Saturday, October 29, 2022

KONG45 Day Nine - A Good DX Day!

Finally some action! 

Overnight propagation to North America varied quite a bit, allowing for several loggings where the dominants were gone, or weaker than usual. Here are a few:

  • 920 KSHO Lebanon OR
  • 1080 KFXX Portland OR
  • 1300 KLER Orofino ID
  • 1310 KYUL Scott City KS
  • 1340 KCQL Aztec NM
  • 1340 KTOX Needles CA
  • 1370 KWRT Boonville MO
  • 1420 KULY Ulysses KS
  • 1450 KIRX Kirksville MO
  • 1450 KZNU St. George UT
And lots of recordings to check.

Another sauna day today. We needed it! The staff at the guesthouse had maxed it out so when we got there, we were met with 110 Celsius! It went down to a more reasonable 95 degrees during our stay. The extra warmth was indeed needed - as we went there the weather was dry and calm. When we left - well, see for yourselves!


Dinner! Olav Skår and his wife had generously supplied us with minced moose meat from a recent hunt, and chanterelle mushroom. From which we made moose burgers with mashed root veggies and sauce with the mushroom. Absolutely magnificent. And so was the wine - a 2011 La Bogliona red wine.

Moose burgers.

No starters apart from some snacks and beer. We were supposed to have assorted cheese for dessert. Alas... nature called.  Aka sleep.

Weather: Mostly calm and dry most of the day, +2 Celsius. From the evening at around 17 local, strong northwest winds and rain and sleet. Still above zero, but only just.

Tomorrow Sunday will be our final day at the KONG45 DX-pedition.

KONG45 Day Eight - Good Beginnings!

But short-lived. We had excellent signal levels in the beginning of the night, especially between 01:00 and 03:00 as you can see on the Yaslog below, but the rest of the night and following day was indeed uninspiring. Some logs to mention include KLIK-MO 1240, KBEW-MN 1560, WZYX-TN 1440 (Mt. Loran), KMAJ-KS 1440, WWWI-MN 1270, KVFD-IA 1400, XEJVP-Chih 1560 and a monster daytime signal from KZMQ Greybull WY on 1140. Ole discovered the by far best catch that day with KMCD Fairfield IA 1570, surfacing when all the other stations on the frequency had faded down.


The poor conditions continued towards Asia later on, although we haven't checked later in the afternoon and evening.

I had a short walk in the nice but cold weather and shot a few pictures with my mobile phone, presented below. Temperatures were just above freezing, dry and breezy.

Road towards the Veines hamlet

The Veines peninsula with the hamlet and to the left the KONG HQ

"Bird island"

KONG HQ

Road from the Veines hamlet to the main road connection

So then, dinner! For starters, we had king crab leftovers mixed with creme fraiche and mayonnese, red onion and trout roe. The main course was cod loins & salsa, served with rice. And another leftover for dessert, cloudberries with whipped cream. The cod in salsa was moderately hot, so we chose a Kim Crawford Pinot Noir to go with it. And a bit of Amaretto for the dessert. And a bit of Grappa.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

KONG45 Day Seven - The Disapperance Of The King Crab!

So! Thursday came with sunny and quite calm weather save a hefty shower midday, but we did wake up to a new snow cover. The temperature stayed just above zero most of the day but dropped below in the evening.



Conditions towards North America was mostly westwards, including stations like KOIL-NE 1290, KDCO-CO 1340, KWYZ-WA and KCUP-OR 1230, KIIX-CO 1410 and KQFN-AZ 1580, but also KZIP Amarillo TX 1310, a new one for us. The Mount Loran beverage was suspiciously unproductive, so we need to check the antenna tomorrow. From Asia the only one worthy of mention is the JOQG NHK-1 Aomori via Fukaura (1584 kHz, 100 watts).

Today, the King Crab disappeared. But not before it had been baked on a bed of salt, and served with carbonara! For starters we had the traditional Västerbottenpai with trout roe. The Kim Crawford white wine went extremely well with both the pie and the crab. For dessert, a very traditional one from this area, cloudberries with whipped cream and an apple pie from the guesthouse. Amaretto and Grappa was served with the dessert. 


Helping us make the King Crab disappear was the super friendly crew from Kongsfjord Guesthouse, three from Italy and one from Spain, (from left): Max, Laura, Eliza and Francesco. They should be five, but unfortunately, Rebecca couldn't make it.






