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The following selection of photographs cover our work in two countries, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. Larger versions of the images are available by clicking on the photograph.

Sierra Leone

DBS Consulting has undertaken a considerable amount of work in Sierra Leone, reconstructing the countries radio broadcast infrastructure following the decade long civil war. Following original site survey in 1999 by members of the Thomson Foundation and David Stanley transmitters have been installed for the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service in Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Koidu. A new set of broadcast studios were also installed in Freetown. In March 2003 a solar powered relay station was also installed in Kono district.

The whole project has been funded by the British Department for International Development (DFID) with additional equipment provided by the BBC World Service.

This complete VHF/FM transmitter installation is built into a re locatable container. A 30KVA three phase generator, air conditioning, 18m tower, 1KW transmitter, fuel tank and all ancillary items were included. The only site preparation needed was the laying of a concrete base. The container was put in place using a crane and UN armoured personnel carrier. This photograph was taken during the erection of the tower, which was done manually after problems with the only crane available. Makeni rigging

The completed installation has a pair of dipoles for the transmission antennas giving an ERP of over 2kW. The yagi is used to receive the Freetown VHF service.

A new studio building is located just off the left of the photograph. The studios were also constructed by DBS Consulting, using woodwork and cables which were prepared in the UK. They comprise a modern main broadcast studio and a separate talks studio with fully equipped control room.

Makeni complete
The inside of the container is fitted out to a very high standard. The 1kW transmitter is visible here. The transmitter incorporates fully duplicated equipment. A high power split airconditioner is used which is capable of removing several kW of heat. During test transmissions a studio was operated from this transmitter room whilst the new studios were constructed. The containers include effective insulation and sound proofing which allowed use of microphones, even with the generator operating in the next room. Makeni inside
This identical system was installed at Koidu in the heart of the diamond mining Kono district. The studio building is to the left of the picture. Both Koidu and Makeni were under rebel (RUF) control until January of 2002. These installations were put in place after the demobilisation of the rebel forces had been completed. Each installation took less than a week on site after the concrete base had been prepared. Koidu
Because of the remote and mountainous nature of Kono district a UHF relay site has been installed by DBS Consulting. This relay enables the Freetown service to be received by the Koidu station. The relay is located at a derelict (at the time of installation) telecommunication site near Yagbea. The photograph shows one of the original microwave link dishes. A reflector was mounted high up on the tower. The jungle had taken over much of the site, including the access road. The main building had also been looted during the war. Yagbea
The site and access road were cleared using local labour. A solar powered system with an array of 8 panels, charge controller and large battery bank was installed in a prefabricated cabin. The batteries enable the relay to operate for 24 hours, even the worst periods in the rain season. Yagbea solar
The mast was of slightly unusual construction, which required custom designed hardware. The VHF yagi points towards Freetown and the UHF towards the Koidu station. Despite the long path distance and difficult terrain there is adequate signal throughout the day. Yagbea tower
   
Afghanistan

Following more than two decades of conflict much of the infrastructure of Afghanistan has been destroyed. After the removal of the Taliban regime DBS Consulting has been involved in the construction of broadcast transmitters for the BBC World Service and Radio Afghanistan. Initially two VHF transmitters were established at Asmai mountain providing extensive coverage of Kabul. Consultancy was undertaken for the EU and UNESCO, looking at the current position of the state broadcaster, RTA.

Subsequent site surveys undertaken in July and November 2002 lead to further installation visits to extend transmissions to Jalalabad and Bamian. A temporary transmitter was installed at Mazar-e Sharif in November 2002 with a high power permanent system subsequently installed in April 2003. Kandahar, Herat and several other locations followed in late 2003/January 2004.

A medium wave transmitter has also been installed in Ghazni during July 2003, working with Corundum Communications.

This is the remains of the Asmai Mountain (TV mountain locally) transmitter installation which was hit by a cruise missile. The concrete slab visible across the photo is the roof and the remains of the tower can be seen to the right of it. The tower behind is the new television tower. We installed a new transmitter tower/equipment behind where the photograph is taken from. Kabul destroyed site
The engineers from Radio Afghanistan provided considerable assistance with the installation work. A temporary tilting mast was installed with a new concrete base. The tower has a pair of dipoles at the top for RTA and BBC use, with another pair added later and lower down for Radio France International. Kabul engineers
The splitter for the two dipoles is lifted into place here. After that the feeder was installed, completing the antenna system. The feeder was run underground to the refurbished transmitter building to the right of the photograph. The BBC World Service programmes were received by a dish which we had installed adjacent to the building. The Radio Afghanistan programme reached the site by a UHF link with yagi antennas installed by us on the buildings at each end. The two 1kW transmitters were combined together to feed the antenna system. Kabul rigging
A 500kW + 500kW medium wave transmitter was operational at Pulecharchi near to Kabul. The site was damaged by three bombs dropped by coalition forces. A short wave transmitter building was also destroyed. An assessment of what was needed to put the site back into operation was made. Kabul destroyed MF
Television was originally broadcast throughout Afghanistan before the many years of conflict. This photo shows the original satellite uplink at the Kabul broadcasting centre. During 2002 a new modern uplink was established to allow coverage of the countries Grand Council to be broadcast to the major cities. Kabul RTA dish
Bamian district was surveyed to find a suitable site for a solar powered VHF transmitter. Bamian is located in a mountainous part of the country. Bamian is an area of outstanding natural beauty. However, it became famous world wide when the Taliban destroyed huge statues of Buddha. The photo shows one of the locations of the statues. The entire district was also destroyed and the residents displaced or killed. Bamian Buddha

The solar powered transmitter at Bamian was installed during April 2003. An array of 12 panels was used with large capacity battery bank, which provides 60W for 25 hours per day. There is enough storage to allow for a few weeks of bad weather. All of the materials, including cement, sand, water and equipment had to be taken up the hill by donkey, requiring many trips.

Broadcast magazine published a short article and photo of the installation. Transmitters have also been installed at Mazar-e Sharif and Jalalabad.

Bamian story
A medium wave transmitter was installed in Ghazni during July 2003. The 40m mast is located at the newly constructed broadcast centre. Foundations were laid and a crane borrowed from a Turkish company that was working on the new Kabul to Kandahar road. An ATU was installed at the base of the tower, with ground mat and underground cable run to the main building. Ghazni rigging

The Ghazni medium wave transmitter is a 10kW system. A radio studio was also assembled. The photo shows half of the very heavy transmitter being man handled into the radio building, which was in the final stages of construction.

The television transmitter, which was located on top of a nearby mountain was also repaired, improving reception throughout the district. The television studio was moved to a new building with some minor problems being resolved.

Ghazni installation