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April 02, 2019   |   Radio World


Diesel Power Supports Critical Communications in Africa

A six-mile stretch of volcanic rock in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean is home to the BBC’s Atlantic Relay Station. Tthe stations’ six powerful shortwave transmitters on Ascension Island beam program in a dozen or more languages to some 30 million listeners in north, west and central Africa. 

For more than 50 years, the Atlantic Relay Station has transmitted critical radio broadcasts to millions of listeners in some of the remotest parts of Africa. The daily broadcasts include transmissions in English, French, Arabic, Hausa, Somali, Swahili and several other African languages, and more recently has added transmissions for other international broadcasters as well as the BBC.

The company’s engineers also run the island’s power station (consisting of five diesel generators and five wind turbines) as well as a reverse osmosis desalination plant, supplying electricity and drinking water to the island’s population of more than 800 people. The power station is staffed around the clock with engineers taking remote control of the transmitter site outside of peak broadcast times.

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