By: Martin Butera (LU9EFO – PT2ZDX)
Photographs: Ligia Katze
Enivaldo Alves Silva was born on June 12, 1948 in Brazil. He is an Esperantist and a radio amateur. He studied at the Faculty of Engineering at UFAL (Federal University of Alagoas), northeastern Brazil.
Enivaldo has been a radio amateur since 1972, the same year he began learning Esperanto.
His first call sign was PY7CAC, then in Alagoas, Northeast Brazil. He moved to the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, in the Federal District, in 1975, he received the call sign PT2GYS and then PT2CA.
He is member number 53 of ILERA (International League of Esperantist Radio Amateurs), was a member of the board of directors for several periods, also edited several issues of the newsletter and currently holds the position of secretary.
I invite you to learn a little more about Esperanto through this fascinating interview.
Let ‘s get started!!
MB: I would like to start the interview by asking you: how did you find out about amateur radio and Esperanto?
Eni (PT2CA): Well… it was all at the same time (laughs)…
I discovered the world of amateur radio and Esperanto when I was still at university. I remember that at that time he was secretary of the philanthropic entity “Cidade de Menores”, linked to the government of the State of Alagoas.
The director at that time was Francisco Alves Mata, radio amateur (PP7IY), poet, writer and member of the Alagoana Academy of Letters, as well as a high-ranking soldier in the reserve of the military police of the State of Alagoas and, upon assuming the direction from Cidade de Menores, he took up residence there, where he installed his amateur radio station and when operating, he invited me to his side as a radio listener.
One fine day, he asked me if I would like to be a radio amateur, to which I happily replied “Yes.”
So Colonel Francisco Alves Mata began to teach me telegraphy, legislation and various technical subjects, until I obtained my first amateur radio license.
Colonel Francisco Alves Mata Más was over 60 years old when he discovered the international language, “Esperanto” and began a correspondence course in that language. As I was his secretary, he often asked me to type the course exercises. At that time it was a typewriter, there was no computer like today (laughs…)
In this way I started practicing Esperanto before taking any language course.
The Colonel was an influential person in the cultural world and very well connected in Alagoas society, it was in this way that he motivated the rector of the Federal University of Alagoas to promote a quick summer course in Esperanto with 20 hours of class. This course was a great success and more than 200 people attended, and I was present.
It was my first and only Esperanto course and to this day I am amazed at how easily I learned the Esperanto language. It was enough for me to immediately write a short letter in Esperanto to thank the teacher and ask for addresses of Esperantists with whom to start writing.
Thanks to Esperanto and amateur radio I traveled the world and made many friends.
MB: What is the International League of Radio Amateurs in Esperanto?
Eni (PT2CA): The ILERA (International League of Radio Amateurs in Esperanto), luckily is quite extensive, it has already been in existence for 53 years, I will try to summarize (laughs…)
First of all, I would like to say that ILERA has been the collective work of many radio amateurs passionate about this language, who collaborated selflessly throughout all these years, many of these colleagues are already Silent Key.
The beginning was during the 55th Universal Esperanto Congress, which was held in Vienna in 1970, it was the idea of the Austrian radio amateur SK, the beloved Rudi Bartosch, OE3RU, along with other radio amateur groups.
Those first beginnings were not easy, but little by little the league added more and more Esperanto radio amateurs, until it had a significant number of members.
By the end of the 1970s, a newsletter began to be published and an Esperanto contest for radio amateurs was also created, which continues to this day.
The league also creates a diploma for all radio amateurs, who contact a necessary number of Esperanto radio amateurs, for motivation and search for operators who use the Esperanto language.
Among many other things, the league also created a dictionary of radio terms and adaptation of some codes.
MB: What else can you tell me about the newsletters? The radio contest? About the waiting diploma? And finally about the books adapted to Esperanto for radio amateurs?
Eni (PT2CA): Well let’s start in parts (laughs…)
The newsletters were very important not only because they informed about ILERA activity, but also served as a link between members. We are talking about a time before the Internet, so they became essential.
Since ILERA created the newsletter, we tried to maintain a rhythm of between 1 to 4 newsletters per year, we must also remember once again that today’s facilities with the Internet did not exist. The bulletins were printed and sent to each zone coordinator, so that they could then distribute them.
