 300 hours of programming each week in 34 languages .
(AWR Wavescan/NWS 401)