Peru Menu Main Menu What's New Best of this Site Radio History Clandestine Radio

Radio Frecuencia San Ignacio, Peru


The following item is taken from Relampago DX by Takayuki Inoue Nozaki. (Por las Rutas del Peru 16). It is placed here with permission.

San Ignacio was founded on January 2, 1857, and was originally named San Ignacio de Loyola. It is located at the pleasantly tropical altitude of 1,324 m. above sea level, and sits at 05-07-35 L.S. and 78-59-15 L.W. in the northern part of the Department of Cajamarca. San Ignacio is located about 20 km south of the disputed border with Ecuador. Numerous camionetas (mini pick-up trucks) leave daily for Namballe, the borderline settlement which is the end of the road as far as regular and frequent transportation is concerned. Directly opposite to Namballe, across the Rio Canchis, is Pucapamba, Ecuador's southernmost village situated in the Province of Zamora Chinchipe. Pedestrian traffic is possible in this area, but, unfortunately, crossing the border is not permitted because of the conflict between the two countries. There are no customs facilities or other legal means of entry into Ecuador, so visitors must return the way they came.

San Ignacio became the provincial capital when the Province of San Ignacio was created on May 12, 1965, although it was still extremely small and isolated. The Province of San Ignacio is politically divided into the following seven districts: San Ignacio, Chirinos, Huarango, La Coipa, Namballe, San Jose de Lourdes, and Tabacones. The population of the whole province is 112,526, according to the census of 1993.

San Ignacio is not an attractive place for tourists, but is of interest as a pirate shortwave broadcasters' site to Latin American DX enthusiasts. I realized my dream of visiting San Ignacio after having planned to see the installation of R. Frecuencia San Ignacio many years ago. On September 24, 1998, I took a morning flight of "Aero Continente" from Lima to Chiclayo, then a direct bus to Jaen along an asphalt paved road 380 km in length. On arrival at the bus terminal of Jaen, I took a shared boxcar to set out for San Ignacio, my final destination of that day.

After driving on a dusty unpaved road of 114 km along several small communities, I reached the tranquil town of San Ignacio. Although primarily known as an agricultural center for growing coffee and cacao, it is actually a progressive and economically active town with a growing population of over 26,210, according to the census of 1993. There was an attractive Plaza de Armas, modern civic center, central market, three basic hotels, some restaurants and bars. Locals said that the town has prospered thanks to the 24-hour electricity supply (available since April 1997).

I did a band scan on my SONY ICF-SW100 and found that the following local stations were active: R. Uno (93.1) and Studio 97 (97.7) were transmitting on FM, and R. Frecuencia San Ignacio (5700.1) and R. San Ignacio (7040.4) were broadcasting on shortwave. However, there were no stations broadcasting in the medium wave band. R. Peru (5637.4v) has been inactive on shortwave because of a technical problem, and reportedly R. Oriental (5179.0) has vanished after a short existence. As of September 1998, any stations based in Lima had applied to the Ministry of Transports and Communications for a license to install the satellite relay transmitters in San Ignacio; therefore it seemingly is a peaceful market for the local broadcasters, compared to other provincial ones with many commercial competitors.


It was in early April 1985 when R. Frecuencia San Ignacio was first observed on 5801.7 kHz. Later, in October 1986, the station was heard on the slightly higher frequency of 5800.4. Interestingly, both measured frequencies correspond to frequencies which R. Acunta formerly used when it was broadcasting from Chota. It temporarily disappeared from shortwave below the interference of R. Nuevo Cajamarca, which had appeared on 5800.5 beginning in February 1987. Radio Frecuencia San Ignacio came back on the air with a short term appearance on 5800.6 in September 1987. Then, in the middle of October, 1987, it moved up 100 in order to avoid the interference.

According to a report of Henrik Klemetz, R. Frecuencia San Ignacio temporarily moved down from 5700.1 to 5678.1 on August 2, 1997, and was on this slightly moved frequency in the range 5676.5-5677.2 from August 1997 through early April 1998. During the period in which R. Frecuencia San Ignacio was on that outstanding frequency, the station rarely broadcast morning transmissions, and it was occasionally observed around 1100-1200 in Japan with a weak signal. Afterward, in the beginning of April 1998, it returned to and remained on 5700.1 as its correct and nominal channel.

