This expedition would test the patience of most people.
This morning at 0700 local we departed the mainland for the 40 minute crossing to Moucha Island. We identified an excellent location for radio upon arrival and immediately assembled a 15m VDA and 17m & 20m vertical dipoles. Our intention was to add more antennas as the day progressed.
Literally 5 minutes before the first CQ from AF-053 we received a phone-call from National Security saying signatures were needed for the authorization letter to permit us to collect our impounded gear. This same letter would also allow us to depart Djibouti without anymore issues at airport customs. However, we had to return to the mainland to get the letter.
The weekend is Friday and Saturday here in Djibouti meaning this would likely be our final chance of obtaining the important authorization letter prior to heading home.
Before we had even started, teardown begun. Yes, we left the island 2 hours after arriving. AF-053 is now also cancelled.
Upon returning to the mainland we headed straight to the National Security offices. Yes, you guessed it – no authorized letter to be seen.
We’ve now had enough of this country and look forward to heading home.
All recent spots for J20DX on the cluster are also fake.
We have still not been able to retrieve our bags and equipment from the airport customs as the national security letter has not yet been signed.
Sadly, now due to time constraints, this means our plans to activate AF-059 are cancelled. Nobody is more disappointed about that than us.
At present we aim to be active from Moucha or Maskali Island AF-053 starting tomorrow and staying there until Friday evening or Saturday morning. Of course, this depends on the aforementioned bags being released by custom officials. J20DX callsign will be used from there.
Should plans again change we will update. Thanks for your understanding and recent messages of support.
Unfortunately, Col MM0NDX & Jonathan MM0OKG had all of their radio equipment impounded by customs at Djibouti Ambouli international airport on arrival despite Christian EA3NT clearing customs smoothly 2 days before!! This remains the case today despite our official radio licenses being issued by Djibouti Telecom permitting us to operate radio without any conditions.
Last 24 hours has seen us visit the National Security offices and the Djibouti Telecoms Agency. To cut a long story short, we have been informed that tomorrow a decision will be made by the security agency on whether we can obtain authorisation to retrieve our equipment and rebuild the project. More updates tomorrow morning.
Since early February we have been waiting patiently for final approval / permission from both the Djibouti military commander-in-chief and government commissionaire in Obock region to stay overnight Kadda Dabali island.
Today we can report that permission has been granted.
We are extremely lucky and grateful to all authorities enabling us to stay up to 72 hours in the AF-059 group.
Although not an ideal island in terms of some paths being blocked, we do not yet know if it’s possible to stay on another sland (instead of Kadda Dabali) and will only find out once we meet the boatman. We will update on air the exact AF-059 island we’ll be QRV from.
Current propagation forecast charts suggest it will be tough to work west coast NA from J2 but we will try our best.
On April 10th all heavy items such as generator, fuel, water & tents will be sent to Obock then onto Khor Angar ahead of our arrival.
On April 13/14th look for EA3NT running as J20NT from city hotel.
For AF-053 activity, our plans remain unchanged.
Flights also now booked. Just 4 weeks to go!
We’ve been working tirelessly to try stick to our original plan and activate both AF-053 & AF-059. We recently hit a brick wall with news that Sept Freres is off-limits. However, in the coming weeks it appears we will have some good news to share.
Kadda Dabali Island
JANUARY 15 – Christian EA3NT joins the team.
JANUARY 10 – LoTW certificate received.
JANUARY 6 – VOACAP predictions here [thanks OH6BG].
JANUARY 5, 2019 – J20DX logo by GM0OBX. Download here.