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Report of AIH76 DXpedition to Aihkiniemi written by Mika Makelainen

South Pacific island music was the soundtrack of the 76th DXpedition to Aihkiniemi. Hawaiian stations were heard almost daily, AM catches from New Zealand were netted on several days, and a few rare stations from other islands were logged as well, Radio Tuvalu (621 kHz) and V6AH from Micronesia (1449 kHz) being the highlights. Conditions to North America were not quite as good as low solar activity would have suggested, but anyhow much better than in September.

Barely three weeks had passed after AIH72 when I packed my Auris for the second DXpedition of the season. This time my companion for the first four days was Jim Solatie. Jim's recordings continued for a few more days, but during the second week I was scanning the dial by myself.

Railroad cars in Rovaniemi
Here the car-carrier is finally arriving at the off-load ramp in Rovaniemi.

I met Jim in Helsinki at Pasila railway station where cars are loaded on trains up north. Our overnight trip went smoothly, although we did miss a planned appointment with fellow DXers Juha Vehmas and Teijo Mäenpää, who were traveling to Lemmenjoki, another DXing base in Lapland, at the same time. Only when our train reached Tampere we realized that they were actually on a different train, as their destination would be Kolari and we were rolling towards Rovaniemi, in different parts of Lapland.

In Rovaniemi the railroad company VR was really slow in offloading the cars, and eventually we were able to head north just before 9 a.m., even though our scheduled arrival time in Rovaniemi was already at 7:14. We drove over the Arctic Circle in brisk and clear weather with temperatures just below freezing point.

Mika, Jim, Martti and Jari
Mika Mäkeläinen, Jim Solatie, Martti Karimies and Jari Sinisalo

While we were shopping for Thai cubes and other essential gourmet delicacies in Ivalo, we met Martti Karimies and Jari Sinisalo in the local supermarket. Martti and Jari, having just been DXing intensively for a week in Aihkiniemi, were quite happy with their catch after scoring loads of Australian stations as well as the coveted AM country of Micronesia, which they heard for the first time in Finland on Friday, their last full day in Aihkiniemi. Australia, unfortunately, was almost totally absent during our DXpedition.

Mountain scene from Kaunispää
On our way up north we stopped briefly on top of Kaunispää mountain to take in the wintry landscape.

This AIH76 DXpedition had from the start a very different feeling compared to AIH72. Wintry conditions were visible both in the nature and on the AM band. There was a sprinkling of snow dust all around, and our nearby ponds were freezing over as average temperatures had fallen under zero Celsius. Days were much shorter, and there was no longer necessarily any daytime lull in propagation, as there still was in September.

Solar weather indices were very promising in the beginning, so we had high hopes for the first few days of the DXpedition. Jim's timing was perfect, as the conditions were indeed best during the first four days, before Jim had to fly to China for business. The A index spiked on October 24–26 to the upper teens, but otherwise there were no major disruptions to a very steady and predictable daily propagation cycle.

Antennas in Aihkiniemi were the same as during AIH72. This is our selection of 13 Beverage antennas, each about one kilometer in length:

Aihkiniemi antenna directions

Although there were no solar storms, aurora borealis was visible on a couple of clear nights, and I shot my best ever aurora pictures during the first hour of October 25.

Northern lights
A bit risky to walk on the thin ice, but at least it would be a shallow pond...

Our gear consisted of Perseus receivers, custom-made antenna splitters and laptops. As before, I used Jaguar software, while Jim relied on Perseus.

Aihkiniemi was not the only operational Nordic DXpedition site during these October weeks. Teijo and Juha were in Lemmenjoki for the first week (LEM387), followed by Antti Aaltonen and Timo Reiniluoto (LEM388) during my second week. Some very limited hints of their achievements can be found here. In Parkalompolo in northern Sweden, PAX121 (RTF file) and PAX122 (PDF) DXpeditions coincided partly with AIH76. Remote AM listening was practised continuously both in northern Norway and in Ivalo in the Finnish Lapland.

