LEM DXpedition News

07DEC2019 - 14DEC2019

Aihkiniemi, Sevettijärvi, Inari, Finland
69°14'North 27°52'East

Tapio Kalmi alias TaK In this page you will find some notes about AIH111 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 page: Aihkiniemi DX Cabin for rent

Feel free to send your questions and comments to tapio (dot) kalmi (at) live (dot) com

Tapio Kalmi alias TaK

Sunday 15DEC2019

At 2am when I had my hamburger break in Oulu there was the heaviest snowfall. But it ended right after Piippola, when I headed towards Iisalmi.

With the breaks it took 12 hours and I arrived Siilinjärvi at about 5 am Finnish Time. It seems that with this timing I avoided 2-3 hours driving in rain/snowfall, so not too bad combination. And long night sleep in the previous night and afternoon nap helped me to keep awake even if driving alone. Ofcourse I had lots of radio stations as my company. Naturally YLE in Lappland, but also Swedish MIX Megapol in Kemi-Oulu area with mostly american xmas hits and a break with regional traffic and program info for Norrbotten at :50-:55. Last but not the least was Radio SuomiRock in the darkest hours of the night from Oulu to Siilinjärvi.

Saturday 14DEC2019

Now 0830 UTC when I write this the cx is going back to the crazy state: The AK wire pointing 10 degrees gives NA signal nearly in every NA frequency ... this is madness. Very hard to say anything else about NA cx that the signal levels are out of this world. For a moment it is easy to leave the laptops to do the work and start preparations for home journey.

NA cx continued great for whole day, nobody came to cabin after me and I had no exact schedule. So I decided to postpone my leave for some hours. Finally I switched off the last rx at 1330 UTC and left the cabin after 1500 UTC. The East Coast wires had good signal strengths still at the sunrise time of the target areas, so it will be interesting to see what I have in the recordings. When I made the decision, I took a nap for one hour, because I had 10 hours drive to Siilinjärvi waiting for me.

Nearly no snowfall at all in Lappland when I drowe from Aihkiniemi to Rovaniemi and Oulu.

Temperatures of the day in Aihkiniemi -1 Celcius and on the road all the way between -1 and +1 Celcius.

Friday 13DEC2019

The night cx peak was at 2 UTC and morning cx rose after 6 UTC and continued in good level until noon. After that decent decline started. There were signals still at 16 UTC, but the recordings needs to be checked. This time the most interesting direction can clearly be seen from Jaguar YAS screen and it is the West Coas of NA. These recordings need a good check.

Art This time I decided to check only the starts of the last antennas, because I have felt tired after last two antenna checks and snow works. And because I need to recover for the long drive back south. So I checked only the first 200-300 meters of the last antennas. Time to time there was light rain, so this was the warmest day of my trip.

When I came back to cabin, I enjoyed some live listening and triend to find the direction to look after. And I found it quite soon, Alaska and Hawaii were coming in and they have short to do lists: I miss 10 stations from AK and 17 stations from HI. Checked the frequencies and found two new ones from HI, 900 KMVI Kahului and 1240 KEWE Wailuku, both from the island of Maui. And one new from AK, 550 KTZN Anchorage.

From Asia/Pacific direction did notice only that Vietnam and Thailand were strong. So there is a chance the cx to go the next step further. Tried some Australia frequencies without any results though.

No live comments about the evening cx towards NA, because I had to go to sleep early. From Jaguar YAS screens it seems that cx rose again around 21 UTC ad got steadily better all evening until 23 UTC. So lot of new recordings to check while I have four antennas recorded for NA direction: 290, 305, 320 and 335.

Temperature of the day -1 always when checked it, but rain tells that it have been around zero or even +1 in a while.

Thursday 12DEC2019

NA cx continued not so solid as in previous days. No great start in the previous evening so it took until 2 UTC to get decent cx peak towards NA. After that mediocre night and the best cx for the whole day was around 6 UTC and cx stayed at decent level until 8 UTC. Day peaks were also shorter ones than in previous days, but there was NA cx for the whole day.

The cx was so interesting that I started my antenna check quite late. The weather was ordinary, no wind, no snowfall, partly open skies around noon, so nice day again outdoors. Later in the afternoon the clouds rolled in again and so the darkness came early. Luckily this time the frontline of the clouds didn't bring heavy snowfall, so I had ordinary antenna check also with the headlamp.

1 PM Light

After antenna checks I had to clean DX cabin yard and road from 5 cm (2 inch) new snow, it took quite a lot of time. And it took even longer because of one curious and funny raindeer. It came next to me, face to face looking straigt to my eyes. Maybe asking for food, but for many reasons it's not good idea to give anything to raindeer. So I just petted it a little bit and continued my work. Then it came around me and stood on shovel and looking straight into my eyes ... Didn't yell to this new friend of mine but just ignored it and after that I could do the rest without interruptions.

