Travel Report Mlalo

May 13th-16th 2009


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Guesthouse of the diocese

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Graveyard  behind the house

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Small church up in the village

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Transmitter hut

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Fiew to Mlalo and surrounding villages

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We had to cleaneverythingin the transmitter hut


Although we knew there could be something wrong with the transmitter in Mlalo we postponed the trip several times because of "something more important". Then we had to make sure the problem could not be solved just by increasing power at the feeding station in Kidia. That is what we tested the week before and realized there is some more serious trouble there.

We started the trip in Moshi while it was very rainy. We stopped in Same at a garage, because the clutch of the car did not work normally and gear shifting was very difficult.

We stopped for a tea break close to Hedaru, and met a heavy rain front in Mombo. Fortunately the narrow way up to Lushoto is well tarmacked. We had lunch break at the Lutheran Guest house.

We had just finished eating, when we met the official of the diocese for communications. He told us that the diocese finally would like to go ahead with starting its own radio station after the diocese in Dar Es Salaam and Iringa have started their ones already. I invited him to Moshi to show him all machines which are required for a radio station. He can also see and talk all about program production. We talked about possible transmitter locations and areas of reception.

Then we continued our trip to Mlalo. Fortunately the road has a good layer of Moram not to make it too slippery. We were very astonished when we saw the sun shining after the highest point about half way to Mlalo.

Driving up the narrow steep road to the old Mission in Mlalo, all people behaved very funny. They made fire at all the corners and fled quickly leaving all their belongings on the road! The next day we heard what had happened: Some children played with a bees house, they came out and even killed an elderly man, who was likely to be drunk. The bees also followed all other people stinging them.

Arriving at the old missionary house, which is now a Guest house of the diocese, we were glad to get the room at the attic having a beautiful mountain few.

We started to go up the mountain the next day around 8 o clock after I had collected all tools and spares needed. Mzee Bendera came down to help to carry the ladder and lunch sandwiches. He is caring for the transmitter and checks it twice a month. More over he follows the 2 km long electricity cable and gets it repaired as soon as it refuses to work.

The food path passes through the village houses. At the church we followed the steep trail leading up the mountain through the wood. After two hours we arrived on top of mount Seguruma

First we had to clean the transmitter hut with all the dirt the small animals left behind. Then we took down the receiving antenna, checked the antenna and measured the cable leading to the receiver. Everything was very normal, but no reception of the signal coming from Kilimanjaro. We connected another tuneable receiver and drew a plot what station can be heard on what frequency at what strength. Then we noticed many additional stations since November last year when we had been here the last time. The strongest one had been Radio "Jambo" from Kenya. Its frequency is nearly exactly the one we receive from SYI Kilimanjaro. Half of its bandwidth occupies our channel assigned to us by TCRA. Wile listening suddenly the power failed to Radio Jambo, and SYI could be heard loud and clear! Unfortunately the power returned again and Jambo Radio covered again the programmes from SYI. We succeeded to start the generator and to increase the power at the Kilimanjaro station after several tries. The telemetry connection is not very strong . The receiving condition became better but still strong splatter. Changing the receiver module in the transmitter improved the reception some bit more. I took the receiver module out of our new transmitter from Karatu. It seems to be some bit more selective than the original one.

So we have three possibilities to improve the reception in Usambara and Tanga:

- Writing a Letter to TCRA in Dar Es Salaam to help to solve the interference problem with Radio Jambo on 92.3 MHz, while we were issued 92.2 MHz. They have good connections with their colleges in Kenya. If Radio Jambo could be moved up just a bit, about 200 kHz, the interference would be much less.

In the Letter we should also mention the interference problem in Tanga with "Clouds FM" on 96.0 MHz to our station in Kisosora running on 96.7 MHz. The interference is especially hard for listeners listening in the centre of Tanga around the railway station. Reducing the power to less than 1kW would certainly help!

- Increasing the power at our Kilimanjaro station. Therefore we have to get electricity up to Kidia. If possible even to add a 1kW amplifier.

- Connect through a satellite link. That is what the regulation agency (TCRA) always pressed for!

We arrived safely again in Moshi the next day.



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