|KOJE||North American News Watch||LEM DXpedition List||LEM DXer List|
Other DX-pedition sites in Northern Scandinavia:
AIH Info AIH Blogspot KONG PAX (ENOX 2007-2011)
Background Information about Lemmenjoki (LEM) Peditions:
Antennas: Measured antenna directions on the Great Circle Map
Previous Seasons: 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14
14-15 15-16 16-17 17-18 18-19 19-20
Hannu Niilekselä (HN)
Friday 26FEB2021 - Sunday 28FEB2021
Not much change. A change, though, was that LEM445 was extended by one more day, with departure only on early Monday morning because of expected heavy traffic to and from the northern ski-resorts during the weekend.
The rollercoaster with no stability in the cx pattern to any direction continued to the bitter end.
One or two short peaks to NA each night with no specific direction. Typically, when a station of some caliber (for ex. KTSM-TX 690 AM) pops up for a while, necessarily nothing else is heard from the same direction. In addition if these peaks take place outside the top-of-the-hour, it makes finding since anything new a truly painstaking job.
Asia was interesting: one afternoon stations might emerge with clear signals around 13 UTC, but the following afternoon you think that your gear must be broken as only modest signals with atmospheric noise are being heard around 16 UTC. Following day it can be OK again. Still, Australia was never there with anything notable. On many days, though, ABC Emerald 1548 had a decent signal around 14 UTC, but nothing else. Even this is more dependant on the fact the some strong Chinese station seems to have left 1548 than that the ABC itself would be much better than before – only easier to hear.
In all, LEM445 was cx-wise a lot worse than expected (what a surprise !). If the frequency of geomagnetic disturbances keeps on developing as it has during the past month, ÁM DX ing will encounter a major challenges. No doubt there will be interesting (short) periods, but my prediction is that we will see lots of disappointments with one-two weeks DX expeditions. It seems that if you wish to hit the interesting days and periods, you need to have a remotedly mastered 24/7 operation.
But how ever you choose to DX there is always a chance for something interesting to happen ...
Sunday 21FEB2021 - Thursday 25FEB2021
The same pattern of very modest cx to NA has continued day after day. The Global K-index has stayed mostly in the yellows (K=4) and upper greens (K=3), More northern latitudes have, as usual under geomagnetic disturbances, experienced almost uninterrupted unsettled to minor-major storms.
This has meant that what has been heard, has been only during some sudden sharp peaks in the nighttime hours and signal have continuously died out little before or around local Lemmenjoki sunrise.
Traditionally this type of cx meant that there would have been occasional strong signals from QC-ON-MB-AB areas, but since stations in those areas have moved to FM, the concentration is in the central U.S. prairies area, typically NE-KS, sometimes a little larger area around those states. With good luck these often very selective cx can offer stations seldom heard, but most often the very same stations from those areas squeeze in. And having experienced this many times before, finding anything new is a true “witch-hunt” as the popular saying goes.
The radical change that has been experienced from stable and relatively quiet conditions during most of January to this rollercoaster in February is a little bit of a mystery. Any reliable correlation between normal and s*** cx this season seems to have been that cx turn to s*** when ever I travel up here for 2 weeks. This is the third time this season...
Also weather wise it has turned worse this week. While it was a bit cold last week, this week it has been both cold and snow blowing horizontally on an almost daily basis. The cross country ski track prepared by Aslak stayed in perfect condition all last week, but has been buried in snow and there is no point in plowing it again as long as it keeps on snowing.
Wednesday 17FEB2021 - Saturday 20FEB2021
WFME-1560 had been announcing for a while that they will be leaving 1560 AM in the coming days but the exact date was not announced. So, when that finally happened on February 15 at 1616 UTC it came as a surprise. While the cx when going to bed around 23.30 UTC did not seem to be impressive, listening to the files of that night produced unexpected results. Not only had WFME left, but at the same time WKDO Liberty KY, a 1 kw daytimer, was on all night and was heard with its Classic Country program and even identifying on two occasions. Other identified stations on 1560 AM on that very first night included KLNG, KTUI, KWEB and WMBH. Luckily the usual pests KGOW and KNZR were out of the picture until close to local sunrise over here. What a night to remember !In the afternoon hours of Tuesday both Korean AFN stations on 1440 AM had massive signals. The skip cut out Japan, except for the very southern part, so that JOWF for a long period gave no interference to the AFNs and also AFN Iwakuni, located close to Hiroshima in the south of Japan, was heard on 1575 AM, instead the usual Misawa from northern Japan. This one I have been chasing for ages ...
Back to normal...in essence the cx from Wednesday to Saturday have not offered much. Yes, NA has been heard daily, but the polar K-index has not settled at all lately, which effectively cuts any daytime signals from NA so that everything tends to vanish around local Lemmenjoki sunrise. The nights have provided some signals, but mostly with unimpressive strength. In the mornings for 1-2 hours close to sunrise with better strength, but no specific direction. This was well illustrated on Friday at 05 UTC when with the 305 antenna WMLM-1520, CJVB-1470 and CJOY-1460 were the strongest signals on their respective frequencies. If this kind of cx continue, almost the only hope for new stations are those that cheat, e.g. broadcasting at local night with their daytime power ...
