International (MNN) — A new 100,000-watt shortwave transmitter built at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Ind., is on the air at the Trans World Radio (TWR) site in Swaziland, broadcasting a message of hope across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
Through a cooperative effort between the two organizations, the HC100 transmitter began broadcasting about 12 hours a day on Oct. 23, replacing an outdated Continental unit and joining two other HC100s, also from Elkhart.
"The results of the broadcasts from this transmitter are that people come to Christ and they are encouraged in their faith," said Ray Alary, TWR's director of operations in Africa. "For those with HIV/AIDS, we can encourage them in what seems a hopeless situation. Through Jesus, we all have hope. The primary target areas are eastern and southern Africa, but our transmitters in Swaziland reach locations as far away as Pakistan. We broadcast in approximately 30 languages with our three HC100 transmitters."
Alary added that TWR's partnership with HCJB Global "goes back a long way and has taken many different forms over the years. It is a model of a well-functioning partnership where each party gains from our ability to work together."
The partnership includes having a number of TWR missionaries serving at the Technology Center in Elkhart. Among those is veteran engineer Larry McGuire who lived in Swaziland for 16 years before moving to Elkhart in 1990. He helped build and install all three HC100s at the Swaziland site, spending 2 1/2 weeks in Swaziland in October to put the new transmitter on the air.
"The new transmitter is much more efficient and has a clearer, more understandable signal than the one it replaced," McGuire said. "The HC100 is also easier to maintain because it was designed by missionary engineers for that purpose."
Alary said that having "three identical transmitters at the same site makes our operation in Swaziland very efficient. In addition, we have purchased more than 20 suitcase transmitters through HCJB."
Tom Lowell, chairman of TWR's board of directors, said the new transmitter has many economic advantages. "For example, parts needed to keep the old equipment on the air were expensive. The Continental transmitter uses three large tubes, at $13,000 each, compared to the HC100's single tube. That's an immediate savings of $26,000 on parts alone. The HC100 also operates much more efficiently, saving us $12,000 per year on our electric bill in Swaziland."
McGuire added that the installation of the HC100 in Swaziland culminates years of work and planning dating back to about 2000. Construction of this transmitter, the ninth of its type, was completed in 2005.
After TWR agreed to purchase the unit, it was modified to and tested for Swaziland requirements. It was then packed and loaded onto a truck in Elkhart on July 31 and traveled across the Atlantic Ocean by ship, arriving in Durban, South Africa, on Sept. 0.
From there it went by train to Matsapha, Swaziland, where it cleared customs "almost immediately," McGuire said. Finally it went by truck to TWR's transmitter site on a ranch 20 miles from Manzini along the White Mbuluzi River, arriving on Sept. 18.
"The day it arrived, there 'happened' to be a work crew from a church in Elkhart that had been renovating the building," McGuire continued. "They were way ahead of schedule, so they helped unload the transmitter from the container, got it in position, started putting up the heavy parts and then built the fascia — all before I started working on the installation on Oct. 6. I was very amazed. That's never happened before."
McGuire said the entire installation process went smoothly. "The cooperation was great — very beneficial for both."
David Russell, director of the HCJB Global Technology Center, says while providing transmitters like the HC100 to ministries like TWR, "what really counts is the final results. Around 70 languages are being aired to date, and about a half-million broadcast hours have aired. There's no doubt that countless number of lives have been impacted for the kingdom."
Russell adds, "It gives us a great sense of fulfillment to be able to support our fellow kingdom workers at TWR through the provision of technical consulting, equipment, installations and maintenance," Russell added. "By pooling our strengths, we are able to be more effective in the Lord's harvest fields."