Here's a look at propagation conditions, our DXing results and other activities on each day:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Martti and Jari had kindly set up an automated recording for catching Pacific stations in the early afternoon, but nothing new was found. Stations such as AFN Misawa (1575 kHz) and Marshall Islands (1098 kHz) were heard briefly after 1100 UTC. DWNX from the Philippines (1611 kHz) was quite strong around 1300 UTC, and that's when loads of Chinese stations were also heard for about an hour, but after that there was nothing interesting anywhere. Most of our time and effort was spent simply on getting our setup in order, as building all the listening and recording hardware is always a major hassle.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Northern lights
More colorful than ever before

Overnight was mostly quiet, but Brazilian stations began rising around 0330 UTC, and in their wake, stations from Argentina and Uruguay as well. The morning opening peaked around 0500-0530 UTC and was very strong. Numerous interesting files are waiting to be screened, but so far the only personally new station for me is ZYK773 Rádio Cumbica from São Paulo (1500 kHz).

North American stations improved at the same time, and even graveyard channels had readable signals after 0200 UTC. In the wee hours of the morning the opening was centered in the Rocky Mountains, and offered stations like KRDZ Wray (1440 kHz) and KFCS Colorado Springs (1580 kHz) from Colorado. Midwestern stations were prominent later in the morning, and in the afternoon Jim caught several new stations from Oregon and Washington while I was totally focused on Oceania.

Nothing really new was found from Africa, although Jim logged Radio Botswana (648 and 693 kHz).

Northern lights
Pointing my lens towards the zenith

The big news of the day was a terrific opening to the Pacific starting from around 0945 UTC. Marshall Islands (1098 kHz) had a fabulous signal for almost a couple of hours until sign-off at 1130 UTC. For us, the two biggest fishes were V6AH Voice of Pohnpei from Micronesia on 1449 kHz, heard giving a full station ID just before sign-off at 1100 UTC, and Gold FM (990 kHz) from Fiji, which has never before been logged in Finland. Gold FM had such a monster signal that it is bound to become a fairly regular catch from the Pacific at least in Aihkiniemi, which has the best antennas to that direction. Also some stations from New Zealand were heard, Newstalk ZB on 1035 kHz being the strongest one. There were probably no new ones for Jim, but I was happy about hearing Te Üpoko o te Ika from Wellington on 1161 kHz, a Maori station.

A bunch of Japanese stations were heard in the afternoon, when NHK2 stations signed off at 1520 UTC. No new ones were found. Far East Asian stations were surprisingly weak in the evening. DZRB from the Philippines was logged around sign-on time after 2000 UTC, but we found nothing new for us.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday's propagation was an extremely intriguing roller coaster ride of highs and lows, so it deserves close scrutiny – and it will take years to go through all our recordings. In the middle of the night hardly anything was audible beyond Europe, but already at 0200 UTC Brazilian and Argentinian stations were quite strong. North American stations, mostly from around the Great Lakes, were heard simultaneously, but weaker. Argentina and Brazil prevailed remarkably long, and we focused on that area until about 0545 UTC. Signal levels especially in the lower end of the AM dial were huge. Then the whole band was already full of North American stations from coast to coast, including a few Mexican and Cuban stations, which continued for several hours. North American stations retreated gradually after 1000 UTC, although a bunch of West Coast regulars remained on the dial until at least 1300 UTC. Of the stations we have identified so far, WDMC Melbourne FL (920 kHz) and WJJL Niagara Falls NY (1440 kHz) were new ones for me.

Northern lights
The best aurora shots were taken on October 25, at around 1 a.m. local time.

Before noon we went out checking antennas, and after arriving back in the cabin around 0915 UTC, Marshall Islands was soon heard on 1098 kHz. Its signal was nothing short of stunning for a while. Also Tonga and New Zealand were heard briefly and so was Radio Tuvalu (621 kHz) just before 1000 UTC, a station previously unheard in Finland, but the signal was too weak to get an ID.

