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Being able to take a break from war reporting was the most important benefit of the 159th DXpedition to Aihkiniemi. One of the high points was hearing two stations from Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost tip of South America, over 15,700 kilometers from our cabin. Otherwise conditions were mediocre. We were able to find a few new catches mostly from the US, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, China and Spain. Additionally, seeing rare reddish northern lights and taking a road trip to meet Norwegian DXers were the highlights of AIH159.

Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine has resulted in a tense, miserable and hectic year, which for me has included for example a couple of reporting assignments in Ukraine, as well as endless hours analyzing the war at home here in Finland. You can find links to much of my reporting on my public Facebook page. As a result of intensive reporting on the war, I have accumulated loads of overtime, part of which I was able to compensate for by taking this two-week break for DXing in Lapland.

Because of the excessive workload, I haven't been able to check and recycle as many hard drives from previous years as I planned. This was a good reason to shop for another 2030 terabytes of storage space for yet more recordings this season.

On a rainy Friday evening in mid-October I met Jim Solatie at the Pasila railway station in Helsinki to cram his belongings in my Toyota Auris. Then we left the jam-packed car on the lower deck of a car-carrier train, almost first in line, and walked over to the nearby Tripla Mall for a dinner at Bangkok 9 Restaurant.

Jim and Mika at Bangkok 9 Restaurant
Ready to identify Thai foods and Thai radio stations with Jim (left). In this report you can CLICK the photos to open larger versions in a new browser window.

After some Thai delicacies it was time to hop on board IC 265 train, which would take us all the way to Rovaniemi in about 12 hours. The train was packed with families going on a holiday in the Arctic, as this was the beginning of the fall break in most schools. I didn't sleep too well, but that's what tends to happen on a somewhat noisy train. Sharing experiences of the shortcomings of the Finnish judicial system probably didn't help either.

The train arrived in Rovaniemi at the scheduled time of half past seven on Saturday morning. It took another 20 minutes to unload the cars, after which we started driving north along Highway 4. Jim had breakfast at the railway station restaurant, while I waited for the car. Later I grabbed a sandwich at Lidl in Sodankylä on the way. Initially there were plenty of reindeer lining the road just north of Rovaniemi, but no near-misses.

Proceeding north, we had the road practically to ourselves. The temperature remained above zero, so I was able to drive pretty fast. And we didn't spend time at the regular sightseeing spots along the road, since mist and drizzle didn't favor taking any decent photos.

We missed seeing outgoing DXers Lauri Niemi and Jyrki Hytönen who had left Aihkiniemi quite early, and got on phone with them when we were in Ivalo, while they had already passed us and continued further south to Saariselkä.

Sign indicating when the border crossing is open
Murmansk would be only 300 kilometers away from Ivalo, but right now it feels decades away.

Ivalo is the best place to buy groceries around here. S-Market Vaskooli was less crowded than normally, because there wasn't a single Russian shopper. At this point Murmansk was just 300 kilometers (186 miles) away to the east, but due to decreased border traffic, the border crossing is open only during daytime. Very few Russians have a valid reason to cross the border now that shopping for better cheese no longer entitles them to enter Finland.

With a chock-full car we then continued to Inari in the afternoon, and had lunch at a Neste service station before the final stretch to Aihkiniemi. This pit stop had changed ownership, but their menu remained the same. We arrived in our misty paradise at 2.30 PM local time, and had first recordings running by 4 PM local time, or 1300 UTC.

The beginning is always a bit chaotic. For me at least it always takes some time to acclimatize, to figure out how to set up everything properly, as it had been a full year since my last DXpedition AIH142.

Unlike last fall, we didn't build any new antennas ourselves, but previous crews had improved and replaced for instance coax cables. We had a choice of the same familiar 14 antennas, each 1 kilometer (on average 3,300 ft) long:

Antenna directions at Aihkiniemi

We both operated three Perseus receivers. Jim used the native Perseus software, while I prefer Jaguar. Here you can see what my setup looks like: one laptop for each Perseus, only one of which is visible in this shot. Perseus is the yellow-lined small black box, still the best SDR for Lapland, especially when coupled with Jaguar.

