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Monday, June 27, 2016

Interns on Guam

On June 4th, three college students from the States stepped off a plane and walked out of the airport into the humid Guam air to begin two-month long engineering internships with TWR. Drew, Eric, and Michael are gaining invaluable practical experience for potential engineering jobs in the future, but they aren’t the only ones who have something to gain during these two months. According to Dale Philyaw, one of KTWR’s engineers and the staff member overseeing the interns, these young men have proven themselves to be willing helpers during a very busy season for our staff on Guam. Here’s a look at what brought each of them here this summer and the tasks they’re helping to accomplish:

Drew Swearingen is a senior at Purdue University majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Last summer, Drew spent time in Africa doing mission work through his church, but before leaving, he had learned about TWR and its internship opportunities. He decided to apply for one of those opportunities this year in order to experience what it’s like to use his technical skills for missions. Drew desires to be open to serving the Lord in ministry someday with his degree if that’s where the Lord leads him.

Drew helping to run a fiber optic line from the solar panels outside to the control room inside
Eric Rowe is a senior at Dordt College majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Eric was interested in exploring how missions and engineering could be integrated, and after doing a Google search for missions engineering internships, he found TWR’s webpage and decided to apply. Not only does he believe the work to be beneficial, but he also sees the opportunity to live in a different geographical and cultural setting as a valuable experience.

Eric weed eating around the radio towers
Michael (Mike) Pasti is a senior at Messiah College majoring in Electrical Engineering. Mike found out about TWR internship opportunities through a job fair at his college. After college Mike plans to get a job and gain more work experience and save money. He desires to make and keep connections on the field for potential full-time ministry prospects in the future. He also hopes to take home some local Chamorro recipes to share with others back at home.

Mike helping to create a test for one of the transmitter parts to determine where there's a fault in the part
All three of these young men could have gotten jobs during their last summer breaks of college or found internships that paid, but the Lord led each of them here, and they were obedient to His calling in their lives. We are so grateful for their willingness to work hard and to serve our staff and our listeners.

From left to right: Drew, Eric, and Mike

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Antenna Rigging

Sterling harnessed in and hoisted high
Wind and rust damage are regular occurrences on Guam, and KTWR’s radio towers and antennas are not immune to the elements here. Not only do wind and salt water damage the equipment, but radiofrequency (RF) damage—essentially burn damage from transmitting—is also an issue. These problems make regular maintenance and repair an absolute necessity.

Last week, Sterling and Tom arrived on Guam from Cary, North Carolina to help with this great need. Sterling, a TWR staff member from Cary, lived and served on Guam for ten years as an antenna rigger before moving back to the States with his wife and daughter. Tom, a volunteer, is a trained metal worker and is sacrificially offering his time and talents to make replacement parts for the transmitters. While they are here, they will clean the rusted parts throughout the antenna field, replace damaged feed lines and plates, reconnect parts of the antenna screen, check and tighten the bolts on the antennas that are electrical connections, and so on.

But why would we need someone from off-island to come and accomplish these tasks? Don’t we have the staff here necessary to maintain and repair the antennas? The short answer: No. And we need help!

Tom in the workshop
Jim McIntyre has served the Lord at KTWR on Guam since 1990. Jim does a lot to help around the transmitter site, including being our main (and only) antenna rigger. But antenna rigging and maintenance for ten towers and six curtain array antennas takes a lot more than one man and the occasional volunteer.

As Sterling and Tom work hard to help with this critical need, two members of our video department from Cary have also come to Guam to film this process. Their goal is to capture the tasks of an antenna rigger and the importance of this position, and with this footage, they will create an appeal for help using visual media.

Kate and Candace with the video team filming Jim and Sterling at work
Please pray with us as we ask the Lord to provide for this very important need on Guam. To loosely quote Paul in regard to radio ministry, “The preacher on the radio program cannot say to the transmitter engineer, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the musician whose worship music is played on the radio to the antenna rigger, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable…” (1 Corinthians 12:21-22).

To read the job description for this position, click here.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Final Dummy Load Update

In 2010, the staff at KTWR began the intricate Transmitter Replacement Project (see the post from July 13, 2010). It has taken many hours of hard labor, fundraising, and prayer, and this year the completion of the Dummy Load installation marks the end of this incredible project.

You can follow the progress of this project by reading through the blog posts from the past six years, but in summary, it has involved the retiring of one of our transmitters and the installment of two new transmitters, known as Thomson transmitters. These new transmitters are capable of broadcasting using DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) technology, which means we can transmit analog
shortwave broadcasts with digital quality. Using DRM technology allows us to reach a wider audience with better sound quality—and is there a more worthy message that deserves to be communicated as clearly as possible than the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

The Dummy Load installation began last year (see the post from July 27, 2015) and was completed this March. The Dummy Load is important because it acts as a sort of fake (or dummy) antenna, allowing our engineers to test the power of the new transmitters. Sometimes when broadcasting, the transmitters indicate that they’re using the correct amount of power when they really aren’t. We want the broadcasts to reach the right people in the right places, so transmitting with the right amount of power is crucial. If the real antennas were used to check the power output, we would risk interfering with other broadcasters. Because of the Dummy Load, we can now appropriately measure how much power the transmitters are actually putting out to ensure our listeners hear the Word of God.
Not only is this equipment used for power measurement, it also gives us a way to perform other tests that require the transmitter to be putting out a signal without the aforementioned interference issue. The Dummy Load has been tested, it works, and we praise the Lord for it!

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
Psalm 90:17

These are the resistors of the dummy (test) load that act as an antenna so the power from the transmitters can be tested. These resistors are situated inside a concrete enclosure for protection against the often punishing elements here on Guam.

The metal box to the far right is the chiller, which is needed because when testing the transmitters a large amount of energy is sent to the test load, creating a lot of heat. The beige structure directly to the left of the chiller is the concrete structure surrounding the dummy load. The series of metal boxes and black lines directly to the left of that is the switch matrix. This matrix connects the transmitters to the antennas and increases broadcast reliability. If a transmitter or antenna fails, it allows our operators to switch the power from a different transmitter or to a different antenna so we can continue broadcasting. It also gives us flexibility in choosing which transmitter/antenna combination is the best for reaching particular audiences. By hooking up the Dummy Load to the matrix, we are able to switch the power from the antennas to the Dummy Load so tests can be run.

The KTWR site to date. You can see the Dummy Load and matrix center-left, between the KTWR building and the antenna field.

Monday, June 6, 2016


At the end of last week, KTWR staff members completed a task in the Transmitter (TX) hall that has been a long time coming—resurfacing the floor. The TX hall rehab has been in process over the last six years as it has seen the retiring of one transmitter in 2010 and the arrival of two new transmitters in 2011. Throughout the decommissioning and installation processes, the floor got a little torn up and some trenches were made where lines for previous transmitters were removed.

Now, the trenches are filled in and epoxy paint and coating have been applied to the floor of the entire TX hall to give it a smooth, clean finish. The new floor is easier to clean, more pleasing to the eye for visitors, and creates a safer work environment. The Lord has entrusted this site to TWR, and we’re grateful to those who are faithful to do these “little” things so that the greater aspects of the ministry may be carried out more effectively.

The old floor and trenches after they had been filled in.

The new floor!