So I have checked only briefly Pacific recordings but have not found nothing special from there. Noted that China and Philippines are worth checking later.

Later in the evening I didn't notice any special cx, the dominant NA stations came in after 21 UTC and cx died just before 23 UTC. Maybe I was just too tired to dig out the signals.

The temperature of the day was -1 Celcius from morning to evening.

Wednesday 11DEC2019

Also the night was bright outside, but NA cx were mediocre, no clear peaks before morning. In the morning NA started to get better around 6 UTC until dropped again just before 9 UTC. So NA cx continued whole day, mediocre rollecoaster with the best peaks at 0945 UTC and 1230 UTC. Over and out before 15 UTC. But ofcourse some dominants made it again 24/7 ...

Went to antenna forest later because the temperatures had dropped down. Early in the morning it was -27 C and after 9 UTC it was only -20 C. I thought it was a good move, but it had consenquences. The 80 degree antenna was broken badly and it took quite a long to fix it. The day was grey and it was getting dark already when I was at the first antenna. And then the snowfall started, first light and neat, but later so much that time to time I could not see the antenna wire from snowfall when I had to have my headlamp on. It was quite the same as driving a car in heavy snowfall, you could barely see anything from the snowflakes.
Gray Day

When I went back to cabin I was a bit tired. My excercises combined to DXing, yes 2 antennas a day every day can be called exercise, was taking it's toll. So I did not check the recordings of the day. Instead of that I went to Jounila to take a shower and after that I took a nap. So not so much to tell about Asia/Pacific cx of the day.

The evening cx was a mix of Brazil, Greenland and Newfoundland, no real cx towards NA. So it was time to get more sleep.

The morning was totally grey with cloudy sky and snowfall from afternoon to the night. Temperatures from morning -27 to evening -6.

Tuesday 10DEC2019

Woke up around 4 UTC without alarm. Really nice way to start the day when you know that you have got enough sleep even if you wake up early. Around that time the cx towards NA had dropped significantly and I got worried, what the heck? There should not be any more disturbances to come, or ...

After the breakfast cx seemed to recover and NA was again good. Some GY stations identified live which is a good sign. Around 08:37 electric break two times for about one minute each. And everything made through it. Good, now the UPS installation has been smoketested and passed 100%. So it was good time to go out again knowing that the equipment take care of these little enviroment changes.

Noon Pyhävaara

Later in the afternoon I learned that cx did recover very well. From 7 UTC to 11 UTC Jaguar Index (JIX) for all used NA antennas (305, 321 and 335) was over 60! Soooo gooood! And all later afternoon good DX with GY frequencies as well until 16 UTC. At 1630 UTC also a little peak towards Hawaii just before Honolulu sunrise. From Asia/Pacific direction China was the dominant today. Japan and Korea weaker than before and no other signs from Pacific than HI found at all. So this day and maybe tomorrow will be needed for recovery of those signals.

Europe and Middle East very strong in early evening so I had finally the time to write the first stories to my blog. Well, now my pedition is already at the 50% milestone, so better late ... And then came the best East Coast cx for ages for me, so the blog had to move again ... Crazy

While I wrote this at 1930 UTC the first signs from Newfoundland were on the band. So next round will start soon. And Alaska made it 24/7 NA again even if we had this 3 hour break from other states and provinces.

UPDATE: Later in the evening one of the best NA East Coast openings for me ever. Very interesting while dominants come in long before sunset at tx site. And this time I also got one real daytimer in live mode: 870 WKAR East Lansing MI at 2250 UTC. I'm really happy about that one.

Bright day, some wind and temperatures from -8 to -15 Celcius.

Monday 09DEC2019

At 0000-0100 UTC there came the expected disturbance, but the source of it is not clear. One plasma cloud hit earth and increased the amount of protons in the ionosphere. Even though there was no sign of real proton event in the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center's Space Weather Overview.

In the morning NA opening was weaker than before as expected. Spain and Canary Islands were strong as to verify the disturbed cx. There were no NHK1 stations on the band at 10 UTC and NA cx peak was at noon UTC, smaller peak at 13 UTC and no more good DX after that.

In the evening quite nice opening towards NA East Coast. Anyway didn't catch anything special in live mode.

Cloudy day, no snowfall and temperatures from -5 to -15 Celcius.
Space Weather Overview

Sunday 08DEC2019

Pretty strong signals from Rio de Janeiro to Anchorage continued to boom in. Crazy, no direction, all in! At 0820 UTC, just before I went out to check antennas, I switched three radios to Asia/Oceania antennas. And guess what, Japan was booming in. Japan! At 0820 UTC! Crazy, just crazy. It's considered to be very good cx if Japan comes up before 10 UTC.

