Saturday, October 28, 2023

KONG47 - Day Nine

This is going to be a short one, friends.

As mentioned in yesterday's post, we arranged breakfast for ourselves and our friends from Finland at 09 local today. They then headed back to their basecamp in Aihikiniemi whiile we carried on with searching for interesting stations. Conditions weren't the best, but from the previous night's recordings we did find KCSP Kansas City MO 610, KTSM El Paso TX 690, KMHI Mountain Home ID 1240, KCSF Colorado Springs CO 1300, KENN Farmington NM 1390 and KMIC Houston TX 1590. More to follow. 

Another visit to the sauna today, to make sure we are clean and representative when we travel home on Sunday evening and Monday morning. While at the sauna I wanted to catch the full moon, and I think I succeeded quite well with this unedited shot from my mobile phone.

Photo taken from the Kongsfjord Guesthouse sauna

Afterwards, we ate dinner, a lamb's thigh baked in the oven for 7 hours, with root veggies paste. Nice one! For dessert, my own apple pie with cream. We had one (or actually two) bottles of L'Ancien Le Buissy Beaujolais with the meat, and the rest of the Castelnau de Suduiraut with the dessert.

Weather: Calm, -2 Celsius and dry. Another nice day! Tomorrow will the last full day for the KONG crew, and I will be leaving as early as around 18 local. Before that, we have to dismantle the beverage antenna and equipment at the Mount Loran site.

KONG47 - Day Eight

A bit late this time, but yesterday was busy.
Propogation continues to be variable, and the North America Yaslog from the previous night on Mount Loran illustrates this. Not the most exciting conditions, but there are always surprises once you dig around on the recordings. "Noted in passing" include KBOW Butte MT 580, KSJK Talent OR 1230, KCCR Pierre SD and KFBC Cheyenne WY 1240, KTRC Santa Fe NM 1260, KPRK Livingston MT 1340.

Mount Loran Yaslog from 20:00 to 13:00.

So, why were we busy? We had guests for dinner! And it wasn't just any dinner, but King Crab dinner! And it wasn't just any guests, but Mika Mäkeläinen and Jim Solatie! They arrieved at 17:00 local after a 4-hour drive from their Aihkiniemi DX-pediton site in Finland. Just to visit us! Or maybe it was the prospect of an epic dinner. And epic it became - maybe not for the world but certainly for us five. Below are the gang of five as we prepare for the starter, a home made (by OJ) Västerbotten Pie with salmon roe, red onion and sour cream. Delightful wines were brought in from Finland - with the pie we enjoyed the Alsace Grand Cru Riesling 2019.

(From the left) Mika, Bjarne, OJ, Ole, Jim

The main course was King Crab Carbonara, and after baking the crab looked like this:

How can you not love this...

For the main course our visitors had brought one Crémant D'Alsace Muré and the Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru. Another great choice!

For dessert, another home-made-by-OJ course, Crème brûlée with which we enjoyed a Malmsey Madeira and the Castelnau de Suduiraut 2016.

But actually, the meal started a bit earlier, with the host (me) given the task (or forced to) do something he's not very good at... watch this:

That bottle was a Taittinger Champagne. Another excellent find from our friends. The rest of the evening was spent discussing DX-ing, geopolitics, listening to recordings and telling awkward Norwegian jokes about the Finns.

And we're not done yet! We'll meet again in a short while for a prober breakfast with sourdough bread (OJ-style), eggs & bacon, tea & coffee, cheeses and jam.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

KONG47 - Day Seven

A lot more variable propagation overnight - which means that the ionosphere is unstable. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? We shall find out! But first:

Digging Gold From Previous Days Dept: KFRE Lubbock TX 580 (probably never heard in Europe before) and KGNC Amarillo TX 710. Never heard in Norway before.

From today: Not too much so far; KXSP-NE 590, KHOW-CO 630, WHKM-MI 970, KORT-ID 1240, KTMM-CO 1340. So, today an unstable ionosphere wasn't the best choice. But who knows what will show up when we go through recordings more thoroughly!