By 1030 UTC, very early considering it was still October, the AM band was filled by Japanese and mostly Chinese stations, predominantly from the northern provinces (Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning), which overpowered any signals from the Pacific. Qitaihe PBS (1062 kHz) from Heilongjiang, never before heard in Europe, was the highlight of this rare opening. Soon afterwards, around 1130 UTC, everything from the Eastern Hemisphere vanished. It was utterly strange to browse totally empty frequencies at 9 kHz intervals, whatever antenna you happened to use. Around 1300 UTC some Japanese stations made a comeback, followed soon by Iranians, and then some Chinese. Geographically the selection was still very limited, allowing Gold FM (990 kHz) from Fiji to re-emerge and be heard with a huge signal from around 1320 UTC. There was no interference from any other station in the Eastern Hemisphere.

While the East was silent in the afternoon, Hawaii and, to a lesser degree, Alaska, were almost the only regions with audible signals and not just audible, but this opening to Hawaii was probably the best that I have ever experienced. For example KSSK Honolulu (590 kHz) was identified, and stronger stations like KEWE Kahului (1240 kHz) were heard for hours.

The evening was surprisingly poor. Asia recovered somewhat, as there were a few strong stations from China, Taiwan, the Philippines and such, but mostly the dial was filled by stations from the Middle East.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

During the night just a few scattered signals from North America made it our way, but the southern part of South America offered a bit more stable reception from around 2200 UTC. Signals were however weaker than on the previous nights and while they should have improved after 0300 UTC, they instead began to wane. In any case, some of the strongest Argentinian stations prevailed almost until 0600 UTC. North American stations, mostly from the Rockies, became stronger around 0400 UTC and continued through the day. Around 0900 UTC a sliver of the East Coast was also audible.

Jim with a Thai cube for dinner
Jim is enjoying Thai goodies on the plate and on the radio.

After checking a couple of antennas before midday, I kept a close watch for the first signals to emerge from the Pacific. Marshall Islands was the first one heard before 0930 UTC, and even Tuvalu (621 kHz) revealed some audio, but still quite weak and there was not a chance to get an ID. Radio Kiribati (1440 kHz) signed off well before its scheduled closedown of 1000 UTC, after which we enjoyed island music from Tonga (1017 kHz). Unfortunately for the Pacific stations, the first Japanese, Korean and Chinese signals emerged already before 1000 UTC. European signals were also very strong, so instead of Micronesia we had BBC and a Japanese station on 1449 kHz.

East Asian stations were heard nicely at 12001300 UTC, after which conditions melted totally. Japanese stations made a comeback just before the sign-off of NHK2 stations at 1600 UTC. Conditions seemed to focus in Aomori, which was heard on three frequencies. UK stations and West European stations in general were remarkably strong throughout the day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Overnight, North American stations showed up very briefly just before 2200 UTC, but vanished about ten minutes later. Another equally short surge was noted at about 2220 UTC. Upper band AM stations revived a bit at 0300 UTC, and signal levels were quite good at 03300400 UTC. Short peaks were noted also before and after 0500 UTC, but then North America was gone. Just a handful of stations from around Alberta appeared fleetingly.

Jim swimming in icy water
Jim taking a dip as the lake was not yet completely frozen.

The story for Latin American propagation was very similar: the openings were very short and required constant monitoring done either live in person or by software such as Jaguar. Some stations from Brazil and Argentina appeared briefly around 2230 UTC, and new openings took place around 0100 and 0200 UTC, but the customary morning enhancement around 0500 UTC was much weaker than on previous days.

Before I went to sleep, the skies fortunately cleared, and so I spent over an hour taking photos of some really gorgeous northern lights.

Jim had packed his stuff by 9 a.m. (0600 UTC) and I drove him across the Norwegian border to Kirkenes Airport for a flight south. Jim would continue on a business trip to China. Unfortunately there are not yet direct flights to Beijing from this winter wonderland. I still had some hopes for dxing in the afternoon, so apart from a couple of photos I didn't stay to enjoy the Arctic fjord scenery, but drove straight back to the Aihkiniemi cabin.

Fjord in Norway
The road to Kirkenes airport runs along rugged Neiden and Munke fjords.

