"Wavescan" is a weekly program for long distance radio hobbyists produced by Dr. Adrian M. Peterson, Coordinator of International Relations for Adventist World Radio. AWR carries the program over many of its stations (including shortwave). Adrian Peterson is a highly regarded DXer and radio historian, and often includes features on radio history in his program. We are reproducing those features below, with Dr. Peterson's permission and assistance.
Wavescan 511, October 17, 2004
Radio Broadcasting in Mexico
The earliest origins in the story of wireless and radio in Mexico go back a long way, exactly one hundred years in fact. According to the recent book on the story of shortwave broadcasting in Mexico, which was published in Spanish by Pepe Gonzales, the government communication department was ordered to import wireless equipment from the Marconi company in England. The type of equipment that was ordered in 1904 is described as the "Slaby Spark," a type that was developed in Germany.
Subsequently, Mexico took progressive delivery of wireless equipment from England, sufficient for as many as 23 communication stations throughout Mexico. The final delivery of all of this equipment occurred in the year 1911.
The earliest known experiments in Mexico, using primitive wireless equipment, took place in the regional city, Monterrey, in the year 1908, just 13 years after Marconi began his earliest experiments in Italy. These experiments were conducted by Sr. Constantino de Tamava, apparently using items of equipment that he himself constructed. Subsequently, another experimenter, Sr. Bonilla, built a small transmitter in Chapultepec, as well as a cluster of small stations in the Fresnillo area.
According to the radio historians, the first radio broadcast in Mexico took place in Mexico City on September 27, 1921, when Dr. A. G. Hernandez commenced a series of regular program broadcasts. Soon afterwards, the aforementioned Tamava also began a series of radio broadcasts at night from his same location in Monterrey. The Monterrey station was on the air under the unusual callsign "24A."
Regular radio broadcasting in Mexico commenced in 1923 when three stations were launched in Mexico City. These stations identified on air with the callsigns, JH, CYB and CYL. In 1929, international regulations required that all radio stations in Mexico should change their callsigns to an X prefix, and thus CYB was re-designated as XEB, the oldest radio station in their country.
Experimental broadcasting on shortwave commenced in 1922 when a 50 watt transmitter was installed in the Esto Theatre in Mexico City. Programming for these transmissions on 120 metres were live broadcasts presented from the regular performances on the stage in the theater.
A regular shortwave service was commenced in the year 1928 when station XC51 was inaugurated in Mexico City. This station was noted in subsequent years carrying at times the programming from the well known mediumwave station XEW.