Saturday, October 23, 2021

KONG43 - Day Eight - And a Visit From Abroad!

Still disturbed conditions and apparently dull. Not so! Brief openings brought us KCSP-MO 610, KVOR-CO 740, WHOS-AL 800, WERC-AL 960 and KRCN-CO 1060 - and probably more.  We also noted the Astoria station on 1230 is on with new calls KKOR, "The Beach 106.3" announcements and of course Oldies format. Tonga-1017 was up very early, but lost way to the Chinese powerhouses after 10:00 UTC. Nothing definite on Kiribati 846 and 1440.

One interesting observation on the 340 beverage the previous night, confirming a finding I had during very disturbed conditions a few weeks ago: Brazil! Almost perpendicular to the 340 antenna, and their carrier seemed to be smeared out over a 100 Hz or more at around 05:30 UTC. Below are three of them, on roughly 1569.98, 1569.95 and 1520.02 kHz. This was also the case on several other frequencies. 


We checked with the 305-degrees Mount Loran recordings where the signals should be closer to the main lobe and possibly stronger. Almost no trace of the Brazilian stations, and what carriers could be spotted, were relatively clean.

So, what has happened? Could it be that the skywave signals from the Brazilian stations were reflected back to the 340 beverage from a point north of us? Similar to FM backscatter? The audio from these stations were somewhat distorted, which may or may not matter. Many stations from Brazil aren't known for their excellent audio quality.

And if so, what happened to the ionosphere at 05:30? Nothing significant, to judge from solar data.

In the evening, a visit from Finland! Jim Solatie and Mika Mäkeläinen have been here before though quite a long time ago, and took the 4-hour drive on winter roads from their DXpedition site in Aihkiniemi for a quick gettogether and some serious dinner! 

From left: Mika, OJ, Ole, Jim, Bjarne. Beer, not orange juice.

We started off with Bruschetta based on OJ's sourdough bread, while the fresh King Crab was being baked on a thick base of sea salt in a large pot. The king crab was, as always, served with Carbonara, and a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. For dessert we had fresh, lightly warmed Cloudberries with Cointreau and Grappa.


Weather: Occasional snow showers, up to fresh breeze but a bit of sun too. From 2 above to 2 below zero. Today Saturday will be the last full day of KONG43. There will probably be another update on Sunday morning.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

KONG43 - Day Seven

Day seven was variable, to say the least. Under the effect of CH1038, the signals varied wildly, as seen on the red index on both sides of the yaslog below. From 06:00 to 09:30 UTC the signal levels dropped down to zero, before restoring somewhat. The afternoon had mostly signals from Alaska and Hawaii (KUAU 1570 very strong, as you can see).


Not too interesting stuff heard from what we've found live and on the recordings, but these may be worth mentioning: KFOR-NE 1240, KUYO-WY 830 (day power), WKBH-WI 1570, and KABN-AK 960 with a good signal in the afternoon.

Dinner tonight was not home made but at Kongsfjord Guesthouse, a place to visit if you visit this part of the country. It's only 200 metres away from the KONG HQ. We started off with a much needed shower and sauna, and was then treated with a reindeer stew with mashed potatoes, and a tiramisu for dessert. Excellent stuff, and we were well treated by their Italian Chef!



Below is a picture from the KONG HQ around noon today. 2 Celsius, snow and sleet showers and a fresh breeze. 

And finally! Many will know that our interest in beers is somewhat above average. Here's one from KROC-land! Who solves the riddle?


And tomorrow, we will have visitors!





Wednesday, October 20, 2021

KONG43 - Day Six

 First off, a few photos taken at noon today, showing the area around the KONG HQ:

View to the northwest

Balcony with FM antennas, looking southwest

South: neighbours, my bay, sun dog

More sun dog, frozen car

View to the east

And now, "what you've all been waiting for"...
Conditions were reasonably good even today, although our European friends had some concerns and complaints in this respect. A few highlights: WUMY-TN 830, WPAT-NJ 930, WDEO-MI 990,  WWNL-PA 1080, WHLD-NY 1270, WWYC-OH 1560, WISP-PA 1570, WWCD-OH 1580.

