Sunday, October 27, 2013

Kongsfjord Revisited - One Week Later

If anyone was waiting for a final KONG23 post, I apologise. A severe weather forecast was in effect for departure day (Saturday Oct 19), but luckily the storm held its breath until I had sent TJ, OJ and Arnstein to the airport. The mountain crossing on my return to Vadsø was a little challenging, but I was safe at home when the storm hit. It lasted until Sunday evening. Since then weather's been nice, and my trip to Kongsfjord on Friday afternoon was uneventful, save a few snow drifts.

Conditions have been under the influence of an active sun, but reasonably good most of the time. Friday saw two X-level flares, and I expected a dead band on the night. Not so. Contrary to the common mid-west and western stations usually dominating here, I had a rush of east coast, Caribbean and Colombian stations, many not heard here before. Some of the more interesting ones were WAOC St. Augustine FL 1420, WCSL Cherryville NC 1590, WQSC Charleston SC 1340 and WGHB Farmville NC 1250, the first three new for me. WMDD Fajardo PR was booming in on 1480, and WMKI Boston MA, WSKO Syracuse NY and CKHJ Frederickton NB were fighting for dominance on 1260 in the absence of usual dominant CFRN Edmonton AB.
310 beverage overnight Jaguar waterfall, October 26

Contrary to previous days when conditions lated until 13:00 UTC or longer, signal levels were rather weak at 07:00 and more or less completely gone by 08:00. I had hoped for an east coast sunrise opening, but it was not to come.

Saturday afternoon brought nothing of interest from Asia and the Pacific, and Sunday was uneventful. Heavy interference from Europe, and only the usual La Plata stations audible. Conditions turned a bit north later in the morning with a few eastern NA stations at very low signal levels, and also HJJW Bogotá 1460. However, we DX by the slogan "Expect the Unexpected", and  WWNA Radio Una 1340 in Aguada PR fits perfectly into that category. Thanks Arnstein for checking my recording.

310 beverage overnight Jaguar waterfall, October 27

In contrast to Saturday, when the 340 beverage heard almost the same as the 310 beverage, today was totally different and the 340 was basically empty.

Weather has been quite ok for October, from +1 to -2 Celsius, mostly cloudy and occasional flurries, mostly calm. Quite a contrast to the previous weekend.

Friday, October 18, 2013

KONG23 - Day Nine (Morning)

Today is the last full day of KONG23, and improvement is coming! We have seen great improvement in solar weather, and from just before 03:00 signals improved considerably, as we can see on the Yaslog waterfall below.

We'll see what happens as we have a lot of catching up to do. Departure for Berlevag airport at 05:00 tomorrow...

Weather is pretty much like yesterday but a little windier.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

KONG23 - Day Seven (Evening)

Not much to report DX-wise, however we've been having fun checking recordings from the last week of September, and we've found lots of new and interesting stations.

As is the procedure every year, the chefs take a day off and we eat at Kongsfjord Guest House. This year, we opted for cod loins with custard and garlic, carrot paste and potatoes. A delicious Chianti was served with the fish. For dessert we had pannacotta with fresh cloudberries. Of course we didn't know quite when to stop, so we couldn't resist  a couple of Gammel Opland aquavit.

Solar activity is still on the active side, but we hope that tonight will be a bit better than last night. In fact, any night will be better than last night...

Since I don't have any photos to accompany this post, why don't you check the link to one of the stations we heard in September, and QSL-ed this evening.

KONG23 - Day Seven (Morning)

What have we done to deserve this... basically nothing at all during the night:

Luckily we still have lots of recordings from the good September openings to check, and find new stations.

Yesterday it was time for another KONG signature meal, the reindeer tenderloin, together with mashed potatoes & carrots and a veg wok. We started off with fresh dates wrapped in bacon or parma ham, fried on the pan. We finished with what gradually became a four-dish dessert; baked pineapples followed by cloudberries in whipped cream. As if that wasn't enough the rest of the cheese were downed with port wine before finishing it all with chocolate pudding leftovers and Amaretto. And the absolutely totally awesome Felton Road Pinot Noir.

Weather cooled off overnight, -4 Celsius but sunny and moderate breeze. One or more foxes visited the premises during darkness, and was not disappointed to find a nice selection of leftovers from past dinners.

View to the southwest

What Did The Fox Say? "Thanks guys!"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

KONG23 - Day Six (Morning)

We hope it doesn't get any worse than this. The night and morning was totally uneventful, a small peak at 04:00 but nothing exciting. We can only hope for improvement. Yesterday evening brought a nice opening towards Japan and the Philippines. Recordings from previous days and weeks keep us busy.

