5X8C: QRT with 81000 QSO’s in the log

This expedition is dedicated to our Friend Jean Luc, F6BIV

The expedition of KOP Team in UGANDA, 5X8C, has just ended. It was composed of 24 members at the start and ended at 26, after the arriving in midweek of John F5VHQ and our iconic leader, Frank F4AJQ. Eigth nationalities were represented, F, ON, DL, OE, IE, RA, UR and W. Unfortunately, this year was missing our friend Gabriele I2VGW, retained for professional reasons.

After a long journey of over 10 hours and a stopover in Kigali, we finally arrived in Entebbe, where we were expected by representatives of the hotel where we had to stay. They came with 2 mini buses and a truck for luggage. After more than 30 minutes drive we arrived at the Resort Lake Hotel. We took possession of our rooms and we met again in one of the restaurants of the resort for our first Uganda dinner. Then we quickly went to bed, the night will be short: Appointment at 8am to mount the antennas.

After the reconnaissance, the roles are distributed one group for the Spirderbeams and one for the low bands antennas, some, benefit from the nearby lake VICTORIA, as the feet of the masts will bathe in its water, when it will overflow after a mini storm. There are 6 multi-bands to fit that we share, Flo, F5CWU and myself.

I am with my eternal accomplice Eric ON7RN, and Jean Marc F8IXZ on one of the terraces to assemble our first antenna. The second was set at the poolside after having struggled for nearly an hour with a recalcitrant tube that refused to slide.

We had our lunch on a terrace in the shade of a tent, and then I went in search of a location for the 3rd Spiderbeam that I had to set up. Open areas exist but are far apart. We therefore decided to mount it among the trees, but much closer to the stations, which saves us a length of 50m coax. A bad surprise awaits us in testing this antenna, it doesn’t work. The VNA measurements suggest a mini break at the the level of the last coax or of the balun. After verification it is the balun that is at fault. Not having any alternative, we are obliged to fix it. The problem was quickly found, the balun was replaced and the antenna raised.

Everything being ready, the traffic could begin and continue without significant incidents while the duration of the expedition if we except the power cuts.

Proclaiming myself G.O., I organized, for those interested, a tour of the capital, Kampala. A group of four OM, started in the morning at 9am and returned in the evening around 7pm or 8pm.

I went for the visit on Thursday, with Eric ON7RN, Norbert DJ7JC and Uwe DL8OBF. Although warned by friends who had preceded us, we were very surprised by the heavy traffic and the number of traffic jams. We spent more time in driving than in visiting.

We started by going to see the gardens of the Palace of the King of Buganda, one of the six kingdoms included in UGANDA which is a federal state whose President is Yoweri Museveni. Kingdoms have autonomy limited to culture. The present king of Buganda is  Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II .

In these gardens is the old prison where Adi Amin Dada exterminated its opponents. Located in a semi-underground, it is composed of 5 cells where in each 400 prisoners could be crammed. There, they died of suffocation, hunger and thirst, then they were thrown as food to the crocodiles.

After we went to visit the temple of a religion that refers to the new “messengers of God”  of major world religions (Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad …).

After having lunch in a pizzeria in a shopping center of the capital, we went in search of rolls of scotch, having used all the stock we had during the establishment of antennas and stations. We will need some during disassembly. For this we had to cross a part of the capital, in the middle of traffic jams, it took us a lot of time.

We had to cancel the purchase of souvenirs to be able to visit the National Museum of UGANDA. It is the oldest museum of East Africa. It allows us to explore sections on prehistory, archeology, ethnology, music … and curiosity, a part reserved for the Olympic Games.

We finished our visit by one of the great mosque of Kampala, built by Gaddafi. Imposing monument, but less luxurious than the ones, some of us were able to see in Brunei. UGANDA is multi religious and all religions coexist without problems. Muslims represent 10% of the population, Christians 85%.

Getting back to the hotel, we had the pleasure of seeing Frank F4AJQ who had been able to free from his professional constraints and John F5VHQ. They arrived very late the night before, to finish the trip with us.

Traffic reasserts itself and ended on Sunday at midday. We made 81,251 contacts with 187 countries. The day before, at the end of the afternoon, before dusk, a party was organized to celebrate the end of the expedition. A group of Uganda musicians, singers and dancers entertained us during our last dinner.

On Sunday evening we left our hotel at 7.30pm and took off from Entebbe to Amsterdam at 11.30pm. I arrived home in the Bordeaux area on Monday evening at about 8pm, tired, but very happy to have participated in 5X8C expedition and ready, after some time of rest to leave for new adventures. 73 de F5EOT#657


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