In this page you will find some notes about AIH94 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.
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Tapio Kalmi alias TaK
In the morning very lousy cx, so it was easy to clean up the cabin and to do the rest of packing. The next AIH crew arrived around 0930 UTC when I continued cleaning and carrying all my things into my car. Had some small talk about cx and other DX stuff for half an hour, because I wanted to check if the same kind of peak will come today as it did yesterday. But no 10 UTC peak at all. Signed off last two radios at 1003 UTC.
From Aihkiniemi to Rovaniemi by car is very straight forward. It's about 5 hours drive and I had 8 hours to do it, so I enjoyed long time the views from the top of Kaunispää and continued the rest of the journey with cruising speed. This time also the weather was fine so I had no issues to catch the night train back to Helsinki.
This is all about AIH94 pedition. The blog will be edited to be AIH94 pedition report later.
The last full day of DXing started with weak to moderate cx towards South America. From North America not too many readable signals. Before the wake up time at 0400 UTC the night conditions seem to have been quite good. So there should be more to listen to from the recordings than live in the morning just before the local sunrise.
Because the cx was weak I went out just after the breakfast to do the snow works once again. There was just about 2 cm new snow, but it's better to keep the yard clean anyway. While cleaning the yard I noticed that there had been some traffic on the cabin road after snowing. I could find out the traces of raindeer, squirrel and some birds. And the most interesting finding was the trace of fox just next to the cabin. So no worries, I really weren't here alone. In these two weeks I saw all the other animals, but the fox. And this time no observations nor traces of moose, which is quite common to see in this neighbourhood.
After a short break outside back to the radios around 0900 UTC when it's time to start to monitor northeastern path for any signals. And around 0930 UTC the first signals started to rise up. There was kind of pacific music on 1440 kHz, but the signal level was too low. And quite soon there was japanese JOWF STV Sapporo TV Hoso on the frequency, so I tried to switch between 29, 46 and 60 degrees antennas to pick up the pacific signal. But no luck with it at live listening, so most likely Kiribati will still be on the to do list for the next DXpedition.
The cx peak was quite exactly at 1000 UTC and the direction was Japan and Korea. I informed Lemmenjoki DXpedition crew as well, but there was no sign of any Asia cx. No signals noted at all in Lemmenjoki. When I later checked the recordings, there were the powerhouses in the lower frequencies and also some low power transmitters in the upper end of the band. For example JOLG Tottori via Hino at 1584 kHz came in with readable signal and has power of 100W only! Soon after 1000 UTC all signals faded out again and the band was totally empty of any distant stations.
Cx came back around 1300 UTC and among the first stations to become audible was 1017 Tonga BC, which indicated the possibility to hear some other stations from the Pacific. Around 1330 at 990 kHz rose pop music over the background noise. And finally 1348 UTC the station gave good identification between the songs: "... You're listening to Gold FM". YES! Another new country for me! This is Radio Fiji Gold FM, Naulu. This is one of the Top-3 target stations for this DXpedition, so I was extremely happy to identify this one. Noted also 4QD ABC Capricornia, Emerald (QLD) on 1548 kHz, but no observations of real AUS cx.
At cabin door I had a big problem: Where is the cabin key? No, it wasn't in the pocket which I think I have doublechecked ... What!? Could it have dropped inside the cabin? Should not, but maybe ...? At this time I called my contact person for any good advice about the spare key if there is any. But no, there is none, if the neighbour is not there. The rule is to keep the key ALWAYS in the safety key box. Now I learned why, even if you are in a hurry, follow this simple rule: OPen the door and return the key ALWAYS back to key safety box.
Good rule which I had not followed close enough and now I'm in trouble. I had my car key and best clothes against cold, so no problen in that way, but I really need to get the door open. Drove to the neighbour, but nobody home. Called to the locksmith in Ivalo, if they come to help me it would cost 600 euros. But it won't happen before tomorrow morning, so no help from there either.