The first weak Far East Asian stations emerged after 1100 UTC. Surprisingly, Marshall Islands appeared briefly just before its sign-off time of 1130 UTC. This was followed by some Japanese and Chinese stations, but soon after 1200 UTC they were all gone. A similar propagation window opened to the west at around 1120 UTC, when some Rockies and West Coast stations were heard for about 15 minutes. At least initially I didn't find anything new from either front.

Around 1500 UTC Chinese and Philippine stations were quite strong, but soon Indian and Iranian stations became audible, so even though signal levels were strong, it is close to impossible to find any new stations when all of Asia can be heard at the same. A couple of common Australian stations showed up at various times during the evening hours (729, 891, 1152 and 1161 kHz), but at least instantly there were no new catches.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Brazilian and Argentinian stations kept on playing peek-a-boo with DXers like me, appearing out of nowhere for a moment and fading away very soon. Stations were audible at 2220 and 0150 UTC, followed by an average morning peak after 0400 UTC. A Peruvian station (giving an ID for Radio Unión on 880 kHz) surprised on 1570 kHz being the latest one to remain on the dial at 0600 UTC, but soon after that all transatlantic signals vanished. Some North American signals were audible at various times through the night as well, but signals were fleeting and weak.

Juha Vehmas and Teijo Mäenpää
Juha Vehmas and Teijo Mäenpää

Daytime was dead on the dial, with only KBRW Barrow (on 680 kHz) providing armchair quality reception. I expected nothing from the Pacific, but surprisingly Marshall Islands was once again heard just before closing time around 1130 UTC. DXer friends Teijo Mäenpää and Juha Vehmas from Lemmenjoki were visiting at the time, so they got to experience how well Pacific stations can be heard in Aihkiniemi.

After 1300 UTC, a handful of stations from northern Alberta appeared briefly on the dial, CKJR (1440 kHz) being the strongest one, surprisingly.

The first Asians were heard briefly around 1200 UTC but signals retreated again before becoming much stronger by 1300 UTC. Now the emphasis was in Guangdong and the rest of Southeast Asia, with the rest of South Asia following the tide. By 1500 UTC most of the Far Eastern stations had given way to stations from India, the Middle East, and most destructively, to European stations, so this Asia opening was unusually short. The entire evening was crappy without decent openings to any directions.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Overnight the first North American signals arrived before midnight UTC, and I identified WRRD Waukesha WI (1510 kHz) with its daytime power at 2300 UTC. It is not really a rarity, and I have it verified from years ago, but it was nice to know that there was anyhow some nighttime propagation to North America. Most of the time signal levels were very poor. Latin America was another story. Once again reception of Brazilian and Argentinian stations was much above average, peaking at 0115, 0310 and finally around 0520 UTC, after which signals nosedived so that the AM band was virtually dead after 0600 UTC. My best catch this night was probably ZYK304 Rádio Tapejara on 1530 kHz. Only very weak US West Coast signals remained after daybreak but of course KBRW sounded like a local station.

Ice forming on antenna wires during crisp winter weather

Around midday, Marshall Islands was again heard on 1098 kHz and even Kiribati and Tuvalu gave some audio for a few minutes, but Tuvalu's signal was still at a very crappy level. Around 1100 UTC the first Asian stations emerged for about fifteen minutes, and also stations from the western half of North America gained some strength for about half an hour before being submerged by the atmospheric noise.

What happened next was really intriguing. A few Kiwi stations popped up around 1220 UTC, along with a bunch of Japanese, but then nothing else followed – except when Iranian stations began to fill the band an hour later. Even later on, China and South East Asia were virtually absent for hours. The frequencies would have been almost vacant, if only more Pacific signals would have risen above noise floor. Anyway, I got at least a few personally new ones from New Zealand: Newstalk ZB on 1053, 1278 and 1341 kHz, as well as Radio Live on 1233 kHz. In the evening, some ABC powerhouses from Australia were quite strong, but at least on the fly I didn't catch any new ones.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Overnight Brazil opened the game as usual, but stations were a bit weaker than before. Signals peaked around 0300 UTC, after which it was continuous downhill before everything evaporated around sunrise. North American stations took quite long to appear on the dial. Stations went up and down, and some readable signals were heard around 0100, 0300 and 0500 UTC. Focus was in the Upper Midwest and the Rockies, which is very common, with stations like KJCR Billings MT (1230 kHz) and KZZJ Rugby ND (1450 kHz). The biggest surprise was to catch KXET Mt. Angel OR (1129.9985 kHz) broadcasting in Russian with frequent IDs and the slogan "Radio Slavic Family". It was booming as long as daytime power was on until 0132 UTC. Another surprise was KCKN Roswell NM (1020 kHz) alone on its frequency (1020.0055 kHz to be exact).

Foorbridge over stream
This footbridge is the way to get around a treacherous pond where ice may not yet be strong enough.

North American stations were taking the lead this morning as some stations from there overtook weaker Latin Americans even on our 255-degree aerial. Sunrise however quickly evaporated most transatlantic signals until after 1200 UTC, when West Coast stations gained strength for a short while.

No island music from the Pacific today, and even Asian stations emerged quite late, well after 1200 UTC. Unfortunately, European stations were very strong through the day. Then Iranian and even Romanian stations began to occupy frequencies already around 1300 UTC. Eventually all of Asia was audible at the same time, so there is practically no hope of finding anything interesting.

Today it snowed for the first time, so I got a nice workout clearing the driveway. Also the temperatures fell to nearly -10 degrees Celsius. The sky was clear during the night, but not a trace of northern lights was visible.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Ice crystals
A closeup of ice crystals on the ground

The first Brazilian stations from the northeastern corner of the country appeared, as usual, before 2100 UTC. Signals improved slowly and were very strong before daybreak, to the extent that at one point I was hearing Radio Uruguay on 1050 kHz on my 305-degree aerial, which is pointed at the East Coast of North America. North American stations ruled the AM band just before 0600 UTC which is when they too dipped sharply, only to recover after 0800 UTC. After 0900 UTC it was a slow descent, but some stations from the Northwestern corner of the US were audible still around 1400 UTC, which is also when the multitude of Alaskan and Hawaiian stations began to fade out. I noticed for instance KPRP Honolulu (650 kHz) with Philippine programming, not a very common station, but I got my QSL over two decades ago.

Initially US conditions favored the Great Lakes area, tilting westwards and yielding a few nice stations from California as well. The most interesting catch of the day was WMFN Peotone IL (640 kHz) which had just begun testing, identified frequently and presumably transmitted with daytime power and antenna pattern, occasionally beating 50-kW CFMJ in Toronto.

The eastern front was equally interesting. At 1000 UTC stations from Japan to the Pacific islands appeared briefly, only to vanish for another two hours. A couple of Newstalk ZB stations were heard at 1000 UTC, which is the earliest that I have caught them at this time of the year. Signals improved a bit around 1200 UTC, retreated again, and grew to full strength only around 1400 UTC. Just like on Saturday, stations from all around Asia appeared at the same time, which makes new findings very challenging. The South Australian ABC powerhouses were heard quite strong, but none of the smaller stations.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Overnight was disappointing. Brazil and Argentina were weak, and there was still nothing from the northern half of South America, nor from Central America or the Caribbean. In the morning there were some strong Latin signals, but mostly they were swamped by exceptionally strong adjacent-channel European stations. North American stations were weak as well, best perhaps around 0200 UTC. They were supposed to improve after 0500 UTC, but started fading out instead.

Lake Inari freezing
The largest lake in the region, Inarijärvi, began to freeze over during our DXpedition.

Later on North American stations recovered and maintained a stable but weak level, with a focus in the Rockies and the West Coast. During the day, Pacific islands were absent, except for V7AB Marshall Islands on 1098 kHz. Also some stations from New Zealand were heard (such as Radio Live on 1107 kHz), but the extent of that opening remains to be seen, as I spent time cleaning antennas from snow and ice. The afternoon opening to Asia focused on China, from where I find it very difficult to get any new ones anymore. So, mostly I just let my Perseus receivers record the AM band for a review at some undetermined time in the distant future, while I focused on checking recordings from a week ago, when conditions were better.

