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LEM DXpedition News of 2016-2017 Season

LEM371 28SEP2016-08OCT2016
Hannu Niileksel (HN) and Lauri Niemi (LN)

Friday-Saturday 07-08OCT2016

Friday night gave some midwest, the peak being in Nebraska - a sign of shit-cx. However, some of the stations are less frequently heard (e.g. KFRS-1600 and KAWL-1370). QRM level covers many interesting frequencies in the nighttime, so listening to the files takes a lot of patience.

The best thing about the morning was that signals were more stable and the last of them were audible around 0730 UTC, which beat our previous record for the week by more than two hours. However, the direction being mostly to the midwest-prairies area made the fun less enjoyable.

Saturday started well in the night with first signals fro around the Great Lakes appeared a little before 0000 UTC. The thing that made listening more interesting than normally was that it was the evening for local high school football and lots of stations (especially ESPN:s and Fox:es) were carrying local programming with frequent breaks including local commercials, weather etc.

After 0230 UTC the signals were less powerful, but gained strength again around our local sunrise, after 04 UTC. Everything was developing well until 0540, when we noted that the signal levels seemed to drop slightly. At this point LN took a toilet break, and sooner than anything touched the water level in the toilet, the signals were gone! By 0545 there was not one single NA audible anymore - instead many brazilian stations (not just the very big powerhouses, but frequencies like 1590) were booming in for a few minutes with the 320 degree antenna !

It felt almost like the Godess of Conditions had received false information about our time of departure from LEM, which was not Saturday, but early Sunday morning. It remains to be seen, if anything better is available.

LEM371 signing off !

Wednesday-Thursday 05-06OCT2016

Wednesday brought no change - in spite of the forecasts for the disturbances to subside they did not. This series of disturbances has now lingered for a week or so and they seem to have killed the chance for anything worthwhile. Electron levels have stayed high, which is not a good omen...

The same seemed to continue for Thursday, as well. The night brought again very little anything of interest - justa few LA here and there. The only promise was that the stations were from more northern parts of South America, e.g. for the most part VEN-COL. But no terrific signals.

We woke up in front of 04 UTC again, just to note that in couple of hours nothing had changed. NA was totally absent, except for 2-3 stations appearing for a short period and disappearing again. So we went back to sleep around 0430 UTC.

Upon checking the recordings for 04UTC in the morning the astonishment was great, as we bounced into the identification of WDIC-VA on 1430. Only two other NA were identified at the same hour, WLAC-1510 and CBI-1140. Between 04 and 05 UTC many LA were audible but also some NA appearing for brief moments. The astonishment grew high indeed up on finding that at 05 UTC the signals were still there - just silent whispers, but many interesting stations from NC-SC-TN-VA.

We'll see if any of that should continue ...

Monday-Tuesday 03-04OCT2016

Not much to report - the peak direction of the reception conditions must be to Tristan da Cunha, since nothing is heard...

Little opening of 30 minutes at sunrise to the U.S with the emphasis on Wyoming, however covered with lots of atmospheric noise. South America worse than previous nights. Asia disastrous, no trace of Australia on Tuesday.

With no files burdening us, LN chose to go out and pick half a liter of lingonberries in the bright sunshine and HN fixed the broken handle of our deepfreeze.

To be continued...

Saturday-Sunday 01-02OCT2016

The night towards Saturday offred some fairly nice Iberia and some nice Brazil/La Plata, where the signals were truly nice between 02-03 UTC. As the geomagnetic storm continued, what had remained of NA has gradually died out totally. Just a few minutes with a couple of the upper band powerhouses. Even if the cx during the two previous nights had been almost non-existent, now it was even more so ...

Around mid-day we met the AIH60 crew in Inari on their way south. There after we continued to Aihkiniemi, set up our listening gear and started to wait for the easterly signals to come in. They did fairly late and at the same time the dusk started falling and the power-inverter disturbance from a nearby house, which we had been informed of, started. In an environment with still a fairly silent AM band, the bruise covered the signals and was heard on all antennas. This was our bad fortune, since the landlord only occasionally visits that house, but was to stay all week. Plans are well on their way to fix the problem with a quality inverter, but that did not help us much. It was time to pack and head back to Lemmenjoki.

At Lemmenjoki everything is better than in years - new groundings for the antennas were made in July and no man-made interference is present. Everything seems to work well, except that so far very little to listen to. In the night towards Sunday, again Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, but not as good as the night before. NA still non-existent, even if the coronal hole effects finally seem to be subsiding. Maybe it will get better ...

Thursday-Friday 29-30SEP2016

LEM 371 is on - even if only for a few days with HN & LN

The first expedition of the season with the main purpose to set up LEM for the upcoming season. After improving the groundings and antennae in July, all coax connectors had to be changed and brand new trafo boxes (by Stefan Wikander - tnx!) to be installed.

We were glad to note that antennas and all resistors that were fixed in July were still in good shape. The work was completed in one day. A disturbance in the 30 degree antenna was located on Friday. It was due to a battery charger in operation close to the antenna. Fortunately this is just a temporary setup in order to power a small fishing boat equipped with an electrical motor. Otherwise the place seems to be totally free from man-made interference - except for our own equipment with some minor problems. With the exceptionally high coronal hole activity keeping the solar activity data "red hot", it has been a good period for the work to be completed.

Both nights have offered very little stations of interest. North America has popped up for a period of some 10-15 minutes both nights. Brazil was, however, very good on early Friday morning with stations from Argentina and Uruguay accompanying.

The thrill from the easterly directions was the appearance of ABC-891 on Thursday evening. Writing this on Friday evening, Iranians are pouring in with full force ...

On Saturday morning the LEM crew will retire to AIH. How long that visit will be, we do not know. It may turn out shorter than a week due to a nuisance disturbance that has appeared there and, from what we have been informed, tends to kill at least the best of the signals from AUS (and NZ opportunities totally). Such a thing to happen in "absolute wilderness" - we'll see if LEM 371 will continue after a while ...

(c) Finnish DX-Association ry www.sdxl.org
Editors: Esa Hnninen (EJH) 1978-2008, Tapio Kalmi (TAK) 2008-