Logging AM stations from Malawi,
Uganda and other African countries was the highlight
of this October DXpedition. From the East, new Thai
and Chinese stations were heard often. AIH18 began
just two weeks after we concluded AIH17,
and in between there were no major changes in propagation
or the smorgasbord of AM stations available.
Murphy's Law was proved right
as the best conditions of early October took place
just one day prior to our DXpedition, and DXing
improved markedly on the day of our departure. So,
in between, we had plenty of time to inspect antennas,
hike in the wilderness and admire the beauty of
Lapland's snow-capped fells.
My rental wreck
was reliable enough, and we didn't get stranded
in the middle of nowhere.
Getting to Aihkiniemi was one
of the challenges when preparing for this DXpedition.
I had sold my
car, so I needed to get a replacement somewhere.
Since no one of my friends expressed interest in
renting their vehicle, even for a fee, I resorted
to commercial renting, which in Finland tends to
be excruciatingly expensive.
After some investigation I chose
a rent-a-wreck type of self-service one-car one-man
rental business, where the price was roughly half
of the going rate of established agencies. I picked
up a Skoda Roomster on Friday morning in Vantaa,
and the vehicle turned out to be reasonably OK,
even with 200,000 km in the odometer. So in the
evening I drove my rental to the train in Helsinki,
and took the overnight ride to the Arctic Circle,
falling asleep early.
It rained all day in Helsinki
on Friday, and nearly all day in Lapland on Saturday.
Some places in Finland got a downpour equivalent
to the average total for October, so traffic advisories
on radio were full of warnings for flooded roads.
Taking into consideration the circumstances, driving
north from Rovaniemi went smoothly.
Jim's VIP arrival
in Kirkenes, with a chauffeur waiting.
Quality programming on YLE Puhe
(Talk) offered a flow of intriguing interviews and
thought-provoking feature programs. If anything
is done well in the Finnish media, it is quality
public radio programming. Despite the fact, for
the upcoming two weeks I would focus exclusively
on foreign radio stations.
I arrived in Aihkiniemi before
2 p.m. local time and found everything to
be as it was when we left two weeks earlier. The
scheduled recordings (by Mestor) were technically
successful, and now the only chore left is to comb
through the many terabytes of recordings.
Highflying in the Arctic
I began AIH18 by myself, as Jim
Solatie wanted to stay in Helsinki to take care
of his business until the latter part of the first
week (which seems to be becoming an annual tradition).
Eventually he joined me on Friday, October 12, when
I drove to pick him up from Kirkenes in Norway.
Kirkenes could be a fairly
beautiful town if it didn't rain.
Jim flew with Norwegian from
Helsinki via Oslo to Kirkenes, because it was much
cheaper than taking the direct Finnair route from
Helsinki to Ivalo. And actually Kirkenes and Ivalo
airports are both at the same distance from Aihkiniemi.
Once again it rained all day, so there was not much
point in sightseeing, but we enjoyed halibut and
whale steaks at Surf & Turf Restaurant. Kirkenes
was also a good place to buy some frozen king crab
for a gourmet dinner a few days later in the cabin.
Our equipment in Aihkiniemi consisted
of 13 Beverage antennas, each 1 kilometer (3,000
ft) long, which makes our cabin perhaps the best-equipped
of all AM DXing bases around the world. We used
Perseus hardware, run with both Perseus and Jaguar
software. Over the course of the DXpedition we inspected
all the antennas and made some improvements, lifting
the wires higher with some new supportive poles.
The sign claims that it
is 1154 km from Kirkenes to Helsinki, although
it actually is about 1350 km by road. The 2502
km to Oslo only applies if you insist on following
the rugged Norwegian coastline. A shortcut via
Finland and Sweden would shave 600 km from the
The amount of technical hardware
has grown over the years, now including linear power
supplies for all equipment. Sometimes figuring out
deficiencies in the setup is quite arduous. One
evening I spent a full three hours trying to repair
a self-inflicted PC problem. Suddenly my laptop
no longer recognized my half-filled external 3TB
hard drive. A major logistical problem. I tinkered
with Windows settings and repair mechanisms, endlessly,
and took the computer accessories to pieces, before
I happened to notice the culprit: the voltage in
the linear transformer for the hard drive had dipped
to 10V there is an adjustable knob, which
I had accidentally touched. After I raised it back
to 12V, things were back to normal. Oh boy.
