BONDWA ON AIR AGAIN !
Lunch break in front of the Usambara mountains
Jonathan is mounting the double socked and cable trunk
The transformer of the power supply burned out
Meeting with the porters to devide the load to be carried up
Close to the Morningsite
Break close to the old generator house
In the rain forrest
We remounted the repaired antennas
We repaired the telemetry antenna
Over there the reception was excellent!
Jonathan takes one of the receiving antennas down
and assembles it again
Finding the best place for the receiving antenna
Thank God, everything is on air again!!
Decending in the dark
Moshi on Tuesday September 6th to travel to Morogoro. Together with me in the car was
Jonathan Maghina, Lore my wife and my children.
Actually we should have traveled much earlier, but so many other important tasks prevented us to go. Since starting this year we really pressed hard to return Morogoro Transmitter into air again. It is costing us a lot of money to rent the space on the antenna mast without getting income from this transmitter location. But we did not get the needed DSL line from TTCL until we met the manager personally. Since July we got the DSL connection now, but had additional trouble to establish the link up the mountain, because the extremely high field strength of the 12 high power broadcasting stations up this tower.
We had lunch break close to Mombo and arrived at ELCT Junior Seminary around 17:30 where we got accommodation for the week in the Language school.
The next morning we showed up in the diocese and greeted the Bishop and general secretary after morning devotion.
Unfortunately we had to discover that the transformer of the power supply had smoked off which is empowering all the small link transmitter connected to the internet. We could not find out why the transformer melted. May be due to running it on a generator on the wrong speed/frequency. We have a voltage guard in front of it and its original mains fuse did not blow! What should we do? A power supply like this or even spares are not available here in Tanzania!
Jonathan had a good idea: Even at the Kidia Transmitter site we are using modified Computer power supplies to charge the battery. Why should it not be possible here?
We went to town to look for them and really found two not too expensive. Now we had do modify them to get 13.5V at at least 10 Ampere. We connected the 12V of one in series with the 3.3V of the other one resulting in 15.3V. Unfortunately we did not find a way to lower one of the two voltages. So we took the 6 rectifier diodes out of the burnt power supply to get a voltage drop of 1.2 V by connecting them in series and parallel. By putting them in front of the fan their temperature stayed constant.
By then it was 16:00 when we noticed that the DSL line was not working. We checked what was not working with a laptop and went to the TTCL office to ask for help. Fortunately we did not had to wait for long until Engineer Deo returned from some external work. He agreed to come with us to the diocese and released the port jamming on their side by a call to Dar Es Salaam.
Unfortunately the Battery was still very much down since the hole day we had no electricity in the diocese. We worked on the cars battery with an inverter. So we had to wait and see how the transmitter continues when the electricity returned at night.
Being at the Junior seminary we could hear the transmitter coming back on air around 20:00 at night. Now we decided to drive up the mountain to the transmitter side early next day, since Thursday usually power is available in the diocese and up the mountain, and we needed the signal from the diocese to continue with the transmitter on the mountain.
We set off around 6 o'clock in the morning and arrived around 7 to divide the load between the two porters we requested before. The transmitter watchman and the Evangelist from the Lutheran Parish up there had come to help us carry the repaired antennas and cables. I shared to carry all the tools with Jonathan.
We had been fast arriving at the transmitter site after 3,5 hours!
Since there was power I made the telemetry battery to charge again immediately. Then I aligned the receiving and transmitting cavity filter and asked every one not to touch it again.
Then we replaced the antennas with the repaired ones on the antenna mast. The antenna mast was totally in clouds and an icy wind blowing until we had problems to touch the iron bars of the mast construction.
Then we repaired the telemetry antenna, which was ruined by birds again using the soldering iron and a hot glue stick. Fortunately the bird did not touch the coaxial capacitor.
Jonathan took down one of the receiving antennas by disassembling it completely and assembling it again at the floor next to the transformer station.
We had brought several very long pieces of coaxial cable with us to move the receiving antenna as far from the transmitter mast as necessary to get a sufficient signal from the diocese. I could hear the signal from the diocese nicely behind the small hill on the other side of the mountain top, where the transmitter mast could not been seen any more.
We checked around half way towards there using the receiving Yagi antenna. But it had been difficult to listen to the output signal of the transmitter on 99.6 MHz because of the extremely high field strength around the antenna mast. I connected the receiver straight to the test output of the transmitter and could get a clear signal! We went back with the antenna behind the transformer, but there the signal got mixed up with the other stations. Moving it away again from the antenna mast we found a location where the signal was good again. But where to mount the antenna now? On both sides of the way the mountain was descending sharply, and we had no stand to put it right on the way!
Since there were itching caterpillars on the trees beside the way, and the trees have their roots way down, we used sticks to pull the tree tops towards the way, mounting the antenna with a rubber strip! Some solutions can be pretty easy if you have the right idea!
Unfortunately the electricity failed by then, but since we had charged the telemetry battery I could continue with the telemetry making sure it worked again. We were so glad when the electricity returned again after a while and tested everything again and again to be sure before the electricity failed for good. We decided we could not do more this day and descended the to the car in the dark. Shortly before we reached the car at 20:00 we got the call from a watchman up Bondwa saying the electricity came back again and the fuse of stabilizer blew again! We told him we were getting new ones even for spare and send them up the next day. At the car we had to pay our porters and the one watching the car. Then we returned to Junior Seminary arriving there around 21:00. Everything was dark and no one could be found returning the key of Jonathans room. Fortunately the watchman showed Jonathan to the woman's room caring for the kitchen and rooms, and he could return home as well.
On Friday morning we returned to town getting the spare fuses and a motor bicycle taxi to bringing them up to the watchman to get up to the transmitter and replace it on the stabilizer.
Then we finished the installation at the diocese. The new power supply was working fine, and we connected the battery again to be charged. We also replaced the standby program on the flash memory drive. We closed the box after testing it several times.
Then we talked to the treasury of the diocese called ŽJoyce`. She was willing to help us finding advertisements and distributing the greeting cards working together with Mama Urima closely.
Our last assignment was to see the manager of the Uluguru Nature Reserve, the authority of the area where the transmitter is located. We wanted to know from him the procedures to get a permit to put up our antennas on the right side of the mountain top, since we would get much less interference there from all the other strong stations. He gave us the details and the office of the studio will follow up this idea.
It was almost noon until we set off Morogoro Junior seminary heading Moshi arriving there around 21:00 at night.
Bondwa seen from the diocese
In the shade of the small hill right of the transmitter the reception was best!