I have been a volunteer with MSF for 13 years and help with their telecommunications. I answer questions, find solutions, do training and some projects. Most of the telecom work is done in the field by local ITC specialists, and we give an annual course to those who wish; one week of informatics and a week of telecommunications. This course will be held in Entebbe, Uganda for several years.
Since obtaining an Uganda license is not a problem, I visited the ministery of telecommunication in Kampala in 2015 and was helped to get the call 5X8C
Just before I left in 2016, I discovered that part of site in Entebbe where we give courses was within a Wildlife Resort and I asked for the WWFF reference. Within a few days, I received the good news that it was reference 5XFF-0011 and I was allowed to activate it!
Since the course allows 30 participants, 20 of which were there for the first time, it is a busy activity. And there is little time left to make QSOs. Moreover, the conditions were not great.
The station was an IC706 and 20 meter wire, 5 meter between two buildings, coupled with the SGC tuner.
The local QRM was huge like everywhere in urban areas in Africa. SSB was completely impossible so the first days were mainly cw QSOs. When it became dark at 6AM the QRM was S9+ until eleven o’clock. Fortunately there are the digitial modes like RTTY, PSK and JT65. The weekend before our departure, it was possible to be active even after eleven 0’clock. I was amazed about the great propagation to Japan for that time and made a lot of JA’s happy in RTTY and PSK. Despite the handicap that we were not active in SSB we found a lot of WWFF reference hunters in our log.
This year I made about 850 QSOs; 150 20m, 300 17m, and 400 15m. The breakdown between the modes was about 400 cw, 350 RTTy, 80 PSK, and 20 JT65.
The former Wild Life resort is not much more than a beautiful park, the Botanical Gardens. Near the palace the Uganda high society has build lots of big houses.
It is expected that next year around September 2017 I will be doing a course again, and I have the license 5X8C already in my possession. Hopefully I work more of the ones that I have missed!
73 44 Anton ON6NL, 5X8C
(translation KB3VVE Emily)