Great hiking despite lousy
Wildlife encounters were close
enough, but not too close. We narrowly avoided a
reindeer collision on the way back south, and easily
avoided a moose collision on the same road a couple
of hours earlier. Unlike the moose we saw a month
ago, this one really crossed the road in front of
us. We also saw three foxes.
The listening room in
The weather was mostly miserable,
with constant rain, but improved somewhat towards
the end. One day we were hiking in the Muotkatunturit
wilderness area, when sunshine was finally promised,
but we got a snowfall instead. By the end of the
expedition temperatures dipped to well below freezing
point, our lake froze, and we got a thin layer of
snow on the ground. On these latitudes, fall and
winter arrive about six weeks ahead of southern
Overcast skies prevented taking
photos of the northern lights, but at times of high
solar activity the lights were still faintly visible
even behind the cloud cover. Only one night was
completely clear, so at least I got a few shots
of the night sky.
Looking downhill and south
from the slope of Mt Ailigas in Karigasniemi.
The last full day Friday was
a fabulous sunny day, which prompted us to ditch
DXing plans, and to opt for hiking instead. We drove
all the way to Karigasniemi (110 km/70 miles west
from Aihkiniemi) to climb on the Ailigas mountain,
which was a fantastic experience.
We parked at timberline where
birches were blanketed by gleaming frost. The temperature
was -10° Celsius (14° F), the sun was shining,
there was hardly any wind even on the top of the
mountain, and the first snowfall of the season had
coated everything bright white as far as the eye
could see, dozens of kilometers to all directions.
What a beautiful ending to the expedition.
Solar activity drove conditions
The solar weather was variable,
but it seemed like there was almost always some
sort of ongoing phenomenon preventing good propagation.
We got our share of flares, coronal holes, and polar
cap absorption, which seemed to ease just as we
were leaving (see tables further down). The last
Saturday morning, just as we needed to pack, offered
the best conditions to North America.
YLE's FM transmitter on
top of Mt Ailigas, where we hiked on Friday,
It seemed like the regular summer
type conditions switched to winter type conditions
in the middle of the DXpedition. During the second
week occasional daytime openings were noted more
often, and U.S. stations began to replace Brazilians
as the main staple of the Western front. The biggest
difference was that on the second week we often
noted the most common Alaskan and Hawaiian stations,
which tend to be completely absent earlier in the
During poorer conditions our
new antennas at 160° and 110° often saved
the day. Both Uganda and Malawi were heard on the
AM band, which is quite exceptional in Finland.
Ethiopian and Mozambican AM stations became almost
daily visitors, and 1630 UTC remained the preferred
slot to identify regional Iranian stations.
Traditionally on Lapland DXpeditions
African stations have been hunted using only the
back lobe of an antenna pointing at Alaska. However,
judging by how poorly our 160° Africa wire performed
as a back lobe for Alaska, compared to the real
Alaska antenna (10°), it does make a big difference
to have a Beverage antenna pointing straight at
your target area.
Closeup of frozen grass
on Mt Ailigas
The other new wire at 110°
was very useful as well, especially in hunting for
Indian stations at sign-off (most often at 1740
UTC) and sign-on (around 0023 UTC). This and 80°
were the best wires for Thai stations, depending
on the direction of interfering stations on the
In Aihkiniemi the DXpedition
season began already in September, but other Nordic
DXpedition sites joined the action during AIH18.
You can follow events in Kongsfjord (KONG22), Norway,
Mjelde's and OJ
Sagdahl's blogs. Comprehensive logs from Parkalompolo
(PAX98), Sweden, can be found in an updated RTF
file, and an overview of the conditions from
the perspective of Lemmenjoki (LEM318), Finland,
is available here.