On September 25, 1998, I visited R. Frecuencia San Ignacio, located at Jiron Villanueva Pinillos No. 330 in downtown San Ignacio. The station is located in a two-story building with a loft. This building is, in fact, the owner's house. There is a painted station logo on the second floor, and right below it is the station's slogan. On the rooftop there is a plain dipole antenna supported by two bamboo towers. I went into a reception area, explained my purpose, and was promptly admitted to the house because the owner and his wife, Ing. Franklin Hoyos Condor and Yolanda Adrianzen de Hoyos, remembered having received several reception reports with my picture.

The station facilities are in the loft on the rooftop: a small table covered with a red tablecloth, equipped with an "Authentic" mixing console, two "Technics" SCLD-303 turntables, a "TASCAM" 202 MKII cassette deck, a microphone, an unknown brand radio, a big clock for time checks, and a small record and cassette library. An unshielded transmitter and a ventilator are set up on the opposite side. The first and second floors are used for the living space, but the dining room is also utilized as a repair workshop. Beyond the house, a new studio and transmitting shed were under construction. There are two transmitters respectively for medium wave and FM. In the backyard near the shed there is a steel antenna tower 15 m. high for the FM outlet. The test transmission on 96.3 FM was carried out in June 1998, but during my stay in San Ignacio the station was off the air due to a technical problem. The FM transmitter was installed to provide daily programming with high quality FM stereo audio for listeners in the urban area.

Ing. Franklin Hoyos Condor, a broadcasting engineer, built his first station not in San Ignacio but in Chota, with the name "R. Acunta." Radio Acunta was definitely the predecessor of R. Frecuencia San Ignacio. The station made its debut on the air in April 1978, transmitting on 5657 kHz with an output power of 60 watts. After having experimented on shortwave frequencies, R. Acunta settled down on the nominal frequency of 5800 and also simulcast on 1560 medium wave. The station had managed the alternative shortwave outlets with two different transmitters manufactured by the owner. It was observed in a slightly drifting range, 5800.1-5800.6 (with 60 watts), and another steady 5801.7 (150 watts). Finally, in late March 1985, R. Acunta ceased its transmissions after it lost the battle for listeners in the Chota area. It was unable to successfully compete with R. Chota. As a result, it did not have a large enough share of the market to enable it to profit from commercial broadcasting.

The second stage was began in San Ignacio, capital of the Province of San Ignacio. Identifying itself with a slogan "voz y mensaje de los hitos fronterizos," R. Frecuencia San Ignacio was established on March 31, 1985. The station has aimed at supporting cultural, educational and economical development through radio broadcasts for the people living in the isolated communities located near the border between Peru and Ecuador. Initially it had been broadcasting on 5800 kHz with the former transmitters used by R. Acunta, but shifted its frequency from traditional 5800 to 5700 to avoid the interference of R. Nuevo Cajamarca. As described in the previous monitoring record, R. Frecuencia San Ignacio temporarily operated outside of the nominal frequency of 5700 from August 1997 to April 1998. This change in frequency was necessary because a spurious signal of R. Peru had caused tremendous interference with R. Frecuencia San Ignacio. Later, the spurious signal problem was solved and R. Frecuencia San Ignacio returned to 5700.

After having operated without a license for many years, the station was finally authorized by the Ministry of Transports and Communications on July 22, 1997 with a provisional license for a one year-period. The medium wave outlet is assigned to transmit on 840 with an output power of 1 kw, under the callsign OAU2E. As San Ignacio is geographically located in the Andes mountains, its signal may not reach some isolated settlements on the border. Naturally they made an application for getting a shortwave license. As had been done concerning medium wave on July 22, 1997, the Ministry of Transports and Commutations provisionally authorized R. Frecuencia San Ignacio to broadcast on 4870 in the 60 mb. with an output of 1 kw, under the callsign OAW2E. Therefore, when the station commences its shortwave operation, it must shift from 5700 to the assigned frecuency of 4870.