It is a curious question where this unstability all of a sudden comes. One month ago there was a long stable period after mid January, but now a new Coronal Hole effect is taking over before the previous effect has really settled down. This means: do not expect too much of the cx ! The white line in the graphs (Polar K-index) shows how disturbed the space weather is compared with about the respective period a month ago...The green line is the Kyoto index. When it is close to the baseline or above it, it correlates well with NA cx. Just guess why in the second half NA signals were booming in 24/7 and the same period in February just a few hours before local sunrise ...
The window for daytimer cx for February is now basically closed, as the stations on the average power down before local sunset after the 15th of the month. Still, on Friday evening, there was an odd 2-3 minute peak at 21.56 UTC and I noted NA on 36 frequencies. In spite of this seemingly big number of stations coming from clear sunshine (for ex WXYT-1270 and WMUZ-1200 both identified) there were no suspects of any calibre. Still, they were heard a little over one hour before local sunset. In mid-winter this is quite common with low light in the northern hemisphere. But now we are already quite close to the spring equinox, which makes a big difference. At the same time afternoons, which still should offer possibilities for NA from Midwest westwards, have been totally blank.
Saturday 13FEB2021 - Tuesday 16FEB2021
After a nice meal on Friday evening and a good nights sleep at Jari Ruohomäki´s (JPR) place in Oulu I started driving towards Lemmenjoki on Saturday morning in bright morning sunshine. The stop was necessary also for getting a functioning antenna splitter/amplifier, since the news was that the one that I had left at LEM in December had been destroyed ...
It was just getting dark as I arrived at LEM shortly after 5 pm. Recording with the 70 degree antenna was set up as a priority item, before unloading the rest of the gear. It did not prove to be worth much for Aussies – only faint signals from ABC´s on 729, 891 and 1161, but also a few seconds of a commercial by 2AU on 1242.
There had been a fairly substantial increase in geomagnetic activity, which was putting a stop for any serious NA. Still, better than with the effects of protons in December... Some La Plata was also audible after local sunset, e.g. R Belgrano, Suardi on 1510 just after 23 UTC. In the morning signals peaked some at around 06 UTC, but died out already before 07.
On Sunday evening there was no trace of Aussies, just Chinese and Thai for the most part. NA appeared fairly early with some signals originating clearly from local daylight. All the stations noted so far were, though, ones heard many times before, but recordings need to be checked with care. Signals on the night Sunday-Monday were present all night and around sunrise the cx sounded quite good, but stations were from all over, from Florida to West Coast, so it will be difficult to dig out anything new. Signals remained audible some 20 minutes longer than the day before, but died out very rapidly after sunset. So, we are far from them being heard through the daylight, which should still be well possible in mid-February.
Another set of solar plasma arrived on Monday and signals were again weaker than the night before. Tuesday morning was lousy again...The interesting thing, though, is that WFME-1560 AM left AM for the time being, so there is a lot to go for without that powerhouse on the frequency.
Weatherwise the afternoon temperature for Sunday was predicted to be -9 C. It was beautiful sunshine all right, but the thermometer showed –24.3 C. The little sparrow owl was again in his watching place just outside of the window (look carefully at the picture !). For Monday the forecast was -13 C, but the thermometer showed -2.9 C – nice to go out for a longer cross country ski tour ! They should do a bit better with their predictions !
Hannu Tikkanen (HAT)
LEM444 is over, time to gather the thoughts how the week went after returning to Espoo on Sunday the 14th. But before the closing words it’s also time to summarize the last 24 hours. Friday evening was very silent on the band to all the directions (Asia-Brazil-NA), so no expectations for the night time recordings either. Saturday morning gave very basic stuff from the Great Lakes direction, and signals also disappeared well before 08 UTC. Thus it was easy to unplug, pack the bags and hit the road. At the same time Hannu Niilekselä (HN) was approaching Lemmenjoki from Rovaniemi direction for his expedition weeks, so we had a chance to exchange news and views over the phone while covering the distance.
Driving conditions were once again excellent, almost too excellent as the sun was shining right into my windshield. So thanks to the blinding sunshine I was able to identify only on the last second an elk storming 2-3 meters from my car – luckily in parallel, in the snowy ditch…! A close encounter the type of which I’d always prefer not to take place, never again thanks.
At the Rovaniemi railway station cafeteria Mika from Aihkiniemi and me had lots of time to summarize the previous days and the season in general, as the train was some two hours late. Conclusion was that despite that the week wasn’t very successful there were moments. Most probably there will be common Brazil and Argentina to focus onto for me, but also some NA from the two-three main hours of the week. This was also the target to get something to listen to, as I’ve already cleaned all the old recordings and I was longing for something new. Mission accomplished.
And it’s always great to be up there in the North!
K index was zero so there was realistic hope for an evening opening. Brazilians don’t boom in: check. Maritime provinces emerging: check. Very odd atmospheric hiss and noise, which shouldn’t be there: check. Stations were gone despite indices: check.
Maybe the reason can be found from this NOAA aurora borealis map: no aurora over North America at all, but the existing amount covered our northern neck of the woods like a block. Some might call it bad luck, I call it normal. There might be something on the files between 01-04 UTC, but it remains to be seen.
