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C5WP The Gambia flag The Gambia

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QSL: ONLY DIRECT 5 euros using paypal on smilegambia.org

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Next window 2 till 13 April 2018.  Mainly FT8...

Radio update: the december 2017 operations focussed on digital modes on 60 meter, due to low propagation expectations.  When the operator was busy doing other things we ran the station on Whisper multi band if power supplies allows.

The rainy season again damaged the spider beam so thurday 28 december was spent on repairing this antenna and putting up the 60 meter antennas.  We had all 60 m activity from wednesday 27 december till friday 29 december 2017.


FT8 operating procedures: Ten Steps on How to Work C5WP (The Gambia) With FT8

Due to the relative newness of this mode, there is a need for operators to understand how to operate FT8 correctly and maximize their chances of getting into the C5WP log.

FT8 will be our “primary” mode.   We will use this mode preferably.   If a band appears dead, watch for us on the FT8 transmit frequencies 5357.  C5WP operations on FT8 will not use “normal” FT8 sequencing (read below).   Using and understanding the following guidelines will maximize your success in making an FT8 (digital) contact with C5WP.

  1. First, your computer clock needs to be ACCURATE.  Do not assume it is.  An accurate time synch is mandatory for proper decoding and sequencing;  http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/pc-times-match-atomic-clock-sync-windows/ gives instructions on how to do this.  A nice program is BktTimeSync by IZ2BKT
  1. Download and install WSJT-X (Version 1.8.0-rc3 or newer) from http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx.html
  1. Read the the FT8 Help files.  ZL2IFB’s  is also extremely helpful.

4.  We be using the normal FT8 band segment 5357. 

5.  Do not transmit on our transmit frequency.  Select a clear spot on the waterfall in the Wide Graph, do a on that clear spot to set your transmit frequency, and call us there.  Check the box labeled “Hold Tx Freq” to keep your transmit frequency locked.  We will not respond to callers on our transmit frequency.

6.  Our transmit frequency may move around low in the passband, but that is OK.  FT8 will decode the entire passband, and you will decode us wherever we transmit in that passband segment.  Our moving around will also help deter DQRM.

7.  FT8 is a low power, weak signal mode.  High power and/or “heavy” audio processing will only hinder your ability to make a contact.

8.  DO NOT SEND US GRID SQUARE INFORMATION.  Before calling us, double click on the box next to the T1x message in the “Generate Std Msgs” window.  This will toggle off the Tx1 message so that your calls to C5WP automatically just include a signal report and the QSO sequence will be as indicated below.  Remember DO NOT CALL US WITH A GRID SQUARE.  We only want to exchange signal reports in order to maximize the number of QSO’s per hour.  We will not respond to calls containing grid squares.

9.  A typical exchange between KL7YL and C5WP will look like:

a.)  Gambia:  K1ABC C5WP 73   (finishing a preceding contact)
b.)  Vivien calls:  C5WP KL7YL -06
c.)  Gambia answers with:   KL7YL C5WP -02
d.)  Vivien answers with:  C5WP KL7YL RRR
e.)  Gambia answers:    KL7YL C5WP 73
f.)  The QSO is now complete and KL7YL is in the log.  This took only one minute (four 15-second sequences) for a complete contact.


If you see C5WP return to someone else, stop transmitting by clicking the “Halt Tx” button on the FT8 control panel.  Continuing to transmit during a QSO will NOT increase your chances of making a contact.  Immediately after seeing C5WP transmit a “73” to another station, click on the “Enable Tx” button to begin transmitting a signal report to C5WP.

Repeat until you are called by C5WP

(thanks 3YØZ for this excellent procedure).



QSL Update: if you have trouble with direct QSL and getting euros or green stamps, visit my www.smilegambia.org charity page  There it is very easy to donate FIVE euros (or more) to my project (using paypal) and leave your details and you will get your card within a week (after my return to Belgium in Januari !!!) (if post allows)  This is valid for all QSL of december 2017 (C5WP).  I am fully aware the last bunch of C5WP QSL is still on the waiting pile due to logistical problems.  

Please understand the cost of shipping QSL in Belgium is quite elevated compared to some other countries.  It costs about 2,9 Euros all included, so 2,1 euros from each card request goes into the charity.  I receive about half of the cards in the mail with no $$$ or euro or return envelope at all.  I no longer sponsor these people.  These cards are discarted.

All money earned this way is used in a good way to sponsor the local population of Buntung.  This year I was able to buy 10 Shortwave radios to allow the native people that only speak Fulla/Pular language to improve their English and French skills, and I installed a satellite TV system on solar power.  So your QSL money is well spend and does not go to fancy ham gear like with some other DXpeditions.  I already had plenty of ham gear lol...   An attention is sent to people that sponsor over 10 euros.



