Up until about a month ago, all Honduran Pastor Harlan Macklin had was a dream to use technology to overcome the difficulties of travel in his remote area, reaching into the lives of people around him who had never heard the gospel message. That was until two engineering friends joined forces with the pastor to establish a church-based radio station in Puerto Lempira, a tiny fishing village on the coast of Honduras that can only be accessed by boat or regional airplanes.
There are no large ferries or wide, paved runways in this place. The grass/gravel landing strip serves a regional plane company, and small outboard boats are available for water travel needs. This community is about 200 miles away from the nearest major city. Few taxis, buses or even privately owned cars can be found, so whenever there’s a gathering, including church services, one needs to allow plenty of time for walking. Ecuadorian engineer Milton Pumisacho says the environment reminded him of some Ecuadorian coastal villages back in the 1970s and 1980s. Continue reading
(August 5, 2015) “Look, Clarence!” said his wife Ruby, as she showed him the $25 Christmas gift from the small congregation he pastored. “Now you can buy that overcoat you so desperately need!” It was 1938 and times were hard, but Clarence Moore didn’t hesitate. “The coat can wait. I think God wants me to use the money to go to Chicago. I know Christmas is tomorrow, but I’ll be leaving right away.” He drove through a heavy snowstorm directly to the home of the only person he knew in Chicago, his friend John Meredith. When the door opened, Clarence greeted him: “Hello, John; here I am. Can you tell me why I’m here?”
“God must have sent you, Clarence. I have a missionary here in real trouble.” With a desire to send the gospel to distant lands, Clarence Jones of HCJB World Radio had come from Ecuador to buy a shortwave radio transmitter. But he didn’t know if the unit he was considering was any good. Although Moore was a radio amateur, he had studied radio extensively and experimented widely. He examined the unit for sale and found it unusable.
Later Jones hired Moore, and within six months, Moore had built a new transmitter with twice the power, creating most of the parts himself. When he paired it with his revolutionary new antenna design, the cubical quad antenna, HCJB’s signal beamed farther and clearer than was believed possible. And thus began Moore’s lifelong relationship with HCJB World Radio and his passion for radio as a ministry tool. Continue reading
SonSet Solutions engineers have been involved with the design and production of solar lamp poles. This was the outgrowth of a challenge made a couple of years ago to engineering departments at five colleges. After evaluating the designs, our engineers took the best ideas and combined them with some of their own for production.
Solar lamp poles were not designed to simply provide light. They will also open opportunities to share the light of the gospel. Equipped with a charging station for cell phones, these units will also provide Wi-Fi capabilities for the transmission of video and audio content for smart devices. Hundreds of video and audio programs can be installed such as the Jesus film, Bibles, sermons, health care programs, and local public service announcements.
(June 29, 2015) God gives a personal invitation to those who are spiritually thirsty. In Isaiah 55: he says, “Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.” For many people throughout the world today, listening may be the only way that they will hear the good news that God loves them and sent His Son to die in their place. UNESCO estimates that 781 million adults and 126 million youth are illiterate. They may not have the ability to read God’s word, but through local Christian and community radio stations, many can have the opportunity to listen to the gospel message so that they may live!
SonSet Solutions continues to provide partners who minister to both illiterate and literate people groups with broadcast equipment, such as transmitters, antennas, and fixed-tuned solar-powered receivers like the new MB-1 SonSet® radios. Listeners in their local communities have the opportunity to hear the good news in their own language. One such partner whom we assisted is located in a very remote region of Indonesia. A missionary who just returned from visiting them sent us the following firsthand account of how God is at work there. Continue reading
It all began back in 2007. That is the year four of our engineers came together to compile a list of needs for a power protection system that would guard against damaging lightning strikes, brownouts, and otherwise poor quality power grids. Our engineers were convinced that a reliable, affordable solution could be developed to protect expensive radio and healthcare equipment from the harsh realities of unstable power sources worldwide, saving our partners countless hours of lost ministry time and expensive repairs.
The project involves using a “Raspberry Pi”, a computer about the size of a credit card, to monitor the quality of the incoming electrical power and disconnect the power before damage occurs. John Wineman, engineer, describes the project as “a complex problem with limited resources.” Most of the work so far has been accomplished by student interns during spring break. The sporadic nature of this kind of project development, requires detailed documentation, relatively long learning curves, and occasional redesigns due to obsolescence. However, this summer we have put together a team of six who will be collaborating on the project, with the goal of creating a minimal working prototype. Often our projects are limited by the available resources. Sometimes those are financial limitations. Other times, we need capable technical people to offer their expertise and experience. If you are interested in being part of the ministry of SonSet Solutions, contact us about some of the ways you can be a part of providing technology-based solutions to advance the Gospel worldwide.
