To The Mountains of the Moon.

Attilio Gatti

Of course Attilio Gatti is the man who got the idea to bring Ham-radio on the air during his 11th Expedition to the big continent of Africa. Read on this page, and find out what is on the Internet about this colorful person, who was born in Italy And read who was the lady who forced the Commander to step into the world of Ham- Amateur-Radio..

Wikipedia, june  2016.

 There was not much to find on Wikipedia, the Free Internet Encyclopedia. This is what was written about Commander Gatti.   Attilio Gatti (born 1896) was an Italian explorer, author and film-maker who traveled extensively through Africa in the first half of the 20th century. He is known in documentary circles for his film Siliva the Zulu (1927). Gatti was among the last great safari expedition men. He led ten expeditions to Africa over 23 years before 1945. He became one of the Europeans to see the fabled Okapi, and the Bongo, a brown Lyre horned antelope with white stripes. He was an enthusiastic amateur radio operator, his call-sign in the Belgian Congo was OQ5ZZ, and tried to operate from the Congo deep inland regions. He knew the Pygmy peoples of the Congo Regions very well. He wrote many books on his expeditions, including Killers All!, The New Africa, Here is Africa, Saranga the Pygmy, Africa is Adventure, Kamanda the African Boy, Great Mother Forest, Mediterranean Spotlights, Here is the Veld, Tom Toms in the Night, and South of the Sahara, (Robert McBride & Company 1945). Gatti's books contain invaluable anthropological material from his descriptions of the native peoples he met. Gatti also took good photos of Pygmys and Watussi. He met an important female python shaman. He became experienced with African magic and an entire world that no longer exists. Attilio Gatti. Italian-born explorer, author, film maker, and amateur radio operator Attilio Gatti led eleven expeditions to Africa from 1922 through 1947. Traveling extensively throughout the continent during this time period, Gatti spent a total of 15 years on African soil. Attilio Gatti was born in Voghera, Lombardia, Itialy on July 10, 1896. He moved to the United States and became an actor and documentary film-director. Among his accomplishments is a silent movie he made in 1927, “Siliva the Zulu” considered a standalone in capturing Zulu life and culture during that time period. He traveled with an anthropologist to Zululand, South Africa because he wanted to shoot a theme of ‘love, hate, intrigue and adventure’ while preserving the tribal culture, and choosing his actors from the local Zulu tribe members. Gatti first came to the United States in 1930,  after his 7th African Expedition had gone bust, and he was broke. In the years following that time, Gatti wrote dozens of books and hundreds of articles and eventually settled in northern Vermont. Commander Gatti led eleven expeditions to Africa, covering a period of twenty-three years, of which fourteen years were spent on African soil. He finally captured alive the first okapi and the first Congo bongo. Among his film-works are Bitter Spears (1928), Siliva the Zulu: Storia Negra in 5 Parti (1928) , Tramonto dei Blasoni (1928) and Perils of the Jungle (1941) . He died on July 1, 1969 in Derby Lane, Vermont, 72 years old. He loved Africa and visited the continent extensively in the first half of the 20th century. The last travel, his 11th visit to Africa, was called “To the Mountains of the moon”.  Attilio Gati became an expert on African magic and did write many books about his african adventures.

