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CONGO Ham Radio f6blq titre rouge.gif (6702 octets)
1926 - 1998
Warmest thanks to all contributors since 1998 who have made this historical review possible. Surprisingly enough, material has come more from foreign collectors than local archives or visiting ex operators. As large periods of time remain unsubstantiated, we are still searching for any picture and license up to 1997, also QSL card, press release or log extract for period prior 1934. Thanks again for your kind contribution.
Jun. 1926 "eF8TIS" informs "eF8RF", both in France, that MACHELEN station is operated by Professor Goldschmidt near Brussels in contact with Belgian CONGO Leopoldville. This is our oldest CONGO DX info so far, courtesy F2VX.
Jul. 1926 "eG6BT" to "B4QQ": Professor Goldschmith high power station "B2" ex "8SSC" at Machelen, is in regular contact with M. Mouchet "cB4AA" at Leopoldville Belgian CONGO.  
Jan. 1927 Same "cB4AA", also "cB3" and "cBF2", being cB for "congo Belge" are active and reported in DX news bulletins.

Feb. 1927

New prefixes by IARU as from 1st Feb. 1927 are "FC" for Belgian Congo, Rwanda and Urundi, "F" standing for continent Africa and "C" for country CONGO.
Feb. 1927 "fcF2" is L. Robert, Poste TSF at Leopoldville, Belgian CONGO. Also "8HSD" is at Box 674 Elisabethville, listening on 34 meters as from 20.00 gmt for Europe and QSL route via "ef8HSF".
Mar. 1927 First contact is established between France and Belgian CONGO on 34,50 meters with signals r5-6 between "eF8YOR" (8FD) in Orleans and "fc8HSD" in Elisabethville.  
Nov. 1934 OQ5AQ ex fc4CJJ Jean Jonlet at Leopoldville is in contact with G2WQ. This is our oldest CONGO QSL card as at now, courtesy G4UZN.
Feb. 1938 F8BO (SK) QSO OQ5AE in CW.
Oct. 1938 French sources also confirm OQ5AQ on 14.375 CW.

Dec. 1938

OQ5AO is reported at 18.00Z on 14.360 CW
Feb. 1939 OQ5AV is on 14.060 CW. After 1938 Cairo conference, "ONA-OTZ" prefix block is allocated to Belgium and belgian colonies, with "OQ5" for Belgian CONGO.
Apr. 1939

OQ5ZZ Commander Gatti 10th African Expedition is on 14.318 khz with Jean F8XT. Read some of our sources fleche rouge.gif (883 octets)Journal des 8, Radio REF courtesy F2VX.

Aug. 1940 Legislative Ordnance 254/TELEC by Governor General Ryckmans at Leopoldville is the legal framework of Amateur Service in the country.
Nov. 1948 An updated list of all congolese Ham radio stations is published in belgian magazine "QSO", courtesy Hans Wellens ON6WQ. fleche rouge.gif (883 octets)More than 100 callsigns on display.
Mar. 1949

Andy Lippens OQ5LL transmits with 807's and 813's, RCA AR88 and beam. Leon Heureux OQ5HL is pictured in his shack in QSO with Maurice F9BA. This is our oldest CONGO ham pic  info as at now, courtesy Michel Perrin F6COW.

Dec. 1956

Dave OQ5CS is on the air with Collins and National HRO.

Feb. 1957

Paul Heureux OQ5HP (ON4YH - DL2WH) operates from Stanleyville. where OQ5LL joins him there with now Collins 310B, Hallicrafter SX101 and beam.

Jun. 1960

CONGO becomes independant as Democratic Republic of CONGO, hence prefix block changes from "OQ" to "9O>9Q".

Jun. 1960

Andy 9Q5LL (a public work engineer) writes K1GUD about his DXCC score 248#238 when leaving the country after a 23 year stay, heading back to homeland "with family hurted, and house, furnitures and radios all lost".


EU* and UN technical assistance to D.R.CONGO offers opportunity for visiting operators. SM5TU is at Kamina Air Base in Katanga, while 9Q5NU is pictured with the rest of his team.