Morning, however, was promising. Very strong signals, sounded like dominants but still. Midwest and both sides of the Canadian border; Prairies as we call these conds. Fingers were crossed for the stations to stay over 12 UTC, which would be the goldmine hour for possible Midwest daytimers, presunrise power stations and such. Unfortunately the propagation didn’t last that long but sunk maybe a quarter before 12. There were still NA-stations, but not for long - when a Japanese station takes over 1440 kHz with QSA 5- and you’re using a 305-degree aerial, you realize that maybe it’s better to give up and switch to a 70-degree antenna!
With a lucky timing I picked up an NZ on 1107 kHz at 1228 UTC, three minutes later it was totally gone. 1035 kHz also showed up, but as the afternoon was busy workwise, I had to let the recorder take care of the listening. Probably no other kiwis will be found, as our 70-degree aerial is not optimal for that direction, but you never know. 4QD-1548 was heard maybe for 1,5 hours but none of the other dominants, so Aussie expectations are low.
All in all this day was very interesting, and there’s still one more evening and a full morning to go!
Clear improvement noted in the propagation during the last 16 hours. Evening started like any other evening with R Farol 1390 and its enjoyable light music at 21 UTC, no big deal, but soon from one step higher Harbour Light 1400 brought in a cannon. No big deal either, Harbour Light had the similar signal strength the night before, but quite soon also a few common(est) PR and one still remaining YV joined the propagation. Looked promising! This slowly developing cx also gave an excellent opportunity to once again compare the stations between AIH and LEM: Dos Mil was alone dominating 1500 kHz in Lemmenjoki whereas only a Brazilian was booming in Aihkiniemi. The same happened with a few other stations, e.g. WNIK-1230, and WSAR/WPWC-1480 next morning. This is no news to those familiar with northern QTHs and numerous NA/Aussie-comparisons made by several expeditions. And my personal opinion is that that’s the way it should be - absolutely no need to hear the same selection.
Recordings kept running overnight so by the end of the next summer I should have a clear picture if the night offered nice South Americans or not. Morning was also better than any other morning so far, the signals came from the East coast and particularly from the Northeastern corner. Once again no need to declare this a national holiday because of the achievements, but at least two targets can be checked as "heard": CFAJ-1220 and Hudson NJ-1710. Propagation lasted until 09 UTC and gradually the signals disappeared from the band. I had already done the same as the meetings called but Mika kept me well informed about the nonhappening during my absence. In the afternoon some minor (I hope) disturbance took place, as Asians were really not heard at all, only silence. Is it bad news, or is it bad news? I’m bound to know the answer tomorrow morning...
All in all, nice morning though the NA-propagation was quite ordinary to be honest but felt like pure luxury!
Quite a few colleagues recognized the basis of yesterday’s lyrics. If someone is however wondering what the heck, it’s about old Finnish songs, which I possibly quoted incorrectly from memory. The contents don’t reflect the spirit of this expedition, which is high - I published it just for fun. There are still three more mornings to go, and conds can improve rapidly if only they decide to do so.
Now back to business. Don’t know if anything happened on the bands at night, probably not, but the morning opening was slightly better than that of the previous days. Nothing fancy, but at least a wider selection of common NA between 06-07 UTC. I happened to identify WOSH-1490 on the fly, a rare occasion. Once again it will be more interesting to study La Plata recordings, e.g. Eco Medios 1220 had a very nice signal on the fly in comparison to how I’ve heard it previously. At 07 UTC the assortment was once again back to PNW with weaker signals. In the afternoon China and Japan filled the band, 4QD-1548 was also heard but nothing else despite active scanning.
Good news to our Haute Cuisine friends; the old electric oven was replaced by a brand new one today! Also the malfunctioning air source heat pump will probably be replaced by a new indoor element one of these days.
This small predator has been identified having a lookout on the telephone wire and on the small tree next to kitchen window. It’s nice to have company!
ees perseuksill’ tallennellen paljoa ei hanki
Talvella ei maadotukseen pysty edes kanki
ja pahus vieköön silti siellä kaikki käy
Olin ihan yllättäen keleillä mä kerran
sellaisilla joille harva vetää verran
Asemat kun katosi jäi bandille vain Kuubaa
jonka jälkeen siellä enää Reloj soi
Se aika oli raskasta
kun failit täyttyi p****sta
Vaikka pediksellä kaikki olis pielessä
silti kelit on meillä aina mielessä!
Northern feast, always on my mind!
All circumstances appearing in the above described lyrics are fictious. Any resemblance to real dx-expeditions, past, present or future, is purely coincidental. The contents do not represent the values of the participant of this expedition either.
Commonest (no, it’s not a typo, it’s a new expression explaining how common some stations are) PNW and AK came back yesterday around local sunset, but they had nil to offer. Evening, however, started to develop in a more promising way: Detroit-1500 stayed entirely away, instead many non Great Lakes frequencies showed a nose above water around 2130 UTC. Came a message from Aihkiniemi that there are magnificent northern lights outside. Oh yes, they were! Green light show was filling also the southern sky running over the milky way and I could almost hear the hissing sound as they travelled above my head. After returning inside all the stations were of course gone. Well, I’ve already experienced a daytimer opening & evening propagation back in October 1993, so there’s no need to repeat such a boring phenomenon. Besides, I consider such stories fake news and click bates – when a disturbance comes, the stations are gone, they don’t fill the band with huge signals, do they?
