Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Verifications Received By He Who Writes No Reports

Well, almost no reports.

WGBW Denmark WI 1590 was heard with a fair signal during KONG22, and Mark Heller, one of the most DX friendly stations owners around, swiftly confirmed my report.

At 1100 UTC today, a very rare station was audible over CBR Calgary on 1010. OJ Sagdahl alerted me, and I was able to pick up the TOH ID from KXXT Tolleson AZ. Arizona stations aren't often heard, so this was a great surprise. A swift response as well, from the station's PD who sent a photo of himself as well.

Monday, October 22, 2012

KONG22 - Last Day

The last 24 hours of KONG22 experienced excellent solar conditions, except perhaps the solar wind a bit on the high side, but DX-ing was challenging. Not much (any) of interest from Asia and the Pacific. As usual, the last evening's dinner is reindeer tenderloins, to which we enjoyed a truly superb red wine from New Zealand, a 2009 Felton Road Pinot Noir.

Conditions throughout the last night was mostly towards the eastern part of North America, and South America. Buenos Aires-1350 and WMOB-1360 were noted in passing. Possibly the morning's most interesting log was made close to the last full-hour before packing our gear: WBIP Booneville MS 1400.

OJ, TJ and I drove to Vadsø at 10:00 local (Ole had left for Andøya an hour earlier), and despite stretches of extremely icy roads (I occasionally felt like Bambi on the ice when driving), OJ and TJ arrived at Vadsø airport with time to spare.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

KONG22 Saturday: Finally Something From North America

On the second last morning, North American stations were heard with good signal levels. Some examples: KTRF Thief River Falls MN 1230, KWIX Moberly MO 1230, KEYS Corpus Christi TX 1440 and WGBW Denmark WI 1590. Yesterday had a fair opening towards Japan on the 1320 UTC NHK-2 ID spot, with 500-watt JORC heard on 1467 with the ID from JOTC 1521. The latter was possibly also heard.

Yesterday also saw the annual KONG dinner at Kongsfjord Guest House. While there, the weather took a definitive turn for the worse, and we're now experiencing gale force winds, rain and sleet and +2 Celsius. The sleet occasionally induce static noise to the antennas, but mostly  they're behaving fine. The picture was taken at 1030 local (0830 UTC). The 50 degree beverage is exceptionally quiet, so we're hoping for Pacific stations around noon.
View from the window - not very tempting to walk outside. The MiniWhip is mounted on the fiber glass rod.

Friday, October 19, 2012

KONG22 - Some More Pictures

Another extremely quiet day with only the dominant stations audible. So instead of an extensive log of what we heard, here are a few more pictures from yesterday.

Still clear skies and below freezing, but the forecast for later today is cloudy, increasing wind and rain.
50-degrees beverage, as seen from the transmitter's end. Using 150 cm fiber glass rods as supports.

Restoration project at Kongsfjord Guest House

Elevating the road to avoid closures from snowdrift

The hamlet of Veines, including Kongsfjord Guest House

Thursday, October 18, 2012

KONG22 - Some Pictures

Sunny, calm and clear skies on Thursday morning - but quite cold as well, -2 Celsius. Here are a few pictures when I was out for an hour's walk.
Beverage crossing (as opposed to deer crossing...)

Ebb tide


Island in the sun

Looking north

From left: Ole Forr, OJ Sagdahl, TJ Bråtveit

The HQ


KONG22 - Thursday Morning

If 5:28 is to be considered "morning"... Geomagnetic activity has been quite low the last 24 hours, which should give us fair conditions towards North America, Asia and the Pacific. Instead, conditions have been very much on the dull side all Wednesday. For the first time on KONG22, there was no trace of Marshall Islands and Kiribati, and Japan was mostly absent. Plenty of time to check recordings, email, facebook, or whatever else needed a check.

I had plenty of time to send off a reception report for the 1512 kHz Koriyama relay of JOFD NHK-2 Fukushima, and received a friendly and very detailed email response this morning.
So, how was dinner Wednesday? To make it simple (conditions seem to be picking up), here's what OJ wrote on the KONG22 weblog:

For dinner we started off with pan-fried fresh dates, wrapped in bacon. Very nice combination of salt and sweet. Main course was rack of lamb with herbs, garlic and Dijon mustard served with Bjarne's herb-mashed potatoes. With this we had a Chateauneuf-de-Pape from Clos des Brusquiéres 2006. For dessert we had another sweet & salt combo - half-baked chocolate-amaretto-espresso cake with smoked Maldon sea salt flakes on top served with Mas Amiel. Yummm!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

KONG22 - Wednesday Morning

Yesterday morning, the ionosphere finally settled enough or us to receive more than a handful of stations from North America. The best period was around 0500 UTC with many signals from the western part of the continent such as KELA-1470 and KBZY-1490.

