Tuesday, 21 January
As I presumed that the G5RV would be less sensitive for the noise, I decided to install this one as well. Amin had arranged two metal pipes for me that were already located on the roof. If I was going to use just one metal pipe, it could cause some problem with the feed line of the dipole. When I asked for the availability of bamboo poles in the market, Amin answered that that was difficult but he had two glass fiber masts of his surfboard next to the house.
This was a great solution and soon we were fixing the fiber pole to the structure of the roof and fixed the G5RV in top guided the feedline along the pole. Amin had a piece of RG213 coax available that was long enough to run the feedline to the operating position. The dipole was hanging east-west with a radiation pattern north-south. With US, Eu and JA being within an angle of about 90º (see also the map below) and Europe exactly north, you understand that this would make it difficult to separate working JA and US stations from Europeans. This also proofed to be the case during the following days.
The only way to use the directivity of the G5RV was to move the legs of the dipole and this became a regular excercise in the morning and evening. On the receiving side I did not notice any difference but for transmission it must have had at least some effect. The great circle map shows the world centered on Sudan. With a dipole (blue) running east-west, you cover US, Europe and Japan. This makes it particular difficult when the bands are open to all three areas at the same time, which happens quite often.
On 30 meters I experienced a natural selection of these areas as at the beginning of the evening I could work Europe, followed by Japan becoming stronger en Europe getting weaker. Later the US started to appear as well which allowed me to work Japan and US at the same time with so now and then a strong European station. This was really a fantastic experience and lots of fun to work. As happens with many expeditions, people sometimes wonder why you do not work them as they experience a great opening and strong signals. As jsu explained, this can happen at the same time also to others at the other end of the world. With my very simple antennas, there is not much you can do to select certain areas and you simply have to work whatever you can.Wednesday, 22 January
The following days had more or less the same pattern. In the morning I started with breakfast and then continued operating. Depending on visitors or power cuts I did operate most of the day and evening. This was only interrupted by antenna works, showering, reading mail and taking food. I had many discussions with Amin and his brother Tarig about amateur radio in Sudan and they were very exited about the progress of the operation.
Every day, I concluded my day by uploading the log files to my web site in order to keep the radio community up to date and allow them to check if their contact was in the log. In the beginning I also place some content on the site with additional information. With the daily progress I could see that it was possible to reach some 7000 contact for the operation which would be satisfactory.
For this operation I used the brand new FT-897 with internal switching power supply. On top is the MFJ-901B antenna tuner with the SWR-meter. This combination is the ultimate expedition gear, providing easy traveling due to small size and low weight and great performance. I was using CT 9.84 on my laptop for logging. Other software was used for conversion and preparation for on-line log search.
Monday January 27
This day we had a meeting with Mr. Eng. Hassab Elrassoul Abulgasim and his staff who requested a presentation about my operation. This showed their interest in amateur radio and is a very positive sign. The presentation included planning, station setup, propagation and the results so far. The rest of the day I spend traveling in Khartoum and visiting some known places and taking pictures. When being back in the 'office' I started to work on the radio again as I had not made any QSO that day. That evening I experienced a wonderful time on 17 and 30 meters. Finally I was also able to work K7XB on 40 meters.
- Presentation for NTC staff Presentation for NTC staff
- FT-840 donation FT-840 donation
- Visit by NTC Visit by NTC