Friday, December 23, 2016

Desert Island?

Well, we did have a couple dry years recently and really enjoyed not having to do trail maintenance on our favorite cycling routes.

But 2016 has been another story. It has been rainy for a couple months now, and the flora is flourishing, as this shot of Bernard inspecting the back yard of one of the TWR houses in Hato shows.

The satellite antenna paddock behind the Offices is getting to look like this too. Good thing TWR has a DR Trimmer Mower!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Stars, Moons 'n Meteors

Our automaton system at TWR has been having trouble switching between the the Brazilsat Portuguese feed and the local TWR Bonaire Spanish programming. So I've been setting my alarm for 3am and 5am each day (night?) and turning on a radio to check up on it. This morning, it switched to Portuguese ok at 3am, but failed to switch back to Spanish at 5am. So I hopped in the car and triggered the changeover from the shortcut on the computer screen in the automation room. Its at times like this that I'm glad I live less than a mile from the office! 
Once I got home I checked out the skies. We've had lots of clouds and rain this month, but I could actually see some stars this morning. The almost full moon, Orion and Sirius were low in the West. The Big Dipper, Arcturus and Spica, with a super brilliant Jupiter nearby, were well placed in the East.  AND, the Southern Cross was visible in the South. Made it worth getting up early.
By the way, tonight is the final one of three Super Moons. Here on Bonaire, the Moon will rise at 6:09pm and the Sun will set at one minute later at 6:10. I hope the sky will be clear so we can see it. The Moon will be exactly full at 8:05pm, Bonaire time.
And, last but not least, the Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight. The full moon will interfere with meteor gazing, but the Geminids are often super slow and bright, so it just might be worth taking a look after 22:00 or so, even with the full Moon hanging out near Gemini.

Monday, December 12, 2016

From Bonaire to Swaziland

The maintenance team at TWR Bonaire has many years of experience maintaining and rigging radio towers in a tough windy and salty climate. They work with a team of 5 people who work together very well.

Benny Saragoza is one of them. He is a local Bonairian, a tower rigger (climber) who loves the Lord and loves working for TWR. In November, 2016 he traveled to TWR Swaziland to train the team over there.

Benny: ‘two years ago, Tim M. asked me to go to Swaziland. At that time, we were too busy with our own Power Upgrade project. But this November I had time. The trip from Bonaire to Swaziland was very long. When I arrived in Africa it was like a new world.

I met the guys over there. The idea was that I 
would teach the local guys how to do the job of working and maintaining the towers by themselves. With the training, I started at the beginning. The first week I taught a lot about tools. For example, I showed them how to work with a come-a-long. A come-a-long is a hand-operated winch with a ratchet to pull tension on the tower guy wires. I also taught them how to use a transit. This is a tool that allows us to see if the tower is straight and using it allows us to bring back the tower back into the right positions.

The next week we started practicing in teams. Because of bad weather two years ago, all the towers were not standing straight. So, we had to adjust the towers, working together. We used the tools. I encouraged the local men to ask a lot of questions. And later in the week after devotions, I said to the guys: ‘You are doing the job. I backed off and they did the work very well!’ We straightened most of the antennas. Now they can finish by themselves and maintain the towers.

Everywhere I went in Swaziland I saw people listening to small radios. When I asked them, “what channel are you listening to”, they said TWR Swaziland! So, that’s why this work is important. If something happens to the feedline, TWR will stay off the air for a long period. They need to keep going.

I feel very happy I can teach other people and help the gospel being broadcasted on our Island Bonaire, the Caribbean, Latin America and the whole world!’