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Mission accomplished….

After more than a week and a half working in Buntung we were able to meet most of our targets.

Due to very limited internet resources I was not able to give any updates.  All three operators only offer EDGE internet, what basically means you just have anough capacity to send text messages over whatsapp, and even that with a few users becomes a problem, not to mention what happens if some friends send us pictures or Kurt uploads 5 pictures…

After arriving in Buntung after a 9 days trip of 6200 km with no technical issues or other things apart from a serious border incident at the Senegalese entrance in Diamma where they tried to rip us 250 euros, we started dismantling our trailer.  To our surprise NONE of the 9 panels got damaged, even not in the very rough last 100 km before the Gambian border.

We first installed a single 190W panel at the Kerr Pedro main building to supply power to the radios and computer/phones.  The new chinese made 30 euro charging controller with 2 built in USB ports turned out to be very helpful.

Then we assembled a set of two 190W panels with a MPPT controller and we did some charging measurements to compare with a traditional PWM controller.  The difference was huge.  More than 50% more charging current coming from the MPPT system.  The panels were mounted under a 30 degrees angle an the remaining ciment from the outer shelve of the houses was used to fix them firmly into the hard soil against wind and theft.

During the visit to the nearest (70 km) town Farefenni we bought a new wheelbarrow as the old (also chinese) one got damaged.  We also bought a few Mahoganey wood sticks to make an assembly for the other solar panels.

The 9 panels on the trailer were divided into two groups of 4, and the remaining panel that already got slightly damaged in Belgium was installed on the roof of the Alex residence to privide light during the night inside.

Twe first group of 4 x 80W panels was installed next to a traditional house close to the well in the form of a Bantaba sun cover, on 1,7 m high sticks.  Temporarely only led lights was attached as we still need to bring a multi USB charger from Europe next time, to provide more charging points that are not behind locks, as we found out the Chief is misusing the power of the fact that the very first 100W system is behind a door.  We wanted to break this so the Kerr Pedro 2x190W system is in the open and available to all.  Next time we will also install the second 4 panel system will be installed on the very other edge of the village so in future they all will be able to draw wires to the individual homes for light.

I would like to end by mentioning we still need support to buy two more batteries and led strips to  be able to accomplish this.  If you want to contribute please make use of the paypal button on the website.

5T0WP nighttime operation on 80m !

5T0WP

Everybody advises strongly against wild camping in Mauretania.  But we did not have much of an option as we found out 100 km past the border (where we spent 6 hours)  that the handling agent had forgotten to return our passports.  In order to avoid more hassling in returning these to us via intermediary persons on the Senegales car convoy, we decided to return ourself, wasting 30 liters of costly fuel and two hours of costly time.  So we ended up at te same place with no campuing spot around. So we parked in the desert (see picture) next to the police checkpoint.  During the evening I made grate contacts on 20m with VK Australia a nd during nighttime on 80m with several European and American stations, all very happy with this very rare activity from 5T0WP Mauretania.

(this article was fastly written and not edited at all from our Nouakchott lodge)

There is no internet in 3th world…

I promised to use a blog to keep you guys up with our progress, unfortunately after a week of travel this is the very first spot where we have ‘some’ wifi with Neanderthaler speed…

We had a good trip accross Europe staying at 4 nice Couchsurfing hosts that all had a lot of respect for our operation.  We were able to use showers at these places till tuesday.  Since then no more showers, so the Nissan smells like hell.

No technical issues.  Only being scammed by all payed motorways, France being the king.

France border looked like Afghanistan but we did NOT need to stop ?

Spain motorways were cheaper, Extramadura was a great scenery.

Ferry was catched more than in time so we had an early crossing.  Ceuta was very disappointing, eating Boudin/pensen on the beachside while dealers were selling dope from there cars next to us.  Fuel was NOT cheap in Ceuta.

Border crossing to Marocco was acceptable, first getting through some pile of refugees, then one hour of negociating.

Almost ruined the car clutch when having to drive steep uphill after the customs to tanger.

Tanger traffic was worse than hell.  We ended up driving straight through the Soukh in order to reach our host.  parked our car there in despair and went on by feet.

Our host was 1 km from the Medina where we parked so we decided to move our car to this more secure area.  But getting lost in Tanger is difficult so we replaced Pedro by Nadia to show the way in the narrow streets.  Pedro used his android gsm with Locus and Openstreetmaps to navigate to the appartment.

Sleeping in Tanger is ok till 5:00 AM.  Then 35 Mosques start calling for prayer.  So we left early to find a car with a dead battery…fridge left on all night…

After half an hour Pedro could stop a taxi to use his battery.  Some firework and 5 euro later we were again up and running.

A mistake was done with the next couchsurfing addresses that were only 100 km apart, one in Agadir the other in Tiznit.  We chose the furtest but smallest city regarding our experience in Tanger…  The disadvantage was that we had to drive during darkness.  Total crazyness.  Moroccans drive like total idiots. We were passed by by a small scooter with two people to find these 2 kilometer further dead in the middle of the road.  something had happened, quite normal there.

In tiznit we parked in front of the police station. some negociating with the gardian and off to our new guest.  In Morocco it is not allowed for a lady to host men, se we had to walk carefully to her place not to be seen by too many people.  How sad for a lady that is a respected professor at university.  There were two other guests, a nice guy from Spain and another Moroccan lady.  Conversations and exchange of Belgian and Morroccan food went on till deep in the night…

Next day off to Western Sahara, again afraid of some new border trouble.  No border…. so no trouble.  Marocco pretends the Sahara is their land so one country…

Checkpoints every 50 km, same dumb questions, from where are you, where are you going to.  Asking for “fiches” (prepared documents with everything from passport number till shoe size of your mother…)  I made like 100 and I am now in Mauritania slowly running out of these…

Nobody asked questions about the numerous radio antennas the jeep is carrying.  Ham radio communication with the world goes fine as S0WP and later as 5T0WP.  The pile up is huge….

Being just before dark we decide to look for a camping spot.  No camping spot so we find a smal road to a fishing vilage and set up camp halfway slightly off road.  Everybody advises against wild camping in Western sahara but not a lot of options..

Next day the same, arriving just before dark at border, asking directions at p;olice station about safe camping spot but this 17 km away looks not like what we want, so again wild camping next to a roadwork site.

 

 

 

..now dinner break, more later…