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Hearing Guatemala on Shortwave

By Don Moore

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Because Guatemala is relatively close to North America, it is one of the easier Latin American countries to hear. Unless you are in a very noisy location, Guatemala should be received even on mid-priced portables with just the attached whip (rod) antenna. Of course, better equipment would be necessary for stronger and more consistent reception. Generally speaking, Guatemala's shortwave stations come on each morning between 1000 to 1100 UTC (0400 to 0500 am Guatemalan time) and can be heard until the fade out with local dawn. In the evening they can be heard from around sunset, more or less, until sign-off, usually around 0400 UTC (10 p.m. Guatemalan time).

All Guatemalan shortwave stations operate on the "tropical bands", as the lower shortwave frequencies are called. Because good long-distance reception on lower frequencies requires a darkness path, obviously these stations will be best heard during the North American winter months and least well heard during the North American summer. Likewise, the stations can be heard earlier in the evening and later in the morning during the winter months when there is more darkness.

By law, there is no commercial shortwave broadcasting in Guatemala. For this reason, all of Guatemala's shortwave stations are relgious - Roman Catholic, Protestant Evangelical, or Seventh Day Adventist. Most of the stations are located in the interior of the country and primarily serve various groups of Mayan Indians, with programming in both Spanish and local languages. Of course, the stations play a lot of marimba and other types of typical Guatemalan music, which anyone can enjoy!

Probably the best heard Guatemalan is Radio Tezulutlan from Coban on 4835 and 3370 kHz. Broadcasts are in Spanish and Kekchi. Other strong stations in the sixty meter band are Radio Buenas Nuevas from San Sebastian Huehuetenango broadcasts in Mam on 4800 kHz, Radio Cultural Coatan on 4780 kHz from San Sebastian Coatan, and Radio Kekchi on 4845 from Fray Bartolome Casas. Radio Tezulutlan is Roman Catholic, while the other three are Evangelical. A final station on 60 meters is Roman Catholic Radio Mam on 4825 from Cabrican. Unfortunately, they only broadcast during local daylight hours so can not be heard at a distance unless they stay on late for a special event.

The strongest Guatemalan on 90 meters is Evangelical station Radio Cultural, TGNA, on 3300 kHz from Guatemala City. Programming on this one is primarily in Spanish, but there is some precorded English in the late hours as well. Radio Maya de Barillas, on 3325 kHz from Barillas, is another Evangelical station. Radio Chortis on 3360 from Jocatan and La Voz de Nahuala on 3360 from Nahuala are the two Roman Catholic stations on 90 meters (along with Radio Tezulutlan's 3370 kHz frequency). All the stations on 60 and 90 meters are generally easy to hear.

Without good quality equipment, it is difficult to log any stations on the 120 meter band. However, for the record, La Voz de Atitlan from Santiago Atitlan uses 2390 kHz. The frequency is shared by Radio Huayacocotla in Mexico, however, so one can not always be sure which station is being received. Radio Maya de Barillas has a second frequency of 2360 kHz, which is a very difficult log.

Finally, the Seventh Day Adventist church opertes Union Radio on 5980 kHz. This is very low-powered and suffers from interference from the many international broadcasters in 49 meters, so it is very difficult to hear.

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