USA (MNN) — HCJB Global will soon begin their work on a digital shortwave radio receiver.
Junior and senior electrical engineering students from LeTourneau University will be designing the receiver with the help of HCJB and Rockwell-Collins engineers. Rockwell-Collins, an aerospace and defense company of Iowa, has given a $25,000 grant for the project.
Digital shortwave radio is superior to regular shortwave because of its clearer sound. "It allows people in distant locations to get a very clear signal, much like that of a
CD, rather than the very distorted signal of shortwave radio," said Jon Wineman of HCJB.
People in third world countries often can't afford to buy a radio. If they can, it is difficult for them to buy batteries to keep it working. It is also very expensive to link a studio to a satellite and back to a broadcast transmitter.
HCJB would like to create low-power receivers that anyone can use at low-cost. In many places shortwave radio is used much like a Bible study. "Individual heads of households or heads of tribes would call people together to come and listen to the radio in the evenings in order to learn more about the Bible. It's like having a missionary in every home. It's important to us to make that more attractive to the unsaved," said Wineman.
For those countries where radio is illegal, these radios will be much less conspicuous. "In restricted countries, if you put a satellite dish on the side of your house, it's like inviting yourself to go to prison. Digital shortwave doesn't have that disadvantage. So it allows us to reach folks in restricted countries more effectively," Wineman said.
Programming will include Focus on the Family, programs about health issues, and "helping them come to a saving knowledge of Christ and also to grow in becoming more conformed to the purposes of God in their lives."
There will also be programming by indigenous teams who know what the needs of each area are.
Engaging students in this project will help them see where they can serve. "It
allows them to see older Christians who have been serving the Lord for many years as a missionary and understand firsthand what it's like to be a missionary. In this case, it's a technical missionary."