Frail Infrastructure Hinders Z81X South Sudan Operation; Ham Radio Training Held
The Z81X DXpediton team in South Sudan reports that intermittent electrical power in the capital city of Juba has hampered the operation. While generator power is available, the team says getting fuel to run it is “an arduous task” and that fuel is in short supply throughout the country.
“There was to be enough fuel for the generator, but running it was ruled out suddenly,” the team explained November 18 in a news release. “It was 3 AM just at the peak of low-band action when electricity was switched off, leaving the operators and the pileup idling.”
The team said negotiations are underway and asked for the understanding of the DX community worldwide. “Sometimes these basic services are taken for granted,” they said.
The DXpedition team is “cramped in three small huts with all their belongings, including the radios,” they report, adding that they hope to gain access to larger accommodations. “It is extremely hot, and thunderstorms are expected to bother us during the week; hence lightning arrestors are mounted on all cables.”
The radio gear is in good shape and the antenna farm will soon be complete. The primary constraint on the operation is diesel fuel to keep the generator running.
Training Session Held
On November 15 more than two dozen South Sudan Ministry of Telecommunication and Postal Services administrators turned out at the European Union compound in Juba for an all-day Amateur Radio training session organized by International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1 and Radio Arcala’s Mission Goodwill South Sudan. Conducting the session were IARU Region 1 President Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, Wayne Mills, N7NG, and Martti Laine, OH2BH.
South Sudan gained independence in 2011, and Amateur Radio is currently allowed on a “provisional basis,” Timmerman explained. Two resident foreign amateurs have received full amateur privileges. Timmerman said the objective of the workshop was to train regulators on the administration of the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services, to assist the administration in creating Amateur Radio regulations and the related national frequency allocation table, to discuss Amateur Radio’s benefits to society, and to evaluate the prospects of establishing the Amateur Radio service for South Sudanese nationals.
“The introduction of Amateur Radio in a new country cannot be completed in a one-day workshop,” Timmerman commented. “The country has so many more important things to take care of that introduction of Amateur Radio to South Sudanese nationals will only be successful with the consistent help of the international amateur community.” He said the next step will be to explore cooperation with the University of Juba in setting up a training program for the first generation of South Sudanese radio amateurs.
The program was sponsored by IARU Region 1, ARRL, the European DX Foundation, DX University, and the YASME Foundation.
DXpedition Focusing on Low Bands
The first night of low-band operation got underway without any receiving antennas, but vertical for 160 and 80 “gave a good start” with good coverage into the US and the Far East. Both directions now are covered by Beverage antennas. The team expects 160, 80 and 30 to be active every night on CW this week, with operation on 80 SSB toward the weekend. In the early going, the QSO breakdown had 67 percent of the contacts with stations in Europe, 19 percent with stations in North America, and 13 percent with stations in Asia.
Laine reported November 17 that Z81X had topped 5000 contacts, with more than 2000 on 160 and 80 meters. Logs will soon be uploaded. It’s possible to enter ClubLog through the Z81X page on QRZ.com.