The expedition
The expedition
25th January 2007

Everyone in the team is back to his "normal" life after a short rest.

Bernard F9IE found a nice pack of direct QSL request when
he arrived home and is doing his best to provide timely responses
to e-mail enquiries. You can now check the Online Log

Please note that the first QSL will likely be shipped in April.

The guestbook will be closed in early February for new message entry due to intensive spamming.
Feel free to drop a message there before we close it.
20th January 2007 - 1300z

Hello everybody, now it is really over !
The FLEX and CW stations went QRT at 0700z, the DIGI stations at 0840z and only the SSB station kept running until 1200z on 15m using a Spiderbeam operated by Bill/N2WB.
Everything is packed, it is time to get back home...

We finally have 56.287 QSO in the log.

It was a huge pleasure for us to contact so many of you guys.
Thanks for your calls and kind messages dropped on our guestbook and by e-mail.
Last SSB QSO by N2WB
"XT2C is QRT and OUT..."
Last SSB QSO operated by N2WB
Click on the microphone to download a record of the final transmission of XT2C on 15m
(thanks F8BBL & OE5REO)
21st January 2007

The team safely arrived in Paris this morning at 06:00am. Some team members are already with their families while others still have a long way to get back home such as N2WB, N6OX or OE8KDK.
Visit on a local market
Mori Village
Village Mori
Visite d'un marché local
g-à-d : OE8KDK, F5LMJ, F2VX
17th January 2007 - 1900z

Dear European friends, did you become crazy? Listening you for a few days now, we really understand the meaning of the statement "EU Zoo". We had another example this morning on 30m. We had a very short opening to VK/ZL (less than 1% in the log) and called "VK/ZL ONLY" for a few moments. Guess what... The entire Europe (more than 60% of the log) kept responding. Similarily, when we ask a specific callsign to repeat his callsign, most stations keep calling... Where is your Ham Spirit guys?

At 1400z, we had 47.648 QSO in the log despite very busy bands. The 50k goal is close now.

Today, we made 23 SSTV QSO, but this afternoon, the balun of the 5 bands Spiderbeam obviously did not like the lengthy contacts in this mode... It took a while to a few team members to take it down, repair and bring it back up.

Today, half of the team (Bill, Bob, Dieter, Gerard and Alain), went for a bit of tourism in Ouaga, its close suburbs and to a traditional Mori village. The other half kept activating the stations. Tomorrow we will switch.
Norghin-A school
Some of the Norghin-A school pupils
16th January 2007 - 1400z

Since yesterday, things became more difficult due to QRM from the surrounding VU7 pile-ups...
In order to minimize such effects, we decided to change our frequency plan

Today, was the conclusion of the project "a pencil, a pen for Ouaga".
First, this morning, Gerard F2VX, Franck F5TVG, Bob N6OX, Bill N2WB and Alain F5LMJ went to the Norghin-A primary school to distribute the educational stationery collected in France. Then, this afternoon from 03:00 to 05:00pm, a dozen of pupils and 5 teachers visited us. They managed to contact their partner school in France on 20m from the XT2C station. Then, they switched to Internet for a long questions & answers conversation... This was a great time for everyone!
Two stations remained active during that time.

At 1400z, 44.193 QSO were in the log. For the coming days, our rate will definitely be impacted by the VU7 activity, but we remain motivated to reach the 50.000 QSO goal.
It is now even more important to respect operators instructions in order to maximize your chances to make a contact.

Tomorrow afternoon, starting around 1500z, one of the stations will be active in SSTV.
A first try will be made on 21.340 and we will switch to 20m (around 14.230) if conditions are not good.
Traffic will be handled via lists of callsigns taken in SSB prior to exchanging pictures.
N2WB at the SSB station
"Wild Bill"...
N2WB at theSSB station
QRM 40m at XT2C
Click on the keyer
to listen to the
40m band noise
F8BJI running RTTY
F8BJI running RTTY
15th January 2007 - 1400z

At 1105z, F9IE logged the 40,000th QSO, DM3XPW on 15/CW. At 1400z, we had 40,745 QSO in the log.
Our next goal is to reach 50,000... After this, we will see...

Traffic was again intense last night, but 40 and 80m were simply too QRM to work SSB. The attached file will give you an idea of the level of noise we are now experiencing on these bands for a few days. Gerard is spending many hours trying to get a few callsigns out of this...

Hopefully, 20 and 30m remained open in CW to North America and Japan until quite late.
160m CW operated by Bill/N2WB was also very busy.

Last night, we also started 40m RTTY. Jean-Paul logged like a robot until 03:00am...
We guess he was born with a keyboard in his hands... Even mosquitoes didn't dare disturbing him !

Tonight at 09:00pm, we will go to the airport to pick-up John/F5VHQ... Some fresh blood for the final run.
F5LMJ running CW
14th January 2007 - 1700z

All of us went quite close to our physical limits and even the strongest team members are exhausted. But we are still having fun and are in a good mood! Our rate will certainly decrease and we definitely need to sleep more. The propagation is not as good as during our first days of operation either. Low bands 40-160m are now very noisy and signals on the higher bands during daytime have a strong QSB.

