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AIH33 Blog 01FEB2014 - 15FEB2014
Aihkiniemi, Sevettijärvi, Inari, Finland
69°14'North 27°52'East

In this page you will find some notes about AIH33 DXpedition to Aihkiniemi DX cabin. The stories will be about technical stuff for DXers and others who are interested in sunspots and other radiowave propagation related phenomena. Naturally here will be some notes about the weather and nature as well.

For more information about the QTH, please visit the following page by Mika Mäkeläinen:
http://www.dxing.info/dxpeditions/aihkiniemi_dx_cabin_for_rent.dx

The main reason to go up there are the AIH antennas:
Measured AIH antenna directions on the Great Circle Map

Story by Tapio Kalmi (TAK). Feel free to send your questions and comments to tak (at) sdxl (dot) org

Saturday 15FEB2014

Slept whole night and let the SDRs to do recordings so no live observations about the cx. But YAS LOG again gives the big picture: Band has been open, not very strong signals from any direction, but sometimes decent cx for dx. Morning opening was quite the same. Not so good as previous days, but NA was audible anyway.

Sing/off at 0905 UTC, all my own stuff into car and on the road. Today I'll drive about 12 hours from Aihkiniemi to Siilinjärvi in Eastern Finland. My father lives there so I go to meet him on my way back to Helsinki. And it's nice to have different roads and views too.

The DX Cat has left Aihkiniemi DX Cabin.

DX Cat

When I get back home I rename this page as AIH33 Blog and Log. Blog stays as it has been written and some additional notes will follow, but most important thing to fellow DXers is the log. It will be published here too.


Friday 14FEB2014 - Valentines Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everybody! Here it started really well: Strong signals from all Americas all night long. From Buenos Aires to Seattle, all parts were audible.

245 direction faded out around 0500 UTC but came back before 0600 UTC and faded out again around 0615 UTC. 270/290/345 started to fade into background noise just after 0630 UTC. And 304/321 directions started to fade out after 0700 UTC. So about 9 to 10 hours continuous cx towards Americas! That's the way to go to Valentine's Day! In the morning hours also GYs were open.

Now it's time to clean up and pack before afternoon opening. More story will come later today.

Oooops! Change to the plans, because Asia signals rose up already 1030 UTC !!! This means increased possibility to cx towards Oceania too. And we have CME effect coming and some flares are blocking european stations. Quite a mix! Just have to clean up after this cx in the evening ...

1304 UTC I had my DX dream #1 to come true: Newstalk ZB Wellington NZL on 1035 kHz gave nicely weather report. Naturally station identification before the weather and after the weather. Finally I got NZL on mediumwaves too !!! Whitewine from New Zealand goes right now into fridge, I'll take a sip of wine while cleanining the cabin. But now back to radios, cx continues.

Didn't find anything special later, but I have to accept that the sharpest edge of my listening were gone after I heard Wellington. Because I record a lot I could concentrate to other things. And I have to concede that my friends know me too well. If I write about a sip of white wine, they know that I mean a bottle of red. Finally the wine of the day tured out to be Te Kairanga Runholder which is Pinot Noir 2011 from Martinborough New Zealand. Te Kairanga means "a place of abundance - the abundance of good wine, good food and good times ..." (from the back label of the bottle). When I saw this wine on my way to Aihkiniemi to look after NZL signals I had no other choice than buy one ;-)

NZL Wine

Thursday 13FEB2014 - International Radio Day

Nothing special had not happened during the night when I woke up around 0400 UTC. There were something going on already though. Brazil was stronger than before and also other areas of South America came quite well. I listened tangos from Argentina, rumba from Venezuela and news from Uruguay. The cx got norther and best time was between 0500 and 0700 UTC, when also cx for NA got quite good. Many times the graveyards (GY) opened and sometimes regional channels sounded like graveyards (graveyard is a channel where radio station's power should not be over 1 kW, less than half of the power of your vaccuum cleaner back home, so stations from these frequencies are jewels). I'd like to say that in general cx for East Coast was better than for the Lakes, Rockies or West Coast. Both eastern Canada and USA came in quite well. Every now and then some of the powerhouses of Mexico gave sound samples too. This time especially 1060 XEEP Radio Educacion from Mexico City was strong.

After morning session it was time for the last antenna checks: 9-, 30- and 46-degrees antennas. All have transformers in a small area so that end was easy to check. And the antennas are quite close to each other so decided to go with 30 antenna in the middle and check in open spaces other antennas with binoculars. That was the first plan, because there were no ice or snow so only checking the supports and general condition was needed.