Past trips: 12th of December 2015 I started a road trip similar to the famous Paris-Dakar rallye in order to return a 1998 Nissan Patrol jeep to the Gambia pulling a trailer with 500 kg of aid goods like clothes, school books, children toys, solar panels,...  During this trip I will be active as EA9/ON7WP, CN2WP, S0WP, 5T0WP, 6W/C5WP...  The jeep and trailer are a gift to the village.  Fuel cost for this trip is over 1000 euros and another 500 for customs handling costs. I will return by plane on my own expense.  So if anybody who can afford it could sponsor this trip this would be very very welcome...

We will repair the spider beam that was destroyed last rainy season in september (1 pole broke off, but great support ) 

We will also install a modified Butternut HF2V vertical for 40 and 80 meters (never buy these antennas, they are mechanical crap and the company offers NO support, stay away from them !)  Apart from this we have a very well performing vertical delta loop for 40 meters.  We will install more solar power centrals around the village and one big one for our shack :-)

Operation will be until 9th of Januari 2016.  We will do some serious efforts on 40 and 80 meters with our jeep, carrying the Butternut vertical, parked into the ocean at Cape Point.


After having permanent license for 2013, 2014 and 2015 (there are only two hams, me and C5YK ) I just got confirmation on my renewal for 2016 as well. 


Past operations: 21st of August 2015 I moved from my rural Buntung location to a Hotel at the Atlantic ocean.  At the same moment HF propagation dropped to 0, worsened even more by S7 QRM from power line noise or Chinese LED lights.  Only today Thursday 27th I was able to make a contact on 10m with CX8 and 15m with I, and I heard an OD5 and another I none having decent receivers :-(

I now only have an OCF Hotel dweller for 20-10-6 m and a delta loop for 15m both on the beach facing the ocean with 300 degrees clear view, a real dream location, if not for QRM and HF propagation being extremely poor.


I was be QRV the second half of August 2015 on all bands from 40 till 6 meters, and also planning to put up in December some Rhombic antennas to USA and Australia for the lower bands.  New and successful addition for 2015 is a rotatable 40m delta loop with vertical polarisation.  Although sandy underground, I am only 300 m from a large creek with semi-salt water so ground conductivity could be a surprise...  RX conditions are superb with NO noise level as the closest wall outlet for disturbing appliances is miles away...  Just having issues with the LED drivers of my lights at night so mostly transmitting in the dark (read with candlellight).

I have not sufficient power for a laptop, only a 40W solar panel and a 150Ah battery, enough for 3 hours radio a day.  So sorry if I do not recognize you on another band if we worked before...






More past operations:

I was also QRV from 11 Januari 2014 till 15 Januari and 7 till 13 april from the village (picture above)  my Charity cares about, Buntu.  I did set up my permanent station now based on a Kenwood TRC-80 Bush Radio and a brand new 5 band Spiderbeam.  Additionally I will put up some travelling wave V-beam antennas to USA and EU. 

From 16 till 22 Januari I was in the Kololi area where we tried some serious Low Band stuff based on a sea mounted vertical, together with dipoles and the V-beam for the high bands.  But we hear everybody but our 100W signals hide in your noise level...

I was  QRV from 20 till 27 march 2013 from the Kololi aera and also from inland Buntu village. But very busy setting up an NGO that week, not a lot of activity.

I waS also QRV two weeks in august, dates 16-30 august 2013 from Kerr Pedro, Buntu Village, North River district. This place has no electricty, I will be taking along solar panels and batteries to sponsor the village. And lots of humanitary aid stuff, medicine and educational things...


Please help my charity project, more info on www.smilegambia.org


Previously operated from 11 till 18 november 2012 by Pedro ON7WP / AA9HX as part of his effort to set up a locally managed tourist organisation (abca lodge now) helping local to gain their own money.  The guy below went from a basic guide to a self supporting business man just with a little startup help....


C5WP with CEO of africajeepsafari.com

Used in 2014 an Icom IC706 running 50 Watts into dipoles or MP1 vertical from a hotel suite located close to the atlantic ocean with clear view over 360 degrees.

Villa living room luxury operations...


resting at the beach...

Lazy times at the beach after the humanitarian efforts...


enjoy some pics of my previous trips.

bringing goods to remote villages...

PS the human aid community service part of the trip was a huge success. I made more people happy than I made QSO's...



QSL only direct to ON7WP address. Please enclose adhesive address label and 5 euros



Alternatively post your QSO details using the text field of the paypal button on the Smilegambia.org website  Fast and easy....

8555901 Last modified: 2018-01-03 13:35:20, 12313 bytes

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