Pacific later in the morning and noon was rather disappointing, with only Marshall Islands and Kiribati surfacing. It wasn't until early afternoon we had decent signals from Japan. At that time of the day, the inferference from China is usually severe.

Yesterday was another king crab day, this time with focaccia and Siberian chive olive oil, and chocolate-lime soufflé for dessert.

Weather's been quite nice the past two days, partly couldy and mostly dry. Temperatures in the 3-6 degrees Celsius range.

Conditions this night/morning were reasonably good. Right now around local sunrise (7.30 am) the signals usually take a dip before getting stronger again later in the morning. Hoping to hear some early Pacific/Asia today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

KONG22 - Tuesday Morning

Ahhh.... finally fair conditions towards North America!

Monday, October 15, 2012

KONG22 - Monday Evening

Still very disturbed conditions, but one or two stations did manage to get through, such as KWYO 1410 which OJ Sagdahl heard last night. Very weak conditions throughout the morning, but Marshall Islands and Kiribiti were audible.  Early in the afternoon we experienced very nice condtions to Japan with a nice ID from  JOFD Fukushima relay station in Koriyama on 1512. Thanks Takashi Kuroda for confirming the JOFD identification.

Some Australian stations were heard in early evening.

Dinner today was burned figs with parma ham , followed by woked salmon as main course. Cheese, chocolate pudding and vanilla custard for dessert. Wines: Chardonnay Les Graviers 2010 with the main course, and Luxardo Amaretto with the dessert.

Windy and rainy today, 5 degrees Celsius.

The solar conditions appear to be a little more quiet now.

KONG22 - Monday Morning

Quiet night - at least on the TOH recordings I made. Now at around 06:30 local there are a few signals from North America. We'll have to wait and see what it evolves to.KMIK-AZ 1580 seems to be having transmitter or antenna trouble as it is suddenly one of the most common stations here.

Cloudy but mostly dry, light breeze and 4 degrees Celsius in the morning. The forecast for the afternoon is less promising.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

KONG22 - Sunday Afternoon

Most of the day was extremely uneventful, with only a few and weak signals from Alaska and Hawaii, plus Marshall Islands-1089 and Kiribati-1440. Towards the afternoon, things started to improve with better audio from Asia. Excellent signals from Japan from  13:00 onwards, and more than 20 stations from India were logged at 15:30 on the backlobe of the 310 beverage. Maybe there is hope for the coming night.

Today's dinner was quite traditional, first Salmon Sashimi with Sake (to celebrate the excellent Japan signals), followed by King Crab Carbonara. Assorted cheese (with my favourite Papillon Roquefort) for dessert.

Weather's been quite ok with decreasing winds, mostly dry in the afternoon (so I could enjoy a nice jog to the lighthouse), and around 5 degrees Celsius.

KONG22 - Sunday Morning

OK, so we didn't hear much yesterday, but we did find out about the 1610 TIS, as it turned out to be WQLE259 in Prudhoe Bay, AK. 10 watts according to the FCC. Being somewhat (or totally) ignorant that it had been heard in Aihikiemi last year, we posted a query to the RealDX reflector and eventually found out what it was. It's only 10 watts, and was heard yesterday at all three on-going Arctic DX-peditions (Kongsfjord, Aihkiniemi and Parkalompolo).

Also noted from recordings was 40-watt CBC Tuktoyaktuk alone on 1150.

Conditions towards Asia later that day was uninspiring. More inspiring was social activities like having reindeer stew for dinner. Reindeer stew is thin reindeer shavings, red chili and mashed potatoes, accompanied by a bottle of 2006 Weinert Carrascal red wine. For dessert we had chocolate pudding with vanilla custard, a small glass of Grappa Amoroso and a small glass of Amaretto.

The geomagnetic conditions are awful with a C-flare early in the night, but some signals manage to sneak over the North Pole. Our expectations for today are modest: Keep the proton level down!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

KONG22 - Saturday Morning

Ole Forr arrived yesterday evening, and after a very uneventful night we woke up to some Alaska, Hawaii and west coast stations. Conditions are brittle though - going very much up & down with the changing ionosphere. Stations are popping up from the noise with nice levels for a few seconds, then they dive into the noise again. The most stable station this morning appears to be KZDG San Francisco CA 1550 with its Indian format. Other stations noted are KLAM Cordova AK 1450 with very nice levels, and KXXJ Juneau AK 1330.