After morning session HN wrote me a SMS joke: "More than one hour of decent cx per day?" He was referring the January-February when we were also at the same time on the band. And yes now I can say that in the first 24 hours I have got more good cx than last time in 14 days. Now the sunspot minimum gives us what I expected last time.

To be ready for Pacific cx I headed to 10-30-46 degerees antennas and went them through. There was lot of ice and snow on the wires, so the maintenance is really needed. Don't know if antennas work better without snow but at least the mechanical lifecycle of the antenna can be longer with proper maintenance. And I find the walk outdoors nice even if there is 30-100 cm (10-40 inches) deep snow to go through.

At first I felt like I was all by myself, but soon I realized that this was not the case. I had antenna check get together at Hanhenjuoksuttamajänkä ...

All by myself Antenna check get together

After antenna checks checked NHK1 at 10UTC, not so good as yesterday. Tuvalu 621 was also found with very weak signal as well as Tonga 1017 again. Marshalls was weaker than yesterday.

In the recording checks I realized what HN meant with his comment about the cx: When checking 1440 kHz with 30 degrees antenna the w 14-40 slogan popped in. That is CKJR Wetaskiwin AB from direction of 330 degrees. Crazy.

Cloudy day, light snowfall and temperatures from -2 to -10 Celcius.

Saturday 07DEC2019

Very good breakfast at Kultahippu before grocery shopping cross the street and moving on. I knew that I would be before noon at Aihkiniemi when I hit the road again. But better so, no need to rush on the road and I will give JY his time until noon at the cottage.

Weather was nice even if the sky was cloudy and some light snowfall here and there. The roads were icy as expected in Lappland in winter, so I took my time to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Everything went well until I came to a turn where I saw two iceballs on the road, another car approaching so no chance to go around. So I slowed down the speed to realize that there were not iceballs but snowchicken! Just managed to bypass another of them, but the other get hit and killed. No damage to the car, but sad story anyways.

By the way, between Inari and Aihkiniemi I saw 10 pairs of snowchicken and one larger group of them. This has not happened ever before on my 30+ trips to Lappland. This time no animals at all but these birds ... Ok, just before Aihkiniemi those three domestic raindeers, but I don't count these because they are always around.

Route 971 Raindeers

In the cabin JY had already packed all but the last radio. So I could start to set up my schack right away already at 0930 UTC! This was very nice. Set up 30 degree antenna and checked the situation right away: Marshalls 1098 time to time at armchair signal level, not too bad start. And at 10 UTC good NHK1 party, jihaa here we go again! Noticed also Tonga on 1017.

Later had a chat with HN, who is in Lemmenjoki at the same time. He told that yes, there are signals 24/7, but it's very hard to get anything out of it because many stations have so big signals that they boom in with any antenna. And the cx is good at the same time from Havanna to Anchorage. Well, let's see. In any case it would be much better that the two weeks in last Januar-February, when I did not have a decent NA opening in two weeks ...

Rest of the evening went with the schack settings and getting into DX again. Last signals from West Coast disappeared around 16UTC, dominant Alaskans were there 24/7 and East Coast came in again around 1830 UTC. So the question is: What is my NA target?

Cloudy day, light snowfall and temperatures from -4 to -10 Celcius.

Friday 06DEC2019

Started the day by independence day breakfast with my father. After breakfast watched some documentaries from TV before I continued onto the road again. Started the engine before noon to get to the Polar Circle in good time before the services close.

There was only a little rain before Kajaani and after that some light snowfall. After Ranua the weather cleared nicely with stars and the moon on the sky. Maybe some faint auroras also, but not real ones. And that's good for the radio wave propagation: Less auroras is better for mediumwave (AM) DXing.

Arrived to Polar Circle around 6pm and had a good break. There were a lots and lots of tourists, but I didn't care. I will have time of my own in the next week. Checked the Santa's Post Office and Santas Salmon Place, a nice "kota" (Lappish teepee) with open fire. They baked salmon while I enjoyed watching the fire. The salmon was great and also nice snack before another 280 km drive to Ivalo.

Later in the evening there were lots of clouds and some fog. So the driving conditions varied quite a lot. Visited also the hut on the top of Kaunispää. There was no other point to go there so late in the evening but my own tradition. I visit that hut always when I drive this route up to north. There was also a skidoo safari on the slopes but the weather was so foggy that I couldn't get a good picture about that chain of lights. Instead of that picture I found some xmas lights next to the hut.

Finally around 10pm arrived to Hotelli Kultahippu in Ivalo. Checked the karaoke quite quickly and chose to sleep as long as possible.

Temperatures of the day from +1 C in Siilinjärvi to -10 C in Ivalo. Really warm for the season.

Thursday 05DEC2019

On Thursday evening after work I drove to Siilinjärvi to see my father. So this time my route went through Eastern Finland.

Temperatures of the day from +8 C in Helsinki to +4 C in Siilinjärvi.

(c) Tapio Kalmi (TAK) 2019