Dinner! For starters, the traditional Västerbotten pie, a Swedish course, with lumpfish roe. This was served with leftovers of Kim Crawford Sauvignoun Blanc. The main course was a moose sirloin, generously donated by Olav, LA6VFA, with sauce and a paste of root vegetables (basically the same as yesterday), fried brussel sprouts and the Norwegian traditional lingonberry jam. Served with another batch of Cornas Les Chailles. Dessert: Assorted cheeses, like Papillon Roquefort, Chevre, Gruyere and Morbier, Parmesan and Västerbotten cheese. And what's not to like with a 2006 Dow's Vintage Port?

Weather was quite nice today, cold (-6) but calm, and in the evening the temperature crossed the zero line again, briefly. The moon is up, and the shot below was taken at 19:00 local. I'm quite satisfied with this one. Amazing what mobile phone cameras can do these days. It was pitch black outside.

 



KONG43 - Day Five

Not a very lengthy post this time.

Conditions continue to supply us with rare and new stations, and the 340-degrees beverage produced signals from North America for 16 hours yesterday. Even if the signal level dipped quite a bit after 04:00, there were some interesting signals very late in the day, like KQLL-NV 1280. However the most interesting loggings were done early in the night, like WHNL-NY 620, WLNL-NY 1000, WKOK-PA 1070, WCJW-NY 1140, WEBO-NY 1330 and WMLP-PA 1380.

340-degrees beverage Yaslog

A few New Zealand stations were audible in the afternoon, but the Chinese powerhouses were just too strong for us.

So then, what's for dinner?

For starters, we had home made (of course!) Salmon Tartare, served with a wine we haven't had access to for many years, the excellent Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand!



Time then, for one of our signature dishes, Tenderloins from reindeer grazing in just this area. Served with a brown sauce and paste from root vegetables, and a Cornas Les Chailles red wine from 2018.


And to keep the meal all Nordic (except for the wine), we had Cloudberries and whipped cream for dessert. A bit of Cointreau on the side didn't spoil it.


Weatherwise, the strong winds eased off a bit, and much fewer snow showers, but the temperature dropped as well, to just above 0 Celsius, and during the evening even below. Now, Wednesday morning it's clear skies and -5 and the outlook for the rest of the day is good. Not so for Thursday and Friday.

Monday, October 18, 2021

KONG43 - Day Four

Nice propagation to North America - and finally some New Zealand!

The night started early, with stations like WNCO-OH 1340, KOOQ-NE 1410, KBNP-OR 1410, KLGN-IA 1560, KTGE-CA 1570. In the morning, conditions turned towards the west coast with massive signals from KERN-CA 1180 (whacked antenna system? Supposed to run to the SW on  both day and night pattern), KSDO-CA 1130, and several other not commonly heard stations from the area.

Signal levels were very good, but it was difficult to find new stations. We'll see if closer scrutiny of the IQ files may reveal some surprises.

A bit after noon, we drove to Berlevåg for some shopping, a visit to the local café (which turned out to be closed on Mondays!) and to replace the SSD drive on Mount Loran. Mount Loran is not a mountain at all, but a flat area 90 masl where the dismantled Loran C antenna was set up. Perfect for a 1000-metre beverage antenna. The daily trip is described by the pictures below:

On the dirt  road towards the box with the PC, SDR and battery


OJ (left) and Ole ready to unwrap the tarpaulin

Inside the box: 100Ah Li-Ion battery, PC, Perseus, modem, SSD, Bodnar GPS


Back to the car

By the way, the road going uphill in the background in the last photo is to the Raggovidda wind farm, possibly the most efficient land-based wind farm there is.

Back at the KONG HQ we were greeted with a nice opening to New Zealand! Around 20 stations were positively identified.

