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
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 :
S Ø 7 W W
5 T 5 W W
Click on the photographs to see the full size pictures.
My friend the dromedary shepherd, told me I had arrived at the place
to be :
|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|
|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|
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
|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|
|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|
|Paying respect to the souls|
|Black-topped hills in Mauritania. See the vehicle trails ?|
|Desert soil, very rough going most of the time|
|Where is the rest of them ?|
|I wondered if this FATA MORGANA would be visible on photo. It is ! The water just in front of the hills is non-existent.|
|Do you notice the tent camp in the middle of the picture ?|
|Desert sunset, waw !|
|Imagine you and your loved one sitting on this dunehill..Doesn't get much more romantic than this !|
|Okay, got to admit I love sunrises and sunsets|
|Lone Tonto and his compagnon|
|This one found some food|
|This can happen too !|
|Not many places to run and hide, for this lizard.
A beauty, eh ?
|Some places are full of fossiles. The pen is for size reference|
|This is one of those fossile plateaus|
|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|
|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 of the drivers. We totalled 3100km in two trips|
|Some of the crew|
|Close encounter of the desert kind|
|Approaching a refugee camp|
|These refugee children were born in the camps|
|The kids were happy to have a change in their monotonous daily refugee camp life|
|This is my Mauritanian friend Ould el Bah who hand delivered my 5T5WW license. Delivery was not done at this place however|
|SØ7WW looking for a suitable spot to put up the mast|
|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 !!|
|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 the far end of the quarter wave 160m inverted-L. Wonder how well the ground conductivity is...|
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.
|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|
|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|