Bungoma again! Student develops radio transmitter, goes live on air

Necessity is the mother of invention. However cliche the phrase may sound, it still finds relevance in modern day society.

Meet Godwin Wayong’o. He is a college student whose curiosity and determination has seen him develop a radio transmitter from recycled materials.

“I gathered components from damaged and discarded electronic devices to develop this transmitter,” he told this writer on Saturday at his home.

A transmitter developed by Mr. Godwin Wayong’o. PHOTO: Antony Nyongesa

Inside his simple abode located in the remote Nakalira village, Kimilili subcounty in Bungoma county, Mr. Wayong’o bends laboriously over his invention, as he works to send radio signals to his elated audience across the village.

Through trial and error, the young inventor has set up a radio station dubbed Max Radio, which is unlicensed.

“My radio station broadcasts within a radius of 4km. With just a mouthpiece, I developed these microphones,” he says as he points to a set of simple microphones inside his mud-walled single room.

To cushion his transmitter against electric shock, he has also developed a multimeter.

Since childhood

His passion for engineering began since childhood, precisely diagnosing and fixing electronic devices at home.

According to Mr. Wayong’o, he would steal wrist watches from colleagues back in primary school to help him in his studies, information corroborated by his father Mr. Alfred Chapurukha.

“I knew from the onset that my son had passion for engineering. After high school I enrolled him for a certificate course in Electronics and Engineering at Matili Technical Training Institute,” the father says.

Armed with just a certificate, Mr. Wayong’o aspires to develop a TV transmitter.

However, financial constraints stand between him and his next invention.

“I appeal to well-wishers to support my work because together we can set up a radio station and employ jobless youths.”

Unauthorized transmission

Further, he stares at a legal hurdle before him, since he is carrying out unauthorized transmission.

“All radio transmissions must be licensed by the Authority,” said Mr. Gababo Wako, frequency manager at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK).

In May 2020, Bungoma county made it to the global map after a standard three pupil Stephen Wamukota, 7, invented a hand washing machine.

Wamukota’s invention was necessitated by the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the same year, Steve Biko, a Form Three student from Homa Bay county invented a 20km radius radio transmitter.

Support the youth
In February 2023, Information, Communication and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo, launched the Jitume Kazi Desktop Infrastructure to support Bungoma youths in accessing digital services.

The CS was hosted by Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka.

“The program will provide the Bungoma youths with access to Digital services, Digital Skills and opportunities to enable them take advantage of technology for job creation, ” the Governor said.

ALSO READ: Food security: Governor Lusaka launches free farm inputs to needy, vulnerable farmers

About the Author

Antony Nyongesa
I'm an avid reader, a novelist, producer and journalist with a nose for news. Mine is to tell the truth; truth and nothing but the truth.