Wednesday, October 26, 2022

KONG45 Day Six - The Arrival Of The King Crab!

Finally! The key ingredient in one of our signature dinners has arrived, and was collected when SSDs were exchanged at Mt. Loran. Which reminds me that I forgot to elaborate on the dinner yesterday, in fact another signature dinner: Reindeer!

We got fresh calf tenderloins from one of the reindeer herders in this area and fried them (carefully!) with lots of chili, garlic and ginger. Served with mashed root veggies and sauce. Quick and easy to make, but eating takes time! Barolo wine was served with the tenderloins. For starters, we had duck liver paste served on roasted sourdough bread with herbs and spices. We postponed the dessert "to another day"...



So the King Crab arrived with yesterday's ferry. And there will be a feast on Thursday. And maybe some left-overs too!


So, what about DX? The general signal level from North America improved a lot last night. After an easterly start, conditions soon moved towards the CDT, MDT and PDT area. So far nothing in the "new log" department, but less common stations like KKSE-CO 950 and KHTS-CA 1220 were noted. GY channels were quite open with many stations noted. A bit too much dominance from the very common Canadian prairie stations though.

Asia/Pacific area finally got going early, with 1-kW JOFP NHK1 Fukushima noted on 1323 during their local ID at 10:00Z, likewise JOCG NHK1 Asahikawa 837, and 4QD-1548 audible soon after along with weak signals from New Zealand. Not an amazing day otherwise.

Dinner today: No starter! The main course was lamb's fore leg, baked for 6 hours which qualified for "pulled" status. Barolo wine with the lamb, then assorted cheeses for dessert. Did we mention Amaretto?

Weather: The day started just below zero, stayed dry and relatively calm until into the afternoon when we had wind, rain showers and 2-3 degrees Celsius.

To round off this post, below is a photo taken two days ago from the window of the guesthouse's sauna.




Tuesday, October 25, 2022

KONG45 - Day Five

Now back on track!

This morning we were invited to breakfast at Kongsfjord Guesthouse with Jim and Mika, and on the way back to the KONG HQ I took this picture:



Conditions were quite uninspiring overnight, but improved a bit and during the morning hours and early afternoon we noted stations like KPRL Paso Robles CA 1230, KCUP Toledo OR 1230 and KBBR North Bend OR 1340 (a first for me). The were quite a few South American stations audible off the back lobe of the 80-degrees beverage, such as Universo 970 from Paraguay.

Hawaii continued to be heard throughout the day, and KUAU-1570 well into the early evening.

We went back to the guesthouse in the afternoon because we had booked sauna! Fortunately no live footage from that visit, but here's how it looks like (beer bottle for size comparison...)



Today's dinner was a two-dish thing, først duck liver paste on roasted sourdough bread. Then, tenderloins from reindeer calves served with a root paste and a sauce with chanterels. A Barolo red wine went very well with the reindeer. 
Were supposed to have a dessert, but there was not room for any more!

The temperature hoved just above freezing, a little breeze and long sunny spells. No precipitation.

And to end this post, below is a photo I took on a hike this afternoon in the Kongsfjord area. The KONG HQ is inside the red ring you can see to the left in the photo.


And tomorrow: Maybe the King Crab has arrived? At least the ship supposedly carrying the valuable cargo has just called on Berlevåg harbour!


KONG45 - Day Four (delayed version)

OK, so the King Crab mystery was solved, or at least we know where it is. Which is not here. We have hopes that within a day or two we will have it. Somewhat short of supplies due to the missing King Crab and the smelly lamb shanks, we took a trip to nearby Båtsfjord (a 100-km return drive) for a bit of shopping. Excellent weather but a bit icy roads as you can see on the photo below.

On the return drive from Båtsfjord

Shortly after our return to base camp, our old friend Olav Skår (LA9VFA) turned up with chanterelle, and minced meat from his moose hunting. So, there will be some high quality burgers coming up one day!

And later in the afternoon, we had visitors from Finland! DX aces Jim Solatie and Mika Mäkelainen took a day off from the poor conditions and drove 280 km from their shack in Aihkiniemi for dinner. Since we couldn't serve the king crab, we opted for a high quality fish soup based on locally caught and processed cod loins and lots of other tasty stuff. Before that, we had hummus with fried artichokes on newly baked sourdough bread. For dessert, the most delicioius home made chocolate mousse. Kim Crawford white wine from New Zealand was the perfect companion. And of course, we had a taste of Amaretto, Grappa, Krupnik (indeed!) and a port wine.