These antennas go through marsh which is tricky especially in summertime but also in middle of winter there can be open water beneath the snow in some places. Therefore I was very happy to find snowmobiletrack going from one end of the marsh to the other end and crossways to the antennas. So I could easily go from antenna to each other and check conditions close to each antenna. Then I remembered that I have seen this track close to Aihkiniemi antenna center, so I headed back to cabin on that track. It was longer but nicer and quicker way.

After antenna checks it was time to check cx towards Asia. It had got better than yesterday and the first stations were up there already at 1130 UTC. Todays recordings will be interesting to check. And also NHK2 local break at 1320 was audible today, but have not yet found any newbies for me. Other countries from Asia in the first check were Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Even conditions were good towards Asia, I changed 160 antenna already at 1350 UTC in place of 60 antenna. One idea is to follow grey zone with that antenna and another idea was to do quick bandscan of that antenna for International Radio Day. Here are the countries which came through 160 antenna on mediumwaves at 1630 UTC. From each country only the lowest frequency is mentioned: 531 Iran, 540 Hungary, 549 Slovenia, 567 Russia, 585 Saudi Arabia, 603 Romania, 621 Egypt, 639 Czech Republic, 648 India, 675 Netherlands, 729 Greece, 810 Macedonia, 864 Armenia, 891 Turkey, 927 Israel, 954 Qatar, 972 Ukraine, 990 Cyprus, 999 Moldova, 1035 Estonia, 1134 Kuwait, 1170 United Arab Emirates, 1206 France, 1296 Sudan, 1296 Afghanistan, 1413 Oman, 1431 Djibouti and 1485 Latvija.

That list is only for one antenna in one given minute. When this day was mediocre day with some cx and without any rare or super cx, we can say that for DX listener every day is international radio day. I'm very happy that we have also radio theme day for larger audience. The role of radio is changing and we should take care that this powerful media has it's place in the future too. The formats and forms will change, but radio should be there. It's like Queen put it in the lyrics of "Radio Ga Ga" already in 1984.

Antenna switches are DX listeners menu to the world.

Antenna Switches

Later in the evening I tuned to european frequencies for Spain and UK. And 2100 UTC was time to Newfoundland to come up again. This time that was followed with large scale opening of the whole mediumwave band for all of Americas. This was the largest evening cx of these weeks. But quality of the opening remains to be seen.

Wednesday 12FEB2014

Maybe this was the weakest cx day of the whole pedition so far. Flares came in a row so that the whole X Ray Flux level rose up significantly. Altough there were no earth directed CMEs the result was that there were only weak openings to NA in the night and also morning opening was very short. For example all signals from 270, 290 and 304 directions were wiped away around 0615 UTC. Was it a radio blackout or not, I dont know, but Jaguar YAS LOG screen waterfalls from those receivers were black for a while. And morning cx lasted only until 0700 UTC. After that really persistent DXers like HN can dig out some jewels, but I decided to go out instead.

Snowfall had continued through the night, but there was only about 2-3 cm (1 inch) of new snow. Temperature below zero again, -2 Celcius. Anyway I decided to put the cabin road and yard into tip-top condition. Also first parts of packing started today, when there were practically nothing to monitor live at daytime. The recordings can wait till home. My way of DXing is to get many receivers to Lapland for a week or two, monitor the overall situation while beeing up there and continue for years afterwards at home ;-) This way I can DX at home and listen to any direction I like to listen to. If there has been good conditions for given direction I naturally start with those recordings. And somewhere comes the point where the conditions aren't good enough anymore, at that point I try to find some given stations only. And far before listening to everything comes the point that I let it be. I keep the original recordings from the best days but remove all mediocre or worse after I have done my checks.

Snow fall continued the whole day, so I left antenna checks for thursday. Rebuilding of the Winter Wonderland has started.

Rebuilding of the Winter Wonderland

Afternoon was the first one where I haven't found any NHK2 stations at 1320 UTC from the band. Not even the powerhouses. And the reason is that the cx rose up about 15 minutes too late for NHK2. There was quite good periods to Japan and Korea after that. But here was the same thing as with NA. Opening was quite short and after that signals from far away stations got very weak. So not too much to monitor. So I put 160 antenna on again ;-) That new toy gave me many new stations, log will follow later.

Had very good time for disk cleanup while waiting NA evening cx, no need to worry about disks anymore in AIH33. But on cx side there were not even good marks for anything special. This time only CBI Sydney NS was audible around 2100 UTC and short periods only. So decided to sleep this time whole night. Most likely won't miss very much if SDRs do TOH and BOH recordings. For me TOH (Top-of-Hour) means minutes 57-07 and BOH (Bottom-of-Hour) means minutes 27-37. Those are the times when radio stations mention their names more often than other times.

