NEWS UPDATE – It was on November 5th the whole 7Q7RU team left Moscow on their way to Malawi. The expedition was to last a total of about two weeks. Today, two team members who tested positive for Covid-19, are now finally about to QRT after being quarantined for a number of weeks.  Scrolling through this post you can read regular updates as to how this trip became one long expedition. I think we can safely assume now it’s time to go home! 

DECEMBER 12 – On Monday, the two operators will head to the airport and try arrange flights home. With the money left over from donations, they have extended their stay until Wednesday (December 16th) and bought food / water so they can cook themselves.

DECEMBER 11 – The result of third Covid test as follow: R9LR – negative. RZ3K – positive. Since the ops had already served quarantine, the next test on Sunday will be the final one. Flights (with Kenyan Airways) still to be arranged. Meanwhile, 7Q7RU continues activity. 

DECEMBER 7 – Yesterday, a third Covid test was completed and the remaining ops wait on outcome. For info, below is what a previous positive result looks like. Fingers crossed for better news. 

DECEMBER 3 – Yesterday another Covid test was undertaken and it again came back positive for the operators still in Malawi. Next test is planned for Saturday. They continue to be active, albeit eager to return home. 

NOVEMBER 27 – Your eyes are not deceiving you. Yes, 7Q7RU is again QRV! 

Two of the team tested positive for COVID so must now stay in Malawi for at least another week while self-isolating.

They are currently running simple wire antennas at a new QTH and hope to be active during the CQWW CW contest.

Thanks to R7AL for providing DX-World with this news update and R9LR for pictures. 

NOVEMBER 24 @ 0900z – A reminder that 7Q7RU will go QRT later today. They have been active for 2 full weeks.

NOVEMBER 22 – Earlier this morning (local time), electricity in the village was lost. This was a good time for the team to undertake medical (Covid) tests before heading home on the 25th. They should be QRV later once electricity is restored.

NOVEMBER 19 – Vasily, R7AL reports that it was a good night on 160 – about 400 QSOs and half of them with NA. So far, there is only one beverage for Europe and therefore working Asia is more difficult. They will try today for Asia, although the terrain is very difficult in that direction. In addition, there’s big demand for 40 & 160m so their focus for low bands will be there, with 80m probably running FT8 mainly.

The 160m vertical on 24m pole

NOVEMBER 18 – Vasily, R7AL informs DX-World that there’s still high noise level at their QTH. They again seek another location with less noise for the remaining days left. The team was originally scheduled to QRT on November 19, but are now QRV until November 24.  Picture above shows Vasily, RA1ZZ with a 24m pole used for the 160m antenna. 

NOVEMBER 16 (160m info) –  Today, a radical decision was made to change the QTH; more precisely to install a third site for 160m on the northern outskirts of the village. A 6kW generator was purchased especially for this purpose, which is now traveling from Lilongwe to the team. The 23m vertical was also dismantled and ready to be moved to new position. If everything goes according to plan, tomorrow (November 17) they will show up on 160 from the new QTH.

NOVEMBER 15 (thanks NT2X for update below)

Hams in Europe report openings on 28 and 24 MHz into the same geographical areas of Africa (Z81, 3B8), so this information is being passed to the team.

North American stations find it easy to work them on 14/21 MHz. NA on 40 meters is louder closer to 00Z. If you still need them there, give it a try.

Great opening on 40m, 7185.00 last night (poor choice of TX frequency though, with a net underneath). Too many policemen around on most DXpedition frequencies. Please don’t react to their disruptive behaviour at all. Just ignore them.

There are a total of 4 stations going on different band/modes, from 2 separate shacks. They try to keep all stations on the air at all times.

At the moment they are working all they can, given propagation openings on bands. NA – your observations re: openings here – please pass them to NT2X and I will relay for them to listen for North American stations. Please don’t make demands for specific bands and modes that YOU NEED – too much of that already. But feeding them optimum times into the parts of USA and Canada, and band openings alerts would probably do the trick.

The stations are on particular bands given what is open at the moment, to give out the most contacts – when electrical power is available. Ops are also busy with antenna installations as well. Not everything is going as planned.

The team struggles with high noise on 80/160, periodic electrical power shut-downs of unknown duration. Better antennas are being installed to give these bands improved RX. Please be patient, they are trying to improve their operating capabilities.

NOVEMBER 14 – 17m VDA is now up. See picture above. R7AL operating CW below. 

