Easter Island Radio

This article was originally broadcast over AWR in their “Wavescan” program and now forms part of the Radio Heritage Collection ©. All rights reserved to Ragusa Media Group, PO Box 14339, Wellington, New Zealand. This material is licenced on a non-exclusive basis to South Pacific DX Resource hosted on radiodx.com for a period of five years from May 1 2002. Author: Adrian Peterson

It was on Easter Sunday in the year 1722 that the Dutch navigator, Admiral Jacob Roggeveen, discovered and named Easter Island.

Easter Island lies in the South Pacific half way between South America and Pitcairn Island, and Pitcairn is located about half way between South America and Australia. This dot in the broad ocean with its 63 square miles is the top of a dormant volcano. The local inhabitants call their island, “Rapu Nui” (RAH-pooh Noo-ee)

Over the past many centuries, there have been four different societies living on Easter Island. The original settlers arrived more than 1,500 years ago, followed by a wave of immigrants who destroyed this first settlement. Then came the Polynesians in the 1600’s who also massacred all of the inhabitants. In the year 1868, missionary settlers came from South America, and since that time, the island has been administered by Chile.

There is just one small town on the island with a total population of 2800 people. In addition, both the Chilean navy and the Chilean airforce maintain small bases on Easter Island.

There are two main mysteries on Easter Island. One is the tall statue, 600 of them actually, with some standing 50 ft tall and weighing up to 50 tons each. These were probably carved out by the early Polynesians as memorials to their dead. The other mystery is the strange writing on wooden tablets which is as yet undeciphered. Some 20 of these wooden tablets are now deposited in different museums.

The first local radio station on Easter Island was a volunteer project operated by personnel in the Chilean airforce. The existence of this station was revealed to the world in a publication from Denmark, “The World Radio TV Handbook Newsletter”. This original mediumwave station was on the air daily with a 250 watt transmitter operating at reduced power on 690 kHz.

These days there are two radio broadcasting stations located on Easter Island, both volunteer projects. The original station is now designated as Radio Manukena and it is heard on both mediumwave & FM, 580 kHz & 101.8 Mhz. The Chilean navy is on the air also, on 98.5 MHz FM.

In addition, there is an airways beacon with the callsign H2Q on 280 kHz, and a communication station CA17E which was noted some years ago on 13,200 kHz. At least one listener has received a letter QSL, in Spanish, from Easter Island, and one of the AWR personnel, Darryl Gungadoo in Forli Italy, made a visit to the island during a world tour last year.

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