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HCJB, Quito, Ecuador

Save perhaps for Vatican Radio, which was founded in February 1931, the earliest major religious shortwave station was HCJB, Quito, Ecuador. The creation of American evangelists Clarence W. Jones and Reuben E. Larson, it too began broadcasting in 1931, on Christmas Day. Starting out with a 200 watt transmitter, it increased power over the years, reaching 500 kw. in 1982. Over the years HCJB developed a major shortwave presence.  It had  strong technical and production capabilities, and its extensive English and foreign-language schedule served listeners throughout the world. For decades it was one of the first stations a new SWL would hear, and it was very friendly toward the SWL community.  It's DX program, "DX Partyline," was on the air for over 40 years, and the related HCJB-sponsored ANDEX club was similarly long-lived (1974-96). Starting in 1997, budget constraints, plus the need to remove its antennas due to nearby airport construction, brought about a rethinking of the entire HCJB ministry, and the next decade saw major cutbacks.  Although today the station operates on but a single 10 kw. channel, and only in Spanish and a few other Latin American languages, it boasts a legacy as one of the world's true shortwave pioneers.

If you have any interesting HCJB memorabilia to add, please let us know.

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HCJB published a great deal of material about its activities.  Here are some of the more interesting examples.
  • "Newscript"  - This two-page bulletin, issued in August 1941, contained newsy items about the station.
  • "Ten Years Heralding Christ Jesus' Blessings" - A newspaper-style publication commemorating the station's tenth anniversary  and containing much early station history, it was issued in December 1941.
  • "The Radio Missionary Log" - The station's facilities, personalities and activities were the subject of this publication's 14th anniversary number.
  • "The Radio Missionary Log, 1947" - This is the 16th anniversary edition. There are a couple of well-known names in the kids' photos (Van Der Puy, Howard); interesting info about the two New York offices (New York City and Flatbush); and long familiar program names (back cover, "Morning in the Mountains," "Ecuadorean Echoes").
  • "The Air--New Missionary Frontier" - Issued in 1945 or soon thereafter, it contains highlights of HCJB history, plus some programming and organizational information, and a few photos.
  • "The Voice of the Andes - Songs and Scenes" - This pamphlet, which appears to date from the very late 1940s, contains some photos of the station, as well as sheet music for some songs, several of which were written by HCJB co-founder Clarence W. Jones himself.  In the group photo on p. 14, that's Clayton Howard in the front row, far left, and maybe Helen in the back row, fourth from the left.  They had arrived at the station around 1941.
  • "Objectives" - This was distributed in the 1940s.
  • "HCJB Radio Announcement" - Also from the 1940s, this pamphlet introduces the station's Radio Missionary Fellowship.
  • "Advance Program Bulletin" - This folder, from August 1953, contains many photographs of the station.
  • "HCJB - Twenty-Five Years of Progress" - HCJB issued this informative silver anniversary booklet in 1956.
  • "Call of the Andes" - That was the name of the station's monthly program bulletin for many years. These copies are from 1960 (A, B), 1961 and 1965.
  • "Think it Over" - A pamphlet that seems intended especially for amateurs--from the references to HCJB powers and frequencies, it looks like this dates from the mid 1930s.
  • "The WorldWide Radio Missionary" folder - Also undated, but the times and powers, and the use of the "Pre-Casilla 691" New York forwarding address, suggest that this is from 1942 or thereabouts.
  • "HCJB International Program Schedule" - Spring 1961.
  • "First Anniversary of the Russian Program" folder - It looks like they started broadcasting in Russian in 1952.
  • "Glimpses of Ecuador" - Probably from the early 1960s.
  • Pifo Antenna Plan - Rich McVicar, who worked at HCJB, has sent us this diagram. image and explanation of the antenna plan at Pifo. Thanks, Rich.
Perhaps the most famous, and the best, station-sponsored shortwave listeners club was HCJB's ANDEX, short for "Andes DXers International."  The first issue of the club's monthly (soon bi-monthly) bulletin, ANDEX International, was published in January 1974. It was an entertaining and highly informative six-to-eight page presentation of information about HCJB personalities, programs and facilities, the country of Ecuador, other Ecuadorian radio stations, propagation, antennas and other technical topics, a "DXer of the Month," favorite QSLs, and many other topics of interest to DXers.  ANDEX really captured what shortwave listening was all about.  Even with the small membership fee, membership reached 1,200 by the club's first anniversary.  Clayton Howard headed the club until 1981, and was followed by Ruth Stanley, Doris Hastings, Brent Allred, Rich McVicar, and Ken MacHarg.  Almost 10,000 listeners were members of  the club at one time or another during  its 23-year history (it closed in 1996).
The archive of ANDEX bulletins is available here.

Index to Andex International (Compiled by Jerry Berg)

  • HCJB identification - This is a station ID recorded in 1957 by Mike Csontos.
  • Ken Boord Easter Special, April 1960 - This program was presented in April 1960 over HCJB and also over 4VEH in Haiti.  This recording was made over HCJB.  Ken Boord was the premier DX editor of the day, and in addition to his shortwave activities he was the organist at Spruce Street Methodist Church in Morgantown, West Virginia. The recording features Easter melodies with Ken at the keyboard
  • Ham traffic over HC1JB - From time to time HCJB would put its ham station on the air.  This is some of the ham traffic over HC1JB, recorded on June 12, 1983.
  • DX Partyline - This is a recording of the last edition of "DX Partyline" that was produced and hosted by long-time HCJB radio personalities, and "DXPL" originators, Helen and Clayton Howard.  It was presented on June 19, 1984, and it continued after that "under new management."  Thanks to Chris Lobdell for this recording.
  • "Ham Radio Today" Special Report - This  interesting program, recorded on December 22, 1994, contains interviews of, and about, several important HCJB personalities from the station's  very early days.
  • Final HCJB English broadcast - Recorded on May 6, 2006, it closed out almost 75 years of HCJB English broadcasting.
  • "Radio - The New Missionary" This YouTube clip shows the very beginnings of HCJB, including founder Clarence Jones, the original transmitter building being reconstructed from what was left of an old sheep shed, and the erection of the early radio towers.
  • Classic Cards - These were the four main designs used through approximately the 1950s.
  • Sets - HCJB published a number of annual sets of QSLs, issuing different cards in the set throughout the year.  The cards shown contain station-related motifs, but others featured birds, mountains, other scenes of Ecuador, etc.
  • Standalone Cards - These are among the individual radio-motif cards used by the station.
  • Special Cards - Special events often brought forth special QSLs.
  • Ham QSLs - Hams who worked at the station sometimes featured HCJB on their own QSLs.
Here are a few of the many pennants and stickers offered over the years.
Ecuador has issued several postage stamps commemorating HCJB.
Over the years a number of books have been written about HCJB. 
The music of HCJB has been preserved on various LP record albums. Here are two.
HCJB has favored listeners with many types of souvenirs.