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 since 26/10/01


Niger, again!

Almost one year after our first trip to Niger, we are ready to go back for a new, exciting DX-adventure. After many years of radio-career, mostly spent on the "armchair side" of the battle, being part of a DXpedition brings new blood and forces us to face new problems, new targets, and new emotions never felt before.

The crew who aired 5U2K, 5U3T and 5U5A in February/March 2001 are still the engine of this new operation but we decided to enlarge the group because we set a higher QSO target that requires us to be able to put more stations on the air for more time.

We believe there are many people around the world who still need to work 5U on some band/mode so hopefully this operation will be able to push Niger out of the 100 Most Wanted.



The main target of our new trip to Niger is to pay a special attention to low bands. We will have better antennas on 80/160, including separate receiving antennas so we will be able to give the new-one to more low bands enthusiasts. We will have some more power of what we have used in the first operation so our signal should be much easier to hear.


The country.

The Republic of Niger is the largest country in West Africa. The country is slightly smaller than the combined areas of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico or twice as large as France or almost four times the size of Ivory Coast, West Africa.

Niger is a landlocked, arid nation. It is surrounded by Algeria, Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Mali. Eighty percent of the country is desert, the northern borders stretching to the middle regions of the Sahara Desert. The heat can be so intense that rain frequently evaporates before it reaches the ground. The remaining 20% along the southern border is made up of dry to semi-fertile savannah (grassland). There are small-scale gardens along the banks of the Niger River in the southwest. The rest of the region is rain-fed. The southern border receives up to 750mm of rain in the wet season, but due to the dryness of the air, most of this quickly evaporates. Enough rain is retained to enable limited agriculture. Two-thirds of Niger receives less than 100mm of rain per year. Lake Chad has shrunk beyond the borders of Niger to the southeast. The days and nights are hot except from December to February when the nights get cooler. Ninety five percent of the population lives on rain-fed agriculture.

Religion: Islam spread into Niger in the 10th and 11th centuries, taking root among the aristocracy and upper levels of the cities. It was not until the 19th century that it became the religion of the rural people. While there is freedom of religion, pressures exist to make the country more Islamic.

Economy: The fragile economy is based upon agricultural production. Periodic droughts, resulting in food shortages and fluctuating export prices, cause instability. Industries: uranium mining, cement, textiles, and food processing. Main exports: live animals, vegetables, hide/skins, cotton, and animal food. Domestic consumption: millet, sorghum, cowpeas, cassava, and rice. Annual per Capita Income: $270. Approximately 94% of the budget is Foreign Aid!

On August 3, 1960, Niger declared independence from France under the leadership of President Hamani Diori.

Languages: French is the official language. Others include Hausa, Zarma, Songhai, Tamajeq (Tuareg), Fulfulde, Arabic, Kanuri (Manga), Gourmantchi and Toubou. A total of 21 languages are spoken in Niger.

Ethnic Groups: Nigeriens are made up of a complex ethnic configuration. The main groups are Hausa (52.8%); Songhai, Zarma, and Dendi (21.0%); Fulani (9.8%); Tamajeq (10.6%); Kanuri (4.5%); Arab (2%).



Our first operation from Niger could never have been possible without the help of several missionaries belonging to SIM. SIM stands for Société Internationale Missionnaire and is an international mission organization with more than 1,800 missionaries serving in more than 43 countries on five continents and 3 islands in the Indian Ocean.