Today at 1400z, we had 36,558 contacts in our log.

Tonight program is :
    - A first try on 1.850 SSB starting at 2100z and then switch to CW
    - CW/SSB on 40 and 80 M
    - RTTY on 20 and 30 M.

We will soon operate RTTY on 40 and 80m and certainly a day with SSTV.
On Monday, John/F5VHQ will join us. This help will be MUCH appreciated!
F5TVG at the DIGI2 station
F5TVG at the DIGI2 station
13th January 2007 - 1400z

First of all a few news from the team. Everyone is now feeling much better. We are still tired, but as soon as we are sitting at an operating position, we just feel great !

At 1400z, 6852 QSO over the last 24h, and a total of 32,345 in 6 days.

Tonight around 2100z, F4AJQ will be on 1850kHz SSB and we will still have 3 other stations (Digi/SSB/CW).

We now have our own challenge : 6,000 QSO/day

This morning, we met a member of the "Ouagadougou Partage" humanitary association as well as the director of the Norghin-A primary school. On Tuesday morning, three of us will stay at the hotel running the pile-ups, while the other ones will go to the school to deliver the educational stationery. In the afternoon, a few pupils will join us in order to establish a radio contact with the French school of Pompignac who organised the operation.

If you hear this QSO, please do not break-up. Think this is a demonstration to a general public audience (a journalist will be attending in France) and to potential operators in a few years!

73 from the team !
OE8KDK operating 15m RTTY
11th January 2007 - 1900z

Tonight we have 22,557 QSO in the log, 502 of these on 160m.

Yesterday evening, we had a great opening on 160m. Conditions are still good, but if F8BJI's has well recovered from his health problems, it is now 4 other team members (N6OX, F2JD, F5TVG and F5LMJ our statistics man) who are pretty bad. With a reduced number of operators, nights are long and exhausting for the remaining team members due to the never ending huge pile-ups.

On Saturday, we will host the pupils form the Norghin-A school (read more at the bottom of this page). We will hand over the educational stationery and establish a radio contact with their partner school in Pompignac with the help of F8BBL.

73 from the team !
QSO demonstration to ONATEL
F2JD running CW
QSO demonstration to Mr Zabre from ONATEL.
He contacted F5AOV
F2JD running CW
Stations layout
Stations layout
10th January 2007 - 1400z

Third day and 17,200 QSO in the log, including 210 on 160m.

But what a mess... If everyone would please listen to operators instructions, this would be much easier and quicker for everyone.

All equipments are fine, we have no electrical supply issue despite the 4 power amplifiers running. We still have no inter-station interferences. This allowed us for instance yesterday to operate simultaneously on 15m with 3 stations (SSB, RTTY and CW).

If the propagation is not getting worse, we shall stay on that rythm. However, our digimode rate may decrease as Jean-Paul/F8BJI our main operator is pretty sick today.

73 from the team!
One of the Spiderbeams
V80E installation
One of the Spiderbeams
N6OX running SSB
N6OX running SSB
V80E installation
l-to-r: F4AJQ, N2WB, F2JD, N6OX
9th January 2007 - 1700z

Today, we had 10,931 QSO in our log at 1400z.

Last nights, we experienced huge pile-ups on the low bands, unfortunately one of the IC-7000 PA died.
We replaced it with the FT-857D, but this means we will not operate on 6m. This morning, we installed the V80E vertical, we will be active on 160m tonight.

The 3 sites are too far from each other to allow stations networking. But we have no inter-station QRM :

- At the North-East, we have a bungalow hosting the FLEX station (IC7000 + PA) and CW (FT857 + PA), a 10/15/20 Spiderbeam, the WARC Spiderbeam, 40m & 80m slopers.

- At the opposite side of the hotel, 50m away, we have the RTTY stations (TS480 + PA) and PSK (TS50) with the 5 bands Spiderbeam, an MA5V vertical and a 30m sloper.

- A bit further, we have the SSB station (IC756 PRO 3 + PA), with a 10/15/20 Spiderbeam and the V80E.

Thanks a lot for all your calls, but please respect operators instructions, this will allow everyone to make more QSOs.

Besides mosquitoes who love ham operators, everything is fine.

73 from the entire team.
F2VX running SSB
Spiderbeam installation
Installation of a spiderbeam
l-to-r : N2WB, N6OX, F2VX
F2VX running SSB
8th January 2007 - 1400z

Everything is still running smoothly. The temperature is still above 30°C during daylight hours, but what is amazing is the number of mosquitoes, we never saw so many ones in our previous trips. This is a problem at night as we must keep the doors open due to coax getting out...

The time spent on antenna work was worth it. During our first 24h, we logged 4284 QSOs. We still need to install the V80E antenna and the 6m station. The 5 stations are running as initially planned using 4 spiderbeams, 40m sloper, vertical and a temporary 80m dipole.

This morning, Frank/F4AJQ and Gerard/F2VX went to the telecom authority to collect our license.

73 from Ouagadougou... see you on the air!
24th December 2006

The DXpedition will soon start and the entire team is busy preparing final details.
The transmitting licence has been issued on 30th October and all major logistic details have been solved.