Mika's listening equipment Mika's DX setup in Aihkiniemi.

The weather was pretty favorable, with not too much snow by the end of the DXpedition. We can't really complain about the solar weather either, because as we are approaching the solar maximum, all sorts of unfavorable solar events are bound to become more commonplace.

The Aihkiniemi premises were the same as before. A bit basic and spartan perhaps for someone, but quite sufficient for the sole purpose of our travel here, which is hunting for distant radio stations on the AM band. In this video shot in 2020 you can take a peek inside the Aihkiniemi cabins and see how we have equipped the place.

And when the radio dial provides nothing interesting, occasionally the sky does. Photography for me is an essential part of these expeditions, and you can enjoy the best shots in this report.

Vertical shot of aurora borealis and the Milky Way
As a keepsake from the Arctic, you can use this photo of the Milky Way with northern lights for personal non-commercial purposes, such as a background image on your cell phone. Click to open a larger version.

Several other Arctic DXpeditions took place in parallel to ours. Unfortunately, listening efforts from Lemmenjoki are not online. In Parkalompolo in Sweden, PAX150, PAX151, PAX152 and PAX153 (these links open Word and PDF documents) coincided at least partially with AIH159. In Norway, postings from KONG45 can be found in Bjarne Mjelde's blog.

Here's our day-to-day diary with details of propagation conditions. A full log will be published only after all recordings have been reviewed. To get an idea of how extensive these logs can be, check out earlier logs for example from AIH33 and AIH124, where only rare catches are listed.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Japanese stations welcomed us on the dial and were heard pretty strong at 13001500 UTC, but waned somewhat by the time NHK2 stations identified and closed down for the day at 1540 UTC. Dozens of stations were identified, but no new or otherwise rare ones. In the evening, there were no good openings to any direction, and for instance not a single Australian station was logged.

Jim and Mika
Slava Ukraini! And fuck Russian warships!

Sunday, October 16, 2022

As soon as the sun set over the Americas, stations were heard from Canada to Argentina. Our 305-degree antenna carried loads of signals around 00000730 UTC, except for a deep dip around 0100 UTC. South American stations peaked at about 0500 UTC, with some Chilean and Colombian stations (for instance Radio Nacional on 570 and 680 AM) heard even later.

For North America, 0600 UTC was perhaps the best top of the hour, including stations such as 950 KKSE, 980 KDSJ, 1060 KRCN, 1340 KTMM, 1410 KOOQ, and 1440 KPUR. I got surprisingly many personally new catches this morning: 1270 XEGL, 1310 KYUL, 1560 KTUI and 1670 XEFCR. Signals nosedived at about 0745 UTC, with just some common and weak stations remaining during the day.

Then it was time to check the first antennas, despite light rain, and to change a couple of light bulbs.

In the afternoon a plethora of Chinese stations were heard especially at 12001300 UTC fitting as it was the beginning of the Communist party congress in Beijing. Then almost everything vanished, and Asian stations including unfortunately also the Middle East returned less forcefully around 1400 UTC.

An antenna wire
This is what our antenna wires look like.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Overnight was much less exciting than the previous night. Transatlantic stations emerged fairly strong at 0100 UTC, but it turned out to be a short peak. After a lull, South American signals were strongest at 03000500 UTC. Eventually the best period might turn out to be 04000500 UTC, when interference by European stations began to wane. However, signals from South America dropped right after 0500 UTC, and reception even from the western half of the US deteorirated markedly by 0600 UTC. Local sunrise here was 0525 UTC, so it was not really a surprise.

For example 1230 KBAR, 1240 KIUL, 1340 KGGS, 1340 KACH, 1350 WWWL, 1360 KPXQ, 1410 WNGL and 1580 KKTY were identified in the early morning hours. KUSH Cushing OK on 1600 AM was my best catch, a station previously unheard in Finland.

As it was Monday, we got our first shot at RNE stations during their local break at 0525 UTC, although we didn't net any new ones. So far the only new catch for me from Europe was scoring Radio Attiva from Italy on 1278 AM.