Tuesday 11FEB2014

The evening opening to NA was there so the hope for quick recovery still lives. But that didn't happen on monday night. Only some dominants came through before midnight. From YAS logs I can see that weak NA night cx has been from 0300 UTC untill 0500 UTC. After that the morning cx was little bit better than night but nothing compared to the previous days. And the cx died completely after 0700 UTC.

The weather forecast told that it will be quite warm until friday, so there will not be no crusted snow for me. Therefore I checked 250 and 270 antennas. The same forecast told that we should have more snow next night and wednesday, so I left the last 3 antennas which are in more open space to be checked after the snow fall. Today's weather was as grey as day can be. No snow on trees anymore, not raining but not very far from that either and the temperature +1 Celcius. Very far from what was expected for February in Aihkiniemi. Now I have one big pack with unused and clean clothes for cold temperatures and I have run out of clean T-shirts ... Gosh.

Sevettijärvi Road in a grey winter day

Sevettijarvi Road

When I was coming back to the cabin in the afternoon I tried to call to HN in Lemmenjoki. Well, he didn't pick up the phone and that was the best answer, there is cx at least to NA direction. So I hurried back to cabin and found out that Japan was coming quite well. So one extra run to switch 160deg antenna out and 60deg antenna in. And that happened also before the magic 1320 UTC ;-) When I checked the recordings I was happy to find two new NHK2 stations from the 60deg antenna recordings, so it was worth the effort.

There were no night cx towards NA. Cx got bit better after 0430 UTC but went again down around 0630 and died away after 0700 UTC. New opening came after 1000 UTC and it lasted until 1430. And NA directions were quite common again: 321 and 345 antennas gave best results during daytime. Actually 345 felt better than for a while.

In early evening there was again a flare and X Ray Flux has risen to higher level than before. So it was evident that evening cx will be lousy or nil to northern directions. So I took nice sneaker switch walk with headlight and put 160 degree antenna again on. I'm kind of keen on that wire because it sounds so exotic. And that's one of the main pillars of DXing: Listen to something which is new or exotic to you. And yes, that direction was in full swing again. Just can't wait until I'll really listen to those recordings even if there are so many powerhouses. Also India with 100 degree antenna was strong at 1740 UTC, which is the right time to get local station identifications just before sign off.

And late in the evening there were no cx towards NA at all. Only those stations came which don't need any cx: 1140 CBI Sydney NS, 1370 WDEA Ellsworth ME and 1400 CBG Gander NL. These have been there every evening no matter if there will be a party or not. So HN and I had about one hour telco meeting about using computers with Perseus and all other things which popped into our minds. Very nice chat while waiting for cx, but it didn't help with cx.

Monday 10FEB2014 - Housekeeping Day

Yesterday evening there was again one M Class flare, after that couple of C class flares during the night. All of flares combined to Coronal Hole effects makes it quite easy to say that there were nearly no cx towards NA. Nearly none, a short and weak opening around 01-02 UTC and morning opening from 0530 to 07 UTC were still there. Really good may I say, because today those two big sunspots go on the other side of the sun. They should not have so much impact to earth in the coming two weeks. After that we'll see them again.

Outside it's +1 Celcius, grey, windy and raining a bit, so what are the things to do? Clean the yard of new snow before it turns to ice (sure it won't be on the plus side for many days), do all those housekeeping things that have been left for "tomorrow" in the last 7 days and change the lamp on the top of the door (that broke in last night). So this day will start as housekeeping day. After that again disk cleaning ...

Now antennas can wait until it freezes again, because with good luck there may be crusted snow and that would make it much easier to check the rest of the antennas.

Visited the closest neighbour in the afternoon. She is retired lady with a dog and she likes to be up here even in the wintertime. Originally from Southern Finland she had had some difficulties to integrate into a new way of life, but now she really enjoys her stay here. We had coffee, watched some parts of Olympics and tested her brand new snowblower. She told me that she couldn't use it, but when we went to see the machine she used it like she had used it for a while. Only minor thing was that she left the choke on. When I gave her advice about that she was very happy: "Now the sound is much better". You bet.

Didn't find any other special thing on the band in late afternoon or in the evening but the 160 degree antenna. It really gives you all powerhouses of Middle East and East Africa. It will be a lot of fun and wonder when I try to find something else than the powerhouses from the recordings. And the whole area is brand new for me on mediumwaves ...

Outside the rain and wind has wiped away the winter wonderland. Now there is just snow, ice and forest. So no more pictures about that topic today. So I like to come back to Selena which I picked up from Oulu. Maybe most of you had figured out that it won't be Selena Gomez or anybody else like her. I'm too old or she's too young or whatsoever. But what is that Selena anyway? Let's take a look at this beauty which will be part of Aihkiniemi DX Cabin as long as AIH Team will accept her precence. I'd like to name her between the friends just "Gomez".