After collecting the hard drive from Mount Loran, we took a detour to Berlevåg to supplement some food, anticipating Friday's arrival of the Special Guest Stars, or should we say Special Star Guests!

Today's dinner then! For starters, Salmon Tartare, with Kim Crawford white wine from New Zealand.. The main course is a KONG signature dish, tender loins from reindeer calves, with a paste from root veggies, red wine sauce with mushrooms and lingonberry jam. And a magificent 2020 Rosso de Montalcino. For dessert... well we decided to postpone dessert. A man can only eat so much. So, below are the reindeer tenderloins before and after:

Reindeer loins before...

And after (90 seconds on each side):

Reindeer loins after

Some are/may be interested in our selection of beer. This one may be of interest for DX-ers, since Yakima is home of 1460 KUTI, a station often heard here but now apparently silent. Amundsen Brewery on the other hand is very Norwegian.

And that's all we have for now, except another pre-sunrise photo from this area. By the way, weather was calm, cloudy but dry, and temperatures a tiny bit on the lower side of the zero mark. Possibly a little cooler tomorrow, but very light winds. Our guests will enjoy their drive.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

KONG47 - Day Six

First off, a photo from a the living room, around 45 minutes after sunset. Those familiar with northern latitudes will know that the twilight periods are much longer than further south.

I had a very nice 6-km run just as the sun was setting - chilly at -4 and some wind but with proper clothing you can run in almost any temperature.

Excellent signal levels from North America overnight, and amazingly the highest levels were noted 4 hours after sunrise! Now, high signal levels and lots of stations aren't the same as logging new ones. Propagation was spread wide, from the north-east to Alaska, and with conditions like that the dominant stations tend to... well, dominate. A few nice ones noted though, such as KDRO Sedalia MO 1490, KFH Witchita KS 1240, KLIK Jefferson City MO 1240, KCKM Monahans TX 1330 and KPUR Amarillo TX 1440, KHTS Canyon Country CA 1220.

Good signals from the Pacific early in the day, but the NHK-1 local ID at 10:00 left us with nothing of interest. More so the NHK-2 sign-off at 14:40, notably 1125 Tottori, 1377 Yamaguchi, 1386 Okayama, 1475 Iida and 1539 Masuda (Matsue relay).

After a few days in the wild, nothing feels better than a proper sauna! Great service from Kongsfjord Guesthouse who offered us their excellent facilities off-season.

Proper sauna...

So, what did we have to eat today? Starters: An old aquaintence: Roasted sourdoug bread rubbed with garlic, generous amounts of hummus and fried artichokes on top. And some fresh parsley.

And then, a new one!  Fried cod loins with mashed root veggies (potatoes, sweet potatos, celeriac, turnip), carrot sticks fried in honey, and a red wine sauce! And of course a red wine, a Langhe Rosso 2020. Excellent stuff! It may be a keeper!

Weather: -4 to -5 Celsius, various wind but sunny. Looks like tomorrow will be same, same.

Early Wednesday morning (before sunrise, very similar to the first picture)

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

KONG47 - Day Five

 So, the quite good conditions continue, but rain and sleet showers last night brought some noise that limited reception quite a bit. But that's how it is in this area. Asia/Pacific first: Very good signals from Tonga-1017, Marshall Isl-1098 and Fiji-990. The NHK-1 local slot at 10:00 brought a number of stations like Enbetsu-792, Wakkanai-927, 963-Aomori & Hachinohe-999 (relay of  Aomori) in addition to those already heard.

The Mount Loran Files were collected at around 14 local, and brought another night with good signal levels - and a few new stations! One station defintely worthy of mention is 250-watt daytime, 110-watt nighttime KMCD Fairfield IA 1570 with a very potent signal well into the morning here. Some other nice ones were KFIR Sweet Home OR 720, KATH Frisco TX 910, KNDN Farmington NM 960, KCFO Tulsa OK 970 and KBUF Holcomb KS 1030. The list will be longer.

So, what did we have to eat today? Well, for starters we had Bruschetta on OJ's sourdough bread. The main course was baked cod loins with bacon, potatoes and green pea purée. For dessert, chocolate pudding with custard. Calles Riesling was the wine of choice for the main course, Amaretto for the dessert.

Weather was quite nice today after some rain and sleet showers overnight. Calm, partly cloudy and +1 Celsius. Outlook for tomorrow is a bit colder, but little or no wind - certainly quite unusual in these parts.

To end this blogpost, a few pictures. The first one was taken by OJ en route to Mount Loran. Last week there was a proper autumn storm in this area, combined with extra high tide. So, the ocean swells did some serious damage to the road, throwing boulders up to 200 kg on to the road, and crippled the road fences like they were aluminium foil as you can see on the picture. Luckily the storm didn't wash away the road altogether, so the "Berlewegians" can still get out of Berlevåg to see the world. And more importantly: We have access to Mount Loran!

Kaltes Auto

Northwest: Wind park

South: Neighbours

Monday, October 23, 2023

KONG47 - Day Four

Improvement! The previous night brought nice signal levels from the western part of North America (notably the MST and PST time zones). In addition we could collect a full night's worth of super low noise recordings from Mount Loran. Definitely worthy of mention are KION Salinas CA 1460, KLOC Turlock CA 1390, KMYC Marysville CA 1410.  From Mount Loran: KXXX Colby KS 790 ID just 3 minutes before power-down at sunset, KJLT North Platte NE 970 and KSCB Liberal KS 1270.

Signals from Asia and the Pacific came early, with good signals from Tonga-1017 and Marshall Isl-1098. The 10:00 UTC NHK-1 local ID slot wasn't too interesting, but we noted JOFP Fukushima 1323 and JOJP Tsuruoka 1368.

So, what's for dinner? Leftovers! Leftovers from the fabulous lambshank in Barolo dinner yesterday. But let's start with the starters! Goose liver paste on sourdough bread. Btw, this is OJ's version of a proper sourdough bread!

The rest of the lambshanks were combined with various vegetables into a stew of epic proportions. We mixed chopped carrots, sweet potatoes, celeriac, turnip, leek and red chili into a hot stew. The bones were left outdoor for Michael Fox (actually that's the children's term for the fox, "Mikkel Rev", which incidentally translates into that famous actor). For dessert, another batch of cheeses, together with some great Port wine.

I forgot to take pictures today (again!!), so here is today's 6-km run this afternoon. I spotted a reindeer on the track, it shouldn't be here.

Weather: 2-3 Celsius, medium breeze from the north, dry. Looks like it's going to stay above zero tomorrow as well.

KONG47 - Day Three

Now, what is it with DX-peditions and propagation? Another disappointing night and day towards North America. Asia/Pacific came early, at around 08:00 with Tonga-1017 and a few from Japan, but then signal levels dropped. At the NHK-2 sign-off at 16:00 we noted a few of the less powered stations like JOSB Kitakyushu 1602, JOID Oita 1467 and JOAC Nagasaki 1377, all 1 kW. Signal levels from the Chinese megastations were weaker than usual, which is always a good thing.

We noted the previous day that the Mount Loran setup had suffered high noise levels due to a damaged feedline. Bite marks suggest someone from the Animal Kingdom was hoping for a snack. After a fix by OJ and Ole the usual low noise levels were restored, and we're already looking forward to the overnight IQ recordings!

Personally I run a bit, and after two days in physical inactivity it was time to do an 8-km run in studded running shoes (from Sarva) around Kongsfjord in these conditions:

Dinner: We started off with Salmon Tartare, and then this...

Prior to the 5-hour cooking. Two bottles of Barolo, six lambshanks

4 hours - nearly there

Lambshanks in Barolo is certainly a winner, and today's dinner will be based on leftovers. For dessert we had home made Chocolate Mousse. Naturally we chose Barolo red wine for the starter and main course, while an Amaretto was a perfect companion to the Mousse.

