My first solo DXpedition
I had already a number contacts with Julian 9Q5MA over time. Because there was very little activity from Zaire, especially in CW I asked Julian if he could assist me for an exclusive CW operation from Zaire for about a week. Julian liked this idea and in 1985 he invited me to his home and making use of his station. As he was living rather remote and lacking any local radio amateur community, he was looking forward to spend some time together and talk about our hobby.
I started to prepare my trip to Zaire and was able to negotiate sponsoring from Air Zaire, the national airline. As I could make use of Julian his station I needed only to pack my Bencher paddle and electronic keyer as this was not present at the station. In addition I also packed a Windom FD-4 antenna and a roll of coax. This could maybe help to improve the antenna situation.
In October 1985 I left Amsterdam for a flight to Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire. I was welcomed by Julian at the airport and he made sure that my luggage was 'guided' through customs as quickly as possible.
We stayed the night in Kinshasa at a friends house and left early next morning to travel by car to Matadi, a distance of about 400 km over a two lane tarmac road. Matadi is a place at the Zaire river some 100 km from the Atlantic Ocean. After a long drive through a beautiful countryside we arrive at Julians home.
After a good dinner I started to inspect the station that consisted of a Yaesu FT-101ZD and a Heathkit SB200 amplifier. Because Julian used only a simple dipole, I decided to install the Windom FD-4 directly in order to cover all bands from 10-80 meters.
For the next days I operated on all bands and Julian continuously was watching the progress and really enjoyed the big pile ups I was causing. Julian also suggested many other activities such as hunting, safari trips, etc. but told him that I should concentrate on making QSOs. Nevertheless, I went with him on safari for one day and we also visited some interesting sites, including the big hydro electric power plant at the Zaire river and the local market in Matadi.
It was most pleasant to enjoy the great hospitality of the family in this remote area. We had a fantastic BBQ at the last evening and for which they had bought giant prawns from fishing men at the Zaire river.