Generally signal levels today and on these past few days have been much weaker than solar indices would suggest – I wonder why.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Overnight was once again very poor. There were no signs of North American stations becoming audible early enough so that daytimers could be heard. Overall, reception was shitty all through the night, and basically only around 0000 UTC there were some readable signals. Latin America wasn't much better. Signals were stable, but also very weak, and there was no morning enhancement to speak of. Just a couple of isolated stations from Colombia were heard (such as Radio María on 1580 kHz). North America fortunately continued even past daybreak, with a welcome focus on the Eastern half of the continent. There were some common Cuban stations (for instance Radio Progreso on 1230 kHz) in the mix, especially around 06000700 UTC. North American signals began to retreat for good at 1100 UTC, and by 1200 UTC there were just a couple of stations left. Alaska and Hawaii however continued for hours more. So far my best catch of the day on the western front is KGEM Boise ID (1140 kHz).

Siberian jay
A Siberian jay, fattened to endure the hard winter.

However, the best accomplishment of the day was to nail Radio Tuvalu (621 kHz), finally with a sufficiently decent signal. It was audible for almost an hour before signing off after 1000 UTC. V7AB (1098 kHz) and Tonga (1017 kHz) were also heard, until an onslaught of Japanese stations landed remarkably early, before 1000 UTC, and conquered almost every frequency. Aomori stations tended to rule the most common NHK1 frequencies when they identified at 1000 UTC. Along came a bunch of Chinese and Korean stations, but this was only the first wave, and at 1130 UTC signal levels dropped sharply so that most frequencies were left with just static. When stations from the east returned at 1400 UTC, they were limited to Iran and the Middle East – as well as a few stations from Northern Japan, but nothing from in between. All of China, India and all of South-East Asia were totally absent. As I'm recording these notes, about four hours have passed since sunset, and Asia is still a total loss. I can't recall a similar situation before. This would be possible under an extreme solar storm, but indices are as good as they have ever been. Go figure.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Twilight at the cabin
Twilight just before dawn

On Tuesday evening Brazil launched the transatlantic flow of stations before 2100 UTC. North American stations appeared much later, peaking at 0100 UTC and then diving, until around 0400, after which conditions improved steadily. The morning was neat, since for the first time there was an opening to Peru and Colombia, and the entire Western Hemisphere didn't immediately take a deep dip at sunrise. And the sun truly did visibly rise; with clear skies the scenery up here is quite beautiful, although fairly cold, temperature dropping to almost -20 degrees C in the morning. My best immediate catches were OAX1Q RPP Tumbes (1290 kHz), KFRU Columbia MO (1400 kHz) and WURN Boynton Beach FL (1040 kHz). WURN "Actualidad" was not the only Florida station booming this morning. Also WSUA Miami FL (1260 kHz) had a strong voice intermittently for a couple of hours.

During daylight hours I tried to clean the antennas of snow and ice, which tend to accumulate during this kind of weather. So I wasn't listening live all the time, but it appears that the Pacific Ocean didn't have a good day. Anyhow, Asian stations flowed in from about 1100 UTC. Around 1300 UTC there were a bunch of Philippine stations (for instance DWDH, the DZRH relay on 1440 kHz), but I didn't find anything new. However, I was happy to venture away from the AM band for a while, and to log Ozy Radio on shortwave (5045 kHz) with a proper ID, unlike the day before, when it remained a tentative catch.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Milky Way
The Milky Way

As luck would have it, I have endured ten nights of non-existent East Coast daytimer conditions, during the end of October, which would be the ideal time to catch daytime-only stations from the US, and heard nothing. Then, as soon as all stations moved their sign-off times ahead, then comes the night when numerous East Coast signals appear before local sunset. Well, it was still cool to listen to this North America opening, but chances for rare daytime stations are small. In any case, this was the first night when the US East Coast was audible early into the night.

