TL5A, Central African Republic Click here to go back to the home page
by Frank van Dijk, PA3BFM
Issue 59 - November 1998

Pictured in Bangui (over dinner naturally!) are Serge-F6HHG, Chuck-TL8CK and Alex-TL5A.Pictured in Bangui (over dinner naturally!) are Serge-F6HHG, Chuck-TL8CK and Alex-TL5A.

Another new signal on 50MHz is Alex, TL5A, operating from Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (JJ94GJ). Earlier assignments took Alex (home call PA3DZN) to other rare spots in Africa such as 9Q, 9U, 9X and D2 where he operated on HF and 160 metres only.

Recently, Alex acquired a Yaesu FT847 because he wanted to give 50MHz a try also. I explained about everything I thought he had to know about the peculiarities of propagation on 50MHz and our funny operating habits, such as the exchange of grid locators. A group of 50MHz die-hards from our northern provinces, consisting of PAJMH, PA3DWD, PA3FBN and PE1MCD was kind enough to donate a five element Tonna yagi, so now Alex was fully equipped for six metres.

The Central African Republic has been on six metres in the past, when F5JKK operated as TL8MB in 1991. This is long before most of today’s operators became active, so there are plenty of people who still need TL for their DXCC.

The first priority for Alex after his arrival in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, was to get a licence, a slick call sign and a good QTH. After these were secured, the station was set up. Alex was quite lucky to find a good fold-over mast which was able to hold his HF and 50MHz yagi.

It took almost six weeks of noise before Alex made his first 50MHz QSO. This was on 3 July at 1851 UTC when 4Z5JA was worked. This was about time, because Alex’ e-mails sounded increasingly desperate and I was frightened he would give up. After the first contact, the propagation improved gradually and more openings to the Mediterranean occurred, sometimes even shooting farther up into DL and OZ.

A quick look in the TL5A six metre log reveals that all countries around the Mediterranean Sea have been worked, in addition to this also a number of DLs, Fs and several stations from LZ, ON, OZ, SM, SP and YO.

The best opening with Europe so far was on 3rd of August, between 1658 and 1739 UTC, when 45 central European stations were able to be contacted.

On August 21st at 1954 UTC, 7Q7RM suddenly appeared with a 59-plus signal. Another good day was September 20th when 30 stations were worked, including CT3HF, CT3FT, CN8UN and EH9IB. On September 22nd at 1930 UTC, EH8BYR was entered into the log.

A great day was September 29th, when 15 ZS6 stations made it into the log, as well as 7Q7RM, V51KC and A22BW. Hal, ZS6WB reported TL5A was at least 59+20 dB! Later on 29th there was an amazing opening into South America.

On top of the mast a 5-ele Tonna for 6m, below a Force 12-C4 for 10-40 metres. On 80 and 160 inverted L's are used. The top band inverted L is also used on 30 metres.On top of the mast a 5-ele Tonna for 6m, below a Force 12-C4 for 10-40 metres. On 80 and 160 inverted L's are used. The top band inverted L is also used on 30 metres.

At around midnight, PY2XB dragged TL5A out of a 14MHz pile up and at 2300 UTC TL5A worked PY2XB for his first South American QSO on six metres. Slightly later PY5CC was also logged. Several other Brazilian stations were heard chatting on 110, but Alex was unable to attract their attention.

Alex says that usually every day, starting at about 1700z for about one hour, six metres is open into the Mediterranean! It is hazardous to say what kind of propagation this might be. The time of day strongly suggests a relationship with TEP, but TL actually lies north of the equator! Can it be a special kind of sporadic-E? Up to today, this pattern continues.

There have been few openings during daylight. Alex has to work for a living, sometimes returning home late at night, so there is little opportunity to operate during the day except for weekends. So, what could be possible during daytime has yet to be discovered.

Anyway, if Solar Cycle 23 continues to rise as it has done so far, F2 openings into Europe and other continents can be expected to start in October. TL5A is well within reach of these openings. Be prepared when the Big One hits!

The 42,000 QSOs TL5A has made on HF up to now, suggest that Alex is not yet tired of running pile ups.


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