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5H3DX Tanzania flag Tanzania

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At the time of this writing, my 2017 visit is complete.  I have returned to the United States, and I have responded to all QSL requests.  My thanks to everyone who contributed to the hospital project with QSL cards.  There were several very generous donors.  Another milestone: I now have sufficient confirmed QSOs for DXCC from Tanzania.

The good news is that I was able to work some of the "local" hams, such as DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion Island, Rodriguez Island, South Africa, and Zambia with conditions good for a long rag chew on CW.

Tanzania is Africa - TIA.  Things almost NEVER go as planned.  My launch weights for antennas rolled out through a crack in the case they were in.  I'm very glad that was all that was lost.  I did have a vertical on 20 meters that is above the edge of the roof, and when the bands are open it works very well indeed.  My first night on I had more US stations than in all my previous trips.  Still, the bands are hit or miss.  Speaking of TIA, after bringing an extra radio to operate HF digital modes, my sound dongle went missing in action.  I have searched everywhere and it is nowhere to be found.  At least I had a backup rig in case something went belly up! It was not needed, but nice to have. So I was back to my workhorse mode, CW.  I honestly didn't hear much on SSB or I might even be inclined to give it a try.  

UPDATE: I did work the East Africa Net on 40 meter SSB!  LOTW actually shows a confirmed QSO.  I suspect if I had a proper antenna for 40 meters, I could have worked quite a few stations on 40 meters.  20m was pretty unreliable.  As for digital, I ordered three extra dongles for the interface, so one way or another I should manage to have one with me for my next trip.  I feel like I need to make a box of items to go on my next trip immediately.

I did add an AllStar node this year, #46617.  It works, lakini sivisuri sana (but not very well.)  The problem is that mobile internet connections here are very dependent on user load, and there simply are hundreds of users at any given time.  I've figured out where to get a consistent 3G connection, but sometimes the connection is clear as it can be, and others, it chops the words like diced onions.

UPDATE: I suspect some of the problem is with the wireless dongle itself.  I found a 4G "hotspot" with an ethernet connection to take next year.  I am hoping this solves some of the issues with performance, and that I can maintain QSOs.  Even still, I made some new friends on AllStar, mainly through UK Hubnet, the WIN System, and the East Coast Reflector.

When trying to snare me as DX or any DX for that matter, PLEASE CALL ONCE, THEN LISTEN, regardless of the mode. Calling repeatedly doesn't give anyone, including me, a chance to hear.  Calling endlessly without listening may earn a spot on the "never respond to XX1XX" list.  Please follow the DX Code of Conduct. If I heard you call me I will try until I get you, provided you are paying attention.  If I am working split, I will state that.  Please don't call on my transmit frequency if I am working split, including digital modes. If I am rag chewing with a friend, please give us a break. Yes, I like to work DX but a good rag chew is also very satifying.  There will be plenty of opportunities to work my station this year.

PLEASE NOTE: To my knowledge, all requested QSL cards from 2015, 2016, & 2017 have been sent.  If you have requested a QSL card confirmation and it has not been received, please send me an e-mail.

Paper QSL policy: In the manner of most DXpeditions I will be asking for donations, but not for myself or for my expenses.  All donations will go directly to Children's Hospital, Zinga. This organization, unlike most "charitable" causes, spends 94% of what it collects on building the hospital.  I would like to emphasize that NONE of the money coming into the organization is EVER used for travel or any other personal expenses.  We are all volunteers; all guests pay for their own travel and expenses.

I will provide QSL cards to anyone who requests one, but we are asking for a $5 US donation for each card.  A PayPal account is in place, and payments should be made directly to 5H3DX.zinga@gmail.com.  In addition to the PayPal notification, please send a separate e-mail with your call, contact information, and date/time of the QSO. That way I can keep not only an accurate radio log, but also a log of those I owe QSL cards. As a show of good faith, I am not withholding eQSL or LOTW confirmations. The point here is not to force anyone to pay money for a card or QSL confirmation of any kind.  2017 QSLs will start to go out in January 2018.

All donations will deposit directly into the account of the US branch of Children's Hospital, Zinga, called International Health Partners, the US branch of the operation.  I also will handle cash contributions, but I would prefer PayPal.  I will send QSL cards regardless of donation, but you might have to wait a while to get your confirmation.

IHP is registered as a 501c3 charitable organization with the IRS.  For more information check the International Health Partners web site.  (Donations are always welcome, and they also can be made directly from the site.)  If you can claim a tax deduction from a US 501c3, we will send a receipt for all QSL donations of $100 (annually) or more, or on request for smaller amounts.

Did you know there is a way to make charitable donations, at least in the USA, without it costing you a single penny? Through Amazon if you go to http://smile.amazon.com instead of the normal Amazon login, then you must specify International Health Partners US (Arizona) as your charitable recipient.  Then for every $100 spent, a donation of 50¢ is made to the organization.  But you MUST go to Smile for the donation to occur.  If you are like me, the online payments add up over a year.  Every dollar counts.  

If you have read this far, you might will be interested in our project at Zinga.  Our challenge is to build the first free standing children's hospital in East Africa.  There is not a single dedicated pediatric faciltiy in the region.  We endeavor to bring a high level of care to the children of Tanzania.

The Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center didn't look like much in 2016 (see below, both photos). This is an enormous undertaking, both physically and financially. Due to the death of one of our principle officers, we are under "new management".  While the loss of Mary Ellen Kitundu is tragic, the position has been taken by her brother-in-law, Jesse Kitundu.  He is a well organized, forward thinking man.  We have named the birthing center in her memory.

