7QNL last operational information / comments

Today (June 8th) is the last day and the station will be dismantled.

This morning it was very foggy and very cold! The last 30m stint finished with a few more (NA) stations in the log. The evening before I worked a pile of JA’s with RTTY on 30m.
After the last 30m stint I tried 20m but, due to the bad propagation and the Field Day Contest, I only made a few QSOs.

Brake off strategy for today is as follows: first 30 and 20m. (already fixed at this time of writing ; -) This leaves the 12m and 17m antennas up.

During the day, while packing, I will be QRV on 12 and 17m. In the afternoon 12m will
be dismantled first (around 1600 UTC), after that 17m (around 1830 UTC).

Unfortunately today we encountered one of the longest power outages experienced:
around 3 hours, and the batteries of the laptops almost dried out.
It’s Sunday, so I cannot guarantee if the station will suffer from another power outage today. Let’s keep fingers crossed.

During a power outage yesterday I forgot to ‘reset the radio’ (in N1MM).
As a result QSOs between 1723 – 1925 UTC (RTTY) were logged wrong.
This will be fixed.
QSOs after 1925 UTC were RTTY QSOs on 30m (10.145 MHz).
Thus, when you do not see your QSO in Logsearch, don’t worry!

I had a lot of fun with the pile ups and looking forward to return to Malawi
(my licenses (7QNL and 7Q0NL) are valid till May next year : -)

Back in The Netherlands I will write a ‘full report’ with ‘lessons learned’
and other experiences.

Thanks to everyone, and especially the stations willing to work me,
either for an ATNO, new one, for the fun, to sponsor the project,
or for other reasons.

Special thanks to Alex PA1AW, who did an outstandingly good job!

At this time of writing I made around 7300 QSOs  (dupes not included)
during the time available to make ‘socially accepted’ QSOs ; -)

After all, this was not a 101% hard core DXpedition, but a ‘holiday style’
operation, during which I tried to make the best of it.

Sorry for the power outages, and sorry for the collapse of my SSPA
power supply, resulting in 10 dB less 7QNL field strength during the last week.

73, Remco 7QNL / PA3FYM

Day 16 Crocodile Farm, Lunch and Market in Salima

Early rise again for us just because we woke up early and the view was so beautiful. We saw a rock-rabbit in front of our lodge. Remco took a picture and then suddenly a big baboon came in and jumped in front of us. baboon

During breakfast we heard a lot of shouting in the neighborhood. It turned out to be the auction of the fish in the village next to the lodge.

fish auction

We decided  to see a Crocodile Farm. It is the biggest farm in Malawi where they breed crocodiles for the skin and their meat. We learned that they pull the teeth of these crocodiles so that they are not able to bite the one who takes care of them. They are Continue reading

The Charity Project: Crutches Fund

When Remco and I started thinking of going to Malawi we had several reasons to go.
I wanted to see and feel the land my aunt is so fond about and see the projects she is doing. Remco was also interested in this and wanted to use his hobby HAM radio to do some charity. Together we thought we had reasons enough to take the adventure and go!

We asked my aunt to search for a project with a few limits.
– It should be ‘touchable’
– It should be a small project
– It should be a project which was really needed for the people in Malawi
– It should have a good and firm governance (no money into black holes!)

So my aunt came up with a project “Crutches Fund for Zomba Central Hospital” .
Frans Zoetmulder, the neighbor of my aunt at Mpalaganga, and his wife Aideen started this project a few years ago. Frans is a (retired) surgeon who operates in the Zomba hospital.

hospital remco
Zomba Central Hospital (ZCH) is the referral center for the South Eastern region of Malawi, with 3.7 million people spread over 5 districts. It is the only center in the region for major general and orthopedic surgery. There’s a department of physiotherapy, and a presence of the Malawi Against Physical disability (MAP) organization.
In past days temporarily or permanently disabled people were supported through  MAP  and the hospital. In case of leg problems or amputations this ment that cruches were provided. Due to the eradication of polio and therewith the collaps of external support for MAP this service has been stopped. Also the hospital has been unable  to help financing  crutches.  As a consequence patients are completely dependent on their own resources, which are extremely limited. As a consequence patients with broken legs are weight baring too  early, jeopardizing the healing of their fractures, and amputated patients often never mobilize again.