Weather: Breezy, heavy showers of rain and sleet early in the day but it cleared up. Temperatures just above zero, but cold enough to form a thin layer of ice on the road - hence the studded running shoes.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

KONG47 - Day Two

Uninspiring from North America. We noted KZDG-CA 1550 as early as 01:00Z which is half an hour before San Francisco sunset. But it's a dominant anyway. At the same TOH we also noted KAMI Cozad NE 1580 which isn't often heard. Not very much of interest from Asia either. A few stations noted at the NHK-2 signoff at 14:55Z. 1602 kHz was a jumble, but 1-kW JOTC Aomori on 1521 did stand out.

After a very blustery and rainy morning, the wind and rain finally allowed us to go to Mount Loran and erect the 800-metre (was 1000-metres) beverage. Unfortunately the feedline was damaged by animal bites so we need to go back on Sunday and replace or repair the feedline. Still on the red side on the thermometer, but a little cooler, 3-4 Celsius.

Ocean swells hammering the Kjølnes Lighthouse (view from Mount Loran)

During the afternoon the weather got rather nice with much less wind, which was a welcome change.

Dinner: Tapas for starters. Main course was baked salmon rich belly loin with bacon bits, spring onions and pasta with pesto and garlic. Accompanied by Calle's Riesling (yes, it's white). For dessert: Selected cheeses, including Roquefort Papillon, with Chateau Liot Sauternes, 2016, and a bit of Grappa. And Aquavite. And Amaretto.

Salmon: Before baking

Salmon: After baking

KONG47 - Day One

We arrived safe! The last 70-80 km or so were challenging at places with sleet on the road, especially covering the outer edges - exactly where one needs to put the right-hand wheels when meeting other traffic. Easy to lose control if not careful - and it was a close call a couple of times for both cars. I was here around 11:00Z, OJ and Ole a couple of hours later.

Anyway, we settled in with locally-produced fried fish balls, a couple of Supersonic from Lervig, and a very nice Belgian Golden Strong Ale made in Gudbrandsdalen near Ole's home QTH, Solgløtt from Leifur Brygg. 

Dinner: As usual on day one, Bjarne's home made fish gratin, served with the only hint of NZL we had today, a Kim Crawford white wine. For dessert chocolate pudding with custard, and a little Amaretto.

Weather: The temperature maxed out at around 6 Celsius. Very windy as reported earlier, and occasional light (but horisontal!) showers. Doing work on Mount Loran was out of the question, the weather forecast for Saturday says a little less windy so hopefully we can get the remote site going then.

Forgot to take pictures, so this Jaguar Spectra snip from 1548 kHz will have to do. 4QD Emerald to the right, too busy with live coverage of the Rugby World Cup match between Australia and Pakistan to do any TOH ID's or Majestic Fanfare (Australia won). Visible at 16:30Z is the sign-on by super-powered Radio Farda in Kuwait. Not the best conditions otherwise with auroral influence. Lots of stations from Iran and Thailand.

Stay tuned for more fish on Saturday!

Friday, October 20, 2023

KONG47 Travel Day - And a Message From The Jaguar

Travel Day - or Day Zero? Anyway, it's time again to send daily updates from our DX-pedition in Kongsfjord, Arctic Norway. 

OJ Sagdahl and Ole Forr will arrive with a rental car later in the afternoon from Kirkenes Airport. I have a much shorter route, 170 km from Vadsø to Kongsfjord. Weather in October can be challenging, and certainly changing, and we're now in a transition from cool, snowy and relatively calm weather to well above freezing, rainy and very heavy winds - with all the effects on road conditions that go with the change.

So, what does the Jaguar software have to do with this? Well, if you don't have a Perseus SDR but one that will work with the HDSDR software (such as any SDR from SDRPlay), you may find this write-up interesting!

Weather: Here in Vadsø at the moment (07:00 local) 0 Celsius and a little windy. Out on the "real" arctic coastline at Kongsfjord around +2 Celsius and winds gusting at 17 m/s or 35 kts. Below is a photo this morning from the village Ekkerøy, east of Vadsø (facing northeast). Will start my drive at around 10:00.

Hoping for safe travels!

Source: Norsk Luftambulanse