Here are table and graphic presentations
of solar indices compiled by Jan Alvestad and edited
by me, followed by daily summaries of propagation
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Conditions to Asia opened around
1315 UTC, with mostly South Asia and later the Middle
East. After 1400 UTC nearly all stations vanished,
but Iranians were going pretty well by 1530 UTC,
which is a good potential ID time. Nothing remarkable
was caught live. Quite a few Thai stations were
heard before their closing time at 1700 UTC, so
I hope that something new will be found in the recordings.
As the temperature was
close to -10° Celsius (14° F), DXers
accustomed to the Arctic just can't take the
Saturday's t-shirt: KABL 960,
one of my favorite stations when it was still "America's
Best Music" when I lived in the Bay Area almost
a decade ago.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Just a few Indian stations were
heard at sign-off after midnight UTC. Brazilian
and Argentinean stations emerged gradually so that
by midnight UTC I started recording them. Reception
was best after 0400 UTC, and they vanished by 0500
UTC. My best catches include ZYH920 Rádio
Mirante, São Luís MA on 600 kHz and
ZYH422 Rádio Difusora de Macapá, Macapá
AP, on 630 kHz this one of course well known
because of its shortwave transmissions. There was
absolutely no sign of any North American stations
during the night or morning. It rained all day,
and I slept through most of it.
Indeed way too hot to
wear a t-shirt...
In the afternoon the first signals
from Asia arrived around 1230 UTC. At 1300 UTC it
seemed to make sense to record using 60 and 80 degree
wires. However, already by 1330 UTC, the 110-degree
wire began picking up more, so the window of reception
from East Asia was rather short. I was very pleased
to catch DXCC from Cagayan de Oro on 828 kHz, but
otherwise there was no Philippine invasion. By 1530
UTC it was all Iranians and the Middle East, but
very soon Europeans took over most AM frequencies.
In the evening I drove to Jounila Lodge for a shower.
Sunday's t-shirt: the rare non-radio shirt, Death
Valley, as the conditions were dry and lifeless.
Monday, October 8, 2012
First the good news: the rain
has ended. The bad news: the conditions are really
poor. Overnight nothing interesting from any direction.
Perhaps the 160-degree-wire will eventually yield
some Iranians, Europeans or Middle East stations
worth reporting. Just a handful of Brazilian stations
were heard around "sunrise" (haven't seen
the sun so far though), fading out after 0500 UTC.
Spanish stations were extremely strong right after
0500 UTC, but unfortunately had lost steam by the
time of COPE and RNE local breaks at 0525 UTC. I
still got RNE5 Cáceres with Extremadura regional
programming on 1107 kHz, a new one for me.
A raven (Corvus corax)
circling Mt Ailigas.
I even resorted to hunting for
Latin American shortwave stations, but all through
the night the tropical bands were dead quiet, just
some weak Asian stations audible.
Daytime was empty on the dial,
and signals from the East faded in only around 1500
UTC, which is extremely late for this time of the
year. Only the 160-degree wire was usable, as hardly
any stations east of Iran were audible. I focused
on reviewing automated recordings from the previous
week, and found for instance Radio Programas del
Peru (920 kHz) and WPLN Madison TN (1430 kHz). Friday,
Oct. 5th seems to have been the best day for U.S.
stations (during the past couple of weeks). Also,
Asian stations arrived remarkably early, even at
the 1100 UTC slot. Too bad that our recordings covered
only short segments. Vision Radio Network from Australia
on 1611 kHz was a new finding for me.
Photography on the top
of the world
In the evening things began to
improve no thanks to conditions, but thanks
to having an antenna pointing south. 2100 UTC is
often a good time to get stations from East Africa,
and conditions being very auroral, prospects for
getting some new ones should be decent. I reviewed
my recordings during the day, and the haul was impressive:
Radio Ethiopia was detected signing off on several
frequencies, 828 kHz offering the best reception.
