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ET3YOTA - Addis Ababa - Ethiopia

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    ET3YOTA - Addis Ababa - Ethiopia

    Radio Amateurs members of Ethiopian Amateur Radio Society, EARS, ET3AA will be active with special call ET3YOTA from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for Youth on The Air Activity.
    They will operate on HF Bands.
    QSL via N2OO, ClubLog OQRS.
    Ads for direct QSL:
    ROBERT W SCHENCK, PO BOX 345, TUCKERTON, NJ, 08087, USA.


    ET3YOTA Marabou stork, Lake Awasa, Ethiopia

    Marabou stork, Lake Awasa, Ethiopia. Author - jacgroumo.
    73 Al 4L5A
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    #2
    ET3YOTA News

    I wanted to share some comments on our week in Addis Ababa, spent with members of the Ethiopian Amateur Radio Society and the ET3YOTA celebration. Both Bob, W9XY, and I are back home now.

    I have not been back here in awhile, just a matter of circumstances, work etc. For me it was great to reconnect with the group again. This was Bob’s first visit to Africa. The goal for the week was to spend a lot of time on the air, not just ourselves, but also the club members. It was a chance for us to work with them, to refine operator skills, and jointly work on some station projects. This is a very enthusiastic group. They love to get on the air and operate!

    We were granted permission to stay at the university, where ET3AA is located, for three nights to operate the lowbands. For 80 & 160 meters we put up an 18 meter Spider Pole, to support a wire inverted L, with an 80 meter trap. It is one of the ugliest antennas I’ve ever built but boy did it work, far beyond my expectations. It’s located on top of the university, which is covered by a metal roof. So we had an excellent counterpoise. As we knew going into this, noise would be a big issue on the lowbands. It was. On 160 meters it was a steady S9 plus 20. On 80 meters it was S9. I tried a small MFJ noise cancelling unit, but it didn’t provide any relief. Maybe if I had more time to play with it and optimize the “noise” antenna.

    My goal for the three nights, along with working as many people as we could, was to see if operating lowbands from the club station would be feasible, for future visits. Upon completion, I believe the noise can be dealt with to some degree, making future lowband operations a real possibility. On Topband, many signals were right at the noise. Bob and I both agree that even knocking down the noise an S unit or two, would have opened us up to another layer of signals. For those wondering about FT8, yes it would be very effective in this environment. I am not anti-FT8, but it doesn’t interest me. I don’t get satisfaction making QSO’s with it. If the choice was FT8 only or stay home, I would choose the latter. I like the challenge this situation provides and developing solutions to overcome it, with the young engineers at the club station. Members of the club are active on FT8, so perhaps they will try.

    All in all it was a wonderful week with our friends at ET3AA. As I said during my presentation at Visalia last year, my involvement with the club here is one of the coolest things I have done in amateur radio. I think W9XY would agree. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Terri K8MNJ and the team at DX Engineering for the support they have provided to the station. Thanks to them and the others who have helped, youth and amateur radio in Ethiopia is flourishing.


    Here are the final count of CW QSO’s. I don’t have the SSB numbers as they are on another computer.

    160 Meters: 92 QSO’s – 24 DXCC
    80 Meters: 433 QSO’s – 44 DXCC
    40 Meters: 405 QSO’s – 42 DXCC
    30 Meters: 554 QSO’s – 44 DXCC
    20 Meters: 585 QSO’s – 51 DXCC
    17 Meters: 346 QSO’s – 45 DXCC


    73

    Ken K4ZW
    73 Al 4L5A

    Comment

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      #3
      Greetings - I thought I would share a few comments from the recently concluded visit with friends at the Ethiopian Amateur Radio Society and our ET3YOTA (Youth On The Air) celebration. It’s been awhile since I’ve been back here, so it was good to reconnect with everyone.
      Bob, W9XY, and I traveled together to Addis. It was his first visit to Africa. The goal for the week was to spend a lot of time on the air, not just ourselves, but also the club members. It was a chance for us to work with them, to refine operator skills, and jointly work on some station projects. This is a very enthusiastic group. They love to get on the air and operate!

      Specific to the lowbands, there were three challenges going into this.
      First and foremost was getting permission from the university and security office to stay overnight. The gates are closed from 8 PM to
      6 AM. Second would be to install an effective transmit antenna. There is a Butternut HF2V there now, without the 160 meter adaptor. We were hoping to do something better. And the third item was how to deal with noise in the city.

      We were granted permission to say for three consecutive nights, both Bob and I along with a couple of club members.

