2002 story

After several e-mail correspondence with Steve G3VMW and Peter C56YT I knew were to go to get the license: The Gamtel Office in Banjul. So I tried to send them some e-mails but... they all got bounced. Then I tried to send them a fax:... no reply either. But Peter assured me to go to the office upon arrival and ask for a C56JJ license. And then all of a sudden I received my long waited e-mail from the Senior Manager Technical Audit from the GAMTEL office in Banjul, Mr. Sita Ceesay, telling me that the call C56JJ would be no problem and I had to go to their office when I arrived in Banjul and pay a fee of (only) US$ 3 because they told me that Amateur Radio is a hobby and is not charged as a commercial service. In my opinion this is the right attitude, but on the other hand if the fee would have been twice as much (remember that The Gambia is still a very poor country) I would not have had any problems with that. So my plans are to go to the Gamtel Office the next day after arrival and I hope all went as planned and you liked working me. And about 3 weeks before my departure I came in contact with Ron G3NKO who is building his house at about a 6 - 7 minutes walk from the hotel I will be staying in. On 40 meters we discussed some things and I got a lot of tips from him. Thanks Ron! We will meet in The Gambia on the second week of our stay and maybe we can give you a hand by helping putting up your antenna there. And I will bring my qsl-card from our 40 m. qso with me. This should be the first card which you received direct in The Gambia hi!! Well if things went different as planned I will publish them on this page after returning home.

Well almost everything went as planned. I had a very nice conversation with Mr. Sita Ceesay and it took only about a few hours to go to his office, get the license and go back to the hotel, all thanks to our guide Bamalang who accompanied us to Banjul in the bush-taxi's. We also have met Ron G3NKO (using C56RF in The Gambia) but unfortunately we did not see his compound (= house) as he came to visit us in our hotel. And he had his antenna already put up so there was no help needed. Later we heard the terrible news that Ron was murdered by his house keeper.

Our stay was in the Senegambia Hotel in Kololi Beach Serekunda. This is a very famous hotel visited frequently  by foreign radio amateurs. So they should know about radio activity. And they sure did and the garden boys climbed the tree and put my G5RV dipole at 10 meters high in the tree just before my room.

    The Gambia is generally recognized as having perhaps the most agreeable climate in West Africa. The weather is subtropical with distinct dry (7 Months) and Rainy seasons. There is a dry wind called the Harmattan which blows during the dry season. The Harmattan Sahara winds give the Gambia a uniquely pleasant winter, completely rainless and blessed with daily sunshine

    The rains begin in June and continue to October, conceding with the warmer weather. Inland, the cool season is shorter, and by the day high temperatures are encountered between March and June. Generally, there is considerable cooling off in the evening. Rainfall in most parts of the country does not exceed 40 inches (1,016 Millimeters) and sunny periods occur on most days even in the rainy season.

From November to May, the temperature varies between 70oF (21oC) and 80oF (27oC) and the relative humidity stays between 30% and 60%. Summer temperatures range between 80oF (27oC) and 90oF (32oC) and the relative humidity is high. See also the actual weather report on this page