Our activities rarely create headlines with the stations we hear. KROS Clinton IA 1340 however decided to share this with their internet readers, and made this page where reports from me and Ole Forr are cited. I received my KROS verie yesterday.

The weather has turned colder with moderate breeze, light snow and hail showers and around 0 Celsius.

Today's photo is from October 13 after the storm.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

KONG23 - Day Five's been a while.

The sun's not been nice to us. It's teasing us with letting signals through now and then, but it shuts the door too often. Nothing interesting from Asia yesterday, and nothing interesting from Asia today. On Monday however (TJ discovered when playing back his Winradio recordings), there was a nice opening at 20:00 towards Asia, when the NHK-1 stations had their local ID procedure.

Last night was mostly quiet, but a few short but interesting openings brought stations like KOLY Mobridge SD 1300, KWYN Wynne AR 1400, KYLS Fredericktown MO 1450 and  WROX Clarksdale MS 1450. Recordings are still being examined.

Yesterday was beef day, with a Uruguayan tenderloin carefully and respectfully prepared by Arnstein after a salmon sashimi starter. Today was OJ's turn and he impressed us as usual with cauliflower soup for starter, followed by rack of lamb with vegetables. We have to wait a bit for the cheese, since there's a limit to how much we can eat. For details (especially about the wines): See the Kongsfjord page.

Winter's been waiting a couple of days to unleash its white power on us, and today we got an early warning of what's to come.

Our neighbours - barely visible

Sadly, winter seems to have joined forces with the sun, so there are near-storm levels everywhere.

Monday, October 14, 2013

KONG23 Day Four (Morning)

The planned KONG23 Day Three (Evening) post never made it. Too much dinner-related fatigue.

Conditions towards Asia and Pacific yesterday was uninspiring to say the least. We did do an antenna check yesterday though, and the previous night's storm hadn't done any damage. The wind had calmed to fresh breeze at the time.
Ocean swells hammering on the "Hattholmen", Hat Island

The white stick to the left is one of the 340 beverage supports

Even if conditions let us down, meals never do. Sunday's three-course dinner started with a duck liver paté on crispy sourdough bread. From that rather heavy intro we went on to woked salmon before ending up with assorted cheeses.

Solar activity has been very low the past 24 hours or so, but it doesn't reflect on conditions. Stations are heard, but overnight European interference was heavy, and the signal levels this morning are low.

Weather is gradually cooling off and we're just on the plus side of the scale now. Calm winds, occasional sleet. We may expect more gale force winds tomorrow with snow and temperatures below 0 Celsius.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

KONG23 Day Three (Morning)

OK signal levels throughout the night, but not very focused so difficult to hear anything interesting. At 05:00 southern states became more audible as WTDR Gadsen AL 1350 and WZNG Shelbyville TN 1400 came up with nice IDs.

Weather this night was rough indeed with heavy winds, sleet and snow, and the noise made it difficult to sleep. At dawn I took this picture from the window.

We will see what the rest of the morning brings. When the weather clears up a bit it might be a good idea to do an antenna inspection, however there is no indication that there is anything wrong with them.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

KONG23 - Day Two

This morning's propagation report wasn't very optimistic, and the Jaguar overnight waterfall below illustrates quite well that the signal levels were low and mostly of little interest. There was a short blast however at 07:00 to 09:00 with decent signals from some Coloradio stations and neighbouring states. New in the log is KRDZ Wray CO 1440. KIIX Ft. Collins CO 1410 is not new but not very often heard, however they had a very nice signal today.

China was surprisingly weak this afternoon, allowing a nice opening to Japan at 13:00, and decent signals even at 13:20 when the NHK-2 stations had their local ID break. JOLR KNB Toyama 738 had a massive signal, and JOEF YBC Yamagata 918 dwarfed Archangelsk completely. A possible NHK-2 local ID was noted on 1035 which is mostly inaccessible due to Chinese interference. KTWG Agana Guam 801 and KUAM "Isla 63" 630 were noted with strong signals a while.

Later in the evening TJ found a signal on 1130, and at 15:53 we noted a KPHI Honolulu HI identification with fair signal levels. Other Hawaiians were audible too, but signal levels weren't very impressive. Nothing of interest from DU.