Tuesday morning gave a mixture of usual PNW focused NA, two-three Peruvians (this time Andina on 1380) and some La Plata. Lower band was filled with atmospheric noise, so the frequencies were scarce to listen to. Rest of the day: nada.
Antenna checking was like a walk in the reindeer park, and I dropped the gradually growing amounts of snow from the cables within this large corral. Fresh motor sleigh tracks had also emerged to the hill top close to the aerials, two days too late lol, but they are now ready there waiting. As the track was available I revisited the 335-aerial’s risky point some 150 meters after the reindeer fence, all was good.
I’ve still got the monkey on my back, but I’m determined to shake it off during this week! (should I report e.g. an Iranian? or not?)
Sunday evening was worse than the night before thanks to minor storm, so I decided that a good night’s sleep is better than trying to hear something that isn’t there. Basic Brazil seemed to dominate at night, and also in the morning together with some strongest Paraguayans, e.g. 730, 780, 970, 1080. Only two-three most common Peruvians were audible with the other aerial, like Nuevo Tiempo 1380. NA surfaced around 07 UTC sunrise and randomly onwards but only biggest dominants from the PNW. In the afternoon even they were gone.
These files won’t be on the top of my to do list, when I get back home.
So, there was time for another day of outdoor activities. Yesterday I spent crucial time believing that I was following a certain wolf’s path towards the 70-degree wire, but it turned to be more like a reindeer and half a kilometer plowing through the snow was spent in vain. Today I knew better and crossed to the antenna in virgin snow just to find a neat skiing track under the goddamn aerial!
I’m having an exceptional second expedition in Lemmenjoki this season. The week will be intense remote office work with a full calendar and Teams-sessions together with heavy background recording from prospective directions. So by the end of the next week I have even less of an idea what I’ve recorded than usual!
Driving conditions to Lemmenjoki were perfect, full sunshine and -9 degrees, no traffic at all to my direction even on the main highway from Rovaniemi train station to Kittilä, where I stopped for a quick cup of coffee and grocery shopping. LEM443 wolf pack had chosen the alternative route to drive back South, so I missed the opportunity to meet Jussi Suokas and Jopi Nyman on the road. QTH was in perfect condition to welcome the next expeditionist, tnx JUS & JJN!
Though I had learned from the phone call with Mika Mäkeläinen (MTM) in Aihkiniemi just before my Lemmenjoki-arrival that nothing of interest would be awaiting, it was still fun to turn on the receivers and notice that Alaska and Hawaii were having really strong signals, but c’est tout. Later in the afternoon some regular Filipinos were heard on the band, but probably nothing spectacular will show up on the recordings which I made while getting all the gear in their proper places.
NA was heard for 2-3 hours at night with common setting, nothing of interest, and lots of Brazil at the same time. Unfortunately the Brazilians usually are the same old ones at night time; still there’s a possibility to find something on the recordings later on.
As the sunrise "dx-opening" was really weak, there was no use sitting and waiting for the non existing signals to emerge but to go out to sweat in the snow. Minor storm G1 and K5 effectively killed the conds. Thus early morning hours until midday were well spent on the hilltop checking the aerials and dropping snow from some of the cables. 335-aerial was down on the ground for 50 meters, it was easy to lift the wire up by releasing the snow off it. Knowing how thorough work the previous crews had done checking the aerials it was just an example how rapidly the situation may develop on these long wirers.
Jopi Nyman (JJN) & Jussi Suokas (JUS), Joensuu
We had some mercy on us on our final day here as the long awaited graveyarder WOLF Syracuse reached our big ears. Also some better Californians like KSDO 1130 shortly in the morning before all the signals faded away with the daylight. Our constantly running recordings to South America at night and Australia in the evenings might give some new stations for us. Or not. Conditions towards Spain have been just a pain. One could think that the southern direction compensates for the very poor trans-Atlantic and Japanese conditions. Yet we did have some Magical moments from South Africa.
This is Pastor Wolf and Pastor Wolf howling off with a shiny piece of higher wisdom: Today’s minimum is yesterday’s maximum.
Wed: Gambas pil-pil, patatas bravas, aioli and Plan B Riesling
Thu: The traditional Lamb Feast, Marqués de Cáceres Crianza
Fri: Rydberg’s lamb, Trapiche Extravaganza
JJN and JUS
Hejsan alla ni inter-nordiska vargtassar! Per aspera ad aspera såsom våra avlägsna släktningar Romulus och Remus brukade säga. Störningen kom som vi visste men inga bra NA öppningar kunde avnjutas just före den. Nu på tisdag eftermiddag är JIX -indexen så låg att det kan ju inte gå mycket lägre med en antenn kopplad på. Men laga mat och njuta av maten kan vi ju alltid:
I går Kött med chili och Vinho Portada Reserva
I dag Karelsk fisksoppa och KWV Moscato
G’day mates (and you Sheila) from Up Over. It’s a barbie day today. Too right. No worries, we don’t have rocks in the head, we just wanna make sure some proper Aussie signals find us. Like last night on 891 AM. No snaggers and tom sauce, though, and nothing arty-farty, but a coldie, a tinny, for starters, then la cuja peruana, ceviche, you know, next a proper beef steak - we’re no bloody wombats here, you mates you know that - with some wedge potatoes and vegie skewers and some great bacon dates! For drinks, you know, no moo-juice, no plonk, but a real cab sav, Villain 2018. Ripper, eh? Dinki-di.
