online off the beaten track

10 Nov 2011

I can see the lights of Houston from here. They blink at me from another world, way beyond the fever trees along the Shingwedzi river.

D and J made the long journey from South Africa to come and link me electronically with the outside world, just so I don’t miss out on any of the craziness out there. D’s a radiocoms guy and J seems to be wired wirelessly. They’ve come well-prepared and they’ll be spending the night.

Where does one mount a 1.2m wide sattelite dish where monkeys, bush babies, baboons, birds and elephants won’t fool around with it?

Up on the side of the kitchen hut, we decide. It is after all, built of brick.

It takes all day to get a bead on satellite New Dawn, 30 000km out in space, and to get everything plumbed up. Finally, after all is cursed and executed, there’s this gigantic soup ladle dangling off the kitchen roof and a row of electronic gizmo’s, each with its own transformer and tangle of wires, cluttering up the place inside.

A dish is a dish, I know, but can’t we at least do something about tidying up the electronics? And somehow make them portable, so I can move them without a total stripdown?

A sturdy cardboard box that housed one of the components, a few cuts, some duct tape and cable ties, and there it is: my own Communications Command Centre.

Which I promptly christen Houston.

Ground Control to Major Tom..

A sunset stroll: Elephant tracks in the riverbed.

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