In the afternoon the Eastern Hemisphere opened relatively early, and after 1045 UTC we noticed the first Kiwis of the season (1035, 1080, 1107 and 1161 AM). Propagation progressed in the usual manner, starting from Japan, and gradually descending through China to lower latitudes. Areas around the Himalayas were exceptionally strong around 1600 UTC, including AIR Pasighat on 1062 AM, a personally new catch. Nothing worth mentioning was heard later in the evening.

Purple moss closeup
A closeup of purple moss.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Reception of transatlantic stations got off to a really slow start with hardly any stations emerging from the static before 0200 UTC. Propagation favored the US, and South American stations were weaker than yesterday. Reception peaked before sunrise at around 0500 UTC, which should be investigated in more detail, as we logged more stations from southern states than normally (such as 1140 KHFX, 1170 KTSB, 1350 WWWL and 1510 XEQI).

Later on emphasis shifted to the Great Plains, and soon to the Pacific Northwest (such as 960 KLAD, 1290 KPAY, 1340 KIHR, KWVR, KYSP, KLOO, and 1520 KVEN), from where new stations are hardest to find. During daylight, signals persisted at a stronger level than before until past 1200 UTC, after which the last sounds from the Western Hemisphere withered.

At the start of the RNE1 local break at 0525 UTC I netted Zaragoza on 639 AM, a new one for me.

Thin ice forming at a swamp
Amazing uneven ice formations at the swamp surrounding Aihkiniemi.

During the day we checked more antennas and left automated software to preserve the AM band. The sun showed up for a change, and after a clear night, small pockets of the swamp had begun to freeze. Checking the antennas was a breeze, and by 1000 UTC we were ready for an afternoon session from the Eastern Hemisphere.

The first Japanese stations and a couple of New Zealand stations made an appearance after 1030 UTC, but they were weak, and we suffered from some unexplained noise on our Asia wires. Presumably, there are hunters at a cabin a few kilometers away using solar power for lighting, and their inverters are still causing the interference, even though we have attempted to fix the issue.

After 1400 UTC it felt like the AM band had already descended into the typical pan-Asian mayhem, where any weak and interesting signals are covered completely by powerhouses from Japan to Iran.

Northern lights reflected from lake surface
Got a nice reflection of the aurora borealis as our nearest lake was not yet frozen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Before going to sleep on Tuesday evening, I caught the first northern lights dancing in the sky. They never cease to amaze me. The AM dial was much less amazing, as readable transatlantic signals surfaced very late, at 0100 UTC from South America, and at 0200 UTC from North America. Signals improved a bit until they dropped fast at sunrise (0530 UTC).

Some common stations from the Pacific Northwest remained audible through the day until past 1300 UTC, but no new ones have been discovered. Identified stations included 1230 KBAR, 1230 KZHC, 1240 WJMC, 1450 KLBM, 1490 KBKR, and 1490 KDBM.

Dawn revealed the first sprinkling of snow on the ground, but it melted during the day. Jim checked the last remaining antenna, so from now on outdoor exercise became voluntary, and off predetermined tracks. When I complained about not finding very many lingonberries, Jim volunteered some valuable advice: normally they grow on the ground, not in our antennas. This turned out to be a useful and practical hint, and I indeed found many more berries when looking down instead of inspecting the antenna wires...

In the afternoon Tonga on 1017 AM was stronger than before, but surprisingly late, at 1300 UTC. Around that time East Asian stations began to build up. Nothing of interest was noted later on, although I have to admit that we were not very active in monitoring current conditions, but focused largely on perusing older files when conditions were better. 5PA Adelaide was noted on 1161 AM at 1900 UTC, so at least something from Australia was audible in addition to the most common X-band stations.

Aurora borealis
Typically my settings in aurora photography are as follows: focal length 16 mm, exposure time 10–30 seconds and ISO-1600.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

A very brief and weak opening at 2140 UTC could have made it possible to pick up daytimers from the US, but nothing interesting was logged. Later on US stations were heard at 0200 UTC, and in the morning hours from 04000500 UTC until signal levels dropped after 0700 UTC. Some stations from the Pacific Northwest re-emerged between 1100 and 1200 UTC.