The plan is to obtain a stock of 100 pairs of crutches in different sizes. These crutches will be fitted to patients needing them at the MAP/physiotherapy department and given out against a deposit of 1000 MK (Malawian Kwacha, around 4 Euro or 5 U$). When the need is over they should be returned and the deposit is paid back to the patients. Patients who need the crutches permanently will be allowed to keep them. Children with amputated legs will be  allowed  to return the crutches and exchange them for a proper size as they are growing.
It is estimated that 20% of cases will need permanent crutches. Of the 80% users it is estimated that 20% will not return them…. Another 10% is expected to brake each year. This would mean that after the initial investments in 100 pairs of crutches, the program will need 50 new pairs each year, to assure continuity.
zomba prison

Financial aspects
Crutches can be made locally or imported from old stocks in European countries. Zomba Central Prison is situated across the hospital and has a workshop that has been making wooden armpit crutches of reasonable quality in the past. A quotation will have to be asked, but a price of approximately 10.000 MK (around 20 Euro or 25 U$) seems reasonable. It is our target to get the best quality for the lowest price to provide enough crutches for a long time.

Day 15 Lake Malawi, here we come!

Today we went on a trip to Salima, Senga Bay. We booked a lodge at Lake Malawi. It is a drive of 250 km, so we had a long drive a head. When we drove  through a little town close to Zomba we saw the police with a camera. And … we got a speed ticket. At first we were surprised to see the camera, but they showed us the picture and it was indicated. We drove too fast. We payed 5000 kwacha, which is about 10 euro. Ok, we said but we would like to take a picture of the speeding camera. Unfortunately we were not allowed.


(picture speed ticket)

We continued our trip enjoying the ride, It was a relatively good road and it was nice to see another part of Malawi and all the Malawian people on the road. kinderen langs de weg

At the several police stops we sometimes had to show our international drivers license but mostly just made a chat and we could continue our trip and only stopped for a refreshing coke.

opening a coke

We arrived at Safari Beach Lodge and got into our lodge. Such a nice view at an amasing spot!

lodge safari beach

After a refreshing swim, a drink at the bar

cocktailbar remco

and dinner we sat near our lodge just enjoying the view and the sounds. sunset safaribeach



Day 14 Mpalaganga

zonopgang met antennes

Good morning Mpalaganga!
We woke up with a nice view and another beautiful day. I made myself comfortable in the garden and Remco was at his usual spot!

viewfrontofthe houseview from the front of the house

In the afternoon we went back to Zomba to collect ‘our’ rental car again. We discovered that they drove on our petrol, and may be even emptied the tank, so we had a bit a little discussion about it. Petrol is expensive here in Malawi so as Saulos predicted us, ‘they will make a profit of delivering a car with an empty tank’.

We went to Casa Rossa to have dinner. It is a restaurant run by an Italian guy and it is high above Zomba so you have a nice view (if it is not misty like it was). The dinner was really good with a glass of wine, we enjoyed the view and ourselves.

remco at casa rossa


On the way back we drove both cars home. It was dark and as it turned out, both our cars had no back lights. It was an impressive ride back. Driving alone in the dark, on my bare feet (I forgot not to wear flip flops), bumping on the road trying to avoid the pits and the people on the road, smelling Africa, looking at the beautiful sky, Remco driving in front of me and all I could do was smile and feeling good! I thought about my children Thijs, Niek and Imke and wanting to show them this part of the world. I really hope I come back here soon to do so.
Back at Mpalaganga I went to bed early and Remco stayed up ‘a little bit’ longer to reach his 5000 QSO (radio connections) which he achieved.


WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15