SØ7WW : The Western Sahara

From April until November 1998, I was working in the four-border area of Algeria, Mauritania, Morrocco and Western Sahara.

Before leaving for this area, a book on the Sahara learned me that in Tindouf where I was to be based, temperatures of up to 55 degr Celsius in the shade were measured. Would it not be that the summer of 1998 was the hottest in a quarter century ?! While traveling through the Western Sahara, we measured temperatures of over 60 C, that's pretty hot ! Gorgeous country, views and people ! Thanks to Mulay, SØ1M, and Arbie and Mehdi from SØRASD for the license and equipment, vaya con dios guys !

I wrote two articles with day-to-day and hour-to-hour reports on the June and August trips. When I now read them again, it seems a bit boring to read the jumps I made from band to band, mode to mode. But it are accurate accounts of both trips, which can give you a real feeling on how it was. Click here for the JUNE TRIP and here for the AUGUST TRIP. Enjoy reading them, your call sign might be in there !

During two short trips, some 6,068 QSOs were made as SØ7WW, and 772 Qs as 5T5WW.

You can do a log search on both right here. The photographs below give you an idea on how it was like. Click on them to enlarge. Enjoy !

S Ø 7 W W
Callsign:

5 T 5 W W

Callsign:

Bir-Lahlou

My friend the dromedary shepherd, told me I had arrived at the place to be :
famous BIR-LAHLOU
It was here OH2BH first brought the ham world to the Western Sahara and SØRASD was activated

Old war ordnance The Western Sahara lies full of old war ordnance, making it a dangerous place to live and travel. Two weeks prior to our arrival, two children died when ordnance exploded
Sanddune on hill The sceneries are unforgettable. It's difficult to put the beauty of it all on picture, one has to see it with his own eyes
4X4 stuck in mud

The desert is unforgiving. For the one time it rained, vehicles got stuck in the mud

On one trip, we lost three tyres. Luckily we had four spare tyres for the two vehicles

Desert landmark This is one example of a landmark to find your way in the desert. We non-desert inhabitants, had to rely on our GPS systems
Desert grave A desert grave. If I recall well, from the presence or absence of the small center stone, can be seen if a female or male is buried
Praying at grave Paying respect to the souls
Mauritanian hills Black-topped hills in Mauritania. See the vehicle trails ?
Rocky desert soil Desert soil, very rough going most of the time
Desert tree Where is the rest of them ?
Fata Morgana I wondered if this FATA MORGANA would be visible on photo. It is ! The water just in front of the hills is non-existent.
Desert tent camp Do you notice the tent camp in the middle of the picture ?
Desert sunset Desert sunset, waw !
Desert sunset with people Imagine you and your loved one sitting on this dunehill..Doesn't get much more romantic than this !
Desert sunrise Desert sunrise
Desert sunrise with 2 vehicles Okay, got to admit I love sunrises and sunsets
Dromedaries Lone Tonto and his compagnon
Eating dromedary This one found some food
Dromedary skeleton This can happen too !
Desert lizard Not many places to run and hide, for this lizard.
A beauty, eh ?
Fossiles Some places are full of fossiles. The pen is for size reference
Fossile plateau This is one of those fossile plateaus
Dutch reporters I always wondered why Dutch television has such great news documentaries with in-depth information. They go to the field, that's why. And how they found us...hard to believe. It must be their noses
S07WW at work Taking GPS points every kilometer and at the same time adding notes on the laptop, whilst driving. Hard day's job, usually rewarded with some hamming at the end of the day. See the mast ?
Two drivers Two of the drivers. We totalled 3100km in two trips
Crew members Some of the crew
Dromedary close encounter Close encounter of the desert kind
Refugee camp approach Approaching a refugee camp
Refugee kids These refugee children were born in the camps
Refugee kids and camp The kids were happy to have a change in their monotonous daily refugee camp life
Ould el Bah This is my Mauritanian friend Ould el Bah who hand delivered my 5T5WW license. Delivery was not done at this place however
S07WW contemplating SØ7WW looking for a suitable spot to put up the mast
Mast erection We're getting somewhere ! At one stage we put up the whole thing at 2pm, under a burning sun. Which resulted in half an hour flat rest, two bottles of water straight down, and not a word spoken. Thanks guys !!
Ground rod Now this is how you put out a decent signal on 160m, from the middle of the desert. A 30m long ground rod, and 250 radials ! I had to do with a one meter rod, and six radials. It worked !
Attaching 160m inv-L Attaching the far end of the quarter wave 160m inverted-L. Wonder how well the ground conductivity is...
S07WW mast/antenna setup

Here it is, 9m tall mast, as a support for the B&W broadband dipole which covered 80 to 10m, and the separate 160m inv-L.
This system was erected every time after a hard day's work, and taken down around 6am just prior to our departure for another road trip.
Recommended exercise if you wanna lose overweight

S07WW at the keys Ready for rock 'n roll. The parallel port failed on me, which meant keying with an old Heathkit keyer. Not the best way to send CW when you're dead-tired
S07WW operating This was the first night SØ7WW was activated until 5am. One hour of sleep and we hit the road again. Luckily the visiting scorpion never paid his respects when I was in my sleeping bag

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