People say that I am really calm person. Now I can admit, that the case was not so at that time. I had to tell myself to calm down and think. Just sit down in the car for a while, breath and think. After couple of minutes I was sure about one thing: The key is not inside, because I remember clearly checking that I have it in my hand before locking the door. Good. Checked all my clothes if it didn't go into the pocket. Negative. Finally I realized my mistake: I did put my camera battery cable into the same pocket with the key. And I had used that cable when taking the photos on the icy lake so it have to have been dropped then. Took the broom next to the cabin door, put my headlight on and headed back on to the ice. Followed my trace, took the same position in the same place as 60 minutes before. Now I got one squaremeter to check and after three gentle sweeps I found the cabin key in the snow.
Needless to say that I was the happiest fellow in that wilderness at that time. Went back to the cabin, opened the door and put the key into the safety key box. No good cx so I took a little nip and went to bed. This was enough for today.
It seems from the Jaguar screens that there has been some cx towards South America all night long. The signal levels to North America direction rose in the morning a bit, but the cx should be considered to be weak. When I checked the 304 antenna recordings at 0600 UTC I noticed two things: North America cx was mainly to Newfoundland and there were two stations from Ecuador also. This time for me Ecuador was more interesting thing to check, because I haven't heard Ecuador on AM band too much. And I'm quite familiar with the lovely programs from Newfoundland.
Started to check the situation at the same time on 270 antenna (most likely 290 would be as good to check as well) and noticed that there were stations from Ecuador-Colombia area shifting with stations from Argentina. Very interesting cx, because at change you may hear any station. Then I stopped at 560 kHz where BBC World Service came in loud and clear like a local station.
For DXers that's clear that in this case we receive the broadcast from Georgetown, Guyana. But the thing is that in this case we would like to hear local programs rather than relay of BBC. So I started to check, how long this station has been audible. Already at 0300 UTC, three hour before, there was nice, clear and detailed station identification of the Voice of Guyana. YES! This is the program that I wanted to hear, so I can say that I have been listening to the station. This is also new received country for me, so this is definitely the highlight of this morning.
After these checks it was time to go for the last antenna walk.
There were no day cx peaks before sunset, when Asia came in as expected. The direction was to China and India.
Temperatures of the day: Morning -20, afternoon -20 and late evening -25 degrees Celcius.
The morning cx peaked at 0640 UTC, but the peak was weak to moderate. The JIX index was below 50 all the time. The signal levels were changing all the time, so the selection of the stations might be interestin. At live listening only dominants noted. This time the cx didn't die at sunrise as most of the days in this pedition. Now the signals came back and there were two additional peaks at 0730 and 0830 UTC. This feels so good! Even GY frequencies were open around 0830 UTC. This is the way it should have been every day ... The only issue with the signals is that they are hazy this time, so no nice and clear recordings. But at least the snack-crackle-pop sounds are now away from the background.
And the weather outside was perfect for another antenna walk. So I took my time outside for about 3-4 hours. Really beautiful out here.
The day cx peaked just after 1100 UTC and 1200 UTC. Station were from China, Philippines, KOrea and Marshall Islands noted for 5 minutes too. Later in the afternoon some signals from Australia also.
The evening there were again some faint northern lights and cx was pointing to the Caribbean. Good example about this is that at 1400 kHz there was Harbour Lights of the Windwards from Grenada instead of CBG Gander from Newfoundland. Instead of live listening at night I went to bed, so more details about the late evening and night will be found at home.
Temperatures of the day: Morning -26, afternoon -26 and late evening -28 degrees Celcius.
Again long sleep, because there were no cx last evening. In those cases the best thing to do is to sleep or read or watch a movie.
The same pattern continues. Morning cx mainly to South America, this time Buenos Aires - Montevideo area, accompanied by East Coast opening to North America. Today especially lower frequencies gave some nice stations from East Coast between 06 and 07 UTC.
After morning cx it's time for antenna walk when temperature permits. You never know how long the cold periods will take so go out everytime when you can. ;-) This time the walk went next to the mobile link mast on the top of Pyhävaara.
On left: Aihki, old pine from Northern Lapland. On right: Two different antennas. Both types need maintenance, but the operative actions are very different.
