EL2WW : Liberia

After my Western Sahara assignment, I was sent further down south to Monrovia Liberia, West Africa. This trip took me around the country, between November 1998 and November 1999.

Seven years of civil war have ruined this beautiful country's economy, to the point where young and old alike are begging for a living. A vicious circle of poverty had entered the lives of many. Most of them have horrible stories to tell about the war. Rebuilding of the country is a tremendous task, hampered by many logistical problems.

I learned to know the Liberians as an optimistic people, and in time they will pick up their lives and continue upward. Be brave and don't look back too often !

In this war torn nation, I found an active group of enthusiastic ham radio operators, gathering once a month under the flag of the LARS (Liberian Amateur Radio Society). LARS was founded in 1962 and is an IARU member. After the civil war they picked up the thread and they are moving forward, trying to attract youngsters in the hobby. I still hear my friend Dickson Tarnu, EL2DT, from time to time on 15m cw. Keep up the good spirit guys, it was an honor and a pleasure to be a member of LARS !

During my stay a total of 42.000 QSOs were made. You can do a log search right here.
The photographs below give you an idea on how it was like. Click on them to enlarge. Enjoy !

E L 2 W W
Callsign:

Rain forest
The beautiful and impressive Liberian rain forest, is threatened by the need of quick income. Logging companies are active, but hopefully re-forestation will prevent a wildlife and environmental disaster
WFP truck
A WFP truck searches its way along the crevices, providing food to a refugee camp. A logistical nightmare !
Terrible road conditions
Pretty impressive, eh ?
Vehicle in crevice
Where is the vehicle ? On a 50km stretch it took us 4 hours to cover the traject. Our driver told me that during the rainy season, on the same stretch it had taken him six (6) days ! Not hard to imagine when you see the road conditions, here during the dry season
Defective vehicle
No service garage available in the jungle. Help yourself !
Jungle public transport
Jungle public transport
Jungle view
When I got back from this trip, I called my wife and told her I had been as close to paradise as one can be. The beauty of it all is unimaginable. Of course it's pretty convenient whilst driving in a 4x4...that puts some things back into perspective
Jungle sunset
Jungle sunset, waw !
Jungle bridge
This bridge was repaired with the help of Sierra Leonean refugees. They dragged logs for miles through the jungle
Termite hill
Ever seen a termite hill this big for real ? Perhaps on National Geographic channel. Great to see some smiling faces along the road
Airshot of rain forest
This is how the dense rain forest looks from the air. Monrovia is called the wettest capital of Africa. It sure rains a lot down there, and hard too
Aircraft
For quick assistance, we could rely on this aircraft
Airshot of Refugee camp
This is a shot of a refugee camp in the middle of the wilderness
Landing strip
Landing site ? Where ? You are going to take us down THERE ?
Landing plane
SURE AM !
Taxiing plane
Pffff...
Plane ready for take-off
The plane took us right to the office, and is ready for take off. Landing was not a problem, but take off was risky business due to the short landing strip
Refugee camp
A view on a refugee camp in the hilly bush
De-forestation
A refugee camp of this size makes for quick de-forestation too. Environmental programs are put to action to prevent and/or restore damage
Refugee camp
Pretty well organized
Refugees in bush
Refugees are exploring the bush in search of whatever they can use
Refugee family
Refugee family
Refugee kids at work
Refugee kids at work
Happy refugee kids
A happy bunch altogether !
Enthusiastic refugee kids
Not many times have I seen such happy faces in a refugee camp
Rural market place
A typical and lively rural market
Jungle travel
En route to a Liberia - Ivory Coast river crossing point, near Harper
Muddy jungle road
Dry season... almost impassable during the rainy season
Crossing point to Ivory Coast
Here's the crossing point at Harper. The other side of the river is Ivory Coast. See the rubber stack on the ground ? Liberia once was rubber producer number one worldwide
Canoe on river
If the ferry is not operational, this is the preferred means of transport
Monrovia at riverside
The capital Monrovia lies alongside a river
Gospel campaign
The announcement of a gospel campaign with Reinhard Bonnke. The fact that he was visiting the country again after the civil war, was a sign that things were getting back to normal
Checkpoint
One of the many checkpoints across the country. To do our shopping in downtown Monrovia, it took six of those to get there. When things get back to normal, they will probably disappear
B&W dipole and 160m inv-L
This is the B&W broadband dipole for 80 to 10m, accompanied by a 160m inverted-L
80m inverted-L
The 80m inverted-L was attached to a couple of welded water pipes
K9AY-array
The K9AY-array was used for low-band reception. Due to a local electrical noise source, the antenna was not very useful. At one stage I wanted to take it down. However, one morning at sunrise, this was the only antenna I could copy stateside on, on topband. One has never enough antennas for reception !
EL2WW
EL2WW
EL2RF and EL2WW
And here's Bob, ex-A92GD, then EL2RF

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