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Thread: Central American FM news in the WTFDA FM database

  1. #1
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    Default Central American FM news in the WTFDA FM database

    IF you haven't been to the WTFDA FM database recently and seen all the new bells and whistles that the database web-team have installed, you need to hustle on over there.....

    http://db.wtfda.org

    Currently the Central American FM database count stands at.....

    Country - station count
    • Belize - 74
    • Costa Rica - 71
    • El Salvador - 261
    • Guatemala - 453
    • Honduras - 798
    • Nicaragua - 354
    • Panamá - 186


    Belize - has all current transmitter powers, but is missing antenna heights and exact tower co-ordinates. The tower height numbers currently listed in the WTFDA FM database are estimates.

    Costa Rica - CNR, the license authority in Costa Rica, recently updated all of their license information on their website. This allowed us to completely update ALL FM radio stations in Costa Rica, so the transmitter powers, antenna HAAT and co-ordinates are up-to-date.

    El Salvador - In January of this year, INFOUTIL, the document management wing for all El Salvadorian government departments, updated their broadcast license documents. Those documents are uploaded to their website and available to the public. ALL FM radio stations in El Salvador listed in the WTFDA FM database are complete with technical data.

    Guatemala - This is the country that is the can of worms out of the bunch. Right now the Guatemala FM listings in the DB are the best we are going to get. We are slowly confirming tower locations for the major radio stations in various cities, but that is taking some time. We were actually able to pull together all the data to confirm ALL of the FM stations in Cd. Guatemala, their transmitter powers, antenna HAAT and co-ordinates. Those have been updated in the database. At least we have those ready for Southern US FM dxers, looking for Guatemala signals.

    I was just told this week via email from a reliable source to back off of the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (SIT), in requesting technical information for their list of FM radio stations. The SIT is the broadcast license authority in Cd. Guatemala. I was told to follow up in September or October of this year, as things might be loosening up by then. My request for technical data by the SIT in early March of this year generated a 30 page *ticket*, which was sent back to me as confirmation they had received my request for technical data for the WTFDA FM database. Currently my requests are in a hold pattern.

    As I have mentioned before in other threads on the WTFDA Forums, the SIT has been put through the wringer over the past 15 years, because of their own doing. We won't air the laundry here - but sanctions were imposed upon the SIT and certain members of the government, after a lengthy investigation by a division of the United Nations. The charges were in connection to abuse of local radio stations (Mayan and other indigenous groups). These were radio stations that didn't hold broadcast licenses issued by the SIT, but they were actually broadcasting. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff going on then, during the mid 1990's. It appears the government is starting to get that somewhat behind them. The UN investigatory division completed a follow up review in March 2015. On all original charges, the score straight across the board was: FINAL OVERALL RATING - PARTIALLY SATISFACTORY. Sounds like a work in progress.

    NOW the SIT is facing a set of NEW charges of irregularities in assigning radio frequencies to applicants (evidence of favoritism to certain broadcast groups). Thus we WAIT to get any new technical data from Guatemala.

    ***This is just a reminder to dxers that can hear FM radio stations from Guatemala. The SIT does NOT license any radio stations below 88.1 MHz. IF you hear a Guatemalan FM station on 87.5, 87.7, or 87.9, it is an unlicensed station and is either from an indigenous group or is a religious station. I have the complete list of unlicensed FM stations from Guatemala. IF you are curious about something you have heard and suspect it to be an unlicensed station from Guatemala, feel free to PM me about it. We contemplated adding those to the WTFDA FM database, but decided not to. It would open up a can of worms the database web-team felt would turn into a nightmare.

    Honduras - Honduras has turned into the bright spot in the entire group. Honduras is right at 80% complete with accurate technical data. We were able to get connected with someone that works in the Conatel office in Tegucigalpa. The person actually will email PDF copies of the FM licenses as we request them. The Honduras listings are looking good for anyone that has the opportunity to get an Es opening to that country.

    Honduras is OFFICIALLY at 800 FM radio stations, as we just received documents for new licenses this week. When will they stop with the dial crowding? Conatel is currently running three, two-man engineer teams country wide, making two week sweeps of assigned areas. Their mission is to check for broadcast irregularities and notify stations to *get their act together*.

    Nicaragua - The Superintendencia General de Electricidad y Telecomunicaciones (SIGET), the license authority in Nicaragua, updated their online FM license documents in October 2016. ALL of the FM radio station listings for Nicaragua in the WTFDA FM database are up-to-date.

    Panamá - Autoridad Nacional de los Servicios Públicos (ASEP) is the public document management division for the Government of Panamá. They are in charge of maintaining a web presence and uploading documents for public viewing, which includes radio licenses. All of the FM radio licenses were current when Panamá was added to the WTFDA FM database. Last year (Summer) Panamá went through a major shuffle in frequency assignments on FM. I think it will take 2xEs for most FM dxers to have a chance at snagging any stations from there.