The newsletters were a task that took a lot of effort, due to lack of editors and, above all, money. For these reasons, a lot of time sometimes passed between the publication of one newsletter to another.
With the advent of the Internet, things became easier, I had the opportunity to edit some myself in the mid-90s.
Regarding the contest, I can tell you that it was the idea of the German radio amateur, already silent key, Hans Welling, DJ4PG, and it began at the end of the 70s and I had the pleasure of meeting him personally, for the first time, in 1979, on the occasion of the 64th World Esperanto Congress held in Lucerne, Switzerland.
To this day it is celebrated and its date is the third weekend of November. All bands and modes are used.
Even since the arrival of the Internet, which has been very favorable for Esperanto, some ILERA members use the ECHOLINK program on the day of the contest and it is additionally valid.
Furthermore, it is not only carried out in the Esperanto language, other languages can be used, the ultimate idea is to spread the language, which is why it is open to everyone.
The next contest will take place between November 17 and 18, 2024.
What else… about the diploma
It is open to all radio amateurs and SWL, who can demonstrate contacts with ILERA members, there are several categories with different seals, starting with the basic certificate, which is awarded for demonstrating 10 contacts.
The idea came from the Hungarian colleague Laszlo Matusinka (HA7PW). After Laszlo’s death, the Lithuanian colleague Ricardas Strolia (LY2FN) is now in charge of the diploma.
One last thing I would like to mention about this certificate is that the German colleague, Wolf Kruger (DL1CC), a great Esperanto activist, was the first to reach the maximum degree by showing 200 cards.
Finally, I will respond to you about publications in Esperanto, mentioning that the IARU recommended the use of Esperanto for international communications.
Something that few radio amateurs know is that the minutes of the founding conference of the IARU were written in French, English and Esperanto.
In 1973, ILERA member and creator of the “Círculo del Pacífico” radio network, colleague Buno (KH6GT), already a silent key, would publish the Esperanto dictionary for radio amateurs. I had the opportunity, at least once, to make contact with Buno (KH6GT) on the 15 meter band.
There were about twelve pages in A5 format, where he explained many words necessary for contacts between radio amateurs in Esperanto.
Also another friend and member of ILERA, who unfortunately left us this year 2023, the beloved German radio amateur Hans (DJ4PG), published a book called “Esperanto für den Amateurfunk”, which was published in 1999 and was like a more complete continuation of the text written by colleague Buno (KH6GT).
I think I answered everything (laughs…)
MB: I know that they usually transmit from the universal Esperanto congresses, what can you tell me about this?
Eni (PT2CA): The Universal Esperanto Congresses have a long tradition, taking place almost uninterruptedly for more than one hundred years, except during world wars.
When these congresses are held, we, Esperanto radio amateurs, take the opportunity to meet, request a special prefix from the competent organizations of each country and activate from the congress.
Often, local amateur radio clubs helped build the radio station and antenna to broadcast from the convention.
I think it is a very important activity that ILERA develops, for the dissemination of the Esperanto language, a great example occurred in the congress organized by Spain in the city of Valencia in 1993 where more than 1,000 contacts were made via radio in the Esperanto language. in Spanish and other national languages.
Another interesting activation was the one that occurred in Tel Aviv in 2000, where a special and independent room was rented on the top floor of the hotel where the congress was taking place, so that radio amateurs could make radio.
MB: Is there a frequency where radio amateurs can be found waiting?
Eni (PT2CA): It is a good question, since for many years, contacts between Esperanto radio amateurs were carried out according to specially agreed conditions.
In 1972, the German colleague Ludwig (DL8X) proposed a system of common frequencies that uses the final digits 66, which are easy to remember.
Being configured as follows: 3,766MHz, 7,066MHz, 14,266MHz, 21,266MHz and 28,766MHz.
Something curious is that in the two-meter band we like to use 145.555 MHz, where we communicate internally with each other on the days we attend conferences.
Esperanto radio amateurs also use the DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) chat group of Brandmeister 3144397. Anyone who needs more information about DMR and Esperanto can contact colleague John P Cunningham (W1AI), at the following email
MB: What is the current number of active ILERA members? And how many people do you think speak Esperanto around the world?