What have we heard? Not much, really, but enjoying it!
Head out on the AM
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Gonna make it happen
Take the world a bite at a time
Fire all of our jags at once
And explode into the waves
Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wolf
We can howl all night
We never gonna starve
This is your reader-supported relevant radio listening expedition howling on. We are Pastor Wolf and Pastor Wolf calling you all from Lemmenjoki. No major DX achievements today (apart from Romania on 1584 AM) but here’s something much more relevant.
Today’s menu came from the US south, the bayous of Louisiana:
Chicken Okra Gumbo with rice and Ricossa Barbera Appassimento from Piemonte.
Oh, our reader please, stop drooling down there...
Jari Ruohomäki (JPR) & Jim Solatie (JMS)
Saturday 02JAN2021 - Tuesday 05JAN2021
Good North America conditions continue. East Coast stations fade in around 21 utc and the last ones (from Vancouver) fade out after 16 utc. The band is very crowded, so it is almost impossible to find any new ones.
All the antennas have been checked and are in perfect condition.
Below a few shots from the skiing track. The weather outdoors is perfect!
JPR & JMS
Wednesday 23DEC2020 - Friday 01JAN2021
Jari arrived already on the 23rd December, Jim a few days after Christmas. DX-wise the last few days have favored South America: Brazil at night and Ecuador/Peru in the morning. North Americans have been audible from 21 utc until 16 utc, but nothing spectacular from there yet.
There is 20-30 cm of snow, which is a bit little for this time of the year. It is easy to walk in the forest and check the antennas. Just after Christmas the temperature dropped to -41 degrees Celsius, but now around the New Year we are back to warmer temperatures (-5 degrees Celsius).
Happy New Year!
Hannu Asikainen (HAS, until 05DEC2020) and Hannu Niilekselä (HN)
Wednesday 09DEC2020 - Saturday 12DEC2020
Wednesday and Thursday went by with rather deteriorating than imporiving conditions. Basically the same patten than for over a weeks time: Caribbean-Colommia-Ecuador-Peru line open and audible around 07-08 UTC, but not as crisp as during the past weekend.
ABC Emerald 1548 pushing through daily with a weak signal, but provinhg that in principle the path to Australia is open. But never well and only once or twice ABC on 630 accompanying, but also that one extremely weak. Mixed Asia, mostly from the more southern areas.
On Thursday evening an early opening to the North American East coast was noted in Smöla, outside Trondheim in Norway. The big difference was that absolutely nothing of that reached Lemmenjoki. However, in the morning on Friday it was as if a curtain had been lifted. Lots of North America with relatively good signal strengths. Upon listening live and confirmed from recordings, the signals turned out to be not so interesting: in the morning(07-09 UTC) the emphasis was in the upper prairies, e.g. MN, ND and WY. Around noon the signal were almost gone, but returned in the afternoon. Based on the little I have so far analysed, the emphasis was in the WA-OR direction, so most likely will there not be any major findings. Still, it felt refreshening to hear NA after almost two weeks of silence from that direction.
In all LEM439 was a major disappointment. Expectations for good NA propagation were –once again- high, but the results ended “under the table”. The only positive were the good openings to the Caribbean, resulting in a handful of fairly good quality stations, many Puerto Ricans and also ZBVI-780 and WSTA-1340. It was also nice to hear several Peruvians and Ecuadorians with enjoyable clarity.
LEM439 signing off...but there will always be a next time....
Sunday 06DEC2020 – Tuesday 08DEC2020
Not much change since Sunday.
Stations are being heard from exactly the same direction as earlier, e.g. up to 280 degrees, but no more. However, in the past few days they have not been quite as clear as on DEC5 and DEC6.
The proton event has subsided, but based upon previous experiences, it is no news that NA is not audible immediately after the event is over. A bit surprising, though, is that there is no change at all with regard to NA, even if the “barrier” has been so close all week.
So far this expedition reminds me of many earlier ones where in the first and maybe the second day you think that the cx have not been what you would have expected. But think that “that´s ok – they will improve anyway”. In the end of the expedition you realize that the first days were the best ones of the 2 week period...let´s still hope that it would not turn out that way this time !
Weather wise it is also a bit surprising since over here, approximately on the same latitude as Barrow, Alaska, in December there is hardly any winter: temperatures mostly just barely under the freezing point, hardly any snow and you still need to be careful when moving on the ice cover of the lake. Just a decade or two ago it was rather the other way around: you could most of the days hardly go outside, since the temperatures used to range anywhere between -20 to -40 Celcius. On only a few days here and there it was, say, -10 or so and nice to be outdoors. I remember in 1973 when we were on an expedition to Kevo (near Utsjoki) with Esa Hänninen (EJH) and drove a station wagon over to the research station on ice – and that was in the last days of October !