Selena B 212

Oh yes, it really is fully functional Selena B 212 Transistorized Radio Receiver (as the original user manual states out). Hannu Karjalainen from Oulu was so kind that he gave away this receiver for free. He hasn't been using it for ages, so it was time to give it away. And that's the point of this story, if you have something old but functional, don't throw it away but recycle. Hannu wrote a message about this selena in Finnish DXers email list in last summer and offered it for free. So here we are. Thanks again Hannu!

I have tried to use Gomez and she came through as expected. The sound is full and beautiful. All the knobs are in place and tuning is a pleasure. Have not tried yet any other bands but FM, because I monitor other bands with Perseus receivers.

Hannu made two customizations to his receiver: 1) He throw away the original power supply and replaced it with Mascot Batterieliminator Type 696 and 2) He installed usual plug for the headphones to ease the use of ordinary headphones. So the receiver is also adjusted for use in Finland. Also the original user manual with scheme is there, so AIH visitors can study part of radio history as well.

Sunday 09FEB2014 - Magnetic Storm is on, but NA DXing continues?

Solar Info for 09FEB2014

Continued playing with 160 antenna over midnight UTC and then realized that there is happening something in the NA direction. Very good night cx towards NA was 0230-0330 UTC. All graveyard frequencies were as wide open as they can be. And the signal strengths were huge. How this can happen when there is magnetic storm going on? Well, northern lights went south somewhere between Lapland and Europe, but the path from Lapland to NA was open. I heard that from the radio amateurs while they had aurora alert for 59 degrees ... Jiihaaa, the sun did it again! (Oh boy, I start to sound like Vettel?)

Morning opening started around 0530 UTC and went strong until 0700 UTC. That was short and typical morning opening which ended into Ylämummo at 0700 UTC. In Finnish DX slang Ylämummo means the North-West corner of NA, which is the most common DX listening target from NA direction in Lapland. Wiktionary tells what Ylämummo means for others than DXers.. Well, this time was the AIH33 best live listening experience of NW USA, so I tought to dress accordingly. And it's Sunday, time for a clean shirt.

TAK listening Ylämummo Ylämummo details

The cx was cut by the sunrise effect but about one hour later, as usual, some signals came back. But much weaker than earlier. It was time to do sightseeing, eat out and refill fridge and freezer. So I went to Kaamasen Kievari for lunch. It was very nice coincidence that women's slopestype snowboarding final 2nd round started just when got my lunch. So I could fully enjoy the first Olympic medal for Finland. Concratulations to Enni Rukajärvi and the whole team! Well done!

Before my DXpedition I have tought about the Olympics and decided to keep it in co-starring role as DXing permits. But now all timings matched perfectly, how these things can just happen? If I would have tried to organize this, it had been very hard I guess ...

Kaamasen Kievari serves good local food, so I took sautéd reindeer and enjoyed it a lot. When asking about TV, the waiter said that it's on the pub side. There is separated room for diners (diner at lunch time too?) and pub area for those guests who like more to drink than eat. So I went to pub and took good place to see the TV. It took about 10 seconds when one of the locals said hello and started to talk about the Olympics, World War II, best skiido he had had and so on. So I really weren't alone as nearly the whole week before ... Those fellows were harmless and joking on each other more than on me, so everything went ok. I didn't mind that company, but now I realized why the waiter had showed me to the dining room.

Lazy sunday afternoon continued with grocery shop and afternoon nap. After that I started to clean my disks, beacause I can't always decide if record or not ... so my way is to record more than needed and clean recordings afterwards before listening them through. Now cx has been much better than expected, so I need to do the first cleaning on the road. This is necessary to avoid bigger issues after couple of days, when I would run out of disks ...

The Asia cx didn't really rise today, but I could pick up some of the strongest NHK2s anyway. So far NHK2 heard every day ;-) Naturally 160 degree wire was in full swing because of the negative Bz and near by powerhouses. Tried also 80 and 100 degree antennas, but didn't find more than Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India with them. One nice station in the Middle East area is from Ras al Khaimah on 1152 kHz which relays Voice of Kerala programs as "Suara Radio Republik Indonesia" broadcast in Malayman. That came in with full power and kept the spirit high even if I didn't catch the real Indonesia. So remember, the name of the station and program can be very different ...

In the evening temperature rised to the plus side, +0 Celcius I would say.

Saturday 08FEB2014 - Coronal Hole Effects Started

During the night and morning the coronal hole effects have been strong. Cx has on/off functionality and the remote control is the sun. Best parts have been around 6 UTC and from 0830 to 0930 UTC. At 10 UTC there is "off #5". So I'll go to the antenna forest to check if I can find those 3 mooses which I saw in the morning hours between Sevettijärvi road and the cabin. Well behaving family, looking left and right and again left before crossing the narrow cabin road ;-) And they were wandering about 30 meters from the main road.

