By Gus Browning, printed in 73 Magazines in 1967-04 reprint by PA0ABM Gus Browning story, Part 22 From Rwanda to Burundi At the end of my last "chapter' I was with John, 9U5JH in Burundi, My stay with him and his small family was a FB one, plenty of good food, sleeping all day and operating all night. I wonder how it would have been if 15 and 10 meters had been open so I could also stay up all day to work the fellows? I suppose you could work yourself to death with all the bands open like they are right now. Maybe soon I will get to know if I get away on another trip. Don't be surprised if this ' happens. Right now my little weekly DXERS magazine is working me 14 to 16 hours EVERY DAY, but I am sure it will smooth out and I will be able to get away on another trip, sooner or later. During that time there will be a single page bulletin to keep all the DXERS informed. After about five days of operating in Burundi I asked John about how things were up in Rwandi and was told that there was some "political" trouble up there* I later on found that there is "political trouble" most of the time in most of those countries down there. Sometimes it's bad and other times it's sort of mild. John said he would drive me up there the next day. We were up with the chickens and awav we went on those rough dirt roads they have there. It's up one hill and down another all the time. Many natives was passed on the road. Where they all were going I had no idea. Some were loaded with quite large bundles on their I Kicks. Many had very large stalks of bananas, I suppose carrying them to some market somewhere. Who bought them I don't know, because everyone there seemed to have lots of banana plants all around their houses (grass huts). After about a 25 or 30 mile ride we arrived at the border of Burundi and Rwandi. The Burundi guards just waved at us, but when we entered Rwandi about five guards stepped out with their rifles and pistols in the very middle of the road. They make us get out of John's Chevy and led us into the little Border Guard house where we had to answer endless questions as to why we were going into Rwandi and what our business was there. We kept insisting we were going there to visit a friend. They wanted to know who he was and what did we want to see him about John said we were going to visit Father Florin 9U5BH, and that he was an old friend who we had not seen for a long time. I all of a sudden got a "brilliant" idea. Why not take some pictures of all these guards with me in their midst* We all trouped outside, lined up and took lots of pictures, I explained to them these were color pictures and would have to be sent to the USA to be developed. I think all this picture taking business sort of took their minds off all this questioning. All the radio gear was in those Samsonite suitcases in his car all this time, and I am sure if they had made us "open up" we would never have been allowed to enter Rwandi. It seemed there was two political factions in this country and it was nip and tuck with them. The border guards finally let us thru with us promising to send them some of the pictures when they were developed. Which reminds me, I never did send pictures to them. In fact I lost their names and addresses a long time ago. At least mv intentions WAS GOOD AT THE TIME! * After passing into the country we started passing different group of people along the road, dressed as if they were going to a party in their finery, and that "out of this world" hair-do they sport down there. Right down to the top of their head they had shaved a gap about one half to one inch wide and on each side they piled up their hair. Usually one side was a lot higher than the other and some of their hair-do's looked sort of like a hat at a distance. The people we met along the way started waving their hands at us I than noticed when thev did this some of them would hold up one finger and others help up three fingers. I asked John what did this mean and found that this signified what party they were for, John suggested that we always wait and let them wave first and whatever fingers they held up that we do the same, John further explained that he had heard of some people in cars who made the wrong gesture and got a rock thru their windshields. Well being an old "hand shaker from way back" this was right up my alley. I became one of the boys from then on. Another few miles and we came upon a very large crowd of people out in a field by the road. A speaker was on a little platform, waving his hands all around and they had a VERY LOUD speaker system blasting away. Sort of "war looking' I dances was taking place all over the place. I yelled to John, "stop the car". We stopped and I grabbed my camera to get some shots of all these shennigans, in fact I did actually get a few shots, and the crowd then saw us and we became the center of attraction and their looks was a long ways from being what you would call friendly. John said, "Gus, let's get away from here right now, I don't like the looks they are giving us". I agreed with him and he stepped on the gas and away we went like a scared jack rabbit. That was one place I were not overly anxious to hang around. Mind you this was in what I would call "wild country" of mid Africa. Our intention was to go on to the capital city but when we stopped by to have a short visit with Father Florin and began to inquire about the possibilities of an operating permit and after Father Florin told us how unsettled things were up in the capital, and when he "invited" me to stay with him— I right then and there decided that half a loaf was better than no loaf at all ? and I unpacked the gear. I was shown my own private room where all the other Fathers lived, and told the time to be at the eating table for all my