    There is your WTFDA FM database update for Central America, as it stands this week. Mike B. was nice enough to put this section of the Forums together, for the benefit of those that can regularly receive Central American FM during the Es season, which is just starting. In the future, you will be seeing updates for the Caribbean islands that are in the WTFDA FM database, as well as individual country updates for México and the Central American countries, as needed.
    Last edited by Jim Thomas; 05-07-2017 at 03:29 PM. Reason: Additional information
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

    Ozark Mountain DTV dxing Daredevil

    Dx Equipment - AntennaCraft MXU59 UHF antenna & homebrew version of AntennaCraft Y10-7-13 VHF antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Winegard HDP-269 12dB pre-amp; a Zenith DTT901 converter box & a Silicon Dust HDHomerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.

  2. #2
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    I thought I would post a follow-up to FM news in Guatemala. I really didn't expect to hear anything on the status of FM radio stations in Guatemala, in view of what is going on there right now. This could actually be quite big news for the WTFDA FM database.

    I received an email today from Jorge Lopez-Bachiller Fernánez, who works as a consultant with the Public Information Office at the SIT in Cd. Guatemala. He is actually based in Cd. Guatemala. I had been in communication with him over the past several weeks, seeking his assistance in getting technical information for the WTFDA FM database. In his email, he told me he has been working behind the scenes the past two weeks, trying to learn who it is we should be in contact with at the SIT to get the information needed for the database. He gave me the correct email address to send the *Petición de Información* and also presented a format I should use to request the information, so there wouldn't be any confusion. His suggestions were followed and the email was sent, with Jorge copied on the email. He replied it was perfect and that we should be hearing something within 7 days. IF NOT, to let him know and he would *kick someone* :-)

    He said he has been to the database a couple times and looked around and likes what we are doing.

    Stay tuned......
    Last edited by Jim Thomas; 06-08-2017 at 11:58 PM.
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

    Ozark Mountain DTV dxing Daredevil

    Dx Equipment - AntennaCraft MXU59 UHF antenna & homebrew version of AntennaCraft Y10-7-13 VHF antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Winegard HDP-269 12dB pre-amp; a Zenith DTT901 converter box & a Silicon Dust HDHomerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Thomas View Post

    He said he has been to the database a couple times and looked around and likes what we are doing.

    Stay tuned......
    I hope that made your day! It sure made mine :-)
    Mike B.
    Enfield, CT
    -72° 30' W/41° 59' N
    FN31RX

    Online since 1999 and still going at
    mikesdx.com

    Archives: The Original Mike's TV/FM Page with Tuner Mods and Lots of Old Stuff

  4. #4
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    Default Guatemala FM update - Why Guatemala FM is so messed up!

    For some weeks now, I have been in dialogue via email with Jorge López-Bachiller Fernánez, an independent radio consultant in Guatemala that works mostly with the SIT (license authority). If you are following developments of the WTFDA FM db and also this thread, you will know I have been on a mission to get technical data from the government of Guatemala (SIT) for FM radio stations. A couple months ago I was put in contact with Jorge. After learning of my *mission*, he took it upon himself to research why I was not getting the information I requested from the SIT.

    In mid-April, after I had emailed the SIT directly regarding fm radio stations, I received a complete list of all licensed FM radio stations in Guatemala, listed by frequency, starting from 88.1 and going up the dial. However, I already had that information. I emailed them again, asking for more technical data for FM's. A couple weeks ago, I receive another PDF document, this time it shows all the kilowatts assigned to each FM licensed in Guatemala. That was okay, because the information we had entered into the WTFDA FM db was kind of dated (old?), so that was really an update. Entering that information in the DB is currently in progress.

    Jorge checked in with me on Monday this week to see what information I was still needing. He told me he was going to be in meeting most of the week with one of the high ranking officials at the SIT, Harold Rafael Cancinos Arbizu. If I told him what I was needing, maybe he could persuade Harold work with me in getting what I need for the WTFDA FM db. In the meantime, I located Harold's email address from the list of contacts I have for the SIT. I sent Harold an email on Wednesday, basically asking the same information that I have been requesting all along. Today (June 2nd), Jorge emailed me and asked if I could send the two PDF documents to him so that he could show them to Harold. Late this afternoon, I get an email from Harold, informing me that what I have NOW is ALL that the SIT has about each station. One of the things I had noticed about the Guatemala FM's is their reference to a Título de Usufructo de Frecuencia (TUF) for each station, which contained Order numbers and Register numbers for each station. I realized those had to be the Licenses and how do I get to see what one looks like.

    Guatemala FM's are a *hard nut to crack*, so to speak. Harold explained to me the way a Guatemala license works. Initially the potential broadcaster receives an Order number from the SIT for their request to broadcast. Once approved they are issued a Registry number. Both numbers appear on the document. The SIT agrees to what city they broadcast from, frequency on the FM radio dial, and what the MAXIMUM allowed kilowatts or watts for the station. That's it!!! The station is left up to decide on broadcast equipment, antenna/tower location and height, and studio location. They just CANNOT exceed the maximum kilowatts for their station. The only way the SIT ever finds out the technical data on a station is IF the station gives the information to them. As a standard procedure, the SIT does NOT request the technical data from each radio station. And FM dxers have wondered what is going on in Guatemala with FM radio stations.