The Explorer Gatty

A look at his 10th Expedition (1938-1940) includes the interesting way in which he traveled. The rigors of his earlier travels must have convinced him that there was a better way, that and the fact that  Mrs. Gatti would be joining him for this adventure into the Belgian Congo. Attilio Gatti and his wife, Ellen travelled around Africa in a state- of-the art motor home, in fact, a deluxe 5 room mobile apartment. Not one, but two 'jungle yachts' housing custom-built living areas comprising two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room. Next to the Commander's desk, the 'observation-living room' held such essentials as a library and a bar. Next to the Commander's desk, the 'observation-living room' held such essentials as a library and a bar. Livingstone and Stanley would have been turning in their graves! Gatti used elaborate trailers that were streamlined as units with International truck chassis, and were specially produced by International Harvester. These “Jungle Yachts” were joined together in camp as a deluxe 5-room apartment on wheels, and served as their headquarters. When joined together, the 40-foot-long trucks connected to make a five-room apartment with a tiled bathroom, a living room and an electric kitchen—creating a luxurious living space on wheels for Gatti and his wife. Another International D-15 vehicle “served as a permanent home for $35,000 worth of sound, photo and movie material,” according to an April 1940 edition of Harvester World.   “On our automotive power hangs the success of our venture in Africa,” Gatti said. “I let experience decide and took all International Trucks. I know they will give us great service.” And they did, inspiring International Harvester to sponsor another expedition in 1947 and ’48. The $15,000 comfortable steel trailers were electrified and air conditioned, housing the expedition and its ham radio station, photographic laboratory and workshop, carrying them into a wilderness that was inpenetrable 50 years before. Each trailer was 44 feet in length, weighing 9 tons. Behind the cab of each truck was a 110 volt power plant, 1500-watts a.c. They needed plenty of “juice” for cameras, drills, the photo lab, and illumination. They would even string a single wire electric fence around the camp at night putting out 4500 volts to “discourage” the hippos, elephants, and leopards that would prowl around in the darkness. It should be noted that while the trailers made life comfortable when parked, it was not an easy task to navigate the terrain with such large vehicles. Enjoy the photos below featuring Mr. and Mrs. Gatti, as well as the interior and exterior of the “Jungle Yachts”.

Attilio Gatti, Bookwriter.

