J28WW : Djibouti

After Iraq, end of August 2003, UN WFP FITTEST sent me to Djibouti for a three weeks telecoms upgrade of the office, and training of staff.

Djibouti ville is a nice little city, with fine restaurants, where you can still see the French legionnaires walking the streets in their famous uniform, short trousers and high socks.
Snorkling seems to be a nice passtime. I wanted to try it, but halas, the boat never showed up.

I had the pleasure meeting Mohamed Omar Moussa, J28AP, who is the President of IARU's Association des Radioamateurs de Djibouti [ARAD]. Mohamed is director of PTT, a very jovial and distinct man, very helpful in getting a license.
He invited me to a nice restaurant where we enjoyed a delightful dinner, I'm sorry I couldn't return the favour due to time constraints, but perhaps one day when he visits 'la Belgique'...thanks for your help Mohamed !

Work kept me busy mostly at the office and the harbour. Only on one occasion we visited a refugee camp in the desert, where we set up wireless comms for the staff.
Temperatures were killing, with very high humidity. Never been to a place where once outside, within two minutes sweat starts pouring down from the top of my head...amazing.

The J28WW ham license came two days prior to leaving Djibouti. Only a couple of hours of evening activity using the office antenna were possible, yielding 545 QSOs.

You can do a log search right here :


Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of downtown Djibouti. Still, the photographs show how work and scenery was like.
Click on the photographs to see the full size pictures.

Desert scenery on our way to a refugee camp
More sand...
Getting hilly
Some desert vegetation
A distant mosque
Rocky desert ground
We must be getting close to the camp
Line-up at the water collection point in the refugee camp
This is my Ozzie colleague John, he wants to get his ham license one day
Crowds gather immediately to see this strange dude
Omar is a Djibouti resident, and Deen is from Benin. Both work locally for the office, and we gave them a hands-on training
Unpacking antenna and mast
John struggling more with the heat than with the wires
Here will the radio equipment and battery pack be installed. But hey, where is the table we were promised ?
Word spreads quickly in a refugee camp...within an hour we got our table !
Meanwhile John got decent again to work outside, as to not offend the refugee ladies. Here he's adding water to our earthpit
That strange dude sure gathers crowds
Omar and Deen working on the solar panel puzzle, on top of the roof
John is supervising and giving them a hand. I get to take the pictures ;-
Refugee people looking for some shadow, to inspect the strange works on the roof
On the way to and fro the camp, we passed the national football stadion
And a slum outside Djibouti ville
With due respect, perhaps the French could start a cleaning action
Nobody told this guy that steel wire is HEAVY
Here Deen and myself are working on getting an aluminum mast through the warehouse roof, to support VHF and HF antennas
Back at the office, a solar pack needed to be installed on the roof
We're getting there
Deen and Omar have been fully trained on vehicle vhf and hf radio installations
Hands-on training is the only way to go...if one lets people watch instead of do it themselves, it will never work
Motorola vhf and Codan hf radio's installed and operational

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