A Liberian Legacy

By Dickson Tarnue EL2DT

Whilst in Liberia for the 2011 and 2012 CQ WW CW contests, the team made friends with local members of the Liberian Radio Amateurs’ Association (LRAA). They helped immensely towards getting the licenses, logistical support and helping ‘get things done’ – local ‘fixers’ are absolutely essential in Africa and these guys made us proud.

Whilst in Liberia, the team gave an opportunity to Dickson EL2DT to operate from the contest station. The excitement it gave him was palpable – he didn’t regularly have access to equipment and had little contest experience, however he showed great interest and aptitude towards our equipment and operating practices. He was soon running pile-ups like he’d been doing it for years!

At the end of the 2012 contest in Liberia, the team had decided to discontinue the annual trips to Africa. There was a pile of equipment (tower sections, rotors, cables etc) that couldn’t be repatriated to Europe or the United States, so these items were donated to the LRAA club station. However there was sufficient equipment to give to Dickson to establish a station at home – TS930, 2 ele yagi, coax, some mast section etc.

Dickson established his new station at home, though there were still challenges ahead. As is normal for many families in Liberia, there is no mains electricity. The only way for Dickson to get on the air is with a generator, so through the generosity of Bud N7CW and Ned AA7A who made a donation towards his fuel costs, Dickson was able to get on the air for the 2013 CQWW CW contest as EL2DT (zone 35). His story is below the pictures.

Dickson EL2DT operating the 2013 CQWW CW Contest

Dickson’s wife, Kebeh, at the helm.


My participation in this year CQWW Contest was a exciting moment for me ever because, this is the very first of its kind that a local Liberian have joined and operated a single station with a single operator in such a worldwide contest.

When I decided to join this year’s contest, it appear almost impossible to me, most especially where my station is located in a very remote part of Monrovia where there is no city power available, I had to operate from a generator and the station on low power, nowhere to keep generator secure for night operation, etc.

It also turned up that the Voodoo contest group are expect in helping other hams to be encourage and confident to take part in a contest like this. When I discussed my plan to some friends Voodoos, they told me that it was a good idea and they could be happy to also make a contact with Liberia in the contest.

On the 20th of November, I started setting up and testing antennas on various bands. Before early morning of 20th November, I was ready for operation on 40m, 20m, 15m and 10m, with a generator power. Even though copying stations from the huge pile ups was not quite easy for me, I was also experiencing heavy noise from the generator outside, not too far from my operating shack.

Though I received no visitors during the contest, it was all climaxed by my wife Kebeh who came in the shack almost after every one hour to ask “what have your friends said”? I continue to inform her that I was in a contest. After several hours, she was not satisfied with my answer and could no longer hold back. She insisted that she wanted to listen to the radio. When I gave her the ear piece, she said, “I am hearing a lot of noise”. I told her that they are calling my call sign. She asked that I should also give her a call sign so my friends can call her. In order to get the contest going, I agreed to give her EL2NO BODY which I never called on this radio. I promised to have a call sign for her before the next year’s CQWW CONTEST. So, my biggest challenge now is to make sure my wife become a ham and take part in the CQWW Contest for next year. I need all of your support.

I want to take this time to extend my thanks and appreciations to all my friends who gave me the encouragement and support for me to participate in this contest.