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Radio XECY

By Carl Huffaker

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The following item is taken from page 71 of the book Carl Huffaker's Latin Notebooks as originally published by SPEEDX. This book is a collection of Carl's columns in the SPEEDX magazine between 1986 and 1991. It is placed here with permission of SPEEDX.

JUNE 1991

I was looking for the road that cut across to Tamazunchale. Finally, after half-a-dozen dead ends, I determined to ask the way. I'd never heard the name, and you only have to mispronounce an Indian placename to find yourself en route to some distant village in which you have no interest whatsoever. the care was hot, so I pulled into the shade beneath a couple of trees. And just across the, street I saw the call letters XECY on a window.

One of the characteristics of tropical Mexico is that the houses open onto the streets and roads; and those roads, especially in late afternoons and evenings, are social centers. The station followed this design. On one side was the office, open to the street and separated from the sidewalk by a low counter. The studio, or cabina, was behind a fulllength window, and the YL DJ chatted across the console with the passers-by a meter distant. A couple of teenage girls were leaning across the counter talking to the secretary. They were, I found out later, submitting a local announcement. The price was 1,000 pesos, or about 33 cents U. S. "I didn't see your antenna," I commented.

"It's up on the hill," the secretary answered. That seemed like enough of an introduction, so I took my camera and walked into the cabina for a photo.

The console was old and much used. The record library--tropical music--was there in the cabina, and, from the condition of the covers, also much used. I pulled up a chair and chatted with the DJ who, from time to time, broadcast dead air when she forgot to switch the turntable or greeted a friend passing beyond the glass.

Although XECY is mediumave, I thought some SPEEDXers might be interested in a sticker with Huejutla as a QTH. So, planning to make away with several, I broached the subject. As an answer, she led me out into the hall, where there was a very impressive sticker. "But that's the sample," she said with a tone of resignation.

"And the others?" I asked.

"Haven't arrived yet."

"But when did you order them?"

"Over a year ago."

"That's Mexico," I commented.

"That's Mexico," she repeated.

But the record had run out. She rushed to the cabina, tripped over the chair, and made a rather breathless announcement about a local meeting.

"When will you be back?" she shouted.

"Soon," I said, for it was late and I still had to find my way to Tamazunchale.

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