But the 5 cm of snow has been enough to build a 3 km cross country ski track on the lake´s ice. Today I made 10 rounds of it – it started in first daylight after 10 am and ended when darkness was already falling in front of 2 pm. Wonderful alternative to sitting all day inside with headphones on !
Indepence Day, December 6, went peacefully. The traditional parade at the Lemmenjoki DX-headquarters was cancelled both because of restrictions set due to Covid-19 and due to the lack of participants. Antti Aaltonen (ANA) and Timo Reiniluoto (TRE), whenever in Lemmenjoki on independence day, have had the habit of arranging the parade. The other one is marching and the other one is receiving the parade ... Instead the day was celebrated this year by lighting a candle outside !
I do not often talk about menus on our expeditions, but this time I am enclosing a picture that speaks for itself. Enough ice allowed Aslak to drive out with his ski-doo and put nets under the ice. The trout in the picture, prepared in aluminium folio over hot coal in the fireplace, I had for dinner with mixed salad. You may say it was fresh, since it was still kicking when Aslak brought it in just an hour earlier...
Tuesday 01DEC2020 - Saturday 05DEC2020
Can it get any worse with NA than our first days with gradual weakening of signals ? Oh yes, it surely can !
Protons later on Monday did not anymore show a slow increase, but instead a rapid increase. And whereas it has been fairly typical for proton events to start subsiding after one sharp peak, this time the amount of protons continued increasing on Tuesday and remained on the same level also on Wednesday. After that slow decrease, but the event seems to be finishing as of writing this on Saturday. All this means that North American stations have been in essence totally blocked out this week in the northern latitudes.
However, it is interesting that good propagation has continued all week to areas between La Plata and the Caribbean. The line has been very sharp so that stations up to 280 degrees from our horizon (on the 360 degree scale) have been well audible, but practically nothing beyond. With the Caribbean and Latin America this has meant that the line Puerto Rico-Colombia has been well audible, but almost non existent with Cubans and westwards.
Asia has provided Chinese, some Philippinos and lots of Thai-India. Surprisingly also a touch of Australia on Friday. But also here, no Japanese all week.
Some years back when proton events were more often met, the event often blocked everything from across the Atlantic with gradual recovery starting from La Palata-Brazil. It usually took about 3-4 days from the end of the proton event to get the first North American signals in.
Now the situation is interesting since the sharp block is so close to the east coast of North America. This can turn out to be interesting – or not...we´ll see...
Hannu Asikainen took a Corona flight from Ivalo to Helsinki so its is me HN alone for the second week at LEM.
Saturday 28NOV2020 - Monday 30NOV2020
LEM439 is on ! That is so far the most important piece of news ...
We started from Helsinki early Friday morning, 27 NOV and after a 14 hour smooth drive arrived at Lemmenjoki around 18:30 UTC. There was plenty of time to get rigged up for the potential daytimers, as there is a fairly good chance to hear some of them in the ends of the autumn side months.
First signals from NA arrived in good time shortly after 21 UTC and some of the common east coast stations were gradually coming in, but no daytimers were heard. All night and all Saturday morning very unstable cx where the peak of the cx was in the northern parts of the prairies. Late morning the cx gradually moved more west and in the afternoon concentrated in the upper north west. Good signals all the way, but those stations we have –unfortunately- heard so many times before. A couple of new ones for HAS, though.
Quick checks from Asia-Australia did not provide anything of interest. A lonesome 891 ABC signal at 17:30 UTC, but that was it...
Very little snow and barely below the freezing point. The highlight of the day was a fox photographed through the window...
Hopes for Saturday evening were high, but ended in disappointment. Some disturbance took over and no early signals were noted. Some lonely stations from NA in the night, mixing with Latin Americans, like Radio Impacto 1440 at 07:38 on the 335 degree antenna. Better La Plata signals, though, on the 254 degree antenna ! Later in the morning very weak NA, getting better only at around 13 UTC with a few “semi-interesting” stations from states close to the Canadian border.
Asia cx seemed to have turned to the Thailand-India direction, but even those signals with atmospheric bruises. In all, a Sunday turned out to be practically worthless.
No evening cx on Sunday either, only around 22 UTC signals started to appear. Mixed Midwest with semi-decent signals until 03 UTC on Monday morning, then gradually weakening so that at 06 UTC the band was completely empty. The electron flux had turned downwards and protons showed a slow increase.
Interestingly, signals came back again during the morning. At times everything from Colombia to Vancouver was there for 15 minutes. The bruise level varied strongly, but a couple of nice puertoricans and some east coast were identified. However, the 2 peaks never hit the top-of-the-hour marks, which lessened the fun a lot. By 09 UTC everything was gone again and it does not look too good... “It cannot get too much worse”.
|LEM438 31OCT2020 - 07NOV2020|
Timo Reiniluoto (TRE) and Antti Aaltonen (ANA)
Friday 06NOV2020 - Saturday 07NOV2020
On Friday another solar disturbance set in and the cx towards North America deteriorated rapidly. From there on, finding a personally new North American station was only a remote possibility. On the other hand, Friday morning provided us with a true invasion of Cuban stations. At times it felt as if there were Cubans audible on every frequency. And on Saturday morning the La Plata region was quite strong. As the end of our DXpedition was approaching, we desperately tried to nail as many stations as possible from that area. It remains to be seen whether we had any success in that: on the last day of the DXpedition we also had to focus on cleaning the house and packing, and our seven NRD’s did not get all the attention they deserved.
