9X/ON4WW - 9X1A : Story 1

By the time this will be published, we might have established new contacts as I will be active again from Kigali - Rwanda from September till 31 December 1995. My first tour of duty in Rwanda was from April till June 1995.
During these three months I had the opportunity, apart from my job as a telecoms operator, to voyage a couple of times through this really very beautiful country. It is called the "Land of a thousand hills", and because of the heights above sealevel (Kigali e.g. is abt 1900m asl), it has a very enjoyable climate, with temperatures between 23-30 Celsius. In combination with heavy, but mostly short rainshowers, this makes an ideal combination for fertile soil. This ideal climate makes you feel comfortable from your first stay on; the gordious and exotic sceneries in nature are a treat for the eye. The birdlife is really fascinating : they have no fear of man (yet) ! You can easily observe birds (small and big) from distances as close as 2m ! The only "disadvantage" I found was sunset. Throughout the year, the sun comes up at abt 0600 and goes down at 1800. The first day I got back home in Belgium, somebody said it was 2200 when we sat in the garden. The sun was still out here.This felt quite strange.
Of course sunset at that time, meant that I could spend a lot of my spare time on hamradio. So I did, and during those three months I managed some 70 days of activity from 9X, only a couple of hours per day. More than 20.000 QSO's were made as 9X/ON4WW and 9X1A (only WPX CW CONTEST).
Yaesu Europe sponsored an FT900/AT and Oklahoma Comm. Center lent an R7 vertical (10-40m band). The FT900/AT was used before by my good friend ON6TT, who used it in Goma, Zaire as 9Q5TT. He then "posted" it to me in Kigali. For 80 and 160m, my good friend Mr Low Band, ON4UN, sponsored me with some radial and antenna wires. I made use of a little tower that was set up by another good friend, 9X5EE (PA3DZN) on top of our house, as a support for the R7 and an Inverted-L for 160m, top height 22m. My 80m Inverted-L was supported by a tree and had only 10m top height, this antenna did not perform very well. On the other hand, my 160m Inv-L was a winner. I managed more than 200 qso's into EU and USA, with less than 100W output power. I hope this winterseason will give me some openings into JA on this band. Although I had skeds for a long time with some Japanese friends, not one opening was found on 160. On all bands, due to the low power, I preferred to call in CW, this gave me the best pileups. In SSB I had only a couple of good runs to JA and EU. In total some 16000 CW and 4000 SSB qso's were made. Of these were 27% with JA, 66% with EU, and 6% with USA. I managed to work some Europeans on 9 bands CW and 8 bands SSB, this was a great thrill. With Japan I was evenly thrilled to work the following stations on a lot of bands : 1st station on 8 bands CW was JA3REK (8cw-5ssb), some fun we had ! JA3MHV (8cw-6sb!) - JL1WPQ (8cw-6sb!) - JH4UYB (8cw-4sb) - JA4DND (7cw-3sb) - JS2LHI (7cw-3sb) and probably many more 7 banders without 80m. I remember one night when JA1ELY asked me to qsy from 40m to 80m SSB on his sunrise. He was BIG signal and the only JA I worked on 80m SSB. Hope this fall and winter will be better. As I heard from my colleagues "down under", I cannot use the same location again, so this might be a disadvantage for 160. But I am taking some extra tools (fishing rope and catapult) with me, in order to attack the biggest tree available for an Inv-L, hi. So stay tuned, hope to work you again during my second tour of duty. Please feel free to call again this time on any band. New this time will be RTTY, hope I will get WF1B's programm working for me. I will try to activate 9X during the three CQWW contests as well. Thanks for all the enjoyable contacts ! Please send your cards to another good friend of mine, Ghis, ON5NT (direct or bureau).
Vy 73 - Mark - 9X/ON4WW

Send Comments and Queries to: