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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.