Todays trip was maybe the longest and heaviest. 100 and 160 antennas go over hill Pyhävaara (about 30 metres up and down) and it seems to be so that hill stops also the snow quite well. There was 10-30cm more snow than in other places. Especially the area between the antennas is quite a snowfield. Thanks to MTM telling the easiest way and orientation tip to do this trip. But wow, very nice and amazing "hiking" trip again. Nice views from the hill even if the day was grey. And if you are not in a hurry you can enjoy much more, so I took my time, 4 hours all together. I had sandwiches, energy bars and hot chocolate with me, so this was kind of picnic. The SDRs were recording the main parts anyway, so I shouldn't miss a thing.

View from Pyhävaara to the north from 100 degrees antenna.

Pyhävaara North

View from Pyhävaara to the south from 160 degrees antenna. Note Lake Inari in the middle.

Lake Inari

The forest along the 160 degree antenna reminds me of Lemmenjoki, which has very nice forests for antennas.

AIH 160 degree antenna forest

On the way back to the cabin I changed 160 degree antenna to the place of 60 degree antenna. One of the coax cables is broken so these two antennas share the same coax and you have 250 meter long sneaker switch (you have to go to the antenna end). If the CH disturbances come, which is obvious, I'd like to try southern direction. Tried a little bit just when arrived into the cabin and everything seemed to be ok and there was completely new world waiting: Main role is played by Iran and Middle East with East Africa are co-starring. Just got 4 iranian stations identified in 10 minutes.

In the evening I called to HN in Lemmenjoki and he told me lot about Day Timer stations in the two previous evenings. There should be quite many stations just waiting to be found in my recordings. I heard also that there has been some Hawaiian stations on the band as well while I was in the forest. Better check those recordings too ...

We are both very happy about the great sunspots beeing relatively quiet so far. This gives us two issues to handle, but maybe we can make it: At first we have all disks full of good recordings before the peditions end, and second, now we have more to listen to than we ever have time.

Later in the evening we got some new snow ;-)

By the way, temperature has been around -3..-7 Celcius for the whole week.

Friday 07FEB2014 - Still going strong ...

This can't last many days longer, but today cx didin't vanish totally nearly at any point. There was the normal sunrise effect, but after one hour the band was in full swing again. Then cx lasted straight till afternoon. So this day was for listening to NA and OC, no antenna checks at all. As said NA cx was there nearly whole day.

Classic Country KXA 1520

Classic Country KXA 1520 has appeared into the band since I was in Lapland last time and it went straight to my Top-10 favourite stations. When I do something else than DXing and like to have some background music I put 348 antenna on and tune to 1520. This kind of music gives the real DX feeling into the cabin. Here is a sample for Country music friends. I reported this station from this clip of today morning at 09 UTC and Andrew Skotdal, President/General Manager of the station, was kind to reply to me:"Hi Tapio, One of the best reception reports I’ve ever heard from Finland. Nice work. We sounded local! Thank you for tuning in.". So it goes when everything is in place, especially cx and antennas.

In the afternoon hours I did a lot of Asia and Pacific tuning. And got a lot of recordings, but I need to doublecheck them before I can tell anything more than the direction: Vietnam-Thailand-India-Sri Lanka-Maldives. Of course China is present all the time, but I name the others which may change. Japan was not so strong today except Hokkaido opening at NHK2 Local ID time 1320 UTC. Maybe that feeling comes from the antennas, now I have 80 and 100 degree antennas in place and I really like to play with them. This is new for me and therefore other directions don't get so much my time anymore.

Grayline between Finland and Maldives

After the sun grayline is DXers best friend. When going to Lapland in February grayline is nice to Central Asia, Middle East and East Africa. Already at home I got really interested about Maldives, when MKA logged it. When I checked the greyline I got excited, that might be possible just when I'm in Aihkiniemi. And today I heard Maldives for the first time ever. You can't imagine the feeling if you haven't done something same kind of thing: studying, planning, scheduling, antenna maintenance and then on the right time you tune in and wait, you know it should appear in any second and then it appears! Jiiiihaaa! After running naked twice around the cabin I came back to the radio and continued DX-listening. Then I tought it might be good idea to doublecheck what I have tuned in. Here comes internet with big help, for example MBC Voice of Maldived is streamed to internet as well. So I listened a sentence first through radiowaves and then put headphones down to hear what comes from internet: The same voice and the same story with a little delay. So without calling my friends I can say that I have heard Maldives. Clip will be available when I have received verification from the station.

Later in the evening NA popped in again around 21 UTC and lots of recordings were made until 01 UTC the cx died. Also DXer was ready for bed at that time. This was superb DX day for me.