After the walk I checked some recordings and found China, Japan, Philippipnes and Thailand quite quickly. So most likely they are the dominants of the day. Then I got nice tip from Kimmo Vuori in Ivalo. He had noticed two Australian stations on the band and informed about that on internet logbook. So this way I knew that my Australia checks will give some results today. And really now there were three stations audible in a short check: 1161 5PA ABC Southeast SA, Naracoorte SA, 1152 6PB ABC Newsradio, Busselton WA and 1656 2MM Greek Radio, Sydney NSW. The firsty two are the same as Kimmo had heard, but the times were different. Finnish DX-listeners have learned in Lapland that even small differences in receiving location can make great differences. For example the antennas are different case by case (length, height, direction, material, grounding, terrain, etc.). So the tips are tips for the day.
Later in the evening pattern repeated itself: India, Pakistan, Iran, Middle East and Europe. No evening cx to Japan, no Phillippines and no North America. After week like this it's really easy to give the real value for evening cx. When you wait for it long time and it finally comes, it feels so good. But there are only three DX evenings left in my trip. Let's see how it goes this time. Last week we had some evening cx, but we really like to have more this week.
Temperatures of the day: Morning -28, afternoon -20 and late evening -24 degrees Celcius.
Took a long sleep and have not checked the night cx. So it remains to be seen if there were any real cx. From Jaguar screens it seems that the night cx were to South America
In the morning also the path to North America opened from 05 UTC until 07 UTC. There may be some signals also at 08 UTC. The JIX index didn't go over 50 at any point in the morning. So signal strengths were moderate.
The best thing about todays cx was that also the Rockies and West Coast were audible. Best signal levels from there in the whole pedition.
After the signals from west were gone, there were nothing until 12 UTC. At that time Asia came in again, but nothing special there. The direction was more to the south than to the north. And that direction needs more time because of unknown languages for me. Actually I don't know korean or japanese either, but the program formats from these countries are easier to figure out.
And there is always China. Also here I need more time to tell where the direction of the cx really was. So I have a lot to listen from my recordings, but the content is very different than I expected.
In the evening Middle East ja Spain again gave good signals, but the late night opening to North America didn't show up.
So coronal holes are still teasing DX-listeners even if they had turned away. How is this possible? Well, some particles come with delay and the delay can be days. When the quickest disturbances come in hours and slowest in days, it takes some patience. The Groundhog Day video tells it all.
Little bit too cold to take a antenna walk and therefore I just took a quick walk to the road 971.
Temperatures of the day: Morning -31, afternoon -30 and late evening -29 degrees Celcius.
On our calendars yesterday, Saturday February 2nd, is known as Groundhog Day. That day has another meaning after the movie was made. And yes, today I have my Groundhog Day number 3. Well, didn't smash the clock in the morning, but went to the radios to see that there is no good cx. And today outdoors was a little too cold to have antenna walk so I stayed inside and wrote this blog up-to-date.
There had been some cx to Brasil around 0400 UTC and morning cx lasted from 0630 to 0700 UTC. Nice thing is that even if the opening was a short and weak one, there were some good spots in it. For example 1230 KSTC Sterling CO came through, so also these recordings need to be checked further.
In the afternoon cx opened after 13 UTC. There were signals from all around Asia, but only the powerhouses. So no good signs for the direction. When I scanned the band with different antennas I noticed that Pakistan and India are dominating the big picture. These stations were there nearly in every antenna. Afterwards Iran took the main role again.
Late in the evening no real cx to North America at all except 1400 Gander NF (but we don't count that, it can be heard every day). Neither the path to South America was in good shape, only the powerhouses with weak signals before 23 UTC, when I went to bed.
Temperatures of the day: Morning -25, afternoon -25 and late evening -27 degrees Celcius.
In the morning some stations from La Plata area, but not real cx. And North America was 99% absent. So all in all very weak morning and all DX signals disappeared around 07 UTC. So there was time for something else.
The weather was very nice and the temperature in my comfort zone limits, so it was antenna walk time again. This time I wandered the slopes of Pyhävaara on the other side of the Road 971. Here the forest is partly perfect antenna forest: Pines here and there and not too much bushes, instead of bushes here are a lot of boulders. Most of them are 1m3 size or smaller.
After antenna maintenance back to the business. Asia cx rose up after 13 UTC, NHK2 s/offs at 1440 were audible when stations had power of 5 kW or more. No real Japan cx yet. Afterwards Philippines, South East Asia and India were dominants.