OJ Sagdahl and TJ Bråtveit are scheduled to land at Berlevåg airport at 13:17 local.

UPDATE: KMIK Tempe AZ 1580 somewhat surprising log at 07:00 and 40-watt CBKD weak under KKAA an hour later. Also at 07:00 a readable TIS station on 1610 which will be uploaded for expert scrutiny (thanks PAX crew for the tip). At the moment Marshall Isl-1098 is heard with a weak signal.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pre-KONG22 Report

Arrived at Kongsfjord at 12:15 local, in gale force winds, blowing rain and +5 Celsius. A bit later I drove to Berlevåg to collect 10 kgs of king crab. On the return to Kongsfjord I took the pictures below. The waves were huge!  Ole Forr is scheduled to arrive late this evening or early night, after a 2000+ km drive! The rest of the gang will be picked up at BVG airport tomorrow.

UPDATE: The 15:00 UTC full hour brought mostly south-east Asian stations, including a few from the Philippines with nice signals.

Monday, October 08, 2012

And Nothing Much Happened On Sunday...

Conditions were mostly absent on Sunday morning, so I decided to make an early return to Vadsø. An SMS from Mika confirmed that conditions towards Asia later that day weren't very exciting.

Anyway, the reason for going to Kongsfjord in the first place was preparations for the upcoming KONG22 DXpedition, which starts with the arrivals of OJ Sagdahl, TJ Bråtveit and Ole Forr on Saturday. There is some logistics involved in preparing for these events, and with the nearest grocery store 32 km away there is, to quote any NatGeo TV program, "no room for error". At least not the way we cook...

I'm going back to Kongsfjord Friday afternoon.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Saturday's DX - And Then Suddenly Nothing Happened

A very nice start actually, as at 1100 UTC most frequencies housing Japan's broadcasters were speaking Japanese, and I also noted some interesting stations from China, such as Nei Menggu RGD on 1584. I was just waiting for New Zealand to become audible, when suddenly someone cut the antenna. Or someone hadn't but it sounded like that. Dead quiet, except my semi-local Russians. When conditions slowy recovered a few hours later it was typically auroral with Iran dominating almost every frequency they're listed on. One's been uploaded and is available in the Audio Files section.

Before the DX started I made a brief trip to Berlevåg to see old aquaintances. On the way back I took the picture below. My QTH is just where the sun focuses its rays. Incidentally, maybe.

We'll see what the night brings. I'm in contact with Mika Mäkeläinen in Aihkiniemi via SMS, comprising the Arctic Early Warning Radio Alarm System. Or something to that effect.

Saturday Oct 6 Report

Not much to report, really. The plasma blob on the sun yesterday certainly had its impact and conditions went quite auroral with few if any North American stations audible. Some stations from Brazil and Argentina had ok signal levels but nothing really "DX-able". Instead I did some more comparisons between the omnidirectional Mini-Whip active antenna and my directive beverages. This time I had connected a Kiwa 10 dB preamp to the Mini-Whip feedline to put the antennas on equal terms with regard to gain.

The Mini-Whip fares quite well when signals are above a certain level. Weak but audible X-band stations, such as AM Restauración, Argentina on 1630 isn't heard on the Mini-Whip, while the 50-degree beverage backlobe hears it quite well. When it comes to monitoring more powerful stations in-band, the difference is much less pronounced.

This 20-second recording of Buenos Aires on 1270 should illustrate my point. The first 10 seconds is from the Mini-Whip, the last 10 from the 50-degree beverage (pardon the unintended difference in audio gain). While the latter is definitely stronger, the Mini-Whip does a very decent job. Add to the equation that the NetSDR which hosted the Mini-Whip is a few dB less sensitive than the Afedri SDR-Net which was connected to the beverage.

I experienced roughly the same difference when I compared with Brazil 4885 kHz.

During the day I will ground the Mini Whip feed line to see if there is any difference in noise levels.
UPDATE: After grounding the coax braid, there was no difference. The SDR-Radio waterfall was identical before and after the grounding, so I presume that the noise level is as good as it gets.

Misty but relatively calm, 8 degrees Celsius at 7 am local, this is in the "Warm" category for October and 71 degrees north.