Thursday 06FEB2014 - Just another day in paradise

It's surprising how good DXing has been this week. The picture from Jan Alvestad's solar weather pages ( http://www.solen.info/solar/ ) shows well how ugly the things seem to be. But day after day there has been lots of stations to monitor. And quess what, in early january I tought that I must be crazy because I still wanted to go DXing even if I saw what can happen with those sunspots. But here I am, lucky me. This said there still is a change of CMEs and in every case we need to live with another source of disturbances: Coronal Hole. So very interesting days ahead.

Nice but ugly Sun

Again stations from all americas were audible until the morning flare came (as you might have noticed, every morning comes a flare and changes the setup some ways). Today's flare wiped Brazil away totally, left only scrapings of Caribbean and Orinoco and moved NA focus from east to West, to Rockies and NW NA.

Cx died around 0730 UTC, so back to the winter wonderland to see how 325 and 345 antennas have survived the last weeks. And they were in great shape, just a little bit of ice and snow here and there. If there isn't too much new snow, most of the old snow has been gathered together around 345 antenna. And this not only a joke, because there were 10-30cm more snow than in other areas. So the trip took a little bit longer.

Came back to cabin just in time to check NHK2 local identifications at 1320 UTC. They were there as every day so far. After NHK2 I checked cx towards NA and found 1240 KBLL Helena MT. This is good sample of Computer Aided Station Identifying (I have also heard audio id, but Jaguar told me this first !!!).

Jaguar and KBLL

From Jaguar YAS Logs I saw that there has been opening towards NA before noon, but really good opening was in the afternoon. It stayed as long as there were some stations in the dark. Again a lot of recordings to go through. NA was the reason why I can't say too much about Asia cx, but at least the powerhouses were there. For example China, Japan and Korea were audible for hours. Tried aussies time after time, but didn't find any.

After the evening nap NA popped up around 21 UTC, but this time they were stronger. Even HN sent me SMS saying that NA is rising up well. And when HN says that, there is something in the air. And there was: Very strong and nice opening to the East Coast followed by WILD OPENING towards the Lakes. Especially Wisconsin came in here in Aihkiniemi. GYs were open well and even I did some live identifications: 1240 WJMA Rice Lake WI, 1400 WATW Ashland WI and the king was 1310 WIBA Madison WI, who came in as a local station. And yes, there were LOTS of other stations: regional channels sounded like GYs at best, each FRQ had many stations.

Wednesday 05FEB2014

North America still strong after the midnight nap, now around 04 UTC also Caribbean better than before. 800 TWR Bonaire and 840 Haiti were the leaders of the gang. In the morning cx was strong, the signals were good, but it's really hard to point out the best direction. Common observation was that the East Coast, Mid West and the Prairies were on the top. For a while some stations from Texas were very strong, but live listening didn't get to Albuquerque NM even if I tuned these frequencies time after time. New Mexico in general may give many new stations for me and Albuquerque is one of my favourite cities which I have visited in the US. Really would like to go back there, both via radio waves and physically.

Again signals weakened before 9 UTC, so it was easy to go to check the antennas. Because East Coast and Caribbean were quite good, I think that this direction will be in a good shape in the next night too. Therefore I decided to check antennas 290 and 304. And that was good choice, because I found one rotten birch which had been fallen on the 290 antenna wire. The wire was close to the ground and it wouldn't do good for the reception.

304 antenna had only snow and ice on it but otherwise everything was in good shape.

AIH 304deg antenna

When I came back I headed straight to the shower, which is 5 km away from the cabin. It should be quick trip, but you never know. This time I didn't slow enough for a reindeer which was running away from the road. I tought that it would have gone, but no, it returned just back and I had too much speed. So I avoided driving over the raindeer but ended into snow. Even if I have 4 wheel drive, it doesn't make the car to be any helicopter. So I had to call for help and wait for 2 hours ... So it goes, if you see reindeers on the road, drive very very slow. This time I didn't do this and learned my lesson. Good part of this story is that I had slowed down the speed so much that it saved the reindeer and there was no damage for me or the car either.



I heard from HN, who is in LEM342 pedition in Lemmenjoki, that the first sign of Australia were there when I was by the road. Checked the recordings when arrived back to the cabin and yes, there was only one aussie: 1548 Emerald. That was the only one and only for a short time. So I need to check more this afternoon recordings back home ...

In the evening again North America came up around 21 UTC. This time stations from Boston and New York came from the bright daylight. It was nice to listen to afternoon prime time programs, but once again, these were also the most common powerhouses. No sign of daytimers found so far. Also Bermuda was audible and stations from Caribbean popped up while grayzone moved to the west.

Tuesday 04FEB2014

The night conditions between 0000-0300 UTC seems to have been poor. Most likely I'll remove those recordings to give space to better ones. And the reason is clear: there has been some M Class Flares.