All in all, we had a splendid time and our cooking and wines were probably better than ever. However, the modest cx towards North America (which we, to be honest, have grown accustomed to during the years) left a few emotional scars ...
Here are some examples of stations identified on Friday and Saturday:
-Radio Mayabeque 1140
-ECO Medios 1220
-Super Rádio Deus é Amor, Curitiba 1210
This was our menu on Friday:
-tomato-goat cheese bruschetta
-squash & sausage risotto
-Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes Rouge 2016
That’s all folks! This is LEM438 signing off.
TRE & ANA
Wednesday 04NOV2020 - Thursday 05NOV2020
Wednesday brought some long-awaited improvement to the cx. In the morning Puerto Rico and parts of the U.S. East coast were strong. However, the afternoon was once again very disappointing. In fact, we have had plenty of time during the afternoon hours for checking the antennas and preparing the evening’s dinner. Thursday morning turned out to be the best so far and gave us a few personally new stations. The cx favored the midwestern and mountain states. But once again, the afternoon was hopeless, unless you have a strong liking for local stations of All India Radio.
The weather has been very pleasant with daytime temperatures a bit above the freezing point. Almost all snow has melted away and our daily hikes in the woods have been very easy and effortless.
Here are some examples of stations identified on Wednesday and Thursday:
-RCN Radio San Andrés 910
This was our menu on Wednesday and Thursday:
-Southern barbeque ribs with corn-tomato coleslaw
-Southern style chocolate brownies
-Substance "Me" Vineyard Collection Northridge Merlot
-reindeer sirloin, carrot purée, root vegetable chips and chocolate port wine sauce
-Finnish squeaky cheese with cloudberry jam and vanilla sauce
-Dal Cero Amarone della Valpolicella 2013
Saturday 31OCT2020 - Tuesday 3NOV2020
There is really nothing new to report regarding the preparations for this DXpedition or the trip to Lapland. Everything worked as a well oiled machine in accordance with established traditions. The only exception to the normal routine was "enjoying" a pizza dinner in the sleeping cabin of the train. Really messy and not at all convenient! However, our ordeal was compensated with a delicious dinner at Restaurant Aanaar in Inari. BTW, Aanaar has received a lot of praise in Finnish food magazines recently.
We had barely gotten our receiving equipment operational when NA signals started pouring in soon after 21 UTC. We immediately realized what was happening and tried to concentrate on the most relevant and promising frequencies. It was evident that also daytimers were present. Unfortunately, we failed miserably and the results of the first night were very modest. We can only blame ourselves for that. Naturally the long travel from the capital region had taken its toll on us and maybe this contributed to the poor choice of frequencies.
After the first night and morning the cx have been poor. More or less all signals have vanished around 0730 UTC each morning. The cx have not had any clear focus and on many mornings there have been strong signals simultaneously from the La Plata region all the way to the Pacific Northwest. Not an ideal situation for a DXer, but of course better than nothing. It is clear that we have a lot of catching up to do during the remainder of the DXpedition if we want to reach any acceptable amount of new stations for us.
Maybe the weirdest experience so far has been the strong peak towards Thailand on Sunday afternoon. The signal levels were out of this world!
Here are some examples of stations identified so far:
-Radio Felicidad, Lima 900
-Pachamama Radio, Puno 850
Here is our menu for the first days:
-reindeer and figs
-whitefish with forest mushrooms, parsnip puree and parsnip chips
-apple and buckthorn crème brûlée
-Granbazán Etiquta Ámbar Albariño 2019
-churro apple pies
-Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz 2018
-traditional LEM-salad with a twist
-chicken couscous with eggplant paste
-selection of cheeses with fig jam
-Camin Larredya La Virada 2017
|LEM437 24OCT2020 - 31OCT2020|
Hannu Tikkanen (HAT) and Håkan Sundman (HS)
Thursday 29OCT2020 - Saturday 31OCT2020
Thursday evening - Friday morning don't give anything to remember from NA, but there was an one hour slightly better opening to Brazil. On Friday we had the first nice winter day with beautiful sunshine, so it was hard to imagine that in this calm and sunny weather the solar wind was still raging at over 450 km/s. During the household duties around midday we noticed some PNW stations with strong signals, but as the rarest catches were on the KART-1400 & KJUN-1450 level, it would have been a waste of a good hard drive to keep Perseus recording. Late afternoon 13-14 UTC gave again lots of dominant PNWs together with strong AK and HI - a teaser of better times to come?
Friday evening & Saturday night, no big stories here either. On Saturday morning there was NA between 04-0630 UTC mainly from Midwest, also the maritime provinces were well present with their power houses, and even AVR 1450 had huge signal at times. Some northern South America, too, travelled on the frequencies before sunrise, so possibility to find something new exists thanks to these Spanish speaking stations.