Eni (PT2CA): The club had more than 700 members, I am number 53. I cannot answer that question exactly because many are no longer active and many are also already Silent Key, but I could say that perhaps we are about 500 active radio amateurs in Esperanto.
Regarding the other question of how many people speak the language around the world, it is also a difficult question to answer exactly.
Esperanto is not officially studied except in some isolated countries, it is a very strong language here in Brazil, China or Japan.
An estimate can be made based on the number of Esperanto groupings. However, there are many Esperantists who do not belong to any group and learn through the internet, I have already seen cases of this type, I remember a world Esperanto congress in 2014, in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I heard a young man spoke in person in Esperanto for the first time with another Esperantist and had learned only through the Internet.
Something important when talking about numbers of people is what happens every year through the world Esperanto congresses, which we already talked about before.
These congresses bring together an average of 2000 participants, with representation from more than 60 different countries.
I was lucky enough to travel and attend several around the world, together with my wife who is also a radio amateur (Maria Lucia Rego Sila – PT2LI), even here in Brazil it was organized twice in 1981 here in Brasilia-DF and in in 2002 in the city of Fortaleza, northeastern Brazil.
Next year 2024 will be celebrated in Arusha, a city in the north of Tanzania, in Africa.
So, returning to the question, talking about numbers is difficult to define. What I can say is that there are many people who speak this language and I still see a great future for Esperanto. It will all be a matter of time and the advancement of humanity, so that more people use Esperanto.
MB: How is the Esperanto language formed? Is it easy to learn?
Eni (PT2CA): It is an agglutinative language and the roots of the vocabulary come mainly from Latin (60 to 75%), to a lesser extent from Germanic languages (20%) and the rest from Greek, Slavic, Hebrew, Arabic, among others…
The vocal richness makes Esperanto a clear and easy to understand language, very suitable for radio amateurs.
Esperanto has only 28 letters and its grammar has 16 rules, which are valid without exception: for example, each letter is always pronounced the same way, there are no different genders, there is only one declension of nouns, there is only one conjugation Of verbs, the roots of the words are never modified to form verbs or nouns.
That’s why I guarantee that in just half an hour you will be able to read Esperanto correctly and perfectly. (laughs…)
MB: I understand that there is a subtle difference between language and idiom, how could you define this?
Eni (PT2CA): Very simply, a language is a system of phonetic or graphic signs by which members of a community x communicate. The language is the official language of a people or nation.
MB: Why was Esperanto so persecuted?
Eni (PT2CA): The main objective of Dr. Zamenhof, creator of Esperanto, was to create bridges between peoples, through a single language of communication.
Zamenhof, did not want Esperanto to belong to any specific country, but to the entire world. He, too, did not want to be the language that supplants the others, but rather a method that allows us to reach all cultures.
This idea was not completely accepted, it had countless problems, especially in some of the political regimes of the time.
In Russia it was persecuted by Stalin, but perhaps the greatest persecution occurred in Nazi Germany, the fact that it had been started by a Jew, and the existence of an important Esperanto labor movement, produced the hostility of Hitler, who in his book “Mein Kampf” condemned the language, as an instrument of the Jewish conspiracy.
Other regimes close to Nazism also showed their hostility to Esperanto. Japan persecuted the anarchist Esperanto movement.
In Portugal in 1936 many Esperanto centers were closed.
In Spain, the Franco regime also treated the Esperanto movement with distrust.
Even in some democratic countries, such as the United States, there were some episodes of hostility during the period of McCarthyism.
For those who are more interested in this topic, I recommend a book by the German historian Ulrich Lins, called “The Dangerous Language”, where everything I am telling you is mentioned in a more in-depth way.
MB: How was Esperanto accepted in the different religious movements?
Eni (PT2CA): It must be clarified that Esperanto is simply a language and does not have to be interpreted as a religious or philosophical movement.
One of the fundamental principles of the Esperantist Movement is neutrality, however, recognizing that religious sentiment exists in almost all men in all places on earth, it maintains relations with the associations that the Esperantists participating in these beliefs have managed to organize. .
Catholics constitute the oldest religious Esperanto association. Created in 1910, the International Union of Esperantist Catholics (IKUE) publishes a very important magazine called “Esperanto Katolika”.