Egypt was identified on several not very common
frequencies (1278, 1476 and 1584 kHz), and Malawi
BC luckily improved just at the top of the hour
on 1422 kHz. Then there were a bunch of more regular
stations (VOA Botswana 909 kHz, KBC 1233 kHz, R
Free Africa 1377 kHz), and tentatively even Radio
Veritas on 576 kHz. Interestingly, I heard several
Iranian regional stations identifying at this time,
such as Radio Fars on 594 kHz and Radio Ahwaz on
711 kHz (ID in Arabic, then proceeding with Farsi
programming). All of this with the 160-degree wire
while all other antennas were useless in
Today's t-shirt: KGO 810 Bay to Breakers 2004 team's
shirt. I visited KGO a few days before the run,
and felt really bad about not being able to join
the funny race. Someday I'll be back in the Bay
Area at the time of the event.
The whole creation, even
the clouds are celebrating our DXpedition. Miracles
like this only happen in Aihkiniemi and
perhaps in North Korea...
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Overnight was poor to all directions.
In retrospect I found some Brazilian and Argentinean
stations audible at 2240-0020 UTC, but after that
the AM band pretty much died. Even the few Europeans
all but vanished before daybreak. Plenty of time
to listen to the recordings during the day. Just
as Monday, signals from the East began creeping
in very late. The first Asian stations were detected
at 1415 UTC, but when I began recording just before
1500 UTC, the only usable antenna was the one pointing
south. A slight improvement from the day before,
as there were even a few Japanese powerhouses in
the Asian mix heard on the 60 degree wire, but nothing
worth a closer inspection.
Auroral conditions continued
on Tuesday evening, for instance Radio Ethiopia
on 855 kHz was strong, and Radio Veritas on 576
kHz audible. During the night stations from Brazil
visited briefly around 2100 UTC, and resumed later
with stations from Argentina around 2340 UTC.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Overnight offered a couple of
nice catches from Southeast. I was happy to hear
AIR Naushera on 1089 kHz (with Radio Kashmir programming)
and Radiokanal Kavkaz from Groznyy on 657 kHz. I
had been actively hunting for Groznyy since the
early 1990's, and by now I had already forgotten
about it until now stumbling on it accidentally.
It seems that the post-war transmitter is much more
powerful than the previous one and has become a
fairly easy catch.
Speaking of North Korea,
we listened to quite a few South Korean stations,
which prompted a swift reaction from Pyongyang
At daybreak, Brazilians faded
out, but a few Peruvians came strong, especially
Radio Turbomix from Cajamarca was booming on 1540.5
kHz. The best station caught live was ZYH479 Rádio
Cultura, Guanambi BA on 1530 kHz. The first U.S.
stations in several days emerged at 0315 UTC, and
continued on and off surprisingly until midday local
time, but the signals were so weak that nothing
interesting was to be expected.
In the afternoon the first Asians
appeared briefly at 1245 UTC for about 15 minutes,
and then resumed around 1330 UTC. Wednesday evening
turned out to be excellent for Asia, because for
once the dial was not a mishmash of everything from
the Eastern hemisphere, but instead a much narrower
selection was available. Japan, Korea and northern
China were all out, and Iran on the other end was
not too strong, so South East Asia dominated the
dial. A closer look at the files will surely reveal
some Thai stations which I've never identified before.
Later in the evening I noticed
an RNE break which I usually haven't paid much attention
to. It has been known for a couple of years that
a few regions opt out of the national programming
at 1745-1800 UTC, but either my interest at that
time has been in listening to Indian and Pakistani
stations closing down, or taking a break from DXing,
or then the conditions have just not been favorable
for Iberia. Now I noticed that Catalonia indeed
began a regional break at that time, while La Rioja
followed exactly two minutes later, at 1747 UTC.
I was hunting for a few outlets in Murcia and Navarra,
but unsuccessfully this time.
More miracle territory:
Soon you can walk on water here.
One excellent catch was found
from reviewing recordings of the past couple of
weeks: Star FM from Uganda on 576 kHz. Probably
unheard in Europe before this.
And today's t-shirt: 1010 WINS
New York. Back in the 1990's they were known to
be fairly reluctant to verify reports, so naturally
I had to pay them a visit which was rewarded
with a QSL and a t-shirt.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Overnight some Brazilians were
heard during two short openings, at 2300-2340 UTC
and at 0100-0130 UTC, but signal levels were poor.
When hunting for Indian stations I noticed that
Xinjiang PBS seems to have launched a new transmitter
on 1026 kHz, with Chinese language programming,
and audible even past 0100 UTC.
UFO landing site? Meteorite?
Russian missile testing?
Thursday morning turned out be
OK, there was a decent opening to Brazil and Argentina
at 0400-0500 UTC. My best instant loggings were
Radio Libre, San Justo, on 890 kHz, and Radio Provincia
de Corrientes on 900 kHz. Around daybreak the AM
signals just vaporized, but surprisingly, in the
middle of the day, U.S. West Coast and Alaskan (first
time on AIH18) stations appeared on the dial for
an hour or two. Nothing much of interest, low signal
levels, but nevertheless very encouraging.
In the afternoon Asian stations
made two brief visits, first at 1200 and then at
1300 UTC, only to vanish again very soon, but finally
from 1415 UTC Asian signals were here to stay, and
signal levels were mighty, stronger than on any
previous day. Initially around 1500 UTC focus was
still in northern China, with some Japanese in the
mix, but gradually conditions shifted to lower latitudes.
I heard a bunch of the most common Philippine stations,
but the opening didn't extend all the way to Indonesia
The evening was quite different
from the previous one; around 1745 UTC not a single
Spanish station was heard, and they were quite weak
also later in the evening. The 160-degree wire brought
again some Africans, such as EP Cabo Delgado on
1224 kHz with a nice local station ID before closing
at 2200 UTC. At the same time, Brazilians gradually
emerged on the Western front.
Today's t-shirt is Radio 538
from the Netherlands. The odd station name derives
from the old wavelength of Radio Veronica.
truly playing again. Breaking
the ice at Veajetláttu, an alpine lake
in the Muotkatunturit wilderness area.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Very poor conditions on Friday
morning, nothing from anywhere just some
Brazilian and Argentinean stations before and after
I left some automated recordings in the daytime
when I went to pick up Jim from Norway.
In the evening we had good conditions
to Asia. It all began with Japan around 1315 UTC,
taking a step back then, and proceeding to China,
and eventually to the Philippines and Thailand.
Our highlights include the Thai station in Udon
Thani on 747 kHz and DZRJ on 810 kHz.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Overnight was very poor, and
we didn't hear anything worth mentioning. Also the
morning seemed a total loss, without any daybreak
enhancement, until around 0520 UTC when I noticed
that the Alaskan stations are really booming. Mjelde
alerted us to TIS station WQLE259 Prudhoe Bay AK
on 1610 kHz, which was nice to hear again
heard here in Aihkiniemi two years ago for the first
time. Also some Midwestern/Prairie stations were
heard, best around 0700-0800 UTC.
After this alpine training
session, Jim is ready to compete in shot put
in the next Olympics.
Since Saturday morning conditions
have been extremely volatile, characterized by short
and sharp openings to random directions on an otherwise
quiet and empty AM band. This kind of a situation
requires constant monitoring, and surely we have
also missed a few openings. This pattern of on-and-off
conditions was exemplified on Saturday afternoon,
when there was first a brief opening to Japan around
1140 UTC, lasting less than half an hour, after
which the band fell quiet. Around 1300 UTC Thai
stations appeared briefly, before disappearing soon.
Then from 1345 UTC onwards we enjoyed very good
conditions to Asia, first to China, peaking at 1430
UTC, and then around 1500-1600 UTC to Thailand,
which was perhaps the best ever opening to Thailand
that we have experienced. Also the relatively nearby
station of RRI Banda Aceh from Indonesia was heard
on 1251 kHz.
Thanks to our 160-degree antenna,
Africans were also prominent. Later in the evening
Malawi (1422 kHz) and Mozambique were once again
heard on the AM band, and Radio Mayotte Première
gave a local station ID on 1458 kHz at 0200 UTC.
Overnight there was an opening to Brazil roughly
at 2315-0000 UTC, and an opening to the Midwest
and Canadian Prairie around 0000-0200 UTC. Not all
of these openings probably result in any significant
findings, but the constantly changing nature of
the AM band surely keeps us awake and alert. Outside,
the northern lights were detected even behind the
cloud cover, so we can only imagine how impressive
they would have been without the overcast skies.
One the menu: fresh halibut bought
from Kirkenes a day earlier. Today's t-shirt is
a bright yellow shirt from Country 98.7, which
if I remember correctly could be from an
FM affiliate of 1620 WNRP in Pensacola FL. Four
years ago I was covering Senator John McCain's presidential
campaign there, and stayed overnight in a motel
which happened to be right next to WNRP. I couldn't
resist a visit, which resulted in a on-air interview.
Incidentally, WNRP is still the only regular X-band
station from the U.S. which I haven't heard here
Perseus Jim's interface
to the world
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Sunday morning was a total waste,
nothing from any direction. Just a few common Alaskans
were heard during daytime. In the afternoon, Asian
stations first appeared before 1300 UTC, along with
improved Alaska and Hawaii. The first Asian appearance
was however short, and the second wave came an hour
later. It took another hour before conditions became
a bit more interesting, with a focus in South Asia,
especially Thailand. Several interesting Thai frequencies
were noticed (such as 1134 and 1143 kHz), and conditions
extended to Australia, from where Rete Italia was
logged on 1611 kHz. The ABC station 6PNN Busselton
WA on 1152 kHz has been an almost daily guest in
our shack, but today it was even stronger than normally,
although no other WA stations were heard.
Today's t-shirt: "Recuerdo
870", which is KLSQ Whitney NV, heard and received
ages ago when t-shirts and snail mail were more
common than attachments and email.
Jaguar Mika's choice
of DX software. Notice how Jaguar reveals that
there are actually five stations currently more
or less audible on the frequency of 1314 kHz.
If you know their exact offsets, you already
know with some likelyhood what station you could
be listening to.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Overnight was once again uneventful,
with just a few weak trans-Atlantic signals from
Brazil and North America. Some stations from Canada
and the Great Lakes region were heard around 0200
UTC, and gradually North American stations became
stronger. Around 0400 UTC even some graveyard frequencies
were open in addition to the dominating CBC
stations. The morning opening to North America evaporated
fast, but we still got a couple of nice catches,
the highlights being KLTZ Glasgow MT (1240 kHz)
and KNSP Staples MN (1430 kHz). During the day,
stations from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest were
much weaker than on the previous day.
XXXL size halibut meal
In the afternoon the first Japanese
stations were found after 1200 UTC, and the Eastern
focus remained on these high latitudes until 1700
UTC, when some Koreans were still heard giving local
station identifications. Also, AFN from Korea was
heard weak both on 1080 and 1440 kHz. The tidal
waves from Japan landed at unfortunate times, and
during NHK local breaks the reception was always
fairly poor, so we didn't manage to find anything
new. As an example of the stations heard, JOLC NHK2
Tottori on 1125 kHz, a familiar station to both
of us, was quite strong at closing time, 1540 UTC.
All in all, mediocre conditions, and it seemed to
be easier to find something interesting when conditions
moved south. For instance, Radio Bangladesh, Khulna,
was heard on 558 kHz around 1530 UTC. Even those
who may shun the more exotic Asian languages should
take note that at this time both Bangladesh (its
powerful flagship station being on 693 kHz) and
Myanmar/Burma (best heard today on 576 and 594 kHz)
are broadcasting English-language news.