Identified stations included 790 WAXY (now rebranded as "La Nueva Radio Libre"), 1240 KIUL, 1320 WFHR, 1340 KWLM & KACH, 1350 WWWL, 1440 WVEI & WWCL, 1490 WBAE, 1570 KVTK & WWCK, 1580 KKTL, and 1590 WAUB so this was the second day without any instant new catches from the west. Apart from some Colombian stations after 0500 UTC, the Latin American front was pretty quiet. Also, we haven't forgotten to check for African stations on most days, but so far we've encountered nothing interesting from there.

In the afternoon the Far East gained enough strength to merit a wideband recording from 1400 UTC, but conditions were very general in nature, so it was hopeless to locate anything new. A few inband Aussies were found, however, which was an improvement from previous days.

Outside temperatures hovered around the freezing point, and the day was exceptionally breezy. Felt like fall was turning into winter up here.

Mika chekcing antennas
Checking antennas. You can see the wire just to my right.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Overnight was poor to all directions with very few stations from the Americas before 0300 UTC. Latin American stations were weak even in the morning hours. Before dawn conditions favored the Great Lakes area before going rapidly downhill after sunrise (0540 UTC).

In the afternoon the Pacific Northwest staged a fairly impressive comeback with decent signal levels until about 1345 UTC. As we already have almost all graveyard stations from the Pacific NW verified over the course of the past few decades of serious AM DXing, we didn’t spot any new ones. 1140 KZMQ and 1430 WYMC were perhaps the best catches of the morning session, both neatly preserved in our QSL collections. From the west, for instance the following graveyard stations were identified on this day:

1240 WJMC, KTIX
1340 WNCO, KIHR, KBBR
1400 KFJL, KNND, KKTL
1450 KFIZ, KBKW

Some sunshine for a change on an exceptionally cold day. We had -10 degrees C in the morning, which was coldest morning on the DXpedition. We took the trash to Käyräniemi, I flew my drone over Lake Inari, and Jim went hiking. In the evening it began to snow.

There were no signs of any Pacific goodies. East Asian stations were a bit of a roller-coaster. They first appeared around 1115 UTC, vanished entirely by 1135 UTC, resurfaced by 1200 UTC, took another shallow dip, and remained fairly constant from 1300 UTC onward. Once again there wasn’t a any particular focus, so finding new stations resembles the proverbial needle in a haystack challenge.

Aihkiniemi cabins
Drone views of the Aihkiniemi cabins, first from just above the treetops, and below from about 120 meters.
Drone view of the cabins

Saturday, October 22, 2022

On Friday evening, the first US stations appeared remarkably early. 1390 WEGP was heard at 2015 UTC, and soon after also 1500 WLQV and 1520 WWKB, almost two hours before sunset. Of the somewhat more uncommon catches, for instance 870 WKAR and 1590 WHGT were heard with their daytime power.

There was a deep null in overall signal strength at around 0000 UTC, but otherwise nighttime reception was decent. Signals nosedived again after sunrise with a low point at 06300730 UTC, but recovered nicely by 0800 UTC. No Latin American stations to speak of. The lower end of the dial was weaker than expected, but anyhow Saturday offered the best reception of North American stations so far.

The geographical focus followed the most common pattern; first around the Great Lakes, then shifting to the Midwest, the Rockies, and finally only the Pacific Northwest. Signals from there were resurrected briefly but quite forcefully around 1230 UTC, before finally retreating in static.

During the day we had a bit more snow, but as the streams were still not covered by ice, Jim took a swim in the ice-cold water, going under a rickety bridge which we normally use to access the western half of our antennas. It is slippery and flimsy, but as far as I know, nobody has plunged into the water involuntarily or, until now, voluntarily.

Tonga on 1017 AM was heard for a while at 1205 UTC, followed by a couple of NZ stations, but nothing uncommon. East Asian stations followed, but once again it was mostly a mishmash of everything from Japan to India and Iran.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

A huge coronal hole brought about a minor geomagnetic storm, so the northern lights were awesome. At times the aurora was moving quite fast, sort of like dancing on the sky. A peculiar and rare feature was seeing reddish northern lights on the southern sky, as normally aurora is seen on the northern sky, or arching directly above. I took loads of photos, which are always a big hit on social media.

Red aurora
Partially red aurora above our lake.

Red northern lights
Red northern lights on the southern sky.


Looking at the zenith
Northern lights when looking at the zenith.

Aurora with lit pine trees
An exposure experiment; here I lit the pine trees briefly with a headlamp.

Consequently, nothing much was heard on the AM dial during the first half of the night, but both Latin and North American stations improved a bit before dawn, after which propagation collapsed fast. The best part of the morning were strong signals from Paraguay after 0500 UTC. From neighboring Argentina, Jim spotted Radio Nacional on 690 AM, which is not a common frequency. Only some faint signals from Canada persisted after sunrise.

On shortwave, an artsy project over HAARP in Alaska was heard with a weak signal. Later I took a look at the European shortwave scene (something that I resort to roughly once in a year), netting Radio Europa 24 on 6150 kHz.

In the afternoon, Asian stations appeared very late, just before 1300 UTC, but dipped again before 1400 UTC, and reached a consistently good reception from 1500 UTC onward. The focus was in China, and Jim identified for instance Chifeng on 747 AM and Huai'an on 801 AM, both previously not logged in Finland.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Disturbed conditions continued so that it wasn't before midnight UTC when anything interesting was audible from the Western Hemisphere. North American stations were pretty weak and propagation favored Manitoba, just as the night before. South American stations were equally slow to make it this far, but had peaks of reception at 0300 UTC and again at 0515 UTC, when especially Uruguay was strong.

AN UPDATE (on November 16th): In retrospect, this sunrise opening to Uruguay, Buenos Aires (Argentina), Chile and Paraná (Brazil) turned out to be excellent, maybe even the best I have ever experienced to this particular region. Among the top catches were 890 Rádio Itapuã, 1140 Radio La Luna, 1330 Radio Mailin, 1400 Rádio Jornal São Miguel, 1460 Radio Ona, 1500 Radio Tierra del Fuego and 1570 Radio Cristo Llama Al Pecador.

Radio Ona and Radio Tierra del Fuego are both located in Porvenir in Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago off the southern tip of South America, over 15,700 kilometers from our cabin. Only some New Zealand stations are still further away from Lapland.

Here are some audio clips of what we heard this morning in Aihkiniemi. These examples are not the rarest stations, but their signals were amazingly strong and clear:

Pretty neat quality, isn't it? Sometimes a transatlantic opening occurs even after most European stations have already faded out, and so there is very little interference.

Signals disappeared at sunrise, and so did we heading to Norway and leaving automated recordings to take care of the following 30 hours. DXpeditionists Bjarne Mjelde, Odd-Jørgen Sagdahl and Ole Forr on KONG45 kindly invited us to visit their QTH in Kongsfjord at the northern tip of Norway.

Sami bridge in Utsjoki
On the left Finland, and on the right Norway, connected by the Sami bridge in Utsjoki.

We drove first to Kaamanen, and paid a visit to Kaamasen Kievari, a legendary guesthouse and restaurant, which is currently for sale, as the owners are hoping to retire. So if you've got 900,000 euros to spend, here's your new business opportunity. We didn't have, so we hit the road after spending a few euros for snacks.

I decided not to fill up there, because they're known for selling the most expensive gasoline in the country. Last summer it was around three euros per liter (over USD 11 per gallon).

We continued to Utsjoki and to Nuorgam, which is the northernmost point in Finland and in the entire EU. There's a commemorative boulder right next to the border crossing.

We shopped at the northernmost Alko (the alcohol retailing monopoly in Finland) for a bottle of nice champagne to take to our hosts, and had hamburgers at the local K-Market, which is run by the brother of our friend and DX-collegue Markku Jussila.

Mika at the northernmost tip of Finland
This is as far north as you can go in the EU.

Jim at Alko
Jim at the Nuorgam Alko, the largest liquor store of any small community in Finland.

Nuorgam This totem-like wooden sculpture in Nuorgam is unique in Finland.

On the Norwegian side, the Teno/Tana River estuary was quite impressive just before sunset.

Tanamunningen
A short detour to Tanamunningen nature reserve.

Fishing village
These huts at Tanamunningen are only accessible by boat.