NOVEMBER 12 – Team continue activity and online log available. Also QRV on SAT’s. Video below of team member R9LR CQing / QO-100.

NOVEMBER 11 @ 12:00z – Activity has been steady on CW since yesterday evening their time.

NOVEMBER 10 @ 15:15z – As per below, all the team has assembled again. QRV later today.

NOVEMBER 10 @ 11:00z. RA1ZZ arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi. Others will follow in a few hours via different flight. First signals from 7Q7RU expected later today. Vasily was met at airport by Junior, 7Q7JN. 

NOVEMBER 8, 2020 –  The team now have visas. However, there’s basically no air tickets to Malawi. None at all. Land borders are closed. The next  flight will be on Tuesday 10th. Four return tickets were purchased. However, a fifth ticket was purchased for one team member for tomorrow evening, November 9th. The ticket is expensive with a difficult route through Tanzania, leaving the transit zone and claiming luggage. So, all going well, 7Q7RU could be on the air perhaps as early as November 10th. 

NOVEMBER 6 by 7Q7RU team:

Plans had to be adjusted. To clarify the situation: we are stuck in Kenya for several more days; faced at the penultimate stage with unforeseen circumstances.

The bottom line is that in Kenya customs demanded Malawian visas from us. They demanded absolutely justifiably, since Russia is not on the official list of countries entitled to apply for a visa upon arrival. But, official requirements and actual ones often differ. And in this case, it was theoretically possible to get a visa in advance, but in fact it was not realistic. This was confirmed by both K6ZO (7Q6M), who is now in position, and resident Junior, 7Q7JN, and at the customs office, where we called and consulted about this. 

We consciously accepted the decision to fly without a visa, and in fact, we had no other options. The vigilant customs officer, even at Vnukovo airport, at the first stage, also had to prevent us from flying, but we fortunately, or unfortunately, managed to convince him by presenting various papers with seals. It was tougher at customs in Istanbul. They too did not want to let us on the flight for a long time, but nevertheless they let us in after persuasion. 

After receiving Kenyan visas, which took 4 hours, we managed to visit the Malawi Embassy today. Alas, according to the results of the visit, the verdict: today the only 100% chance to get to Malawi is to issue an electronic visa. Applications have been submitted once again, everyone is waiting for the result on Monday.

In addition to large unforeseen significant financial costs, there is a large deficit in tickets. The next flight we get on will be in a week, but that doesn’t suit us. We are monitoring the situation, looking for options.

Tomorrow we’ll try to get to know the locals and go on the air, if we’re lucky. Things did not go according to plan a little, but we are in control of the situation. There are also positive aspects – we got to know Nairobi.

Malawi High Commission, Nairobi, Kenya.

Outside the Malawi High Commission, Nairobi, Kenya.

NOVEMBER 6 @ 11:00Z – The plane to Lilongwe, Malawi departed Nairobi, Kenya without the 7Q7RU team. They have some visa issues and are currently looking to resolve this. In the meantime, they may try hastily arrange a temporary 5Z4/ license.

NOVEMBER 5 @ 12:00z – The 7Q7RU DXpedition is underway. Team checking in at airport. Vasily, R7AL has promised to send DX-World more pictures / videos once they are QRV. Here’s Vasily before boarding 🙂 

PS: First flight is Moscow Vnukovo to Istanbul, TK418  /  Second flight to Nairobi is TK607

OCTOBER 30, 2020 – It’s only a few days left before our departure and we are announcing the “7Q7RU Band-Slot Challenge“. The purpose of this competition is working 7Q7RU on as many different bands and modes as possible. TOP TEN  stations will win a special plaque (see image) sponsored by team members and shipped from Russia worldwide. Good luck to all and see you soon on the air!

PS: The other good news is that we’ll work also on 144/432 Mhz SAT. More info on our website.

OCTOBER 18 – DX-World is very happy to be a sponsor of the 7Q7RU DXpedition. Furthermore, we’re delighted to announce the team will also use the 60m band during their DXpedition. 

OCTOBER 14 – GOOD NEWS! RA1ZZ, R7AL & RZ3K are going on DXpedition to Malawi in early November.

Our expedition team hopes that the situation with Covid-19 will improve and soon we can travel around the world without the limits like before! We had planned to visit three exotic African countries during October-November, 2020 but only Malawi has borders open for foreigners. We will be active on all HF bands with 3 radios in CW, SSB and FT-8 with focus on 160/80m bands.

Full details including dates of activity here.