Daybreak offered interesting openings, first to Brazil and Argentina until 0600 UTC, then to Chile and Colombia, as well as to Cuba and Puerto Rico. US stations sounded like a worn-out repetition of the previous day, with conditions favoring the East Coast with Cuba, but the signals were weaker, which in turn improved reception of Latin American stations. Some Pacific Islands came in full force already when I first tried them before 0900 UTC. Tonga, Marshall Islands and Kiribati had nice signals, and the regular Hawaiian stations were also booming. Unfortunately digging for new stuff on this front is tough. West Europe was also unbelievably strong. Even a small station such as Dutch Vahon Hindustani Radio (1566 kHz) was heard nicely with a terminated 30-degree antenna which is just about the opposite direction from the Netherlands. In November the difference of midday conditions is stark when compared to mid-October, when there are hardly any Europeans audible in daylight on the AM band.

Radio-branded wine
Radio Boca, a Spanish tempranillo red wine

In the afternoon, Chinese stations arrived early and were joined by Iranian stations already before 1300 UTC, so Asia quickly became a hopeless mix. At the same time, the US West Coast continued to be heard longer than before, with fairly strong signals even past 1300 UTC. Unsurprisingly, KONP Port Angeles WA (1450 kHz) had one of the most powerful footprints. I was happy to identify KWHR Enterprise OR (1340 kHz) during this opening.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Late Thursday evening the path to North America again opened very early, with CFMB Montréal QC (1280 kHz) heard already at 2040 UTC. WCCM Methuen MA (1570 kHz) was the only daytimer that I discovered, peaking with other Boston area stations around 2130 UTC. The rest of the night seemed to be uneventful to every direction. Signal levels rose on Friday morning, but remained weaker than the day before. It may be noteworthy that the Sioux Falls (SD) station on 1140 kHz has new calls KXRB, simulcasting on 100.1 FM. On 1440 kHz a repeat offender was KRDZ Wray CO, which gives an idea of the areas heard.

Snow crystals close to river
A winter wonderland

Pacific islands were barely detectable, and Asian stations stormed the AM band very early, around 1000 UTC. China ruled most frequencies, and I haven't managed to get anything new so far. However, I didn't pay a lot of attention either, as I focused on my travel arrangements for the upcoming week. (I spent ten days in California and also made a short lecture trip to Sweden, which delayed publication of this DXpedition report by two weeks.)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Some North American signals tried to push through around their local sunset times, but at least I didn't come across any rarities. Overnight conditions to Latin America seemed poor, and also to North America there appears to have been just a short peak before 2300 UTC. In the morning stations from Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela came fairly well, while North American signals were relatively weak. A couple of hours later reception of US stations improved quite a bit, but then it was time to pack my stuff and head south. I unplugged my receivers at 13:00 local time, and by 13:45 I was already driving towards Rovaniemi to catch the overnight train south.

Ronny Klemets and Hans Ostnell
Ronny Klemets and Hans Østnell

Before departure, it was a pleasure to meet Ronny Klemets and Hans Østnell for the first time. With fairly good conditions, they got a nice start for their week of ultimate AM DXing in Aihkiniemi.

The five-hour drive south was a gradual reintroduction to normal life. Instead of waiting for any barely audible station ID, I listened to golden oldies and EZL music blasting in hifi quality from my CD player, and started paying attention to the content of the newscasts instead of just the origin. Instead of living from a propagation opening to another and eating whenever I would be hungry or have time to, I needed to switch to more regular sleep patterns and mealtimes. And it was refreshing to see people after a solitary cabin feverish existence.

During two weeks of DXing, I made a total of about 18 TB of recordings. To get a idea of how much it is, consider this: As Jaguar records 10-minute/3.57 GB sound files of the entire AM band (let's assume there are about 115 AM frequencies of interest in each recording), each 1 GB of recordings contains about 5.4 hours of stuff to be reviewed. Therefore, I would need almost 100,000 hours to listen to it all. Waiting for my retirement... Of course, I need to focus on what I presume to be the top 1%, but now you know why it will take years to have a complete log to go along with this DXpedition report.

Written by Mika Mäkeläinen, published on November 22, 2017

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