(June 2, 2015) It all began back in 2007. That is the year four of our engineers came together to compile a list of needs for a power protection system that would guard against damaging lightning strikes, brownouts, and otherwise poor quality power grids. John Wineman, Herb Jacobson, Mike Axman, and Ted Miller were convinced that a reliable, affordable solution could be developed to protect expensive radio and healthcare equipment from the harsh realities of unstable power sources worldwide, saving our partners countless hours of lost ministry time and expensive repairs.
The project involves using a “Raspberry Pi,” a computer about the size of a credit card, to monitor the quality of the building’s incoming electrical power and disconnect the power before damage occurs. John Wineman describes the project as “a complex problem with limited resources.” Most of the work so far has been accomplished by student interns during spring break. The sporadic nature of this kind of project development requires detailed documentation, relatively long learning curves, and occasional redesigns due to obsolescence. However, this summer we have put together a team of six who will be collaborating on the project, with the goal of creating a minimal, but working, prototype. Continue reading
(May 21, 2015) The new MB-1 Multi-band SonSet® radios have headed out to partners and listeners! SonSet radios are solar-powered and fixed-tuned to partner’s stations. The previous FM models have made the spoken Good News of Jesus Christ available to unreached people in many countries. Tens of thousands of SonSet radios have been processed and placed throughout the globe since 2006. The MB-1 supports FM like its predecessor, and adds the shortwave and AM bands. Up to 9 fixed channels are now supported. A partner can fix-tune the MB-1 to FM, shortwave, AM, or any combination – enabling even more people in more places to hear the Good News.
Around the globe, God’s message of hope is broadcast by partners from local stations. Reach Beyond recently planted its 100th radio station in the Asia Pacific region. In addition to planting radio stations, they supply partners with SonSet radios, including stations in Thailand, Indonesia, and Nepal. Ty Stakes, executive director of the Asia Pacific Region says “What we are doing is helping partners deliver the truth that transforms communities by radio. The SonSet radio brings the signal to people that need it.” Continue reading
(April 29, 2015) Sixty-five years! That is how long Herb Jacobson was a missionary. He accepted his call to service in 1948 with radio station HCJB. That was back in the days when a gallon of gas was 16 cents, the average house price was $1,751 and Bell Laboratories demonstrated the first prototype transistor radio.
Herb witnessed major advances in technology during his long tenure with the organization. His ingenuity not only kept pace but proved to be ahead of the curve. From the design of powerful, commercially competitive shortwave transmitters, radio antennas and hydroelectric facilities to software for digital radio transmission, Herb dedicated his life to missions and the broadcast of the gospel. Herb continued to work until six weeks before his passing on October 8, 2014. He was 89 years old.
For more about Herb’s life and legacy, click here.
SonSet Solutions is carrying Herb’s innovation into the future. Our team continues to work on innovative design including the software design for digital radio transmission, design for high-flow well water monitors, solar lamp poles, transmitter components for greater reliability on the field, and ongoing design of our fixed-tuned, solar-powered radios. All of this ingenuity is with the same goal in mind: To open doors to the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ through technology. Continue reading
(March 19, 2015) There was no fanfare, no press conference, no invited guests, no ribbon-cutting, no decorations—just a pastor and a couple of trainers, engineers and technicians in a simple studio at a small church in northeastern Thailand.
At the microphone, a nervous pastor prepared to go on-the-air for the first time on Wednesday, Feb. 26. On the other side of the studio wall were some 30 people taking a radio training course led by members of the Asia Pacific team from Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global). The students were later given SonSet® radios for distribution to people in local communities.
Despite the station’s inauspicious beginning, it marked a key milestone for Reach Beyond in the Asia Pacific Region. It was the 100th radio station that the mission had planted in the region in the last 10 years. Of these, 38 were established in Thailand, 53 in Indonesia, seven in Nepal and one each in Cambodia and an undisclosed country. Continue reading
(March 11, 2015) “You are not going to see mass movements toward the gospel unless the masses have access to the gospel,” observes Andrew Brown of Every Village, an evangelical ministry in South Sudan. So how do you get the gospel to the masses in a country where the literacy rate is around 20% and even those who can read prefer to learn by oral means? The answer—radio!
In this environment, “radio makes so much sense in getting the gospel out,” Brown explains. “The people of South Sudan pass down their history from one generation to another through stories. We use chronological Bible storying, preaching, and church music combined with health and community development training in our radio programs.”
SonSet Solutions has helped provide equipment and technical support for three stations in strategic locations in South Sudan and a fourth is in process. “Radio is the only media outlet the people have so it is tremendously popular,” Brown reports. Continue reading