This evening was King Crab day. For starters, we chose bruschetta with parma ham, baked dulcita tomatoes, parmesan cheese and fresh basil. The main course was of course king crab the usual way, baked on a salt bed, and served with pasta carbonara. The wine of choice this year was a 2009 Chablis Premier Cru. We rounded off the meal with burned figs with Gorgonzola cheese and cloudberries on top. A Madeira would go nicely along with this, and we decided that a 1982 Madeira Barbeito would do well. Especially since it was the only one we had.

Optimistic as ever, we're looking forward to the coming night.

Weatherwise: Rain showers, calm to fresh breeze during the day, and 3-4 Celsius. The weather bureau warns us about stormy conditions overnight, with sleet and snow. If the weather turns bad enough I'll post a photo tomorrow.

KONG23 - Day One

KONG23 officially started with the arrival of Arnstein Bue, OJ Sagdahl and TJ Bråtveit on schedule, in heavy winds at 13:05, courtesy of Wideroe Airlines. Solar conditions aren't at all good, the previous night was uneventful with only a handful stations heard. Nothing interesting from Asia and the Pacific in the afternoon either, so the guests could set up their PCs and black boxes (SDRs) with no stress. Weather has definitely turned autumn, although mild for the season with 5 Celsius, but gale force winds and showers would be unmotivating for outdoor activities like antenna erections. Luckily we didn't have to, they were already up.

The first KONG meal is usually a simple one. This year, Bjarne presented his special fish gratin comprised of haddock loins and fried bacon, lyce, carrots and macaroni, and the all-important muscat flavour. A Kim Crawford white wine served as a worthy companion. For dessert we enjoyed dark chocolate pudding with vanilla custard and a small glass of Amaretto. To clear our throats we also needed a glass of the lovely Grappa Amoroso.

Overnight conditions are even worse than yesterday's. Few, and faint signals. Luckily we have lots of recordings to attend. The temperature this morning is 3 Celsius, fresh breeze and the hills are snow-clad. Fresh breads are in the making. Ocean swells are hammering on my sandy beach near the house. Yes, it's that time of the year again.

October 2013 Verifications (Oct 12 Update)

KTOQ Rapid City SD 1340
KBRB Ainsworth NE 1400
WJOI Norfolk VA 1230
WCHU Ithaca NY 870
WTKI Huntsville AL 1450 See proper QSL letter here
WGY Schenectady NY 810
WKNW Sault St. Marie MI 1400
WRVA Richmond VA 1140
CBN St. John's NL 640 (Canada no. 200)
WFIR Roanoke NY 960
KTFI Wendell ID 1340
WGAN Portland ME 560
WEAV Plattsburgh NY 960
WBIP Boonesville MS 1400
WRTO Chicago IL 1200 (thanks BIH)
KCOW Alliance NE 1400
CJVA Caraquet NB 810
WIOD Miami FL 610
WMOH Hamilton OH 1450
KRLW Walnut Ridge AR 1320
WBCK Battle Creek MI 930 - their full-hour ID is here (studio version)

Thanks OJS for several verie-signers.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The KONG Crew Has Landed!

Now: Setting up the gear, accompanied with music from KBRW 680 and "Northern Lights" beer.

KONG23 - Arrival Day

We don't quite know what to expect from this year's KONG DX-pedition, given the recent solar activity. Actually we thought the band would be dead quiet last night from the aftermath of the M-class flare on Wednesday. It wasn't! It varied a lot, as one can expect with disturbed conditions, and the Jaguar overnight waterfall illustrates this nicely.

Good conditions towards the MI/OH/IN area at 01:00, stations like WBCK-MI 930, WSBT-IN 960, WMOH-OH 1450 and WBNS-OH 1460. Totally dead at 02:00, improving 03:00 and then a very nice opening toward the southern states at 04:00 giving me new stations from VA, KY and AR. Decent signals even at 05:00 but then the signal levels dipped as if someone switched the power off. From red to green in seconds.

At the time of writing this, 03:30 UTC on the 11th, the night has been quite uneventful with only the most common stations audible.

Weather permitting, the other KONG participants Arnstein Bue, OJ Sagdahl and TJ Bråtveit will land at 11:04 UTC. The weather is quite rough although temperatures are still just on the red side of the zero mark.

What we do know, is that even if we don't hear well, we will eat and drink well! Stay tuned for some hefty descriptions here and on's weblog.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

September 2013 Verifications

KBZY Salem OR 1490
KVSI Montpellier ID 1450
KTNF St. Louis Park MN 950
CFOS Owen Sound ON 560
Vision Radio Network (several possible locations) 1611
Vision Radio Network, Bathurst NSW 1629
Regarding Vision Radio: Listen to their studio recording vs. my recording here