Every piece of equipment is tested prior to packing. Several F6KOP team members therefore used the opportunity of the ARRL 10m contest to meet and complete the tuning of Spiderbeam n°4. Yesterday, 23rd December, was dedicated to Spiderbeam n°2... In total, we have around 450kg of equipment to check, pack and carefully dispatch among team members to avoid excess luggage charges from the airline.

Recently, John/F5VHQ finally managed to get out of some professional commitments and will be able to join the team for the second half of the DXpedition. He will arrive in Ouagadougou on the 15th of January.

In early November, an operation of solidarity called "A pencil, a pen for Ouaga..." was initiated by Alain/F6ABN who is managing a primary school in Pompignac (France). As a follow-up to the correspondance initiated about two years ago between his school and the Norghin-A school in Ouagadougou, Alain proposed Gerard/F2VX to hand-carry educational stationery collected by the French pupils. On the 18th of December, Gerard met with them and received several hundred pens, rubbers etc... that will be delivered to the Burkina pupils on the 15th of January.

On top of this, the team is working with Laurent/F8BBL on a possibility to setup a radio link between pupils from both schools.
F4TTR is testing  one of the Acom 1010 amplifiers during the ARRL 10m contest
Tuning of the 5 bands Spiderbeam
Articles have been published in the local press...
F2VX is receiving eductaional stationery collected by the pupils
28th December 2006

The preparation work is continuing. Several team members are using some of their Christmas holidays to test and pack equipment. Most team members who do not live in Paris (N2WB, N6OX, OE8KDK, F2JD...) will arrive on Thursday 4th of January in order to have a team meeting and fine tune the final details.
Ski bags are used to carry antennas
F4AJQ packing a Spiderbeam
A small part of our coax...
F9IE packing more antennas
4th January 2007

Early this morning, Frank/F4AJQ and Jean-Paul/F8BJI went to Paris CDG airport to welcome Bill/N2WB and Bob/N6OX. After dropping them at their hotel downtown Paris, a part of the team and close supporters joined them for a great evening in order to celebrate Bill's birthday.

The team will land in Ouagadougou on Saturday around 09:00pm local time. They will start assembling the first antennas at sunrise and should be on the air around mid-day on Sunday with a gradually increasing number of stations.
Arrival in CDG Airport
l-to-r : F4AJQ, N6OX, N2WB
N2WB Birthday celebration
F4AJQ distributing copies of the XT2C licence to team members
7th January 2007 - 1730z

We arrived at the hotel late last night, with lots of delay at customs. We finally got out of the airport after midnight although our plane landed at 09:40pm ! First night... first mosquitoes...

This morning, we started the antenna work early and have well progressed. Tonight, 3 beams are up and running :  spiderbeam 10/15/20, spiderbeam 5 bands, spiderbeam 12/17/30. The 40m and 80m antennas are also installed. Tomorrow, we will finish the antenna work with the last spiderbeam and the 160m impedance matching circuit for the V80.

We now have 4 stations running and tonight we should be QRV simultaneously in SSB, CW, PSK and finally RTTY. The last station will be installed tomorrow.

The local temperature is above 30°C during daylight hours.
The weather is very windy, so there is a lot of dust flying around.
See you soon on the air !
12th January 2007 - 1500z

Fifth day and 27,182 QSO in the log.
We are still behind in CW, but it is difficult to catch-up with only 4 operators in this mode.

Most of the team is now feeling much better and our rate remains around 6,000 QSO/day.
It is hard to follow, but we are really having fun !

Tonight program (If operators manage to stay awake):
    - 30/40m RTTY
    - 30/CW
    - 40m SSB/CW
    - 80m SSB/CW
    - 160m CW/SSB starting at 2100z

We are paying special attention to VK/ZL via Long Path and to JA.

Tomorrow, we will celebrate Gerard/F2VX birthday.
He will be 64 and is still full of energy during DXpeditions.

Thank you all for your kind words on the guestbook !
F9IE running CW
F9IE en CW
F4AJQ running in SSB
F4AJQ running SSB
18 Janvier 2007 - 1500z

Today Bill logged our 50,000th QSO at 1330z with N1RFL on 15m SSB. We made it! Anything on top is bonus. We still have to reach 10,000 QSO in digimode and 1,000 on topband... This will probably be done tonight.

We really feel exhausted, but the entire team is delighted to have achieved such a score.

We will start packing equipment tomorrow afternoon and the last station will likely go QRT around 1200z on Saturday. We have to check-in at the airport at 04:30pm on Saturday for a flight taking-off in the evening heading back to Paris.

Let's go for the final run !
Traditionnal village
19th January 2007 - 1600z

Today at 1500z, we had 54.041 QSO in the log, will we reach 55.000 ?

Most of the team will be busy dismantling an packing equipment tomorrow starting at the dawn and the last station will probably stop transmitting around 1200z.

We feel very proud and have the feeling we achieved something good. We hope you enjoyed it too.

Tonight, we will probably go QRT for a few hours as the last evening of a DXpedition is traditionally spent around a good dinner taken all together. But don't worry, we will be back for the last night to enjoy the last pile-ups.