meals. Father Florin and I headed for the radio shack some few hundreds of feet away with all my gear, I found that Father Florin's knowledge of English was extremely limited. His native tongue was Flemish. We could not do much talking but we most certainly tried, me in English and him in Flemist! That was some "eye ball" QSO, but you know amazingly we somehow did get thru to each other. I still wonder how we did it. I suppose if you wave your hands, yak and yak some more, roll your eyes, wiggle your ears, thump your nose enough you can finally get thru to anyone. Father Florin had quite a big batch of equipment there, all on 15 meter AM phone when I was there and be offered to let me use it. I explained to him that I would rather use my own. He had up a three element beam and nice "V" beam on the USA. We cleared a space on his desk and wired up my gear, Everything was checked out and away I went signing 9U5BH. All my followers were hand, quite a few saying I Was a new one for them (which I still doubt!). After 20 went out I tuned up on 40 and it started all over again (I built up a little antenna tuner to use the "V" beam on my 52-ohm pi output gear), I even tried some 80 meters but did not have too much luck with it. The bands stayed open up till about 4:30 AM every night I had asked Father Florin about lions around there and he said there were a few now and again. This made my little walk from the radio shack to my room interesting each night at around 4:30 AM I did actually hear some lions in the distance doing a little roaring, but am clad they were some distance away from win I was, I feel absolutely safe as long as they were some other place. During the daytime you are safe in lion country since they do their roaming around during the nightime. This place where Father Florin stayed was a very large Catholic school with some 2,000 children going to school there, quite a number of them living in the school and the rest in the village. The ages were from fi years to about 16. I wonder if Father Florin is still there, in fact I wonder if the school is even there with all the "changes" taking place in Africa these days. You know Burundi and Rwandi join the Congo, and Father Florin is from Belgium, and some of these Congolese don't exactly love Belgians. The Congo is very close to where Father Florin's school is located. All of the students there are natives, many different tribes being represented by their different hair makeup, dress and many of them, they say, can hardly even speak to each other. Father Florin has a little "Broadcast Station" there which had a pi output network, which he had connected to the "V" beam, one side of the "V" being grounded. Naturally it would not load up, so I built a tuner for the *'V" beam and we were in business with it. Everyone including Father Florin was delighted and so was L He had a very large assortment of phonograph records and wanted to broadcast a few hours each day for listeners in the village and nearby. My stay with all the Fathers there was most enjoyable. Radio conditions were very FB and when it came time for me to depart he insisted that I come back bv there after I had visited other parts of Africa and spend three or four months with them. Over the air I even got someone to send him a modulation transformer for his "broadcast station", I hope it arrived OK after I left. It would be fine to visit him again and see how he is progressing with his BC station if he is still there. John drove back from Burundi and picked me and my gear up and away we were off back to his QTH. We drove one night over to Usumburu and visited the head of their Posts and Telegraph asking for permission to use my own call sign instead of John's. We were given his permission to use the call of 9U5ZZ at the QTH of 9U5JH. T only stayed there upon my return for about three or four days using that call sign, One QSO I had from there I well remember. It was a SSB QSO with ZS6ANE in Johannesburg. He asked me if I would like to go down to Bouvet Island? Boy this was for me you can be sure! I was told that it would cost me though and this put a little freight into me and my close budget. I very "meekly" inquired "how much", and was informed that it would be $3.00 per day to pay for my food while on the ship, I was also informed that the ship was going there by way of Tristan da Cunha and Gough Is. This development was something I most certainly had not even thought would turn up. ZS6ANE further told me he had inquired to LA5HE about him going to their authorities to try and get me a license to operate from Bouvet also saying he had already fixed things so that I could vise the call sign of ZD9AM from Tristan de Cunha and Gough island, I was told to be sure and be in Capetown on a certain day, a day that was not too far away. This cut my stay at Burundi, John told me he would drive me to Kigoma in Western Tanganyika, quite some distance from where we stayed in Burundi, With my itinerary all of a sudden tightening up with this deadline to meet the ship in Capetown all my stops between Burundi and there had to be cut to the minimum. The way transportation is in that part of the world you have to allow for delays (oh yes t you will have delays, this you can be sure of). Early the next morning (about 1AM) we were off. I had to get to Kigoma that afternoon or miss the twice-per-week train. Missing this train WOULD PUT ME LATE IN CAPETOWN, and THIS COULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN, and worst of all MISS the trip to BOUVET ISLAND. Next month: The trip to Capetown. Gus

Gus Browning, W4BPD

Hams - W4BPD - Gus Brwning 03
Gus QRV in Ruanda (Rwanda) as 9U5BH (call of Father Florin) La5HE (picture 2020) said that Gus did not go ashore on Bouvet) The  Burundi call of Gus Brwning