Traveling

When checking-in at the counter at Schiphol airport, there were no problems. The antenna box had to be placed in a special carriage for odd sizes (as it would otherwise block the transportation belt for luggage) and that completed a very easy check-in. I was flying from Amsterdam via Frankfurt and Cairo to Khartoum. At arrival I had to declare the radio's at customs. After finalizing customs and other facilities, I was welcomed by my good friend Amin Bashir who was working with me during 1987-1991 in a telecommunications rehabilitation project in Sudan. It was a great feeling to be back in Khartoum after 12 years.The work starts

The next day we visited the National Telecommunications Corporation (NTC) to obtain a letter for clearing my radio's and went directly to custom's office at the airport to clear the radio's. The FT-897 should be imported temporary and the FT-840 had to be imported normal as it would remain in the country.
Although I was in the warehouse of customs and was just 2 meters away from the radio's, we were not able to get them out. After some negotiations all was ready for release but as the cashier was not at his desk we could not pay our duties and so the radio's had to remain in the warehouse. This was a serious drawback as it suspended my appearance on the air and shortened my air time. I did not want to think about what could happen the next day and fully trusted the capabilities of Amin who is very experienced in handling these situations.

For the rest of the day I spend on buying food supplies and preparing the operating site which was a house and used as an office and located in New Extension, a quarter just outside the city centre of Khartoum. This is mostly a residential area with a limited number of multi story buildings. I had one of the offices in the house at my disposal, completely furnished with desk, table, cupboard, bed, air conditioning, fan and could also use a telephone line for my internet connection and had a mobile phone available. This was certainly one of the best operating facilities you may find for an expedition.

I had the availability of the roof of the office and the adjacent house for fixing my antennas. I could easily install the R7000 to the surrounding structure of the roof and it did not take long to have the installation finished. For safety reasons I fixed 4 small guy wires in case we may have some strong winds.
The evening was spend having a diner at my friends house. I really enjoyed a relaxed evening as I was forced not to operate and this was the best alternative.
The next day, we were very excited when the radio's arrived around 10 o'clock at the operating site. It did not take long before I had the radio installed and hooked up to the R7000 vertical antenna. There was quite a high noise level (sometimes up to S9) but I was able to copy the signals and the first QSO was made on 21 January at 10:24 UTC with OK1QF on 15 meters.

Just a little later I was visited by Mr. Eng. Hassabo and Mr. Mohamed of the National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC). They were eager to see the station and how my operation was going. We had a very pleasant meeting and discussion about the operation and the setup of the station. For the rest of the day I continued to operate. As Murphy can always strike and jeopardize the operation, I gave the highest priority to making contacts. All other things could be done later.

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