One of the goals at the HCJB Global Technology Center is to seek to be responsive to the needs of partner radio stations and ministries around the world.
Over a period of time, the Technology Center received repeated requests for a low-power shortwave transmitter for use in regional broadcasting. Our partners needed a way to reach out to the less populated areas inbetween cities. Near the end of the 1990s, and building upon the research and design of the FM transmitters, Michael Axman, Ted Miller and other engineers completed the design of a 1,000-watt low-power shortwave transmitter and accompanying power supply, known as the TB1000. In February of 2000, we were finally able to meet that request with the installation of the first TB1000 at ELWA in Liberia.
Our FM transmitters provide coverage of a metropolitan area, but there are many people who do not live in metropolitan areas. Some of these small shortwave transmitters are used to extend the reach of an FM station outside of its metropolitan area, and some are used to reach audiences that are completely outside of any metropolitan area. Where our FM transmitters are limited to listeners 20-40 miles from the transmitter, the TB1000 can be heard by listeners several hundred miles away. Like our FM transmitters, the TB1000 can be carried in suitcases.
The prototype transmitter has been on the air in Monrovia, Liberia, since 2000, with production transmitters having been shipped since 2001. These production transmitters have enjoyed very high reliability, and require little to no maintenance. The Technology Center has shipped transmitters to Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and other locations.
This technology is not new, but is still effective. Some TB1000 users have replaced transmitters that had been on the air for years, but most are putting new signals on the air to proclaim Jesus Christ to their area. In some parts of the world the government has refused to license any non-government stations on these frequency bands until recently, and some governments continue that policy. Where these bands have opened to Christian broadcasters, some have used this opportunity, with our help. Broadcasters report very good coverage from these stations, often being heard far beyond the area of their intended audience.
The TB1000 was designed and is built at the Technology Center by engineers with decades of experience working with broadcast transmitters. Our ministry partners came to us because low-power shortwave transmitters had disappeared from the market.