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A brief introduction to Cuba's Radio Rebelde

One of the more commonly questioned Spanish-speaking/Latin American stations I see on social media are the stations located in Cuba - especially Radio Rebelde. I hope this information is helpful especially to those not as inundated with Cuban radio stations as those of us in the SE US are (both in Charleston, SC and here in Mandeville, LA I can hear Cuba during the day time).

Below, I provide two airchecks of Rebelde TOH IDs for you to compare to what you are hearing along with some additional information on Rebelde in general.

While Cuba has quite a few national and regional networks, the three main ones are;

- Radio Progresso - Mostly music, sometimes includes American music especially oldies. Has a very distinct song that is often played at the TOH and it cuts through very well on even crowded frequencies.

- Radio Reloj - All news, all the time. Distinct "RR" in morse code at top of minute along with either a "BEEP" tone at the top of the minute or chimes (this is their variant on Sundays). The tone and morse code IDs enable them to be heard by DXers well beyond North America - even by those that cannot hear the actual programming.

- Radio Rebelde - Usually mostly talk, though some music can sneak in there too. Has a very distinct 9-note melody that cuts through even crowded frequencies or when they are not the most dominant station on frequency, enabling them to be heard even by those that cannot hear the actual programming.

One thing to listen for near the TOH is the Cuban National Anthem. It is most commonly heard around Midnight local Cuba time (Eastern Time Zone). This is across all of their networks, so makes it very clear when you have a Cuban on frequency!

As with most of the national networks of Cuba, Rebelde can be found on many different frequencies. This means if you know you are hearing them on one frequency, you can run parallel (often noted by the shorthand "//") to one of the other known frequencies to see if there is a match. This can help you add multiple Rebelde outlets to your log!

The main frequency you can run // is 5.025 MHz on the shortwave bands. This will be most commonly propagating at nighttime, starting in the SE US and expanding as the night goes deeper.

The other frequencies you can check are:

*530, 540, *550, 560, 570, 580, 590, *600, 610, *620, 650, **670, **710, 770, 970, **1140, ***1180, 1240, **1550, *1620

*= widely reported by DXers, especially on the Eastern half of the US

**=Numerous transmitter sites carrying Rebelde on this frequency. This usually leads to an "echo" effect on the transmitted audio. This is done to combat US stations in Miami/S. Florida that have antenna patterns that cover Cuba. These "Rebelde Walls" are widely heard across the entire US.

***=The largest "Rebelde" wall, with more than 30 transmitter sites reported on the island carrying Rebelde, many with 10-50kw of power with one site reported to push as much as 200kw! This is a very targeted attempt to overpower the Voice of America, Radio Marti signal that is pushing on the order of 100kw from a site located in Marathon in the Florida Keys. While it has been reported immediately along the Eastern coastline, Marti is not commonly head within the states, since it's signal is targeted directly at Cuba with pro-American content. Rebelde meanwhile on this frequency is heard coast-to-coast in the contiguous US.

Aircheck: The aircheck, below, contains a very clear example of one version of the Rebelde TOH sequence. It isn't the same every hour, but this is a common iteration. You will notice the organ music, followed by the spoken ID mentioning "Rebelde", then the distinct 9-note Rebelde melody.

The 9-note melody here is much quicker than is usually played (you will hear the most common version in the second aircheck) but the organ music is absolutely vintage Rebelde.

Aircheck: This iteration of the TOH aircheck is probably the most common version and includes several elements that are distinct to Rebelde and makes them easy to identify. First, we start with the actual Rebelde ID at the beginning of the clip: "Rrrrradio Rrrrrebelde, la Havana" followed once again by the distinctive 9-note Rebelde melody slowed down this time compared to the previous aircheck, repeated again shortly thereafter before "noticias". The announcer reads news stories, with a watery sound effect played in between stories. Once the news stories are complete, we again hear the distinctive 9-note melody just before the clip ends.

The most important part of this aircheck is the unique delivery of the spoken portion of the ID, the 9-note melody (this sucker stands out very easily even when it is all you can hear of Rebelde) and the watery sound effect between news stories. These are classic, can't miss elements of Rebelde content.

Hope this helps you with narrowing down if you are hearing Rebelde at your location!

73 and best of DX!

Loyd - W4LVH

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