Sun setting over Tana River
Looking southwest over the Tana River estuary.

After a couple of photo stops and a drive over snowy highland terrain, we landed in Kongsfjord, and got rooms at the local guesthouse, before walking over to the KONG headquarters for a fun evening and excellent dinner made of local cod. And lots of DX talk.

Mika, Bjarne, Odd-Jorgen, Ole and Jim
From the left: Mika Mäkeläinen, Bjarne Mjelde, Odd-Jørgen Sagdahl, Ole Forr and Jim Solatie.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

After less than an ideal amount of sleep, we had breakfast at the guesthouse with the KONG45 crew, and then started our long journey home over icy roads.

Sunrise at Kongsfjord Guesthouse
Sunrise at Kongsfjord Guesthouse

In order to see something new, we took a detour on a dead-end road to Båtsfjord, which claims to be the fishing capital of Norway. The title is probably deserved, judged by the multitude of colorful boats in the harbor, but despite a pile of huge crab pots close to the pier, the local supermarket didn't even have king crab for sale.

Båtsfjord harbor
The harbor of Båtsfjord, a new town for me.

For the return route, we opted to drive via Näätämö, where we shopped for groceries for the three remaining full days, and arrived in Aihkiniemi just before sunset. Asian stations emerged in full force around 1400 UTC right after our arrival, but nothing of interest was immediately noted.

A quick look at our automated recordings revealed that the morning had been lousy from the direction of North America, but South American stations were fairly strong through the night. For example, 1520 Xodó FM and 1530 Radio Milenia were identified.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Some Brazilian stations emerged as soon as darkness fell, but after a few hours of modest reception, South American signals nosedived after 0330 UTC for good. North American signals were much slower to turn up, providing something to record only after 0100 UTC, but their barrage continued beyond dawn, which was a welcome improvement. Identified stations included 1170 KLOK, 1240 KBUP, 1410 KLFD and 1450 WLEC. Graveyard frequencies were open pretty well, and I got a couple of personally new catches from the Midwest.

Smileys on a barn in Norway
Smileys found in Norway.

North American signals sank after 1200 UTC, but long before that we had to pay attention to Asia as well, since the first Japanese stations emerged before 1000 UTC, just in time for the NHK1 local station identifications. No new ones were identified, but this was still the best opening to Japan during AIH159. For example JOCG Asahikawa ID was heard over a low-power relay on 1161 AM.

Then it was time for public relations. One of the aspects which I have always worked hard for is getting positive media attention to this hobby. I bet a lot of people especially in this neighborhood are very curious about us fiddling with sophisticated receivers in the middle of nowhere, so why not actively promote the hobby and try to explain what this is all about.

Therefore it was a nice surprise when Jaakko Peltomaa, who works as editor-in-chief of Inarilainen, a local weekly newspaper, got in touch with me. He was interested in writing a story about our DX cabin, and at midday he came over to see the place for himself. We explained all the what, where, when, how and why of the hobby, and showed him some of the antenna wires as well.

Reindeer crossing the road
Reindeer think they own the roads. Well, most of the time they do.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Transatlantic conditions took time to mature. Actually I stayed awake later than normally and I did get one new daytimer station (1540 WXEX) already after 2130 UTC a first for this DXpedition but really nothing much was heard from the US until about 0300 UTC. Even then conditions were poorer than the previous night.

Latin American signals were also quite modest until 0600 UTC, when there was a short but sharp opening to Colombia (for example 1120 Tropicana and 1440 Colmundo), Puerto Rico (for instance 1190 WBMJ and 1340 WWNA), Cuba and the US East Coast (for example 790 WAXY). However, the most interesting part of the morning was RNE's first local break of the day at 05250530 UTC, which netted us a couple of new stations.

After sunrise US stations continued to be heard for a couple of hours, then took a deep dive, and returned for a moment before 1100 UTC. Identified stations included 1210 KPRZ, 1340 KIHR & KWVR, and 1490 KBKR so the focus was squarely on the west coast.