Some pictures below.

A little bit of champagne to celebrate another gettogether

Another cheers! 

KONG HQ welcomes AIH crew! That shadow in front of the house is actually OJS...

Conditions: Some signals throughout the night, but low levels and hardly anything of interest. We didn't even bother to collect the SSD at Mt. Loran but decided to wait another day.

The weather was very nice, around 2 above freezing, dry and little wind.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

KONG45 - Day Three

Today's message is: Never let K-indices decide on your DX-ing! The major storm levels reported at Andenes yesterday did indeed put a large dent in the overnight Jaguar Yaslog. The result was that dominating stations became less dominant, and we had some interesting spot conditions from around 03-04 until 07 UTC. The 340 beverage at the KONG HQ brought some interesting stations from the western part of North America such as KRWB-MN 1410, KSJK-OR 1230, KEED-OR 1450, KCVR-CA 1570, KMBY-CA 1240, KMKY-CA 1310 and KVTO-CA 1400. From the Mount Loran files we noted stations further east like WSOY-IL 1340, WLLM-IL 1370, KXFN-MO 1360 (files still to be reviewed). 

Asia and Pacific reception was uninspiring, to say the least.

We had a nice and fresh 90-minute walk around the peninsula today, and checked the 50-degrees beverage on the way home. Entering its fourth year of service, the wire was visibly unaffected by the last three harsh winter conditions, and has had no need for repairs of any kind. As often is the case; quality comes at a price but in the long run it pays off. Pictures from the walk below.

Food-wise, we had a slight emergency. The lamb shanks we were supposed to cook in Barolo did not smell right. So we decided not to take any chances, and improvised a new main course. The starter, as scheduled, was salma tartar with the excellent Schwedhelm Riesling white wine. The main course was made up of woked veggies, and fish cakes (fried fish balls) from local fish and production. For dessert: Chocolate pudding with custard, and a bit of Amaretto. And Grappa.

The whereabouts of the King Crab is still a mystery. Maybe we will learn more tomorrow. Or maybe not.

3-4 degrees Celsius today, quite windy, dry periods, other times rainy. 




Saturday, October 22, 2022

KONG45 - Day Two

Crisis! The King Crab is out of control! Well, sort of. The ferry with the valuable cargo didn't call at Berlevåg harbour on Friday due to weather, so the crab is still on-board - and the weather outlook isn't exactly promising. We do have an alternative port so working on arrangements to pick up the crab there. Arctic logistics in a nutshell.

Yesterday evening at 23:00Z brought some interesting daytime signals mostly from Michigan, such as  WKAR East Lansing 870, WDEO Ypsilanti 990, WCXI Fenton 1160 (with a monster signal!), WMKT Charlevoix  1270 (ditto), WWCK Flint 1570 and WGBW Denmark WI 1590. All heard before.

Troughout the night and morning the loggings followed the usual pattern - wandering from mid-west to west until ending up at Hawaii. KUAU-HI 1570 was still audible after 14:00Z - after our local sunset.

The graveyard channels were surprisingly open, but mostly with the stations we usually hear. Worthy of mention are KJOP Lemoore CA 1240, and KZTQ Reno NV 1230 because it's a personal first. Other loggins include WBBF Buffalo NY 1120, and WJCW Warsaw NY 1140 from the Mount Loran evening opening.

Dinner! For starters, Bruschetta, then fried salmon with pasta & pesto and bacon, and assorted cheese for dessert. During the main course we tested two different vintages of the Sancerre white wine 2016 and 2020. The result was....meh. The Dos Cortados sherry with the cheeses was rather disappointing, so we ended up with a much better Muscat de Beaumes-de Venice. You live and learn... And as usual, the Grappa made the day. Weather: Windy at first, then calm and mostly dry with 2-3 degrees C. And that's the weather from the KONG weather center :-)  Below a few pictures from today.

Facing west

KONG HQ close-up

Bird Island

Neighbours, including the guest house

KONG HQ - wide angle




Friday, October 21, 2022

KONG45 - Day One

Right! So here we are. I arrived by car at around 11:30 UTC while Ole and OJ, who had to rely on planes, arrived at 13:00. Calm weather with temperatures around zero, very different to yesterday's severe gale. But that's the Arctic for you!