    SO - want to see what these TUF's look like? I've attached a sample copy, along with sample FM licenses from other Central American countries for comparison purposes. BTW, Guatemala is about 60% complete (as can be) in the WTFDA FM db. We really need dxers that can hear Guatemala FM stations to share their news about any changes in programming and formats.
    Last edited by Jim Thomas; 06-04-2017 at 12:44 PM.
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

    Ozark Mountain DTV dxing Daredevil

    Dx Equipment - AntennaCraft MXU59 UHF antenna & homebrew version of AntennaCraft Y10-7-13 VHF antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Winegard HDP-269 12dB pre-amp; a Zenith DTT901 converter box & a Silicon Dust HDHomerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.

  5. #5
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    Guatemala FM's are 100% complete in the WTFDA FM database, as of this morning (Monday 6-05-17). That went quicker than expected.

    Just a note about using Latitude/Longitude for many of the Guatemala FM's. As funny as this may sound, for unknown radio station transmitter locations, the LAT/LONG will take you to the City Park center, rather than city center. Many city centers would have left the dxer/user wondering if the radio tower was really in that location. With acknowledgement that you have arrived at the City Park tells you its an estimate distance, not really where the transmit antenna is located.

    An FYI regarding transmitter locations in Cd. Guatemala - all of those are actually confirmed where the transmitter/antenna is located. If a dxer receives a radio station that is licensed to broadcast in Cd. Guatemala, they can reliably use the Lat/Long coordinates for plotting distance from their listening post to the tower.
    Last edited by Jim Thomas; 06-08-2017 at 11:47 PM.
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

    Ozark Mountain DTV dxing Daredevil

    Dx Equipment - AntennaCraft MXU59 UHF antenna & homebrew version of AntennaCraft Y10-7-13 VHF antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Winegard HDP-269 12dB pre-amp; a Zenith DTT901 converter box & a Silicon Dust HDHomerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.

  6. #6
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    Default Honduras FM radio stations in the WTFDA FM Database

    Its been a rather surprising four month stretch. I have been traveling the *backroads* of Honduras since mid-March of this year. Ahem, I haven't even put one foot on the soil there. Although I have never been there, I think I would like to visit Honduras some day. BUT - what is this WTFDA FM Database editor talking about?

    Today, I can OFFICIALLY announce to the WTFDA FM Database editor board and those that use the WTFDA FM Database, the FM entries for Honduras are COMPLETE. When I say COMPLETE, every Honduras FM listing is complete with these items:

    Accurate call letters;
    City of license;
    Kilowatts for the transmitter (with correct polarization);
    HAAT for the antenna;
    Latitude and longitude of the antenna;
    Station name;
    Hours of operation (where provided).

    Honduras is right at 800 licensed FM radio stations in operation, as of today's date. They were up to almost 810, but they recently deleted 10 licenses due to outstanding debt to CONATEL (unpaid license fees) or due to repeated offenses with broadcast guidelines, after receiving multiple warnings.

    Since mid-March, I have had the privilege of working with Erica Speers, a lawyer and employee that works for CONATEL in Tegucigalpa. During mid February to late February, I sent emails to CONATEL's general email address, requesting technical data for their FM radio stations. I was about ready to give up, when I received an email from Erica, and in Spanish, telling me that if I told her EXACTLY what I wanted, she would help me if it was possible. To set the scenario straight, up to this point, the Honduras FM listings were the worst of all the Central American countries. By worst, I mean missing information and extremely out-dated information. CONATEL does have a really good website for their radio listings, but you don't get any technical data on their website. You have to physically have the license documents (PDF) to get the information that's listed in the WTFDA FM Database. So we might say, the FM listings for Honduras were in worse shape than those from Guatemala. Well that''s all changed.

    Erica manages legal documentation for everything that is licensed by CONATEL in Honduras. So, she is privy to those documents. Since I was familiar with the FM listings for Honduras via their website, I put a list of 10 stations together and emailed that list to her. I made a point of sending the email in Spanish. Much to my surprise, she replied in less than a week, with a zipped attachment which contained the PDF documents. She told me in her email to send the next list when I was ready. It appeared we were off to the races! Along the way, I learned some tricks about using the CONATEL website that made it even easier getting PDF documents from Erica.

    I have to say, the Honduras FM listings in the WTFDA FM Database have become the shining star out of all the Central American countries. I would like to voice a "Thank You!" to Erica, for all of her work, in assisting the WTFDA. Erica has been on the Database numerous times, checking my work. She has mentioned that to me, in her emails. Thank you again, Erica!
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

    Ozark Mountain DTV dxing Daredevil

    Dx Equipment - AntennaCraft MXU59 UHF antenna & homebrew version of AntennaCraft Y10-7-13 VHF antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Winegard HDP-269 12dB pre-amp; a Zenith DTT901 converter box & a Silicon Dust HDHomerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.

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