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Norwegian Radio Amateur Being Prevented from Leaving Chad

10/18/2018

A saga that has reached the diplomatic and foreign ministry level is playing out in Africa’s Republic of Chad, where Norwegian radio amateur Kenneth Opskar, LA7GIA, had only operated as TT8KO for about 1 day before security police shut down his station on October 10. He’d logged 2,150 contacts, already uploaded to Club Log, and all antennas except a 160-meter vertical had been installed. At the time, Opskar was optimistic that he’d soon be back on the air after his license and equipment documentation had been scrutinized by the security police and the foreign ministry, “followed by a CW demo.” According to information Opskar has been providing on a running basis to DX-World, however, he’s now being prevented from leaving the country.

“The head of the police himself is travelling with the president (Idriss Déby), and when they return from abroad tomorrow [October 13], the head of police will check the equipment personally with his technicians,” Opskar said in an update. He planned to catch up on sleep.

At that point, Opskar remained hopeful that all would be well after the security chief’s personal inspection. “They say I probably can continue today, but no promises. If this delay continues even more, I will return home,” he said.

Things got more tense on October 13, however. “I have been through two interrogations by the security police,” he said. “My gear has been disconnected. The antennas on the roof are locked down, [and] I cannot access them even for visual inspection or maintenance. I am not allowed to touch anything.”

On October 14, Opskar reported that the security police had deemed that all of his documents were in order. “However, what now causes the delay is the fact that ARCEP [Chad’s telecommunications regulator], which issued all documents, did not inform the security police. The police do not issue authorizations, but supervise the national security. The police are now after ARCEP, not me. Still, even after lots of meetings…they can’t say when they will inform me.” Opskar was planning to return to Norway if he didn’t hear something from the security police fairly soon.

On October 17, he changed his return airline ticket to leave Chad on October 18, but he was not permitted to disassemble his equipment until an inspection was completed.

Today (October 18), Opskar reported that he’d been told that a police order had been issued preventing him from leaving Chad, even without his equipment. “The Norwegian embassy and foreign ministry [are] now working on the issue. I get many emails every day from DXers around the world with kind words — it keeps the spirit up — thanks!” He said the staff of the hotel where he’s staying has also been very supportive.

Licensed since 1992, Opskar has operated either solo or with another radio amateur from Malawi, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and Chad.  -- Thanks to DX-World 



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