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 was 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 heavy rains 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 already started their one. I invited him to Moshi to show him all machines which are required for a radio station. He can also observe 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 , which make it less slippery. We were very astonished when we saw the Sun shining after the highest point about half way to Mlalo.

As we drove up the narrow, steep road to the old Mission in Mlalo, all the 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 bees hives. The bees came out and even killed an elderly man, who was perhaps drunk. The bees also chased the 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 view.

We climbed the mountain on the next day around 8 o clock. Earlier I had collected all the tools and spares needed. Mzee Bendera came down to help 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 it is out of order.

The foot path passes through the village houses. At the church centre 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 had left behind. Then we took down the receiving antenna, checked it and measured the cable leading to the receiver. Everything was very normal, but tere was no reception of the signal coming from Kilimanjaro. We connected another tuneable receiver and drew a plot of what station can be heard on various frequencies at and their 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 same as the one we use at RSYI in Kilimanjaro. Half of its bandwidth occupies our channel assigned to us by TCRA. While still listening suddenly the power failed to Radio Jambo, and RSYI could be heard loud and clear! Unfortunately, the power returned again and Jambo Radio once again covered our programmes from RSYI. We succeeded to start the generator, increased the power at Kilimanjaro station after several trials. The telemetry connection is not very strong . The receiving condition became better, but still there was  strong splatter. Changing the receiver module in the transmitter improved the reception a little bit more. I used the receiver module out of our new transmitter from Karatu. It seems to be a bit more selective than the original one.

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

- To writine a letter to TCRA in Dar Es Salaam to help to solve the interference problem with Radio Jambo on 92.3 MHz.  We have been issued with 92.2 MHz. They have good connections with their colleages 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. "Clouds FM" has a frequency of 96.0 MHz while our station in Kisosora runs at 96.7 MHz. The interference is especially hard for listeners in the centre of Tanga around the railway station. Reducing the power to less than 1kW would certainly help!

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

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

We arrived safely again in Moshi the next day.