  During his safaries to Africa, Gatti collected tons of information. Any piece of information could be used for writing articles for newspapers, boy-stories, and books And for commercial purpose, because Gatti knew how to make money from his African adventures. South Of The Sahara: Perilous Encounters With Big Game And Strange Peoples In The African Wilds (1945) includes details of members of many native tribes and some of the strangest, rarest and least-known creatures that inhabit the hinterlands of Africa. Among them are the elusive okapi of the sunless Ituri forest, the lyre- horned Congo bongo, the pygmy elephant, chimpanzees, a mammoth python and the treacherous mamba. The King Of The Gorillas (1932) are accounts of hunting gorillas and elephants. Tom-Toms In The Night (1932). Part 1 of this book was published separately under title 'The King Of The Gorillas'. Hidden Africa (1933) are accounts of the eighth Gatti African expedition to South Africa, Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo. It includes very little hunting as his expedition was for scientific research of the gorilla. Black Mist by Attilio Gatti (1933) Musungu (1933) Great Mother Forest (1936/1937) is about his adventures and the inhabitants of the Belgian Congo. Saranga: The Pygmy. (1939) is a departure from his factual writing but is informed by his knowledge of the pygmies and their environment. The Wrath Of Moto (1941) Kamanda: An African Boy  (1941) is a boy's tale of growing up in the Congo and dreaming to drive one of the vehicles belonging to the 10th Gatti expedition to the Congo. Killers All, (1943) are the adventures of explorer Commander Gatti and his hairbreadth escapes from giant gorillas, crocodiles and witch doctors intermingled with vivid pictures of wildlife in the Sahara, Congo and Rhodesia. Adventure In Black And White (1943) is set in the African jungle and the adventurers are Bob, an American boy and his African friend and companion Loko-Moto. Here Is Africa by Attilio & Ellen Gatti (1943) is a thrilling conducted tour by the Gattis from French Morocco, across the Sahara and through the equatorial jungles to the Cape of Good Hope. Mediterranean Spotlights (1944) is an evocative piece of war time travel across the Mediterranean Sea illustrated with numerous photograhs. South of the Sahara (1945) Here Is The Veld (1948) is a pictorial history of Rodesia and South Africa Territory. Exploring We Would Go by Ellen Gatti (1950) is an account of her travels with her husband in the Belgian Congo in search of the rare okapi. Jungle Killers by Attilio Gatti (1958) (World Adventure Series) Africa Is Adventure (1960). In 39 years of African travel, Commander Gatti has come to know the Continent as few men can. On his latest expedition to Kenya, Tanganyika and Zululand, he faced the most unusual challenges of his entire career. The New Africa by Attilio & Ellen Gatti (1960) is the story of Africa's awakening, of new nations and federations formed almost overnight. The events discussed in this volume would become the basis for changes that would take place withing the decade and still reverberate in Africa today. Sangoma (1962) recounts his search in the Congo for the 'Mulahu', the 'Abominable Jungleman', a giant ape. Also includes accounts of the Sangoma, the witch doctor of snakes, in Zululand. Bapuka by Attilio Gatti (1963) Attilio Gatti has made good money from his books. many books are translated in other languages, and are on this moment (july 2016) still available in internet bookstores like amazon.com etc.. The Radio-Ham Gatty   In 1938, short before his 10th visit tto Africa, Gatty came in touch with mrs. Dorothy Hall, W2IXY,  from Springfield (Long Island). The period of the 30's Dorothy was once known around the world as The Number 1 Female radio ham.  She got into  Pitcarin VR6TC and KC4USC with able assistance regularly with her high power station. She was the Second District Chairman of YLRL. Dorothy said to the Commander: “Such expedition as yours should take ham-gear to get in touch, at any moment, with America, and keep your relatives informed about what is happening in Africa. And you can ask for help if you need help. And if you take some spare radio with you, you can keep in touch with members of your crew if they stay somewhere else in the Afrixcan Wilderness” After a lot more pep-talk to Gatti she convinced him to take this wonder of communication to Africa. It had to be Hallicrafters transmitters and receivers, the best on the market. And a ham-licence for using the gear was not needed in the Belgian Congo. You needed only permission from the Belgian government. Gatty wrote a letter to the Belgian Ambassy, and after a few days he got the licence for using the callsign OQ5ZZ during his stay in the Belgian Congo. In one of his  books, the Commander describes how he and Charlie, his electrician, studied the manuals extensively. Their teacher was of course mrs. Dorothy Hall, W2IXY. OQ5ZZ, Belgian Congo.   Gatti and his electrician Charlie, where QRV in the Belgian Congo.  Dorothy Hall, W2IZY, did send a message to the AMT-DX bulletin. This is what you can read about OQ5ZZ in this bulletin. In 1955, one of the the Gatti books was issued in the Netherlands, and got Mistiek Afrika as title. You can find the OQ5ZZ part on this site. The story tells how Dorothy, W2IXY got involved, and how the Commander tried to have a QSO with her. It was NOT the first QSO from OQ5ZZ. It was  Jean,F8XT who got the honor of being the first station logged by the Belgian Congo explorer. Or was it Charlie, his electrician, who was behind the microphone. Gatti did also respond to reports from SWLs with sending QSL from Belgian Congo. And of course Gatti did put some stamps on the QSL Gatti did respond fast. It took only ten days for returning a QSL card.. The American Philatelist of january 2016 tells a lot about Gatti and his expeditions. The bulletin is filled with images containing stamps from the Gatty-Period. The book Africa is Adventure is the book you have to read if you like the GHE stories of Bill, W0LHS and Bob, W6PBV. Sometimes the characters are the same in he book and the GHE stories, and sometimes Gatti plays with names.. But who is telling the truth? Attilo Gatti. Bob Leo, Bill Snyder? Anyone who can fill in details to complete the story, is most welcome to respond. Please send your comments to me . Thanks in advance.   73, Wino, PA0ABM  
Gatti during his 10th African visit (to Belgian Congo)
Bob and Cobi visiting KL7, Alaska
Gatti during his 10th African visit (to Belgian Congo) Siliva Zulu. Still film 1928 Mr and Mrs Gatti stealing the show Gatti the Hunter and the Pygmee people