As of September 1998, R. Frecuencia San Ignacio broadcasts its daily transmission at 2330-0330, with the following programs: 2330-2400 "Revelaciones de la Vida," 0000-0100 "Variedades Musicales," 0100-0200 "Noticiero Flash," 0200-0330 "Saludos Musicales." There was no telephone service in San Ignacio until a few years ago. During the period before telephone service was installed, the station earned its income by the playing requests, largely for birthdays, called "Saludos Musicales," and also by broadcasting personal messages, "comunicados." Local people have ceased using the message service "mensaje y comunicado" by shortwave radio because nowadays the telephone makes it easy to communicate with others anytime and anywhere. Until about 1995 they had approximately 150 messages daily, though they currently have only from 10 to 30 daily. The cost of message service is approximately US$.50-$1.00 per message, depending on the quantity of letters. Therefore the daily income provided by the message service has decreased tremendously. Local commercial advertisements are quite few, and consequently the station's financial condition is poor. Radio Frecuencia San Ignacio may continue broadcasting on shortwave purely for the pleasure of the owner. However, the station has already obtained a license for medium wave.

Technical Information: OAW2E, 4870, the shortwave outlet will be moved here from 5700. It is equipped with a "Laboratorio Hoyos" brand transmitter (150 watts) and a 1/2 wave dipole antenna (15 m. high). -- OAU2E, 840, is equipped with a "FRANVEL" brand transmitter, modified by "Laboratorio Hoyos" (1 kw), but its antenna is not yet installed. -- 96.3 is equipped with a "Laboratorio Hoyos" brand stereo transmitter (10 watts) and a three-element directional antenna (15 m. high. The FM outlet is out of service due to a technical problem.

Opening announcement logged on September 25, 1998: "Cordiales oyentes tengan todos ustedes muy buenas tardes. Siendo las 6 con 35 minutos, R. Frecuencia San Ignacio Empresa Individual de Resposabilidad Limitada, voz y mensaje de los hitos fronterizos, transmitiendo en los 5700 kHz onda corta, banda de los 49 metros, desde sus estudios ubicados en Jiron Villanueva Pinillos No. 330, Provincia de San Ignacio, Departamento Cajamarca, Region Nor Oriental del Maranon, Republica Peruana, inicia su labor radial correspondiente al dia de hoy, viernes, 25 de setiembre de 1998, bueno, esperando complacerles nuestra programacion a cada uno de ustedes con informacion, servicio comunitario, educacion y cultura. Permitannos acompanarles en donde se encuentren y iniciamos nuestras labores siempre deseandoles exitos y que Dios les bendiga."

Closing announcement logged on September 25, 1998: "Cordiales oyentes, hemos llegado a la parte final de nuestra transmision radial correspondiente al dia de hoy, viernes, 25 de setiembre de 1998. Satisfecho de haberles servido con nuestras ondas en la comunicacion social, R. Frecuencia San Ignacio Empresa Individual de Resposabilidad Limitada, voz y mensaje de los hitos fronterizos, transmitio en los 5700 kHz, con sus estudios centrales ubicados en el Jiron Villanueva Pinillos No. 330 en esta Provincia de San Ignacio, tierra cafetalera, Departamento de Cajamarca, Region Nor Oriental del Maranon, Republica Peruana. Agradecemos su cordial sintonia a nombre de la direccion general, administracion y plana de locutores, servidores, tengan ustedes muy buenas noches. Estaremos, Dios mediante, el dia de manana a la hora de costumbre. Luego de haber transcurrido su feliz y recuperador descanso y nos reencontramos en nuevo dia. Y para finalizar, escuchamos las sagradas notas de nuestro himno nacional. Con su permiso, amigos oyentes, hasta el dia de manana."

Radio Frecuencia has not been a good verifier since it began broadcasting. However, some lucky DXers received QSL letters. There are no stickers or pennants at the moment in the station. Send your reports in Spanish to the following address: Jiron Villanueva Pinillos 330, San Ignacio, Provincia de San Ignacio, Departamento de Cajamarca, Peru.



This website is maintained by Don Moore,
Association of North American Radio Clubs
DXer of the Year for 1995

My Address Is In This Graphic