The big guns from Brazil came in between 0300-0530 UTC and also Orinoco came in quite well every now and then around 0400-0500 UTC. Especially Venezuelan midnight 0430 UTC was best for a long time for me, so some reports are going to Venezuela as well.

The morning cx towards North America started to rise around 0430 UTC and the signal levels were good. Even there was a very impulsive M5.2 flare at 04:00 UTC the cx continued good until 0730 UTC (or did it take those 3,5 hours to have impact in our ionosphere?). There was a peak in sun wind plasma level at 0730 and a very small peak in sun wind proton level as well around 0730, so they explain the major drop in signal levels. Luckily the flares have not produced a noteworthy coronal mass ejections (CMEs) so far and therefore all DXers can do decent DXing.

Outdoors the sun is shining for the first time in Aihkiniemi and the temperature is still around -5C, so now at 10 UTC it's time to go outside for a while. And when I opened the door, it looked like this!

Sunny Day in Aihkiniemi

So I went to check the Aihkiniemi Antenna Highway. Well, it really hasn't given too much new snow after the first days of January. Previous antenna checks were done more than 4 weeks ago and the trace is clear ...

AIH Antenna Highway

This day is day for rest, so I didn't go much further than the antenna center where are the starting points of 9 antennas.

TAK in AIH Antenna Center


The afternoon cx didn't give any extraordinary (at least live listening didn't give any specials). The cx was around India-Bangladesh-Thailand-Vietnam area, but most of the stations were the powerhouses, so I'll still wait for better ... No sign of aussies or kiwis, sigh.

And North Amercia came in around 21 UTC, but with common stations only. So those flares have cut the sharpest edge of the cx, but still we have something to monitor. Mixed feelings because week has been much better than expected, but not very good anyway. Maybe this is my weakness, when I have got more than expected and wait even more ... Just one thing is sure: Still fingers crossed, because anything can happen in the sun.

Monday 03FEB2014

North America (NA) popped in yesterday evening around 21 UTC. So everything went fine for the big sports day. Also South American stations came in with strong signals. So it seems we have today All American party.

Congratulations Seattle Seahawks !



NA conditions weakened around 1:30 UTC, but came back around 2:30 UTC and were strong until 5:45 UTC, when there was a solar flare again and X-Ray Flux changed our party: NA is still coming in with this disturbance and that makes things more interesting ... Let's hear what happens next.

After 7 UTC I noticed 1360 WMOB Mobile AL with better signal than at that time when I reported the station back in 2010. This gives some hope to find also other nice stations when listening the recordings later. But the fun didn't last too long. After 8:30 the signals weakened just too much. So it was good time to go outside to do some snow works and check two antennas.

60 degrees antenna for Japan/Korea area and New Zealand was to first to check. And 80 degrees antenna for Philippines and Australia was the second. Here you can see which antennas are most important to me this year.

AIH 60deg antenna

When antenna is 1000 meters long and you need to find the end of other antenna to come back checking it, it takes more than 3 km walk to make one checking. I need to do this 6 times in two weeks while here are 12 antennas. So DX listening is also outdoor hobby ;-) It took about three hours to do this trip in 30cm-50cm deep snow. Because there were no more snow than that, I didn't put snow-rackets on. They will go about 30 cm to the snow anyway ... Every DXer does antenna checks in DXpeditions, so this is not a big deal. It's quite easy compared to the situation that you need to build your antennas yourself. So here goes big thanks to AIH Team, they have done impressive job.

When I came back to the cabin, North America was booming in again. Graveyards (GYs, frequencies where maximum power is 1 kW) were open in 321 and 345 antennas. And Asia was coming in well with 29-100 antennas. That was good news. From computer aided graphical logs I can see, that there has been short opening between 1030-1100 UTC and the NA came back to the upper part of AM band around 1200 UTC. These recordings will be checked later.

In the evening North America came in early, but no Daytimers found so far. I was quite sleepy, so instead of late nite DXing I decided to take good and long sleep before the morning session. Just let the computers do the recordings and overview logs about the night. Thanks to IPA for the fabulous software, Jaguar does it all!

Sunday 02FEB2014

North America boomed in for 16 hours! Jihaaaa! Not yet found any new stations for me, but it's always great pleasure when you have something to monitor. Those big sunspots on Earth side of the Sun can change the situation in any minute. So I'm really happy for any signal I can get. There are many good info sites about the sun, but lately my favourite has been http://www.solarham.net/. It gives good overall picture with explanations and tells now that there is Geomagnetic Storm Watch on. Some disturbances are expected, but let's keep fingers crossed ...

The best source for this kind of information is absolutely National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center. I visit that page daily even if I'm at home.

