Sunday, March 31, 2013

France closes its shortwave relay facilities in French Guyana

Ian Baxter of the shortwave transmitter group points out two TV reportages on the closure of the French shortwave broadcast transmitter site near Montsinery, French Guyana. The site was opened in 1985 in order to strengthen reception of Radio France Internationale in both North & South America as well as West & Central Africa.

These massive shortwave antenna  towers in Central France worked well for North Africa, but signals into Latin America were not competitive. Hence the decision to build a site in the Northern part of South America.

Later the towers in Issoudon were replaced with a new more compact design. These antennas are rotatable.
Signals from a transmitting centre at Issoudon in central France could not compete with signals from other broadcasters like VOA, Radio Netherlands, BBC and Deutsche Welle who all had relay transmission facilities somewhere in the Americas. The site in French Guyana was upgraded in the 1990's with a new set of combined high power transmitters and rotatable antennas. These take up far less space. Whereas the ALLISS antenna system usually has the transmitters in the base of each antenna, it seems the antennas installed in French Guyana were just connected to the existing transmitters. It didn't make sense to get rid of the existing transmitters.

From local news reports, it seems that 6 employees at the site will supervise the station's dismantling operation over the next 9 months.

Nice shots of the Montsinery facilities on Google Earth at the moment by Pierre Basson.

Impressive shot of one of the antennas in Monsinery, French Guyana, now silent as shortwave is phased out completely for Latin America.

1 comment:

Jonathan Marks said...

David Ricquish says to this post on Facebook: More to come I'm sure. The retreat from state SW radio in the western democracies is gathering pace. A medium in deep transition. Aside from the technology changes, it might be worth looking at who stands to financially gain from this shift. India for example has hundreds of new community FM stations. Who produces the transmitters, aerials, studio equipment and the like, and who profits from the flow of music royalties? Same question for Africa, South America and Asia. It's not just that SW technology is past its peak. There is a profit motive lurking somewhere.