And then we greeted OJ with his 4th (!!!!) Delaware QSL, as he received an email from WJWL 900 in Georgetown!

After a couple of beers, like the one below from one of Norway's superb breweries, 7 Fjell in Bergen, it was time for left-overs!


We had quite a bit of lamb shanks left from yesterday, so we made a conversion to meat soup, adding generous amounts of vegetables. Served with OJ's fabulous sourdough bread and real butter. For dessert we had the rest of yesterday's chocolate mousse. With Amaretto of course. And Grappa of course.
Leftovers + new baked bread


Windy again today with some intense snow showers, and the temperature dropped to around 2 Celsius. Our visit to Mount Loran was "between showers". Later in the evening the wind calmed down considerably, and some bare sky became visible. I shot this picture of the moon outside the house. A little aurora too - hopefully no more of that and we can enjoy another night and day with good conditions.
Moon (and a little aurora)


Sunday, October 17, 2021

KONG43 - Day Three

Exceptionally strong signal levels from North America! Propagation started at 22:00 UTC yesterday, and WILB Canton OH 1060 was noted with their sign-off announcement at 22:45. Other stations of interest were KBLE-WA 1050, KYSP-WA 1340, KKAQ-MN 1460, KMVI-HI 900 (among other Hawaiians) and the 100-watts NHK-1 relay of Aomori, Japan on 1584 at 10:00.

Pre-sunrise at the KONG HQ

Unfortunately, Asia and Pacific conditions were uninspiring for the rest of the day. Signals from North America remained into well into the afternoon, but nothing of particular interest was noted.

Just after lunch veteran radio amateur Olav, LA9VFA, paid a visit and brought a moose sirloin and cloudberries to make sure we had enough to eat! Like we hadn't...! Which brings us to the subject of dinner. The usual calf shanks were replaced with lamb shanks this year, cooked for 5 hours in Barolo, and served with potatoes. We enjoyed a quite intense Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 with the meat.

Lamb shanks in Barolo - before

Lamb shanks in Barolo - after

For dessert, a home made chocolate mousse, perfectly perpared by OJ, accompanied with Amaretto, and a little Grappa to finish it all off. 

Chocolate mousse with Amaretto

Weather: Much of the same, just a bit more. Not too much rain, but the wind increased in the afternoon and may get stronger still. Temperatures around 4 Celsius. As long as it doesn't snow, we're happy.

To round off this post, here's a link to one of the most common stations heard in this part of Europe during good conditions. We'll leave it up to you to find out which one! Happy DX-ing!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

KONG43 - Day Two

As reported to various FB groups, last night's reception at the KONG HQ was somewhat uninspiring. Maybe not so for the Mount Loran recordings, although a lot need to be checked. Interesting to note though, that prairie stations from Manitoba and the Dakotas were noted at 22:00 UTC, almost two hours before their local sunset! Maybe we can find some interesting stations in the recordings. 

Speaking of which, much of the time is spent checking IQ recordings. Today we found a few nice ones, like WSVS Crewe VA 800, KLVZ Brighton CO 810, WILD Boston MA 1090 and WENK Union City TN 1240. All these from previous days. 

 Apart from a quick drive to replace the hard drive at Mount Loran, the day was spent mostly indoor. One important chore is to make The Daily Bread, in my case a no-knead bread which is a 23-hour process. Later on, OJ will serve us with sourdough bread.

Dinner! As always on these DX-peditions, we have fried fresh salmon with carbonara. You can see the before and after pictures below. And as almost always, we have a home made Crème brûlée with a small glass of Cointreau for dessert. Here are a couple of pictures:Before:

And when ready to eat...

Weather is still mild for the season, around 5 Celsius, but the wind increased to gale force, and we had some rain as well. I went out to check my water supply before lunch, when I took the photo below. Weather will not improve!




Friday, October 15, 2021

KONG43 - Day One

 Arrival day, so nothing much to say.