 

Here is the progress in 2017.  It has come a long way. In the foreground to the left is the foundation of the C-section surgical suite, and to the right is the foundation for the neonatal intensive care unit.

 

The huge cathedral ceiling will help keep the buidling cool, even in the blazing sun.

Our X-ray building is complete, and we have final safety approval from the Tanzanian Atomic Energy Commission.  We have hired two radiographers to start in January 2018.  Thanks to Rotary International and a long list of US clubs, we have a brand new Fuji X-ray source and a digital cassette and storage system. There is also a dental X-ray system that is now operational, and we have a new machine for general sonography.  Again, our thanks to Rotary for all their hard work in helping us move forward.  Three of the many stand out: Park Ridge IL Rotary, Luna Vista CA Rotary, and Rotary Club of Barhari - Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, but my local club in Louisburg KS should be mentioned as well.

In the photo above, the X-ray suite is to the left, with the machines donated by Rotary International. The door on the right opens into the water purification processing room, with equipment donated by Agua Viva of Kansas City.

Our acknowledgement of Rotary participation:

Successful dental X-rays:

The hospital is being built in phases.  Phase I, the outpatient department, opened in April, 2016.  The facility went live following the connection of our electrical lines.  The next immediate need is to complete labor & delivery suites, nursery, and neonatal intensive care, and then the first of several pediatric wards.  Although much progress has been made in childhood survival, very little has improved with regard to perinatal and maternal deaths.  We have the expertise and personnel to change this.  We have made significant progress.

2016 trip:  The 2016 trip is over from a radio standpoint. We departed 12 November 2016. I was only able to operate full-bore a couple of evening. Pole sana (apologies) to the DX chasers who wanted to add 5H to their lists.  I would like to say asante sana (thank you very much) to all of the operator whom I worked, and who were patient with me. I am not a seasoned DXpeditioner. I am only a Ham who loves being on the radio.  

Operations were good after I was able to put a doublet up in the mango trees.  It is about 135' between tree-tops, and a 133' (40 meter long) double just barely fit in between them.  Antenna was up about 45' (15 meters).  There were still plenty of times where the band was not my friend, but the antenna worked much better than what should have been a fair vertical.

Because of new responsibilities at the hospital, I was unable to spend nearly as much time operating, but my QSO rate was much improved over last year.  With only 5 evenings or real operations, I finished with 1310 QSOs.  I was working 40-30-20, depending on which band was open.  20 had been a real dud until the last night of operation, then it was open to both EU and US, with good signals from both.  I had a surprise opening to EU on 12 meters that lasted about an hour, and a small contingent on 15 meters.  I was able to make only one QSO on 10 meters and one on 80 meters.

 

*News Update* Progress is visible on Google Earth:

 

 

The next hospital unit to open will be labor & delivery, nursery, and neonatal intensive care, followed by general pediatrics and various specialty units.  For more information, visit http://www.ihptz.org.

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2015:  I had a great deal of fun with the operation. My apologies if you tried to work me and didn't catch me. Fear not, I shall return, so you will have another chance. I was limited by an inadequate antenna and a lack of mains power. It was fun operating with batteries but challenging. Next time I will have power, a pole for an antenna and rotator, and a hexbeam or mini yagi (or both). I also have some possibilities for a very long doublet for low bands. This trip, I worked 30-15 meters, and I had a few stations who worked me on all four. I could hear a bit on 40 meters, but it was down a good 10 dB or more from 30 meters. The Hexbeam arrived but there were too many other responsibilities that prevented me from assembling it. I will be getting a phone pole installed for future antennas.  On the next trip, I may try some work with a magentic loop.

CW was enough to occupy my time, so much so that I never even plugged in the mic. I don't think I would have enjoyed SSB all that much.  Final tally in 2015 was around 1300 QSOs with almost 1200 individual stations. I worked 81 DXCC entities. Certainly not record breaking but it met my expectations. So I am looking forward already to the next trip.

Even though the 2015 visit is over, I'm already looking forward to the next visit.  The house is beautiful and the hospital is starting to take shape. How many can boast fruit trees to the south, banana trees to the south and east, mango trees all around, and a baby baobab tree to the north?

This is Africa. Our electricity was promised repeatedly. The process to install the power started a year prior to 2015 my visit. By the beginning of November, 2015, we had poles and lines, but no connections to the buildings.  During the 2015 trip I operated with an LiFePO4 battery pack. There was stiff competition for the solar charger, so it was difficult to keep everything charged and ready to go.

African sunset, Selous National Game Reserve.

I love to rag chew.  If I am in the middle of a QSO, please wait your turn and do not interrupt.

I hope to maintain the 5H3DX callsign indefinitely. QSLs will be sent via LOTW and eQSL, but like other DXpeditions, a QSL card and priority will be give to those who make donations to IHP, as noted above.

73,

Chas
5H3DX
NK8O
VE3ISD
(ex 5H9CP)

 

Photo gallery:

If anything will make you uncomfortable, it is a lion waiting in the lunch shelter at the game park. I'm sure we would have made a fine lunch!

lion lounging in the afternoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My operating position in Zinga, with all the important stuff: coffee, antenna analyzer, 12 Ah battery, keys, and the amplifier for the KX3...

 

 

 

Lilac breasted roller.

 

lavender breasted roller

 

 

To quote a famous TV show, here is our "cement pond." This was made possible by generous directed donations to the organization.  All directed funds go ONLY for the purpose for which they were designated.

 

 

The dining hall for our volunteers.  Note the beautiful paving bricks that lead to the dining hall and also now surround the pool.

 

 

8529427 Last modified: 2017-12-22 22:07:38, 16641 bytes

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