The first Japanese stations appeared around 1000 UTC, but much weaker than on Wednesday. Later on Chinese stations were strong. Nothing new yet, but loads of recordings are waiting to be inspected closer. Later in the afternoon 1611 SEN from Darwin, which had a barely audible signal on most days, was finally heard strong enough with recognizable local spots.

Thursday included also a second round of Jim's winter swimming, which I documented by a drone.

Jim swimming
Jim swimming – click to open a video on YouTube, filmed by Mika.

Later in the evening it was again time to focus on PR. Journalist Erin Burke from 790 KXXX in Colby, Kansas, interviewed us both over Zoom. This interview will be published on the station website as well as aired on the radio.

Burke originally got in touch with me a couple of weeks earlier when she kindly verified my reception of KXXX. I heard the station almost exactly a year earlier on October 28, 2021, here in Aihkiniemi, on AIH142. She has already done one morning show telling her listeners fun stories from the Finnish Lapland, and we plan to continue working together also on some future shows.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Some New England stations were heard at local sunset around 21002200 UTC on Thursday evening, but no new ones were spotted. Then US stations sounded relatively powerful until 0300 UTC when signals began to decline, and vanished two hours after dawn. The Pacific Northwest made a comeback as usual in the afternoon around 11001300 UTC, but signal levels were weak.

Asian signals began to improve after 1200 UTC, once again dominated by Japanese and Chinese stations. A bit of Alaska, a bit of Australia, even a lone Kiwi station in the mix you get the picture, stations from all over, which is not ideal for finding any new ones.

Eurasian jay
A Eurasian jay visiting our feeder.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

The first New England stations appeared already around 2100 UTC, which was good for daytimer-hunting, but we didn’t spot new ones. 990 WDEO and 1510 KCTE were heard still at 2300 UTC.

Overnight was marked by rapid ups and downs in transatlantic signal strength. Latin American stations seemed feeble and close to non-existent in the morning, while North American signals improved before dawn. Generally, stations in the Canadian prairie states and the Pacific Northwest were most potent, but WJET from Erie PA on 1400 AM was a nice catch just before calling it quits.

As conditions turned below average, we disconnected our receivers, packed our stuff, cleaned the cabin, and hit the road just past midday. Reserving more time than usually for our return trip to Rovaniemi turned out to be smart, because the weather was awful with either rain, sleet or snow all day.

Mika, Jim and Jarmo Salmi in Inari
In Ivalo we met Jarmo Salmi. His DX partner Jari Sinisalo was driving up north about an hour behind.

In Ivalo we stopped for a pizza, and met Jarmo Salmi, who would be staying in Aihkiniemi for the following week with Jari Sinisalo. They have upgraded Aihkiniemi sleeping quarters so that now a maximum of four people can stay there overnight. Yet, there still isn't table space for more than two DXers.

Driving on slippery roads, later in the evening we had just enough time to devour burgers at Hesburger in Rovaniemi before we were due to load the car onto the train and get a drink at the railway station before the train departed close to nine.

This was the night when Europe switched back to standard time, so with dark evenings, now it really feels like the winter has arrived. As a consolation, however, now we have terabytes of recordings, still full of surprising catches, to inspect and to carry us through the cold season. And we're even planning to return to Aihkiniemi later this season. I'll be back already in late November, and Jim right after new year, and again in March.

Text and photos: Mika Mäkeläinen

Published on November 6, 2022

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Mika's DXpeditions:
  AIH142
  AIH139
  AIH133 (log)
  AIH124 (log)
  AIH106
  AIH103
  AIH98
  AIH88
  AIH85
  AIH76
  AIH72 (log)
  AIH39
  AIH29
  AIH18
  AIH17
  AIH10 (log)
  AIH7 (log)
  AIH3 (log)
  LEM295 (log)
  LEM291 (log)
  LEM287 (log)
  LEM278 (log)
  LEM271 (log)
  LEM239 (log)
  LEM220 (log)
  LEM214 (log)
  LEM206 (log)
  LEM202 (log)
  LEM169 (log)
  LEM158 (log)
  LEM144 (log)
  LEM132 (log)
  LEM121 (log)
  LEM112 (log)
  LEM104 (log)
  LEM96 (log)
  LEM83 (log)
  LEM54 (log)
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