20140206 sxi from NOAA

There were also Brazil, Cuba and Mexico in the same party. And the conditions went in waves 3 UTC not so good, 4 UTC OK, 5 UTC not so good, 6 UTC nice and so on until 13 UTC.

When the North American signals faded out, Asia popped in. And NHK2 at 13:20 UTC gave signals like 1089 JOHB Sendai Miyagi, 1125 JOAD Naha Okinawa, 1152 without local call letters and 1386 with JOJB Kanazawa Isihkawa and JOQC Morioka Iwate. Nothing very special from Aihkiniemi point of view, but good recordings to find something more.

So busy with the radios that there wasn't time for outdoors except building one shortwave dipole antenna. They have promised only a little snowfall and some minus degrees, so let it snow. I'll do my part "manana".

Aihkiniemi's AIH33 Studio is now ready for the Superbowl!

AIH33 Studio

Saturday 01FEB2014

Finally! This is the day! Today I'll go to DX paradise!

But at first some driving through winter wonderland in Pello, Kolari, Kittilä, Kiistala route.




The legendary Tieva Baari restaurant in Pokka.

Tieva Baari

This time I didn't turn to Lemmenjoki, which has been the paradise for Finnish DX listeners for about 40 years. I really like it. So many good memories from 9 DX trips I have done there for DXing. Actually my first time in Lemmenjoki was in august 1973 when I did some hiking and gold panning with my father. After that I have visited Lemmenjoki only once as tourist with my kids. All other times gold panning has been done on radio waves.

TAK likes Lemmenjoki

Took quick lunch in Inari and did some shopping and on the road again. I heard that the conditions were good also in Southern Finland, so I would like to arrive as soon as possible. And this didn't mean driving as fast as possible in the narrow and icy Sevettijärvi road.

YES! The band was full of North American AM stations. Just plug in my hard disks and start recording. Also NHK2 local station identifications from Japan were audible at 13:20 UTC, so some more recordings. Whole Asia was strong in the afternoon and in the evening.

North America popped in again around 21 UTC when sunset moved to the west. New DX day was about to start.

Friday 31JAN2014

The trip started as planned (at 8 am) and I went to meet one of my landlords, Mika, to get one of his hard disks to Aihkiniemi for the week 8. After that everything was ready to head to Oulu, where I would "save" one Selena. Or almost everything ... around Järvenpää (about 30 km from my home) I realized that I had forgotten my sleeping bag home. No need to think twice, just U-turn as soon as possible and then back home. The bag was in other place than all other things because our cats would like to play with it, and I don't like that idea too much.

It was nice coincidence that Jim and Mika had an article about our hobby in Helsingin Sanomat newspaper this same day. Well done boys! The article is in Finnish and can be found from the web site of Helsingin Sanomat.

Second start got better and as far I haven't noticed anything what I have left home. I had very good luck with perfect driving weather and enjoyed driving through beautiful countryside.

Sunglasses

Countryside

Had a cup of coffee with every DXers friend in Viitasaari.

Viitasaari

Continued the journey through Pohjanmaa to Oulu to pick up Selena with me.

Countryside

I listened to SR P4 Norrbotten on the way from Kemi to Ylitornio. There was a phone in program and the hostess of the program worked for the last day before retiring. So they had a ceremony at the end of the show and announcers sung the national anthemn of Finland in meänkieli. Wow, DXing is really wonderful hobby: You just never know what you will hear next. Here is a short sample of that show: SR P4 Norrbotten program 31JAN2014 (Sorry for the background noise, but I was driving at the same time. Actually that noise gives you all "good DX feeling". NOTE: This was also DXing: I listened to broadcasting station from Sweden while driving in Finland).

And finally around 9.30 pm I arrived to Lankojärvi in Pello to meet my friends Pirjo and Tuomo Waara. Thanks to you both for your hospitality and all nice stories you shared again. Especially meänkieli samples were nice.

Thursday 30JAN2014

4 pm in central Helsinki, but not in the heart of Helsinki ;-) And guess what? It's holiday!

Viikki Sunset

This time I'll go to Aihkiniemi in the northermost part of Finland. The trip begins in Friday morning , when I start my drive from Helsinki to Pello (900 km / 560 miles). In early Saturday morning I continue my trip from Pello to Aihkiniemi (430 km / 267 miles). After that it's time to set up my radios, so not too much to tell before late Saturday evening because being so busy with other things to do ...

The news will come out bit by bit when I have time to write about the highlights.

I make this pedition alone because of various reasons, but many fellow DXers have been helping to organize this trip. Special thanks to OK, JHU, VJR, IPA and JSN, the contact person of the Aihkiniemi Team.

Stay tuned.

(c) Tapio Kalmi (TAK) 2014