Among his greatest successes is having Pope John Paul II perform his Easter and Christmas Day blessings in the Esperanto language.
That tradition was also maintained by Pope Benedict XVI, unfortunately Pope Francis did not continue them, although he was once asked: Does the Pope dream in Italian or in Spanish?, to which he responded: “I would say that I dream in Esperanto” (laughs …)
The shortwave radio station Radio Vaticano regularly broadcasts in Esperanto three times a week.
Bahaism, Buddhists, Muslims, in Japan for example there is the Oomoto religion from Kyoto, in its headquarters in Kameoka, they teach Esperanto to their believers and maintain an important library of books in Esperanto, they also welcome any Esperantist who visits them in a hostel they own.
Many other religions promote the use of the international language without any problem.
MB: Here in Brazil, Esperanto is related to the Spiritist movement. What is it and what does it have in common with Esperanto?
Eni (PT2CA): Well, first of all I would like to clarify again that Esperanto is not a religion, it is simply a language. Many Esperantists are very religious, but others are atheists.
Coincidentally, in our case, I and my wife are Spiritists, which is a doctrine that originated in France in the mid-19th century, whose greatest exponent was Allan Kardec (1804-1869).
Spiritualism and Esperanto simply have in common that they seek peace and harmony
Spiritism demonstrates the immortality of the soul and its evolutionary process through existence in the spiritual world and the physical world through reincarnation or successive physical lives.
We believe that Esperanto is also a project of Jesus to establish and consolidate understanding, interaction and the principles of brotherhood and solidarity between people.
Here in Brazil, Esperanto is related to spiritualism through the medium Francisco Cândido Xavier, popularly known as Chico Xavier, who was a famous medium and popularizer of spiritualism in Brazil and the rest of the world.
That’s it for this interesting report about Esperanto and Amateur Radio. I hope you enjoyed it. A hug to all. See you next time.
Radio and Esperanto
We all know that radio is one of the main means of mass communication, if not the most important.
The Esperantists knew about this from the beginning and took advantage of it to spread the language from the beginning.
A small article published by the Spanish Esperanto Federation explains that the first broadcasts in Esperanto began in 1922, in Newark (New Jersey, United States) and that at the same time they were also made in London. From that moment on, emissions multiplied in numerous countries around the world.
It was so important that it was the subject of debate at both the Trade Conference in Vienna (1923) and the Radio Frequency Conference in Geneva (1924), about the application of Esperanto on radio.
In 1924, an important organization called “Internacia Radio-Asocio” was founded in France, which published a bulletin on Esperanto broadcasts for some years.
In 1927, at the meeting of the UIR (International Broadcasting Union), in Lausanne, a city in Switzerland, a resolution was approved on broadcasts in Esperanto.
The International Broadcasting Union was an alliance of European broadcasters, established in 1925. Headquartered in the Swiss city of Geneva and with technical headquarters in the Belgian city of Brussels, the UIR aimed to solve international problems related to broadcasting.
By 1933, there were already 83 stations in 14 countries, which broadcast about 1,774 programs in Esperanto languages and it is known that among the programs about 409 were radio courses to learn the language.
During all those years the radio was the main oral source of Esperanto, outside of sporadic meetings in clubs or conferences.
But the great revolution came through Esperanto language transmissions from international broadcasting services, that is, “short wave.”
This important phenomenon of transmitting in the Esperanto language on shortwave began with Swiss Radio International, the public radio service broadcasting several programs from its station in Schwarzenburg. The initiator was the well-known pioneer, co-founder of the Universal Esperanto Association, Edmond Privat. Later other Swiss activists, such as Claude Gacond and Arthur, took over. But emissions stopped in the 90s of the last century.
In 1959 Radio Poland began broadcasting, which for many years was the most prestigious station, due to the quality of the programs, and the frequency, for many years. The broadcasts lasted until 2006.
There were many shortwave stations that transmitted on shortwave, but little by little they were turned off and currently there are only three stations left, they are: Radio China International; with daily programs, of around an hour, very varied, the other is Radio Habana (Cuba); with a weekly program lasting half an hour and finally Vatican Radio; with three programs a week, each lasting ten minutes.