Overnight's conditions to North America were less than impressive, varying quite a lot but conditions lasted throughout the morning until the afternoon with west coast, Alaskan and Hawaiian signals. A brief scan revealed semi-regular WGIL Galesburg IL 1400 as the only one worthy of mention.

Later in the evening we had Bjarne's fish soup with chocolate pudding with custard for dessert, and of course a bit of amaretto.

Below is a view from the KONG HQ at around 12:00Z.

More to come!


Sunday, September 11, 2022

KONG44 - Preparing For The 2022-2023 Season

So! For those who may have wanted daily updates from the KONG44 mini-DXpedition: Sorry. I’ll try to make a reasonably comprehensive update in this post.

As many will know, we start off every KONG season with a prolonged (or “oval” as we say in Norway) weekend in early September. While my radio gear and most of the antennas are ready, Ole’s and OJ’s stuff needs to be set up and configured. And there is quite a bit of work to set up the Mount Loran remote-controlled 1000-metre beverage site. OJ and Ole are also part of the AND team, a 1200-km drive to the southwest, so days are busy.

I was on site early Thursday afternoon, and all three were present just after 17:00 local, 15:00 UTC. It was really too late for any useful activities, so instead we had a couple of beers and later on we enjoyed a home-made fish gratin served with a Kim Crawford white wine from our favourite country New Zealand! For dessert: Chocolate pudding with custard. And a bit of Grappa.

Friday was Mount Loran-day. It’s a 25-minute drive from here, plus an 800-metre walk with all the equipment. The 1000-metre antenna spool and the 50 antenna support rods had been left there last October. The walk came not without some cost though as I stumbled in my feet and fell forwards. After a little while I realized I had actually broken a rib. How convenient.

Mount Loran beverage starting point

Mount Loran equipment


Back at the KONG HQ, we checked that the Perseus + Jaguar setup at Mount Loran worked well. We then tested a couple of beers, and made ourselves some dinner: Baked fresh salmon, tagliatelle with lots of pesto and parmesan, and a salad. We had a Chablis from Christian Moreau with the salmon, and cancelled dessert due to too much salmon (or tagliatelle. Or was it pesto). But we did have a bit of Grappa.

Saturday became a real challenge. Unlike previous seasons, after the equipment had been set up, we experienced some extreme noise levels. Some of it certainly accountable to the dreary and noisy conditions on the MW band, but certainly not all. It was a massive task, with multiple PCs, multiple Perseus, power supplies, splitters, preamps and what have you. After many frustrating hours, we finally settled on an acceptable noise level, and could move on.

KONG HQ, facing north

KONG HQ, facing south

Not that we heard anything. Enhanced proton levels are the worst the sun can throw at Arctic DX-ers, and it’s been like that for several days. Not even at the quiet Mount Loran location were there any traces of trans-Atlantic or trans-polar reception.

So, what to do? Test a couple of beers maybe! And then dinner, Bjarne’s fish soup based on local haddock, vegetables, and spiced up a bit with red chili. Another white wine day, this time Calles Riesling. We finished off the rest of the chocolate pudding for dessert and had a bit of Grappa.

Sunday was our last full day at the KONG HQ, and we really didn’t do very much. Checking last night’s recordings didn’t take long – nothing heard. Just for the fun of it I checked the 22:00 UTC Saturday full hour and heard RAI’s final moments on 900 kHz, leaving the channel for a much stronger IRIB Radio Quran and the Voronezh beacon “NE” – both indicative of the lousy conditions.

OJ and Ole went back to Mount Loran to do some maintenance and to set it up for scheduled recording until October 21. I will attend the site at regular intervals to replace the battery and the SSD. With some luck, conditions will improve, and Mount Loran will again provide us with premium loggings.

After testing a couple of beers, we had a meat soup made up of “pulled” pre-cooked,dried and salted lamb’s ribs, and various vegetables, spiced up a bit with red chili. This called for some red wine, of which we have a nice selection to choose from. OJ decided on L'Ancien Le Buissy, which was absolutely fine. We opted for a very traditional dessert from this area, fresh cloudberries in whipped cream. And… a bit of Grappa. But moderately so since we are scheduled to leave early Monday morning.