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Dedication of New Shortwave Radio Site in Australia Fulfills 24-Year Vision
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
AUSTRALIA (ANS) -- David Maindonald seemed incredulous as he reflected on his 24-year vision to air the
gospel via shortwave radio from Australia to the Asia Pacific Region.
Unveiling a plaque which reads, 'HCJB Australia International Broadcast Facility. Dedicated to the glory
of God. 21st April 2013. 'So that all may hear' (Romans 10:14).' Left to right: Ty Stakes, Stephen
Sutherland, Wayne Pederson, Dale Stagg, David Maindonald,
?Yes, the story of HCJB Global-Australia is truly a story of what God has done,? he told a crowd at the
dedication of the ministry?s new international broadcast site in Kununurra, adjacent to the original
site that had been used to broadcast since 2003.
?And we want to give Him all the glory,? he commented, referring to an Old Testament Bible verse, ?See
what God has done? (Numbers 23:23).
According to a story by by Harold Goerzen for HCJB Global, others urged him to abandon what was called
in 1989 his ?far-fetched? vision, foreseeing obstacles in acquiring radio licenses and land for the
site. When potential donors were approached with the idea, they predicted problems finding staff and
money for the project.
?That wasn't easy to handle,? said Maindonald, who led the mission's Australia office for nearly two
Programs Air in 26 Languages
HCJB said among the 100 attendees at the April 21 event, braving 105-degree Fahrenheit heat and biting
insects, was HCJB Global President Wayne Pederson, who called the station?s presence on the shortwave
frequencies a miracle. The facilities broadcast the gospel in 26 languages from Kununurra near the
northern tip of Western Australia.
?It?s reaching some of the most populous and least-reached places of the world?going into Japan, China,
India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia,? Pederson said later in an audio report.
HCJB said excerpts from listeners? letters were featured in a brochure distributed at the ceremony.
One listener had written from India?s Gujarat state, ?We do not have a church. Radio programs are a
blessing for us to know about Jesus. We listen to Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati and Punjabi programs. The
reception is good. Pray that my family and I and would accept Jesus too.?
HCJB said a listener in Indonesia wrote, ?Your station is totally different from any other I?ve ever
known. It brings peace, joy and hope?things that have been lost in my life for quite a long time.?
Multiple Challenges Overcome
Pederson outlined some of the trials encountered along the way. ?Through many years of overcoming
regulations, federal permissions, local clearances, financial challenges and power line difficulties,
this station is now a reality,? HCJB reported he said.
Then Pederson related some of the bargains obtained to broadcast from the site.
He said, ?The curtain antenna came from Croatia. It was brand new but it was intended by the communists
to send propaganda all across the former Soviet Union. The towers were bought from the Australian Army
for 5 cents on the dollar. Those are scrap metal prices! The transmitters are the refurbished
transmitters from Radio Station HCJB in Ecuador, now being repurposed to reach this part of the world.?
Also attending the ceremony were HCJB Global Asia Pacific Executive Director Ty Stakes, Australian
Member of Parliament Barry Haase and Meg Shedley, who turns 90 this year.
HCJB said back in 1997 when the Australian government still wasn?t issuing international broadcast
licenses, she and her husband, Don, donated a 200-acre farm in Kununurra in faith that it could serve as
an international shortwave site.
?This site has so many advantages,? John Stanley had said of the site at that time. An engineer who
helped to staff the mission?s shortwave site in Ecuador decades ago, Stanley serves as an international
?Assuming that a license can be obtained, it would be difficult to see it as anything other than God?s
provision,? HCJB said Stanley had concluded.
After the towers were procured, HCJB reported, staff members and countless volunteers began erecting
them on the donated land that was also used to raise sugarcane. The applications for broadcast licenses
were turned down three times however, according to Maindonald. Then an unexpected answer came on April
?The laws of Australia were changed, and we were given not one but four international broadcasting
licenses, and we had to be on air within two years,? he recounted. ?Suddenly the dream of international
broadcasting came alive again.?
Launching International Broadcasts
An HC100 (100,000-watt) shortwave transmitter that had been shipped from Ecuador to the U.S. was in turn
shipped to Australia just as U.S. dockworkers went on strike. In late 2002 it arrived in Australia,
where station staff needed every bit of time to get it operational in time for the deadline.
HCJB said negotiations with authorities resulted in more than $ 100,000 in duty and taxes being waived.
The shortwave station went on the air on Jan. 5 2003, with five hours of programming to the South
Pacific. A month later the South Asia broadcasts to India began.
Although well-suited to shortwave broadcasting, the original site was too small for expansion.
?It was always intended to be temporary,? according to Dale Stagg, Australian director and CEO.
?Basically, when the licenses were granted we had a two-year timeframe to get on the air so we had to
get up and running as best we could and look to future development beyond that time. The new site is
part of a 1,200-acre parcel of land leased from the state government about a mile from the original
HCJB said the Shedley property is now used for staff housing.
In 2005 a high-quality curtain antenna was purchased from a radio station in Croatia for a quarter of
its market value and erected three years later. In 2006 a second HC100 was shipped to Australia. The 21-
year lease from the Western Australia government for the 1,200-acre site was also signed in 2006. In
2011 the high-tension power line was installed along with a donated parabolic antenna from Ecuador.
HCJB said in 2012 one of the existing transmitters was relocated to the new transmitter building, and
broadcasts began at the new site in July 2012. In March 2013 broadcasts commenced using both 100-kw
?India, one of our priority countries, has a population of over 1.2 billion people,? HCJB reported Stagg
said. ?Sixty percent of India?s population does not even have access to FM, so shortwave for India is
still a crucial means of communication.?
?A third HC100 coming in a few months will be digital, enabling us to reach a whole new audience with
the clear, digital sounds of shortwave,? added Pederson. ?(Our Australian partners) are dedicated
people, and they've done a great job. You should see this impressive facility.?
?Our broadcast site gives us great access to the Asia Pacific Region,? HCJB said Stagg recounted. ?Our
region contains more than 4 billion people and many of the world?s unreached people groups.
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