Ole arrived very early in the morning after a mammoth drive in inclement weather conditions from Andøya - 1170 km! OJ Sagdahl arrived to Tana by bus from the Kirkenes airport terminal at 12:00 UTC, and we arrived at the KONG HQ at 13:35 after a short stop to buy reindeer tender loins from a local herder. The mountain passing was somewhat slippery. Ole and OJ then went off to replace the battery at the Mount Loran remote site, and collect 6 days of IQ recordings.


Just after arrival

The afternoon was uneventful, except we noted KPEN Kenai AK 840 at 15:40 and onwards. It's a new logging, but how long it's been on the air we don't know. We wonder if it may be the first day of broadcasting?

During the afternoon and evening we enjoyed a few beers, and the Lervig SuperSonic remained its position as a no. 1 beer. Non Puls Ultra. No sorry, that was the aquavit.

For dinner we had a rather traditional fish soup: Chopped carrots, seleriac, rutabaga (or swede?), potatoes, red chili, leak, and not least: Superb quality cod loins. We cooked a large pan, and expected leftovers. Not so.

Le Fish Soup

For dessert: Home made chocolate pudding with custard, and a  Disaronno Amaretto.

So, that's it for today! Temperatures maxed out at 4 Celsius, with relatively calm winds and only very light showers. According to the weather forecast, we ain't seen nothin' yet....


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

4KZ Karumba QLD 1611 - Finally Heard

4KZ, with its main transmitter in Innisfail QLD on 531 kHz, has several translators in and outside the regular MW band. Some years ago, its 400-watt relay in Taylors Beach on 1620 was one of the most common x-band Australians. This location was later taken over by Vision Christian Radio, and 4KZ set up another, 300-watt relay in Karumba on 1611. It took some time until they had a proper antenna ready though, so the four Hot Country stations and not least DWNX in Naga, PHL were very dominating.

In 2019, while discussing my reception of their 5055 kHz SW relay, GM Al Kirton told me they were working on a new vertical for 1611. Apparently they have sorted things out, because a few days ago I had a very clear signal from 4KZ. And not only that, the day after they were audible again, so they will likely be easy to hear in Arctic Europe at least early in the season and after DWNX sign off.

Well... "easy" - once you have a perfect low noise floor, lots of gain in the receiving end and a nice long beverage antenna. And if you want to hear how 300 watts sounds like 12623 km away, have a look and a listen in this Youtube video.

Al sends a traditional QSL and a sticker by mail, something not often seen among radio stations these days.


Karumba is a very small town in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Their 500+ population earn their living by tourism and fishing prawns. There's a zinc mine nearby as well.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

The FM Season 2021 on 71 Northern Latitude

Anyone interested in browsing my 2021 FM logbook should click this link. The logbook is sorted by day, and by time within the day. There may be double entries within a day.

The season came off to a slow start, as I was late erecting the FM antennas. Also, it wasn't anywhere near as productive as the 2020 season, except maybe the last part of July and the beginning of August. And I must admit there were openings I didn't bother to check since it appeared quite predictable which stations would be heard.

I did hear a new country though. Iceland was heard several times, although limited to the northeastern part of the country.

Next year I think I will change tactics a bit. To the south, the one-hop Es possibilities are more or less explored the last 3 years. So it may be more interesting to point the antennas to the west-northwest, and to the east. Iceland (and beyond) may be interesting, as would Siberia, Kazakhstan and Xinjiang.

The SDRPlay RSPdx SDRs work well, although my PCs limit effective sampling rate to 6 MHz each. For the same reason, the Elad FDM-S3 can't sample more than 12 MHz. So I decided to focus on the lower part of the FM band.

The SDRs made 24/7 IQ recordings, and I spotted openings by examining continuosly saved waterfall images. HDSDR and SDR Console were my tools, together with two 8-element antennas from  InnovAntennas, and splitters/preamps from Cross Country Wireless. And a number of 8-TB hard drives. The logbook is from FMList.org.