All in all we didn't expect too much knowing the ongoing solar disturbance, but still the week was a disappointment, to be honest. HAT gained 4 reports to NA, HS about the same, and nearly all the TOHs worthwhile to listen to have already been checked. Without the 30-minute flash of Aussies the week would have been quite dull.
During the week we did lots of whatsapp correspondence with the AIH crew MTM & JMS; it was fun to exchange the news and views of the propagation development, TNX for the company! And as we won't be meeting the next LEM crew ANA & TRE on the road due to different travelling schedules, we're wishing them happy hunting for the next week!
73s HAT & HS
Wednesday 28OCT2020 - Thursday 29OCT2020
Very nondescript night with a few stations from the northwestern USA and the morning wasn’t much better either, so we were back again listening to the usual suspects. The only positive sign in the morning hour was that the conds had shifted to Midwest, thus the identified stations list included KRIB & KOVC 1490, KATE 1450, KBJM 1400, KICD 1240 & WJMC 1240 but that’s it. Northern South America was audible with some really nice signals, but at a glance mostly dominants. Exactly at 0558 some odd disturbance flashed and in an instant Brazilian stations took over everywhere ruining the awaited TOH identifications. No matter which aerial you connected you heard only Portuguese and in some cases with huge signal levels. Quite soon they also vanished and that’s how the dx day ended before it really got started in the first place.
In the afternoon big guns from Japan & Korea and then China, China and China.
Tuesday 27OCT2020 - Wednesday 28OCT2020
Monday 26OCT2020 - Tuesday 27OCT2020
Monday’s Asia-evening offered nothing, ABC 891 & 729 briefly peaked together with some really faint x-band Aussies, which tried in vain to reach readable signal strength. At night the propagation mainly concentrated on both sides of the Rockies, so to identify KODI 1400, KBBS 1450 and KKTY 1470 were no surprises, though stations from Midwest and Great Lakes were audible just as well. As the signals are disturbed at least in the beginning of our expedition, random stations may surface with excellent reception just to rapidly disappear once again. KCMY 1300 from previous days was one example with their really enjoyable country music and TOH ID - but to find new stations from this assortment is another question... HS has so far two NA reports and HAT just one, but as there are four more mornings to go, we firmly believe our finest hour is yet to come!
After the short morning opening towards northern South America & some NA ended there was again an empty day, until at very late afternoon finally AK and HI filled the band. Signals were really strong and lasted for hours, so this might be the welcomed sign of the improving conditions.
As a piece of information, KLO Ogden UT 1430 has been noted with El Sembrador programming, so don’t let it fool you when you hear Spanish REL on this frequency.
Sunday 25OCT2020 - Monday 26OCT2020
Weather report. Last year we had the record amount of snow for October, the previous time with such a confirmed October coverage was over 30 years ago, also then HAT was here. We sure have enough in the forest today too, as confirmed during our antenna walk. So if you some year need early snow into this neck of the woods for outdoor activities, give us a shout and we’ll book our week to match your wishes - our expeditions are a guarantee of a beautiful snow coverage!
Last night makes a short story. NA was audible most of the night from Midwest to Idaho, but nothing really spectacular though some recordings still need to be checked more thoroughly. In the very early morning every signal disappeared from the AM band leaving only KBRW-680 audible for the rest of the daylight hours. This gives room for a speculation that our mechanical filters are too effective and block all the incoming subjects, not only those we wanted to limit. Attenuation level of the filters is possibly too high after all? Enclosed pictures reveal how the technical tests were carried out.
Saturday 24OCT2020 - Sunday 25OCT2020
Quite a few expeditions seem to have skipped sending the LEM-news bulletins, but we’ll keep this tradition going!
Expedition commenced under slightly different circumstances; covid precautions kept us strictly in our cabin instead of enjoying the delicious treats of the national railways in their diner. Of course we were prepared with food and beverages, so there was no real need to visit the diner. To our surprise we learned that one could order food delivered to the cabins, too, so we’ll try this on our way back next Saturday. To a major negative surprise something was loose in the suspensions of the whole train carriage sending resonance and vibrations up to 70dB to our cabin whole night through, so no real sleep for us. Let’s see how VR customer complaint department handles our case, when they’ll receive the recordings of the noise together with a dB meter picture.
After having a pleasant chat with JPR & Ritva on the road some 30km before Lemmenjoki our arrival was in good time to prepare for the afternoon listening experience. Nothing was expected however due to the known solar disturbance and nothing was heard, only some regular Asians on the AM band. In the evening a few Afros, at night nothing of interest, and in the morning a set of HJ/PR/YV with some common Peruvians. Late afternoon gave a short opening to the Pacific Northwest, and then again common Asia.
Around midday it was time to study the antenna forest and walk through a couple of wires. Big TNX HN! for erecting the new 70-degree aerial, totally superb antenna and it comes for real need during this kind of propagation where not so much is heard during the day time to fill the files.
We also got us prepared with a few mechanical filters. Keep checking this site to learn more about our experience how they work - so don’t touch that dial!