Starry starry night...
and yes, this is indeed our cabin, where we
search for far-away intra-terrestrial signs
of life. The faint line in the middle is probably
On the menu we had both Brazilian
tenderloin steak and Barents Sea king crab. Yummy!
It doesn't look like we're going to lose any weight
on this DXpedition.
Today's t-shirt: WTVB Coldwater
MI 1590 AM, which used to be, and still is, "The
Voice of Branch County". Back in 2004 I happened
to be driving across the continent with my family,
and on our leg from Chicago to Cincinnati we took
a short excursion to Michigan, where getting a QSL
from WTVB was on the agenda. The detour was rewarded
with a station t-shirt, sponsored by McDonald's.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
There was nothing much to listen
to overnight, just a couple of weak Brazilian stations.
Who knows what station on 1540 kHz relays Rádio
Evangelizar (1060 AM)?
Siberian jay (Perisoreus
infaustus) is an extremely curious bird. Patient
birders have been able to hand-feed these birds,
which come to take a close look at what we're
doing in the forest.
In the morning North American
stations became audible at 0300 UTC and improved
quickly so that at 0440-0510 UTC we enjoyed a good
but short opening to the U.S. and Canada, focused
in the Canadian Prairie and the Rocky Mountains.
No rarities were encountered, but for instance KCAP
Helena MT (1340 kHz) was identified.
During the day a few weak Alaskan
and Pacific Northwest stations remained on the dial,
until at 1200 UTC Alaskan stations improved, with
a few Hawaiians in the mix. At 1245 UTC Japanese
stations appeared out of the background noise (over
half an hour later than at Kongsfjord), but nothing
interesting was found, and no Pacific stations were
The first wave was short-lived,
and by 1315 UTC the AM band was mostly quiet again.
Recordings resumed at 1400 UTC when conditions favored
China for over an hour. At 1515 UTC signal levels
dropped once more, and later on Europeans began
to take over the AM frequencies. Our best Asian
catches include Fujian PBS (558 kHz), Phon Por Thor
Or, Bangkok (594 kHz) and Yunnan PBS (927 kHz).
Today's t-shirt: WIFE (100.3
FM /1580 AM) Connersville IN, which I heard back
in 1995 and which still remains one of my best ever
catches. Chief Engineer Mike Peacock investigated
my report thoroughly and confirmed that at the time
of listening the station was broadcasting at only
4.6 watts of power! I visited the station in 2004
when driving on the previously mentioned trip, just
a day after the Michigan detour. You can read more
about my lovely WIFE in this
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
During the night North American
stations were heard for a couple of hours, especially
around 0200 UTC, which is pretty good by the standards
of an approaching solar maximum. However, at least
so far there was nothing new for us. By 0300 UTC
almost all trans-Atlantic signals had disappeared.
In the morning North American
stations were heard fairly well just before 0500
UTC, but by 0515 UTC almost everything was gone.
Perhaps the best station identified during this
short opening was KWBE Beatrice NE on 1450 kHz.
During the day expectations were high in terms of
stations from Oceania, but once again
nothing was heard. At 1300 UTC a few Alaskan and
Hawaiian stations became audible.
A scene which you could spend hours looking
at if it wasn't so cold.
The Asian front remained quiet
all the way until 1400 UTC, and the selection of
stations was smaller than just about any other previous
day. Initially, some Japanese and Chinese powerhouses
came through, but in an hour, Iranians were almost
all that remained, and European stations were taking
over the frequencies. This was the weakest Asian
opening of the entire DXpedition so far. On a positive
note, one of the local pests, Murmansk, was off
the air probably for maintenance on
657 and 1134 kHz all day, but conditions being feeble,
there were no interesting stations to be heard on
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Overnight was once again very
poor. Actually we slept through the night until
0340 UTC, and I'm glad we did, because based on
a quick review of our programmed night-time recordings,
we didn't miss anything from any direction. At daybreak
we were expecting at least a brief enhancement of
North American stations, but the opening turned
out to be much weaker than during the previous couple
of days. The best top-of-the-hour was once again
0500 UTC, when common Colorado stations seemed to
be on top of many regional channels.
