Travel Report Karatu
Transmitter hut at the hospital
On the way up to Tlome
Fiew from Tlome
One of the new builtLodges on the border to the national park
Down over the valley...
... house of the village mayer
Hill near Gongali
Mt. Oldenai seen from the crater edge
Deo listening to our Arusha transmitter
Our Maassai Guide
Mt. Oldeani seen from road leading to Mangola
For the last four years LRC asked or a broadcast licence or the Karatu district, after it got a transmitter plus license fee sponsored by Altdorf/Germany. It requested the frequency assignment together with the of Tanga and Morogoro. Last Christmas 2008, it looked as if a frequency assignment could be obtained for a location close to the Lutheran Hospital in Karatu as a temporary location. A transmitter hut was built, but the TCRA refused to grant a frequency. "Its too close to staff houses!" it claimed. Now we had to find another location.
A team from the technical department took off to Karatu on Tuesday August 25th, after preparing all the necessary equipment on Monday. On the team was Deo Mosha, Martin Ahnert and his wife Lore and Prisca.
We passed through Arusha city centre to follow reports of difficult reception especially around the stadion/bus stand. But we could not find any reception gaps all the way through the town using a cheap car radio and a handheld receiver. The reception was more than sufficient all the way through the town from our transmitter from Kivesi running on 200 Watts! It could be heard without interruption way byond Monduli.
Passing by Monduli we were glad to hear the gap filling transmitter of 1 Watt was still on air on 102.9MHz.
Travelling to Karatu took about 5 hours. Passing many places as in Makuyuni, driving up the rift valley, and in Karatu itself the transmitter from Arusha was still well audible.
We are sad that we cannot use the new built transmitter hut at the hospital any more, since the frequency regulatory Authority says there are too many staff houses around.
Arriving in the Jimbo Centre we asked for Pastor Israel Unfortunately he was still on the way coming from Moshi himself. But he referred us to the Evangelist who showed us around in his car. He brought us up to a hill right on the edge of the national park in Tlome. From there we got a very good vision over Karatu and even to the rift valley and lake Manyara. The ground up there belongs to one of the church elders, and it should not be any problem to get a small plot for an antenna mast there. But the main problem may be that electricity may not be available up to mid next year. Its available already at the lodges further down.
Since we were also looking for a transmitting place which could be used until the actual place is prepared, the evangelist showed us his church, not far from there. It is a bit further down, but a store to place the transmitter is available. There are no people living right at that place. Unfortunately electricity is planned, but not yet available there. We crossed a valley and visited the next neighbor, the village chairman. He accepted to offer us to connecting at the transmitter site his electricity line . Electricity, safety, clear reception of the signal coming from Arusha, what else should we need? This location is much better than the hill around Gongali where many cell phone transmitters are located!
On studying different maps, it was revealed that there are really many people in this district, including North of the Ngorongoro Crater.But to reach them we need a higher point to look over the crater. Fortunately there is a mountain overlooking the crater: Mt.Oldeani, and it has already transmitters on top of it already and a road to drive up!
So we headed to the gate of the national park the next day. But we were refused to go up there first from the strict park wards, until we had explained exactly what we would like to do: Justgo up there and make sure whether we could receive our signal from Arusha. Finally we got the permission to do exactly that. We took the way leading us along the crater edge to the airstrip. From there we took the road to Endulen but we turned left after reaching a school in the first village. One can not drive up without one seen, because of the huge dust cloud following ones car. There are many Maassaiherders with their cattle around the near-by bomas. But we also passed herds of Zebras!
On top we found a high Vodacom and Tigo Cell phone mast and several radio call relays. The reception of our signal from Arusha was excellent, but there is also a station close by coming from Kenya. But that should not give any problem. We plotted a frequency scan and counted 40 strong FM stations to be heared up there! A maasai showed us lake Eyasi, which looked really dry. We just could emagine how far the range would be from up there to the North of Malambo. In the South Mt Hanang could be seen, West may be close to Mwanza, all free!! There is only one thing missing: Electricity. But it may come soon, since the park head quarter is connected presently by a long earth cable.
Having eaten we drove down again to the crater and logged off at the gate. The rangers were very helpful having all the information. They encouraged us to apply to get permission to bring up our transmitter.
On the way back to Karatu, we went along the road towards Mangola for 3 km just to see how reception could be there.
The next day we went to the Tanesco office first to find out how we could get electricity at the Evangelists church. The person in charge promised us to examine this matter together with the evangelist.
Then we continued our journey to Arusha, where we met the official Person from the regional office of the Regulatory Authority. Even she was very positive to our problem and advised us to put in writing. She supported us in getting a transmitter site at Oldeani, but wanted to be sure the temporary site at the church should not be a permanent one.
We arrived at home around 18:30.
Martin and Deo