And we’re back…

So my parents are still visiting, so my air time is limited, but I hope to get on in the next few days.  Akagera National Park was amazing.  Heres a few pictures.

BUT, on a side note, I did find a great place for a camping site.  High elevation, no noise.  It will be a great site for a camping trip one day, and a place to bring and set up the radio and a field expedient antenna.  I already asked and the park has no problems letting me use my radio here.  The lower power won’t be great, but the lower noise will be amazing.

73, Alan 9X0TA / KE4TA


Sorry, not sorry, I’m off the air for a few days

My parents have joined us in Kigali for holiday.  We’re headed to Akagera for the weekend.  Then when we return on Monday evening, I must prepare for a trip to Tanzania.  One of my well-heeled customers is actually paying for my flight and hotel to bring me there so I can repair two of his bikes.  I’m kinda thrilled that my reputation as a mechanic is so good that I have someone paying my transport to another country to work on their bikes.  I’ll be back Wednesday night.

73, Alan, 9X0TA / KE4TA


9X2AW in Rwanda!

So 9X2AW is just outside Kigali Rwanda, I got the chance to talk with him over the last few days and get a few chances to meet him.  He is a very charming man who is amazing on CW, and really enjoys working a pileup on CW.  He is using a vertical antenna with three radials along with a very nice remote antenna tuner.

We got a chance to compare his IC-7300 with my FT-991 today courtesy of an antenna switch and some great conditions on 15m.  First of all, the noise levels at his QTH are amazing compared to Kigali, I will be making a few trips up here to work.  Noise was at least 3 S-units below my QTH.  Otherwise, I found that his IC-7300 was superior to my FT-991…. Of course, he said the same thing about my FT-991.  I think they’re both fine radios, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Aside from radio noise, I loved how quiet his location was otherwise. This is a very short trip out of Kigali, and a great respite from the noise of the city.

Please note that Harald (9X2AW) has very limited internet access.  He cannot access any of the spotting networks.  He actually has to walk to a particular tree to find a good cellular signal. We are making daily contacts on 15m to communicate any schedule requests and to pass any other important traffic.  Please feel free to email me at alan.norman(at) and I’ll try to get information to him.

73, 9X0TA

1st annual Kigali hamfest

So the 1st annual Kigali hamfest kicked off without a hitch.  After a lazy ride to the hamfest location at 9X2AW’s hotel, we achieved 100% attendance of all amateur radio operators in Kigali.  The noise levels are much lower at his QTH, and rooms there are cheap.  I may go up there a few days in the future and string up a field expedient antenna to see how well I can do.  We’re meeting him again on Saturday.

Busy catching up on everything after the Tour du Rwanda, so I haven’t done much operating lately, but that will hopefully change after Thanksgiving.

73, Alan 9X0TA

Living in DX-land

A good night on 20m tonight.  I must confess, I can only handle about an hour at a time before I need to take a break.

Doing a DXpedition seems easy sometimes, sure, you’re operating around the clock for a few weeks, but thats what you’re there to do.  Here I have wife, kid, three dogs, a job, a motorcycle, touristy things to do.  It never seems like I have enough time to work everyone.  I do try.  I feel like I can handle at most one hour of SSB per night.  Working the digital modes does feel like cheating sometimes, but its much easier on the ears.

Please if you can make it easier on me, spread out.  Unless you’re my first contact of the night, I’m working QSX, and that typically means I’m listening 3khz to 5Mhz up.  I’m joking of course, but I have noticed a trend where I’m TX on say 14240Khz, and I move to QSX, and then I get spotted as working split on say 14245Khz.  And then a few thousand of my closest friends stick to 14245.  I appreciate that you’re not transmitting on the frequency that I’m using, but if you’re all on the same freq, then I still can’t hear you.  Friends, please, spread out.  If you’re all on, say 14245, I typically ignore it, and look for the lonely signal a few Khz away, its most likely weaker, but I can hear that signal much more easily.

Thanks for all the new places I worked tonight.

Alan, 9X0TA / KE4TA


Non-DX: Tour of Rwanda

In non-DX news, I’m gearing up for the Tour of Rwanda, one of the biggest sporting events here.  The tour is a seven day stage race, with teams from all over the world.  My personal motorcycle will be ridden in one capacity by another rider to support the peloton, while I’ll be riding way out front doing race security on a much smaller motorcycle loaned to me by the Rwanda Motorcycle Company. (many thanks to them for giving me the opportunity).

Unfortunately that means I won’t be on the air at all from 11 November until around 17 November due to the race.  I spent most of the day wrenching on my own motorcycle to make sure its race ready.

73, Alan, 9X0TA / KE4TA

N0UN on 15m

Heres the mp3 from a QSO, thanks to N0UN.  Wayne you had a great signal.  And this accurately describes a lot of my feelings on spotting.  I appreciate the help, I really do, and I know you want to let other amateurs get a difficult call sign, but the pileups do get tedious to say the least.  I enjoy it more when a station finds me, or even more when I hear someone calling CQ, and to surprise them with a reply.