As the AM band didn't sound very
promising, we decided to go hiking, getting the
first snowfall of the season (when sunshine was
forecast). Already on Wednesday temperatures had
fallen well below freezing point, and now our small
lake is almost solid frozen. On Thursday evening
we got a thin blanket of snow on the ground also
at the cabin.
We left hiking at 0600 UTC and
returned after 1100 UTC. We did leave some Mestor
recordings, and it seems that at least a bunch of
North American stations were audible around 0800
UTC, but not much is expected from these recordings.
Also some Alaskans and Hawaiians were noticed in
the afternoon. Just after our return, the first
Chinese stations were heard right before 1200 UTC,
and the following couple of hours were very good
in terms of China and Vietnam. Shaanxi PBS on 603
kHz was one of our highlights of this afternoon
First snow in Muotkatunturit
T-shirt of the day: Hawaii Public
Radio. Back in 2008 I was doing a background report
on President Obama's childhood in Hawaii, visited
the local public radio in Honolulu and bought a
t-shirt as a souvenir to myself. In the good old
days they used to operate on 1380 kHz, moving on
to 1370 kHz later, but now looking at lists it appears
that KUPA Pearl City on 1370 AM is a sports station,
and public broadcasting can only be found on FM.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Once again overnight recordings
were a total waste of disc space, and deserved to
be erased at dawn. In the morning we heard a few
trans-Atlantic stations ranging from Brazil to Colombia
and all the way to Canada, but the signals were
few, weak and short-lived. So, as Friday turned
out to be a fabulous day weather-wise, we headed
When we returned to the cabin
around 1120 UTC, some Chinese signals were emerging,
and at 1200 UTC quite a few Chinese stations were
heard. On Thursday the China opening had begun from
Ningxia province, but today most of the first stations
were from Jiangsu. Very soon he conditions were
however very general in nature, ranging from Japan
to Thailand, and nothing new was found. To name
a few, Nei Menggu PBS (1197 kHz), Xuzhou PBS (1269
kHz) and Pujiang zhi Sheng (1422 kHz) were among
the identified Chinese stations, and HLAT MBC Yeosu
(1080 kHz) was heard from Korea. Two local pests
in Murmansk (657 and 1134 kHz) finally returned
on the air at 1217 UTC after an extended maintenance
Today's t-shirt: KBOV Bishop,
California, 1230 AM. In 2004 I drove to Death Valley,
and paid a visit to KBOV which I saw along the way.
Back in the 1990's I had heard quite a few Californian
graveyard stations, and figured that it should be
possible to catch also KBOV in Finland, but it hasn't
happened so far. KBOV's location in the deep Owens
Valley may be one reason. The retro style t-shirt
of this oldies station is one of my favorites, and
reminds me of this remaining DX challenge.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
We slept through the night to
be in good driving condition. Mestor seems to have
caught some North American stations, which improved
in the morning. For the first time American stations
were heard fairly well through the morning hours
until we pulled the plug at midday. We took notes
of very few live loggings as we focused on packing.
Mexican XETUL Tultitlán ME on 1080 kHz was
one of the highlights.
See you again next year!
The next crew, Martti
Karimies and Jari Sinisalo, arrived already
past 10 a.m. after driving all night. It was really
nice to see them, and this was in fact the first
handover in the history of Aihkiniemi DXpeditions
when two successive crews actually met in the cabin.
Martti and Jari at least got a good start for their
Around 12:30 p.m. we began driving south, dodging
moose and reindeer on the way. In Inari we stopped
at Siida, the National Museum of the Finnish Sámi.
For about 100 kilometers around Saariselkä
the roads were icy and slippery, but otherwise it
was a pleasure to drive to Rovaniemi, where we enjoyed
a Chinese dinner and from where we took the overnight
For more information about Aihkiniemi,
check out this article.
on October 25, 2012