      I brought along an 18 meter Spider Pole, with the idea that we would put it on the 4th floor metal roof and try to string some sort of vertical/inverted L, using a trap so it would work on both 80 and 160 meters. It’s like what I use at XW4ZW except in Laos, I have a rope between two tall towers to support the antenna. And there I have to lay out a counterpoise. The Spider Pole went up without much trouble.
      The trap near the top makes it bend a bit. I had to add about 15 feet of wire to the bottom of the antenna, at the base of the spider pole, to get it to resonate near our operating frequencies. We used a piece of string to hold that section of wire off the metal roof. The segment of wire coming off the top of the pole slopped back down to the metal roof, finishing a mere 15 feet above it. The SWR was close, but we ran it through the station tuner to improve the match. This is one of the ugliest antennas I have ever built, but boy did it work!
      After a few CQ’s on Topband, we were told half of Europe was calling.
      And guys in the US, as far west as W5, reported hearing us. I looked at Bob and starting laughing, pointing to that antenna and saying, you have to be kidding, that!?

      The city noise. It was as bad as anticipated, solid S9 plus 20 on Topband and S9 on 80 meters. I was hoping, like I saw during Z81Z, that the noise might subside some by early morning. That did not happen. It was steady.

      To those who spent a lot of time calling to no avail, we feel your pain too. We didn’t come here to be alligators. Our sense of accomplishment comes from putting stations in the log. I did have an MFJ noise cancelling unit and played with it a bit, but it didn’t offer any relief. Part of that is probably me, not having an effective “noise” antenna, and having a lack of time to really play with it. Remember our days were very busy and we had only three nights to operate. I do think it will be possible to devise a better receive system to combat some of the noise. W9XY and I both agreed that even if we could knock the noise down a few S units, it would have opened up another layer or two of stations. On Topband we heard a lot of people right at the noise, often getting a character or two before they would drop back down. We were both listening. I should mention that W9XY is a frequent winner or top finisher of CW pileup competitors, so he’s no slouch picking out calls.

      For those wondering about FT8, yes it would be very effective in this environment. I am not anti-FT8, and I sure don’t want to start another debate about it. Simply, it doesn’t interest me. I don’t derive any satisfaction making QSO’s with it. If the choice was FT8 only or stay home, I would choose the latter. I like the challenge this situation provides and developing solutions to overcome it. It’s also a good learning experience for these young engineers at the university. Members of the club are active on FT8, so perhaps they will try.

      The final numbers are 92 QSO’s on Topband with 24 DXCC entities. As I mentioned, we heard many calling. I didn’t know what to expect going into this. It would have been nice to log more stations, but I’m good with the number given the situation.

      On 80 meters we had 433 QSO’s with 44 entities. Maybe the signals were louder, but for whatever reason we had much better luck on this band, even working some western US, who I know were not using a remote station in another part of the country.

      All in all I was very pleased with the results for three nights of operating. We took occasional breaks to let the club members, spending the night with us, operate 40 SSB. Some were also working on WSPR and QRP transceiver kits obtained during their participation in the 2018 YOTA conference this past August in South Africa. We took time to give them a hand or discuss what they were working on. After all, this trip was about mentoring youth, and filling the age gap that exists in our hobby.

      It was a wonderful week with our friends at ET3AA. As I said during my presentation at Visalia last year, my involvement with the club here is one of the coolest things I have done in amateur radio. I think W9XY would agree. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Terri K8MNJ and the team at DX Engineering for the support they have provided to the station. Thanks to them and the others who have helped, youth and amateur radio is flourishing in of all places, Ethiopia!

      73
      Ken K4ZW
      73 Al 4L5A

      Comment

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        #4
        I'm returning to Addis Ababa this coming Monday night, assuming no problems with the pending snow storm in Washington or the strikes planned for the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

        Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from DX Engineering, I'll have a few tools to hopefully combat the noise problem we had on the lowbands last December during our ET3YOTA operation.

        The plan was to use the first half of the week to set up, and operate over the weekend. However Ethiopia's Epiphany celebration falls on that weekend, and we were unable to get access to the station overnight. Therefore we have secured overnight access to the station on January 16, 17, and 18. We'll do our best to get setup in time for the 16th. But please be patient. We have a lot of work and challenges to overcome. The goal is to improve on conditions from December, and put more people in the log. Just keep in mind this is a long term effort. Continued improvements will be made. More opportunities will be available.

        Another encouraging sign, I've been asked to give a presentation on our efforts to the engineering professors and students at the university, where the station is located. It will be a great opportunity to showcase amateur radio.

        The callsign will be ET3AA, ET3YOTA was just for last December, and QSL's continue to go via Bob, N2OO.

        73
        Ken K4ZW
        73 Al 4L5A

        Comment

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          #5
          ET3YOTA Ethiopia QSL Card


          ET3YOTA Ethiopia QSL Card
          73 Al 4L5A

          Comment

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