Réseau des Emetteurs Congolais, followed by UCRA, Union Congolaise des Radio Amateurs, is created at PO Box 1.459 Leopoldville. Raymond Verselle 9Q5AA and Tony Jeuken 9Q5QR have likely been at one time in charge of the national Society over the 60's.

Mar. 1964

fleche rouge.gif (883 octets)Here is what a March 1964 license looks like. Pity that the document has been partly scattered quite recently.

Oct. 1964
UCRA hits (and heats) the air with an early special event callsign 9Q5UC standing for "Union Congolaise" with 9Q5AA in command. Also Guy 9Q5BG now F5TJK is active CW, SSB and  RTTY at Kinshasa "Ma Campagne" with TH6 and 402. 9q5uc.jpg (155663 octets)
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Sep. 1965

9Q5AA, on behalf of the congolese Society, sits at the Geneva IARC "International Amateur Radio Club" convention. IARC, 9J2AB and UCRA, at the light of ET3TRC, elaborate on the need of national potential operators with technical training, and possibly accomodate 'novice" licences in developping countries. 


A 9Q award is launched by the Society to confirm 20 contacts with D. R. CONGO. UCRA QSL Bureau handles cards for not less than 100 callsigns over the country, and 9Q5QR reports about DX news in the Society's monthly bulletin. fleche rouge.gif (883 octets)Read here a 1966 issue of this publication.

May 1967

9Q5PT Peter Thiran has sent a hand drawn QSL card to G6FV. What from piling up QSO's or painting QSL cards was for him most time consuming ? ;)

Sep. 1970

Arrete CAB/00016/PTT/70 rules out the renewal of all private radio licences "due to situation prevailing in the country".

Oct. 1971

Democratic Republic of CONGO changes into Republic of ZAIRE.

Main towns change by then their colonial appellations into native names:    

Leopoldville > Kinshasa
Elisabethville > Lubumbashi
Stanleyville > Kisangani
Jadotville > Likasi
Luluabourg > Kanaga
Baudouinville > Moba
Albertville > Kalemie
Costermansville > Bukavu
Coquilhatville > Mbandaka
Jul. 1972

Licencing authorities suspend Amateur Radio all over the country. Butler Ronald Conklin (unknown callsign) is one of those affected by PTT fleche rouge.gif (883 octets)decision of 26/07/72.


UCRA / UZRA national society fades off the scene, and most of their supporting members likewise. IARC 1965 recommendation about training of national operators has not been conclusive in Zaire, just like in most neighbour countries at other occasions. 9Q's keep being logged around, probably finding locally their own way around, and making DX award chasers happy.


In absence of national Ham society, and with a severely deteriorated administation, 9Q Ham Radio rapidly turns into individual ventures, and about 70 new callsigns show up by then, being not less than 40 for 1988 alone: DXcitement rhymes with DX Wild World by then. Nothing really to complain about at a time Zaire faces major national problems.   


Another 80 or so call signs are reported between 1991 and 1997, being 40 between 1991 and 1994, 22 for 1995 alone, and more than 20 in 1996 and 1997. Operations often originate from Kinshasa and central-eastern provinces, due to the already conflicting situation in the Great Lakes area, and presence at there of several visiting Ham operators.

Reports have been received that 9Qs operating those days went at few occasions as wild as making use of professional licenses or funny tickets issued by remote PTT offices. Ministry of PTT Kinshasa by year 2000 claims having no record about this period of time.  

Jul. 1995

Arrété CAB/MIN/PTT0005/31/IB/95 acknowleges the confusion prevailing in national tele/radiocoms and aims to streamline the issue. Incidentally, Amateur Service is still refered to, with annual tax established at $ 57,89. 

May 1997

Republic of Zaire changes back to Democratic Republic of CONGO. To the best of our knowledge, last heard around this time were 9Q5BQ by early 1997, and 9Q5PA later by 1998. 


By early 1998, CONGO PTT officials join a IARU STARS WG meeting conducted by 6W1KI and ON6WQ at Abidjan, Ivory Coast: a milestone to a more permanent Amateur Radio activity in D. R. Congo.