There are still some private stations with programs in Esperanto. In practically all cases, these are community or alternative radio stations, which dedicate part of the broadcast to Esperanto.
Among them we can mention the Radio 3ZZZ station on the 92.3 MHz FM frequency, from the city of Melbourne in Australia (https://www.3zzz.com.au/), this station is dedicated to ethnic communities and programs a broadcast weekly in Esperanto, which can be heard on the air and on the Internet, on Mondays at 1:00 p.m. local.
Another transmission in Esperanto is offered by Radio Libertaire 89.4 MHz FM, from the city of Paris in France (https://radio-libertaire.org/accueil.php), this is an alternative station of the Anarchist Federation, founded in the decade of the 80s, broadcasts a program in Esperanto on Friday at 5:30 p.m. local time.
We can also mention Radio FREI 96.2 MHz from the city of Erfurt in Germany (https://www.radio-frei.de/), which includes podcasts and programs in the Esperanto language in its programming.
There are many more radio stations around the world that add the Esperanto language to their programming, these are just examples.
Here in Brazil, we can mention a station created in the 1970s by the follower of spiritualism Geraldo de Aquino, called Rádio Rio de Janeiro 1400 that broadcasts at 1400 kHz on AM (https://radioriodejaneiro.digital/), where there is a program that has been on the air for 33 years and is broadcast on Saturdays at 10 a.m. local.
Although it is true that since then the possibilities of listening to radio in Esperanto through traditional media such as the radio have decreased, Esperanto was able to recycle itself, so to speak, on the Internet.
In recent times, the creation of online Esperanto radios has grown a lot, taking advantage of the possibilities offered by the Internet, to listen directly from anywhere in the world. Another alternative is also the large number of podcasts about Esperanto that can be found on the Internet. An example of this is Muzaiko (http://muzaiko.info/), a community Internet radio channel that exists thanks to the volunteer work of many Esperantists.
For this reason, the Esperanto scene is currently very dynamic, with numerous initiatives by individuals or small groups, who do everything possible to seek new and better ways of practicing the international language.
Final conclusion by Martin Butera
Today we could say that English is more than a language, perhaps defining it as a cultural tool that allows us to communicate with the majority of the world’s population. Without a doubt, the hegemony of the United States in commerce and cultural production has caused its language to become the most widespread auxiliary language today.
However, at the end of the 19th century, the language panorama was very different: French dominated diplomacy, English was gaining ground in the economy, German was essential in science and technology, and Russian was already acquiring growing importance. .
Faced with this amalgamation of languages and cultures, and the lack of sophistication of translation systems, the idea of Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, a Polish ophthalmologist, creator of the planned auxiliary language Esperanto, appears.
For many, there is the idea that this method failed, but I can say that Esperanto endures today: world congresses continue to be held; It has its own Esperanto Academy; numerous universities include the Esperanto language in their Linguistics courses; The library of the International Esperanto Museum in Vienna houses 35,000 copies in this language; The Esperanto Wikipedia, Vikipedio, already has 242,000 articles in this language; Google Translate has Esperanto among its reduced list of languages; Duolingo currently has many people taking an Esperanto course.
The International language Esperanto is recognized by UNESCO for its true efficiency in communication and intercultural practice.
Esperanto, a language persecuted by Hitler in Germany, accused of being a “Spy Language”, in the Soviet Union by Stalin and strongly repressed in the Japanese Empire.
Despite all this, Esperanto continues to advance and provide one of the few and most beautiful examples for humanity that it is possible to live harmoniously, peacefully, respectfully, in a climate of fraternity, despite ideological and religious diversity and culture. among the diverse peoples of our planet.
If you are interested in this article, you can tune in to the most popular amateur radio frequency in Esperanto (14.266 Khz), every weekend at 20:30 UTC, until 21:30 UTC.
At the end of the interview, Martin Butera (LU9EFO – PT2ZDX) and his wife Ligia Katze, photographer of this beautiful article, delivered on behalf of LABRE-DF (Labre DF – League of Brazilian Lovers of Radio Broadcasting – Brasília DF) , a certificate to colleague Eni (PT2CA) and his wife Lucia (PT2LI), for their track record in ham radio and their great contribution to this hobby through the dissemination of the universal language of Esperanto