Broadcasting on the Frontiers of Bolivia
published in Frendx 4/89)
years ago, in 1973, I had the pleasure of listening to a
little known station called Radio Cobija which broadcast
in Spanish on the tropical band frequency of 4854 kHz. Radio
Cobija was heard at a fair level from 0342-0401* UTC.
report was duly sent off to Radio Cobija without holding
out too much hope of a reply. And of course, as is often
the way of the Latin "mañana", no reply was forthcoming.
Future editions of the WRTH kept listing Radio Cobija as
inactive. A copy of the report was filed away and promptly
forgotten about until many years later in 1984 I read in
an overseas DX magazine an item mentioning that Radio Cobija
may have been reactivated. Hmrn! I thought, time for a followup
to be sent to them. So the original report was resurrected
and retyped. A few goodies such as a postcard and some mint
and used New Zealand stamps were included and the report
was once again sent off to Radio Cobija at Correo Central
Bolivian postal system is to say the least, probably as
erratic and inefficient as those of most Latin countries
and indeed the WRTH always persists in carrying an explanatory
footnote saying Where is normally no delivery of letters
in Bolivia (except La Paz) and recipients have to collect
from the Post Office. Letters should therefore carry the
casilla number where known.
So what hope could I hold out for a reply from a station
located away in the frontier regions of Bolivia. whose only
address was Correo Central, Cabija! If only they knew my
report was coming, and where would the letter end up if
the casilla number was unknown!
Time again passed and hopes faded until one day, 489 days
Inter, to my amazement I received in the mail a letter from
a "Radio Frontera" in Cobija. What was I doing receiving
a letter from Radio Frontera, a station I never even knew
existed? I quickly opened the envelope to find a long Spanish
letter from the owner of Radio Frontera, a Sr. Lino Miahuchi
very interesting letter from Sr. Von Ancken unveiled a fascinating
story. Sr. Yon Ancken writes:
"It has been a while since I found your letter in my mailbox
and you may well wonder how I came by it. In the course
of this letter I'll give you an explanation of how I received
your letter. I have wanted to answer your letter for a while
now but until now I haven't had the time.
I would like to introduce myself. I am a 37 year old journalist
and I own a new radio station here in Cobija called Radio
Frontera. My name is Lino Miahuchi Yon Ancken. My surname
is descendent of a mixture of Japanese and German.
Reading your letter I can assure you that the signals you
received from Radio Cobija were correct. At that time l
was only an assistant journalist. I can tell you that Radio
Cobija has been off the air for 4 years now. It was a state
run radio station but it was operated irresponsibly and
without any kind of planning and it went bankrupt. This
is all a memory now as it all happened in the past
Two years ago I bought a new station which uses 300 watts
and since then I have bought a 500 watt shortwave transmitter,
but I am having some trouble with this. The signals don't
want to go up the antenna. I am trying to get it fixed and
make it all work again, but the problem here is that there
are only a few technicians in Cobija and they are not very
good ones. I will let you know of any progress I have made
in getting things fixed."
Von Ancken then went on to relate some interesting information
about Cobija and its surroundings. He continues:
"Cobija is the capital of the Department of Pando. This
department covers 63,000 square Km and is rich in natural
resources, but unfortunately these are exploited indiscriminately
by unscrupulous people who are often found in the centre
of the great Amazon. Cobija is a small city of some 10,000
inhabitants and is located on the frontier with Brazil.
The frontier boundary is the 60 metre wide Acre River. There
is an international bridge across the river where Bolivians
and Brazilians may cross freely whenever they wish. Another
frontier is with Peru, 95 kilometers away. We don't have
much communication with Peru because of a lack of roads.
There is only a penetration route. The forest is very dense
and impenetrable and it is very dangerous to go through
it. Also there is an infinite number of rivers, both large
and small, and many lagoons.
The favorite sports here are football, basketball and naturally
swimming in the rivers. The ambient temperature here for
95% of the year is between 32-34 degrees C. The only means
of contact that we have with the other departments of our
country is by air. An airline operating small Fokker 27
airplanes, capable of carrying 40 passengers, makes the
return trip twice weekly to the City of La Paz the highest
capital in the world at 40(00 m above sea level."
Von Ancken then goes on to explain that he is an amateur
radio operator with the callsign Ancken has got things working
again and all the RF is finally "getting up his antenna".
If you are lucky enough to hear this very interesting station,
be sure to send Sr. Von Ancken a comprehensive report in
Spanish. He is a very friendly person and will certain appreciate
your efforts in reporting to him and you ought to receive.
should be sent to:
Sr. Lino Miahuchi Von Ancken
Cobija (Depto. Pando),