Late evening only some stations from the East Cost of North America. The cx pointed this time towards norteastern parts of Brazil. But that cx gave only powerhouses as well. Just wait and see, the disturbances should be over in a day or two.
Temperatures of the day: Morning -27, afternoon -25 and late evening -23 degrees Celcius.
At night around 01-02 UTC there was good opening towards La Plata (Argentina and Uruguay). Later in the morning some dominants from North America and the weak cx ended at 0730 like cut by knife or plugged out.
There was some new snow, so I took the opportunity to clean up the yard of the cabin. Then checking the cx, nothing. Ok, time to clean up inside also and to do the shopping list for tonight. Finally Asia cx started but weaker than before, so I decided to go to Inari and Lemmenjoki earlier that planned.
Driving at daytime in the last hour of light can be very impressive in Lapland. And so it was today. I really liked the feeling of cruising with no hurry and giving my eyes as much time as possible to enjoy the landscape.
Finally got into Lemmenjoki where IPA and JHU were waiting for me. After the usual DX chat with additional Lurx chat we went to sauna. IPA asked me to go out with him and to jump into powder snow. When a Finn asks this kind of thing in sauna, it means, that you are expected to go out naked, lay down on the snow and rotate. And that should be fun. Well IPA knows me, so we went twice outside to make the Ahma moves in the snow.
It was fun. The temperature around -30 Celcius made it double fun and the northern lights on the sky made it tripple fun. So cx was gone and the northern lights is one way to confirm that. But you may find something from the band even if there are northern lights, so it depends on you if you keep recordings on or not.
Drove back to Aihkiniemi so that I'd arrive around 21 UTC. Just in case of sudden changes in cx. But there weren't any. The good things about tonight are something else than DX-listening. The northern light showed the best show when I was somewhere between Menesjärvi and Inari. Actually I noticed some tourist buses next to the road there. The sky was clear here so the tourists were lucky, they saw what they came here for.
One norwegian truck driver wasn't so lucky. He couldn't make the turn to Inari when Sevettijärventie (road 971) ends. So the truck was halfways in the dike and he had emergency lights on and waited for help. Again there was nothing I could do and I went on icy road 971. I would say that it is a toboggan run. Therefore there is an excuse for that truck driver, but anyway he should have known better.
When I was back to cabin IPA sent me a tip about a station from Mozambik, Emissao Provincial de Inhambane on 1206 kHz. It's coming to Lemmenjoki and he wanted to check how about Aihkiniemi. And yes, it came through. There was also KAN Bet from Haifa, Israel on the same frequency. When one faded out another faded in.
When North Americans didn't show up, Africa and Middle East were the main targets for this evening.
Temperatures of the day in Aihkiniemi: Morning -27, afternoon -25 and late evening -23 degrees Celcius.
Today morning was the best cx towards North America in the whole week. The cx lasted nearly until 0900 UTC and there were many many goodies. Because Nebraska means for me personally much more than another state in US, I'd like to mention 1240 KFOR Lincoln NE. It's a local radio station with the power of 1000 watts. Normally it can be heard only in Lincoln Nebraska, but today the cx and our special equipment made it possible to be heard also in Finland.
After morning cx it was time to check another two antennas. This time there was a lot of snow on birches and they were bending on our antenna wire here and there. So I took some time also to clean the trees. After the first antenna I tried to do a shortcut to the next antenna even if Jari, my contact for the cabin, tried to tell me that it would be better to play safe. Now I really can agree with him.
It took me one extra hour to make that shortcut ;-) No worries other than it would have been nicer to be back to the cabin as early as possible. And I was so tired after the long walk, that I didn't make any checks to the files recorded in between. So there can be anything, because morning cx was so good. From Jaguar screens I can see that there has been openings to Asia between 1030-1230 UTC and then again 1300 UTC for the rest of the afternoon and whole evening.
IPA and JHU from Lemmenjoki told me that there has not been any cx towards North America. So from that point of view I haven't missed anything.
Little 3 hours nap while waiting for the evening cx. This time there was something to wait for, the best evening cx towards North America in the whole week. It was a little bit short though, but very nice compared to previous evenings.
Temperatures of the day: Morning -14, afternoon -10 and late evening -10 degrees Celcius.